Key Point: I think job titles may be limiting organizations. Perhaps they’re slowing things down when we need agility and speed more than ever. Institutions need the best people working together to get things done. Selecting and connecting people to get excellent (even extraordinary) results, is and will always be a trait of superb leadership. What would happen if we just put the best people together, paid them for achieving results and worried much less about antiquated organization structures and status driven titles? I wonder if statements like: “I need to be a VP so other people know I mean business and have top support…” “This role should be at a ___ level…” “That person can’t do that job because they are jumping levels…” “Joe can’t work for Mary because you can’t have a (you pick the title) reporting to a person at the same level.” Etc, etc. I’ve heard all of the above comments and more.
I’m thinking that our organization ought to have only three titles:
- Head of… (For now).
- Team Lead… (For now).
- Impact Player in… (For now).
The above doesn’t mean we would have fuzzy roles, vague expectations or chaotic compensation systems. On the contrary. People must have a very clear and measurable understanding of results they are accountable for. The impact of the area of responsibility assigned ought to connect to the biggest financial payout as well. No results equals no job. The more one achieves continuous results, attracts people to work for them and develops others; the larger the reward. Sometimes people try to clarify or specify responsibilities and impact through titles. I think it often works counterproductively. By having more generic titles people would have to work more effectively and collaboratively to know who they need to connect with and why in order to get results. And people would work in a more networked or “hive fashion.” Having communication flow up and down would give way to more peer-to-peer work.
The reason I favor “for now” on every business card is to remind everyone that nothing is permanent and everyone must grow and advance results to continue employment. I like the term “Team Lead” because people need to know who they are formally coached and served by. My argument for “Impact Player” on every business card is to remind people that all jobs must have a positive impact. If not, why have the role?
- Examine your career by how much you’re contributing, personally growing, having an impact and inspiring others. Worry less about a title. The money and bigger roles will come if you’re continuously doing important, result driven work and advancing your skills/experience.
- Take on and proactively sign up for the tough challenges that impact your organization’s results. You will skin your knees and likely scare the heck out of yourself while learning like crazy and growing in confidence.
Always “For Now” in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: In all aspects of life, true leaders seem to reveal themselves whether or not titles are in place. During operations, you naturally know who to trust, who to listen to, who to follow and who to learn from. That observation may not be automatic to all, so titles likely aren’t going anywhere and in most cases it makes sense that they exist. It simplifies things. But, if we’re all striving to be “Impact Players” and understand our individual expectations with a passion for shared success, then that’s far more important than what’s printed on a business card.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis