The Real Job Description

Had a couple beers the other night with a former boss of mine. He hired me at Washington Consulting and I have always liked him because, despite his fascination with the Red Sox, he and I see eye-to-eye on things. As he currently has an ownership stake in a consulting firm right now, I chose to view our similarities in a positive light.

One of the things that came up during the second beer was the nature of the job. How should an owner be spending their time? The answer is simple,

An Owner should do whatever is necessary to insure the success of the business.

Anyone disagree?

If that means getting your hands dirty to keep a key client happy, that is what you need to do that day.  Sure, you shouldn’t spend your whole year down the proverbial rabbit hole, but as an owner, your job is to do whatever it takes.

The same is true with a Chief Information Officer (CIO). My job is to think of how we can better leverage our information and what tools we need to be more productive, but that isn’t all.  At the end of the day, every aspect of our technical infrastructure is my responsibility.

If that means I have to run some database queries so my developers can stay focused on a key project that has a tight timeframe, then that is what I am going to do. If the Universal Power Supply (UPS) in our ever dwindling data center needs maintenance and I’m the only one around, I’ll do that as well.

Are those tasks in my job description? No, they are not. They are in the various job descriptions of my staff.

Ask yourself this question, how often do you not do something because it “isn’t your job?” If you are too busy, how important is what you are working on to the entire organization compared to what isn’t being done?

When things fall apart, people don’t ask if you did your job. They ask if you did everything you could do to be successful. If the answer isn’t yes, what is the point?

3 thoughts on “The Real Job Description

  1. I tell people that “I am the VP of Information Services. Some days that means I’m doing the vision thing, some days, I’m changing toner cartridges” Whatever it takes – nice post


  2. Dale Heim says:

    Job descriptions are somewhat meaningless. Smart people want to work with smart people no matter what a person’s title it. “What can you do for me” eventually grows into “what can we do for each other?


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