Are You Doing What’s Important?


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All organisations are full of work, stuff that needs to get done.

That work is divided into two nice neat categories:

1. Customer work

Work done for customers (for the sake of argument people who pay).

That type of work includes:

  • Capturing order details
  • X-raying broken arms
  • Cleaning hotel rooms

Sometimes we call it front line work.

2. Support work

The second type of work is work done to support the work that’s done for customers (that trips of the tongue nicely).

That type of work includes:

  • Following HR policies
  • Data security checks
  • Providing management information

Sometimes we call it administration.

Which type of work is the important work?

How often do we:

  • Stop processing an order because we have to get data security clearance
  • Have queues in X-ray departments because the technicians are busy complying with an HR policy
  • Slow down room cleaning because the maid is busy with a check sheet for management information

Which type of work is most important? And which type of work are you busy with?

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Image by AJC1

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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