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Friday, October 03, 2014

Without a strategy of producing work-output, we leave our dreams to luck and chance

Every professional works, but very very few professionals can take a coordinated set of actions that are required to produce desired work-output. Everyone naively believes like Dan, that willpower, sheer muscle power, positive thinking and luck can somehow produce desired result. Everyone agrees that producing work-outputs is key to a successful career, but no one has a strategic framework to achieve this. This is like going to a war without a gun and hoping that one can somehow win the war.

Producing work-output consistently, whether it is Roger Federer or Nandan Nilekani, is a similar challenge, if not the same. It requires a robust ' strategic framework' to take the right actions in a coordinated manner. It should also enable the professional to take quick and purposeful corrective action when the output is not produced. A Strategic framework, in short, enables a professional to coordinate a set of actions consistently across a period of time to achieve desired work-output.

A strategic framework to produce work-outputs is a necessity, not a luxury, for a professional. To produce work-outputs, every professional has to go through these four steps. 

Four steps of Strategic framework ( ORIS) for producing work-output 






1. Output Zeroing : Zero on a work-output based on your work-path. (Do not confuse work-path with career-path). Work paths in knowledge work are distinctly of four types: Path of doer, Path of synthesiser (manager), Path of teacher (or trainer), Path of Researcher or new knowledge creator. Defining work-output is not straightforward as you think. Use this 3-step approach in deciding on the desired output. If your work-path is of a Manager, defining work-output is even more difficult.
2. Resource mobilisation for producing the requisite output: This step involves bringing the resources together to produce the requisite outputs on a given work-path. Many professionals however have very limited view of resources. They assume that their knowledge or degree is their only resource. A professional can use other resources - people, passion, values and traits - that are more powerful that just knowledge.It is the synergy of traits and knowledge that is important, not individual traits.
3. Innovative ideas to produce outputs: Innovatively using resources to produce the desired output or re-configuring outputs is both required to produce outputs over a long period of time on a given path. For example, producing the output on the work-path of Project manager has so many innovative possibilities that you may need a mentor to help you choose one of the option.
4. Sustaining Outputs on a given work-path: For instance, it is important to earn good reputation if the the long-term work-output is not sacrificed. Or a professional cannot sustain his outputs when he cannot monetise the work-outputs he is creating. For a sportsman, these sustaining strategies are very crucial, because he has to remain in the same sport for quite a long time. Even professionals like lawyer and doctors, who remain on a work-path for quite a long time, find these strategies useful.  

Summary

Enlight strategic framework of producing work-outputs is first of its kind. As you would observe, this simple framework helps you compare your work-output with others and understand what you can adapt from their career, instead of copying from their career. For instance, only if you are pursuing a vision, you can use the sustaining strategies of Roger Federer ( step 4). Or if your requirement of money is not being met, you can use the strategies of 'monetising' the work-output, not excelling in the work-output.

Professionals often lack Innovation (Creativity) in their career, not because they are less creative, but because they lack a 'framework' to apply their creativity. Without a framework like Enlight, they ask wrong questions.For instance, if you have defined wrong output like Rohit Sharma, any amount of creativity cannot help you produce the desired result.If you are unable to succeed in producing work-outputs in a current job, any ideas of modifying work-path are not helpful. Without a strategic framework, a professional cannot use his creativity to find his own solutions.  

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