Michael Bungay Stanier on Do More Great Work, Part 8

In the book, Do More Great Work.: Stop the Busywork, and Start the Work that Matters, Michael Bungay Stanier shares his inspiration and techniques to help us do more work that matters.

These are some of my favorite takeaways from reading the book.

Map 7 What’s Required

In this chapter, Michael talks about how we can balance the Great Work we would like to do and other competing forces that require our time and attention. Those competing forces usually come from the organizations where we work and have agendas and priorities outside our control.

He recommends we take the following steps:

Create a map with four quadrants. Label the X-axis with “They don’t care” on the left and “They care” on the right. Label the Y-axis with “I care” at the top and “I don’t care” at the bottom.

Next, we jot down all the work we do on a daily or weekly basis on a piece of paper. The more complete and specific we can be, the more useful this map will be. Figure out where our time goes.

Once we have a complete or comprehensive list, we can start plotting those tasks in the four boxes on the map.

In the top-right box, map all the work our organization wants us to do that is also meaningful. This is a sweet spot. Spend time here and seek out more work to do in this quadrant.

In the bottom-left box, list the work we do not care about and the organization does not either. We need to stop doing this work because they are pointless. If we must do this work, we must find a way to deliver the result at a minimally acceptable level with the least amount of time invested.

On the bottom-right corner, list the work we do not have a passion for but our organization expects it to be done. In the top-left box, put down the work we would like to do more but the organization does not value it. Working in these two quadrants requires us to exercise professional judgment and appropriate tactics.