Friday, December 04, 2009

Getting It Done But Doing It Right

My friend Alex, a software executive recently shared his approach to evaluating his team. Alex assesses each person in his organization along two axis - "getting it done" and "doing it right".

"Getting it done" pertains to performance. Is the individual achieving the objectives of his job? It is a reality of our working lives that performance does matter. In most jobs, there is an explicit expectation of results to be achieved, tasks to be completed and objectives to be met. We cannot escape this fact - God has placed us in the "garden" of our lives to tend, cultivate and bear fruit.

But "getting it done" isn't the whole story - it's also about "doing it right". We're called to work to the glory of God. This means both working in the right way and doing the right things. It is insufficient for us to simply complete the project on time and within budget. We're also called to do it in a way that cultivates teamwork and joyful labor. Doing the right thing means redefining what it means to succeed. Succeeding in business isn't simply about increasing revenues or profits - it's also about ethical business.

I think this framework can be doubly beneficial - not only for managers in evaluating team members but also for each of us to conduct a little self assessment as well. Are we succeeding in meeting the objectives of our job? Are we "getting it done"? How about "doing it right?" Are we working in way that brings joy and peace to our workplace? Is the way we work not only effective but life giving? I also like it because it ties in with an assertion I made recently that a culture of performance and a culture of encouragement are not contradictory but rather complementary.

What do you think? Does this approach make sense? How are you doing along each of the two axis?


Halfmom said...

Yes, I think both elements are critical. Likely we've both worked in environments where we were building bricks without straw. In particular, Psalms speaks to the end of those types of bosses.

I thought, though, from the title and first few sentences, that you would be addressing the fact that people frequently have vastly different ideas about what "right" actually means. Teamwork becomes a challenge when members have different ideas of what right work is and how one works rightly.

Clear expectations for what "doing it right" actually means would go a long way in helping the workplace as well as providing a basis for evaluation. In fact, if those are in place and you needed a scientist, I'd apply :) Happy is the (wo)man who know at the end of the day that they have done what they should and done it in a right fashion!

Chris Cree said...

Both parts of this equation are important. Often there's more to doing things right than basic ethics.

I think the key is to strive for excellence in both areas. Since I have a perfectionist streak I tend to err too far toward the "doing it right" at the cost of getting as much done as I should.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Excellent post. I so much believe in this, and it's one important way we in Jesus by the Spirit can help bring in something of the kingdom of God into this world. Not easy and tenuous, even among Christians, but part of God's working which at least can demonstrate something of his will and show something of his glory even in this present world and age.