Fire yourself - at least from those activities that deliver you the least amount of value.

My brother reminded me recently of a 1989 Wall Street Journal article by Peter Drucker titled “Sell The Mailroom”. The premise of the article is that organizations should look for those internal functions that, as critical as they are, don’t necessarily lend themselves directly to the organizational purpose.

To quote Drucker,

“If clerical, maintenance and support work is done by an outside independent contractor it can offer opportunities, respect and visibility. As employees of a college, managers of student dining will never be anything but subordinates. In an independent catering company they can rise to be vice president in charge of feeding the students in a dozen schools; they might even become CEOs of their firms.”

Obviously, that makes a lot of sense on the macro/organizational level, but what if you adopted this same philosophy at the micro/individual level? I think it could be powerful!

  • Make a list of all of the responsibilities/activities you currently have in your position.
  • Prioritize those responsibilities by placing those that most directly contribute to success in your position at the top of the list and those that are your “mailroom/dining” activities at the bottom.
  • How much time could you free up if you would “outsource” those activities at the bottom of your list?
  • How much value could you create with that re-captured time now being spent by doing more of the activities at the top of your list?
  • How much more effectively would those, now outsourced, activities be performed when done so by someone who would have them at the top of their list?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s at the organizational or the personal level, good ideas are worth implementing.


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