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Troy Steinmetz

"Stanford students at their worst, unfortunately -- who see it as their job to plan, give orders, say smart things, anything that increases their status -- but view it as beneath them to actually do anything."

This is so true. As someone who has been very involved in student goverment and various student organizations for the last four years, it is clear the the most determining factor of success in that realm is simply willingness to do. We are a campus of "someone should," while we should be a campus of "I will."

In a lot of ways I think this is more a function of the seemingly ubiquitous "I'm busy" mindset than anything else. Students will often grasp for high-status titles by downplaying their other commitments and priorities. The worse ones will plan, organize, and advise, but when the time comes to do, use schoolwork as a trump card in negating their responsibilities. They will reationalize "flaking" by asserting that schoolwork is a higher priority and fail to realize that have simply overcomitted or overpromised.

There are two phrases I learned after a couple years that have paid off greatly in the leading-doing spectrum:

(1) "I'll start. Before date X, I commit to doing Y and Z. Anyone else?"

(2) "That's a great idea, (name). Do you want to be in charge of making sure that happens?"

It's about sending a clear message that ideas and agreement are only as powerful as the actions they put into motion. Also, phrase 1 makes it clear that I am willing to do work, while phrase 2 keeps me from overpromising.

To be clear, great ideas should not be avoid simply because of laziness, but too often people don't really think through the necessary action/"doing" step before committing.

Andrew Mitchell

I really like the Directives of Doing and one of these days I'll get around to doing something about them... :-)

There seems to be a contradiction between the early part that indicates that the DOD will take on anything even if they need to learn how, and a latter part which says we focus on what we are expert in and will engage other experts as needed.

I'd like to hear Richard's take on this.

Bob Sutton

Great discussion. I like the practical points that when people are asked to do a dozen things, than it is fair for them to say "it is not my job." I warmed to the document, however, because I've been in too many situations where no one is willing to do anything because each defines their job in way that is not only narrow, it is also focused on doing something that is useless or worse. There is also a certain kind of person -- Stanford students at their worst, unfortunately -- who see it as their job to plan, give orders, say smart things, anything that increases their status -- but view it as beneath them to actually do anything. I also have been involved in some organizations where it is impossible to get anything done because I don't understand what people do, and when I ask them to do something specific, they don't do it because it isn't in their job description, but when I ask them what their job is and how it is related to other jobs, they can't explain that either. But I also want to acknowledge that there are some people who are asked and pressed to do so many things that they need to draw the line, and are being abused.

Robert Hruzek

Very nice! Just this morning I ran across Dan Pink's reference to this story ( about Animal Farm butter.

Now that's a doer!


JohnO :
I suppose you're fired ? The problem is not that it's *your* job or not, but that you cannot accumulate more. Maybe you can get this task by giving another task to someone else ? Or maybe this task will be given to someone else. Nothing to do with "it's my job" or not.
At least this is the way I think. Actually, I prefer doing stuff "that's not mine" it is more entertaining.


So what happens when you have to say "That's not my job" because you have ten other things to do, and no one else is doing any work?

Don't the "planners, managers and organizers" take advantage of these sorts of doers to get their own agenda's fulfilled?

Valeria Maltoni

I just came across a wonderful article in Ode magazine that is a perfect case study for making a difference just by deciding to do, instead of contemplating. It is titled The Power of (every)One

- Valeria

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