Burn your job description
Traditional job descriptions are a relic of a past age when jobs didn’t evolve, society seemed stable, economies seemed predictable, and people were more inclined to do what they were told.
Here’s a dynamic alternative to a traditional job description.
Create vision descriptions. A vision description describes a preferred future for the organization and the individual being hired. Hiring procedures transform into vision alignment activities. Leadership, management, colleagues, and subordinates should participate in the alignment process.
Replacing traditional job descriptions with vision descriptions revolutionizes the hiring process.
Creating a vision description leverages strengths and captures opportunities.
Vision descriptions infuse job responsibilities and tasks with higher meaning.
Parents – Begin crafting a vision description with your sons and daughters.
Families – Describe your preferred future.
Spouses – Craft a vision description for your marriage.
How many times have you heard someone say, “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it.” Creating a vision description; creates targets, fuels motivation, and transforms employment into a forward facing passion-driven activity.
I think organizations and individuals would reach higher
and go further focusing on vision rather than tasks.
What does a vision description look like to you? What’s wrong with job descriptions? How would performance reviews change? How would hiring and firing change? What are the legal ramifications? Other questions?
What an idea! I’ve met plenty of people in my life that seem to be hiding behind their “job description”. Those are usually the people that say comments like “I’m not paid to think”.
A vision description opens up a world of self thinking and allows us to take ownership of our future. It also makes it pretty clear that our job includes a prerequisite to think.
Great to hear from you. I hope things are going well and thanks for the good word.
I’m not paid to thing… one more reason to burn traditional job descriptions.
We have at times incorporated the broader application with the job description.
A document that details the TO: (vision)
Following with IN A WAY THAT: (key items of the job description)
Ending with RESULTING IN: (what the transformation looks like)
This tool describes the bigger picture and gives opportunity to add key ingredients that are important to corporate culture (IN A WAY THAT:)
My wife and I have also used this tool to describe our marriage.
Thanks for bring your real world experience to this discussion. I like your second step. It indicates that a vision description is more than pie in the sky.
I wish you the best at work and home
Wow what a great tool. I tell you now that I have moved to a part in my career where I work more with “civilians” than Soldiers I have begun to hear that for the first time in my life (“it’s not in my job description”); I would love to get rid of these for government employees and base their jobs on performance, it would be amazing to see what we could do!
I am very glad I found this site, I have made it a daily ritual to read your post and then take the time to absorb what I can learn.
It always feels good to hear a good word.. thanks man! I agree…its time for us to find new ways to think about work. Focusing on not doing stuff won’t take us very far. I look forward to your participation in leadership freak conversations…
All the best,
This is a great idea of what we should do with our limiting beliefs
This article really caught my eye. I have incorporated this concept into selection interview training for many years but have never been as critical about the old way as your article is. Perhaps sometimes I may be too kind. The truth often hurts but it is good medicine. Look forward to reading more of your articles.
A couple of days back, I was telling my boss that the day I get a job description, I will quit. I can’t agree with you more on vision. Take a remit, envision the best and work every sinew towards it and it is destined to be a success, if you are not insecure to build a team smarter than you are, as long you are able to sell the vision & share the passion.
My last assignment is considered a roaring success, thanks to my boss’ vision and my team’s delivery and the rest of the organisation wants to set up something similar. It did not have a job description, nor does my current one!
Thanks for a great illustration of the power of vision.
I absolutely love this idea, and couldn’t agree more!
Far too often I think we tend to look at a job as a mechanical thing that we do. “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.” That was the effect of the industrial movement as we became the great nation that we are now. As time goes on, more and more we are moving in to an era that requires people to think on their own, which is the true value that they provide to organizations. In the service based world that we live in being able to make decisions, think on your own, and support the vision of the organization is most important for the organization and the people that are a part of it, and I think the idea of removing the job description fits that perfectly.
Martin Bolt talks about “flow” in his book “Pursuing Human Strengths”, describing it as “our concentration is so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity.” I can’t think of a better way to accomplish that than giving people a vision and then allowing and supporting them in achieving that vision with as few, if any, constraints as possible! What a powerful message, and I can only imagine what the world would look like if all were to follow this concept.
Thanks for an encouraging comment. Now all we have to do is figure out how to get the world to embrace this idea.
This is a terrific concept, Dan.
For the past ten years, I have been helping organizations transform their culture and the best place to do that (after the culture and service strategy has been clearly defined) is in the recruitment and onboarding process. After being with Disney for 18 plus years, I learned that their best way to engage employees (cast members) was that they needed to know their ROLE IN THE SHOW. Back stage or on stage, “how are my job tasks an important element to a successful show?”
On Job descriptions, one of the things I make sure gets hardwired now in healthcare organizations, for instance, is not only listing what are my job tasks, but is my role on THE CARE TEAM or my role in THE HEALING EXPERIENCE? An example:
–Food Service employees in healthcare, job description title: TRAY PASSERS, we make sure they don’t just drop a food tray in patients room and run, but they also engage a patient with eye contact, smile, warm words, etc., in essence we make sure they connect to their role on the care team> WE PROVIDE FOOD THAT HEALS.
As you said, we need to be sure connect the end in mind. On the job description, HR leaders must add MY ROLE in the mission of the org., not just my minimum job tasks I need to complete to process the transaction. If done well, we thoughtfully connect the head to the heart to the hands that perform the tasks with purpose.
Your illustrations add value to this conversation.
Thank you for your insights,
Fits very well into the realization that it is not enough to be a Knowledge Worker (with a job description), but a Corporate Knowledge Citizen:
Does anyone have or know where I can find a side-by-side comparison of a traditional job description & vision description for the same job?