Producing great work was the theme at NewPath’s networking meeting on June 24th 2010. Guest presenter and author, Michael Bungay Stanier led an engaging and interactive workshop for the entrepreneurs in attendance at the event.
Michael spoke about one example of great work: the I Love New York logo:
Although great work is not that commonplace, the goal for all of us, Michael says, is to Do More Great Work (also the title of his latest book).
- Bad work
- Good work
- Great work
Bad work is W.O.M.B.A.T. As in a Waste of Money Bandwidth and Time. (Michael is from Australia and likes to use “Aussie” references.) This type of work drags you down and does not provide much value to your clients, your organization or to you. Examples of bad work include the need for endless approvals, unnecessary bureaucracy and managers looking over your shoulder. Michael noted that several organizations had a "Cut the Crap Committee" to keep this type of bad work at a minimum.
Good work is listed on your job description when you were hired. This is what is accomplished when you tackle projects from start to finish, completing good work. But it may seem like pushing the stone up a hill until the end of time – since good work is never done. And, worse yet, you can get stuck in what Michael calls "a comfortable rut."
Great work is where you want to be. It's the work you never want to stop talking about. It's also the work that keeps you in the flow. You lose track of time when you are creating great work and it is exciting and meaningful to you. One way to check if your work is great is by asking the question: “Is there a deadline?” Great work usually doesn't have deadlines because the deadline is always immediate. You want to do great work, and you don't have to be cajoled into doing great work.
During the event, Michael also introduced one of his 15 "mapping" exercises that he describes in his book. Surveys indicate that bad work takes up 40% of your entire workload and great work is less than 10%!
There are many barriers that prevent us from doing great work. So, the event closed with some lively group discussions about how we can reduce these barriers:
- The space we work in and the "me" part of the equation that affects the choices we make. Check out a tour of Michael’s own office:
- Influences such as the relationships with our clients and partners are also part of ensuring we do more great work.
This is not the first time that we have had the pleasure of hearing Michael speak and it is worth viewing his other presentations and spending some time on his website. His own list of insightful resources are available online.Running the NewPath Network has been my great work. It was certainly memorable for me when our team arranged Dan Pink's first speaking gig in Toronto in 2005.
What great work are you doing now and how can we help you as a group? Please leave your comments below.
Many thanks to all who attended and participated in discussions:
Kathrin Kroenig — Vladislav Elkis — Scott McIntosh — Toby Condliffe — Kevin McIntosh — Sylvia Klass — Pulat Yunusov — Sandi Davis John — Fernando Lopez — Anne Anderson — Bob Bissett — Bob Hudson
And of course thank you to Rachel Young at Camaraderie for hosting us once again.
P.S. Along with your comment, tell us how many times the word great appears in this post and be entered into a draw at our next event. Details about our next event coming soon!