This is the seventh in a series of blog posts on the 12 Transition Points.
The Need for Clarity
Not knowing how to spend time at work is a loss of perspective of why the work we do matters. If a company’s purpose lacks substance, it is difficult to know how we fit in. If our job description is vague, or our preparation for the job is inadequate or we are being poorly supervised, it is no wonder that we might not be clear about our work. Add in disruptive change, and our lack of clear perspective increases our anxiety about what we are to do.
The Circle of Impact is designed to create a clear perspective. Aligning the three dimensions of leadership for impact provides us focus and direction for the work that we do every day. Without this perspective, it is easy to become confused, feeling that we are on the outside, not in the know.
A lack of perspective means that we don’t know what we don’t know. We may feel in the dark, seeking a light to show us a way to resolve our sense of confusion and alienation.
Lacking perspective is a transition point. It feels like a momentary problem that we need to address. Yet it could be pointing towards a more significant transition. The problem is … we just don’t know. There are two types of transitions that are possibly taking place when we lose perspective.
A Transition Point of Two Types.
The first type is that it is a transition of engagement in the inner workings of the organization. If we find ourselves going about our work without much thought, then we are not fully aware of current possibilities for contribution. If we are not sure what to do at work, then we are not sure what our impact could be. This lack of awareness places us in a position where our value to the company may not be high.
The other transition is one where we need to recognize that it may be time for us to make a change in our work. Not knowing what to do at work is an indicator that we need to evaluate who we are and what our purpose of impact is.
To reclaim lost perspective, we need to understand what has changed. We need to look back in time to that moment when we first realized that we were losing clarity about our work situation. This is a transition point for our perception of who we are in the context of our work.
Earlier, a parallel transition began that our loss of perspective is a response to. Typically, we ignore our first sense that something has changed. We don’t see that moment of awareness as noteworthy. It is a situational exception, not a new direction. We go on with our work while things continue to change. Over time, we become more aware that transition point #7 – We don’t know how to spend our time at work.- is a situation that we must address. At this point, we may be well beyond the optimum time for a change. This is why maintaining perspective is essential for understanding our experience at work.
We need to identify milestones of change which mark the process of transition that we are going through. From this process, we gain insight and perspective. Our self-perception changes as we learn to see how we can maintain clarity and make decisions that advance us forward.
Reclaiming Our Work
Transition Point #7 calls to us to ask the question about our purpose and the kind of work where it can be fulfilled. What is the impact that we want to have? It is not just personal. It is also organizational. Creating the impact we desire requires structures that enable the impact to occur.
I encourage you to take regular time for reflection on the transitions that you experience and their effect on you. The 5 Questions guide* is a tool that can help you maintain perspective about your life and work. When we understand the continuity of change, we can see that there is an unfolding story in our lives. This story grows to remind us of what is important. With this clarity, we can reclaim the work that has meaning and impact.
* The guide, 5 Questions that We All Must Ask, is available as an infographic by signing up for my newsletter at edbrenegar.com