Sense & Sensibility at Work

This is not homage to Jane Austen, loved as she is in some circles, merely a reworking of a fine title for a new purpose.  Ideas and activities should make sense, people should use common sense, sensibilities (one’s capacity for sensation, or feeling) should be considered up to a point when making changes.  There is a sensible mid-point where individual effort and organizational expectation should and can meet.


This sensible realm is the area that everyone should strive for, regardless of level or role within the organization because this is where we can find the greatest shared value.  Let’s define this sensibility in the following way, organizational expectations for output square up nicely with each team member’s optimal range of sustainable effort.  This does kind of sound utopian, but there are places where this is called Tuesday, (or Wednesday, or, Thursday…) and not at all a laughable (sadly or ironically) pipedream.


'Sensible' shoes can still have some flair

‘Sensible’ shoes can still have some flair

These are probably the places that get high rankings in those annual surveys of the best places to work in the US.  There is consideration given to many variables that provide a pleasant and stimulating work-life balance at these companies.  We could each say ‘gee I wish I worked there’ and then get back to our own job or we could think about what it would look like for us and how hard we want to work to achieve it.  Some of us wouldn’t be happy at these stellar companies because we wouldn’t like the amenities that are prized by other folks, we could find the toys at some web companies distracting or not be able to concentrate when everyone is in one large room.


It comes back, once again to defining what makes sense for each of us that will allow us to maintain our optimal range of sustainable effort.  If we each don’t know for ourselves, then how can we expect our company to know and provide us the correct tools to achieve it?  If you are at your optimal level and you are asked to do more, how do you handle it?  Do you craft a compelling argument and ask to set aside time to discuss this topic with your boss or do you have a crab session with your co-workers about how the company doesn’t understand what they ask of you?  Who should blink first if you and the company are far apart in perception on what constitutes a sensible realm of optimal performance?  (Hint: in the current climate, it isn’t the company unless you have some very unusual and hard to replace skills.)


If the company that you work for has the possibility of looking like the company that you defined would be within the sensible realm for optimal value, then what can you do to help it to get all the way there?


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

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