Meme – Align Skill and Work

People excel when the work they do is aligned with their passion and skill

 Much of 20th Century office practice grew out of an industrial and military culture.  Tasks were assigned. People did the work.  Only slackers and malcontents complained.  Someone might lack technical knowledge to do a job, but if so, that was just a matter of training. 

This made the job of team leaders easy.  Just assign the work.  Drive for completion.  Any failure was the fault of the team member.   In creative team environments this is a failed leadership strategy. 

Here is what’s changed:

  • Complex Problems – The nature of the work is more complex and challenging.  Innovation requires high function skills, imaginative design, collaborative problem solving, agility in a chaotic changing environment.  
  • Independent Initiative – The status quo is gone.  Without an established reference point to define tasks, individual insight, problem solving and initiative must routinely fill the gap.  
  • Performance Demands – Agile innovative teams cannot simply be scaled up with additional resources to make up for individual inefficiency.  Adding size to a team has substantial costs in a collaborative dynamic environment.  For the team to thrive, each contributor must rise to high standard of performance.

These subtle and complex skills cannot simply be forced onto a team member.   They are the result of deeply embedded aspects of personality, passion, and talent.  

Leaders must have the insight to understand the intrinsic requirements of a job at deeper level than simple technical skill set.   They must perceive the passions and natural skills of team members, identifying the unique tools in their tool box.   Finally, they must creatively construct a team that aligns these needs and  resources.

This same insight and analysis applies to individuals.   In a professional  marketplace dominated by the need for high functioning skills, no one can afford to spend their life doing anything but the work that inspires their energy and leverages their best skills.      


To succeed everyone in the room should be doing work they love. 

Good Reads: 

Whole New Mind?

The One Thing You Need to Know

Seth Godin discusses concepts surrounding buyer choices in “XXXXXX” .      Lexus and the Olive Tree?

Brainstorming Questions

  • Which marketplace are we in?  High Convenience?  Premium Quality?  Mushy Middle?
  • Which market to do we want to be in?
  • In our target market, who are the leaders in what matters most?
  • How can we match their excellence?
  • How can we exceed their excellence?
  • What are we doing that doesn’t contribute to excellence in what matters most? 

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