The work that is done in a company can be categorized under four heads:
• Internal coordination
• Solving problems
Building. This refers to the kind of work where you are building something in your company—hiring, infrastructure, product, systems, processes, marketing, customers, R&D, etc. This kind of work happens generally in the initial days of the company or the initial days of any new project, initiative or idea. Even work like R&D, brainstorming, market research and market mapping can be considered as building something. This is the most productive and best kind of work that a company can do and should be doing.
Running. This refers to the kind of work where a business, vertical, processes, system, project or initiative has been built and now the decided parameters or work just needs to be executed. Nothing new is being built or worked upon. Just the same stuff is repeated or ensured that it is working. Regular sales and operations and technical maintenance are a few examples.
Internal coordination. This refers to the kind of work where employees collaborate with others in the company to get something done. Nothing is being built here or executed with respect to the business, but people are busy doing something to achieve one of them, such as internal approvals, meetings, knowledge transfer, inductions, processes, systems, etc.
Solving problems. This refers to the kind of work where something is not going right, it is being fixed or a solution is being sought. In such cases, any one of the above three points could be worked upon. I am putting this separately because this kind of work is due to something not having been done properly; to an issue arising out of something done previously; fighting competition; or, just some part of the business which is not
working as it should.
All work done in a company can be categorized under one of these four heads, but they should not be mistaken for each other. For example, something that comes under solving problems might be considered as building something or running something. If a particular utility or feature is not working properly after a product launch, then correcting it would be considered as running something or, in simpler words, maintenance. Similarly, if a feature needs to be changed and something new needs to be built in, that might be considered as building something. In the corporate world, internal coordination is often considered important work and again it can be mistaken for building something or running something.
The only two categories that help the company progress are building something and running it. Solving problems is merely correcting an error made earlier or rectifying something that has failed. Internal coordination is the work that gets generated when many people come together to achieve something. It could also be a lack of practical and efficient processes and systems in a company or a lack of talented and efficient resources. It is not possible to eradicate the work of internal coordination and solving problems from a company. What needs to be ensured is the awareness of the amount of time and resources that are getting utilized in all four categories and how internal coordination and solving problems can be kept to a minimum.
Written by Rudrajeet Desai