Quick-list on Levels of Work

From the Ask Tom mailbag:

Tom, I just read the One Most Important Thing and it does cause some thinking and wondering how much many of us are doing this all wrong. I am the owner of a business but have been in some form of leadership or management for over 15 years and I don’t ever remember a real comprehensive approach to hiring or even with the detail you offer. I am reading your new book, Hiring Talent right now and hopefully can glean much of what needs to happen in our own company. I wanted to ask you about how long you see this taking to really create a different and better culture within an organization that perhaps never used any of these tools? It almost seems a little overwhelming to be honest with you. We are going from doing none of this to doing what we should be. I may be in touch with you often for some guidance.

How long does it take for a child to learn to walk. As long as it takes. And it is always a work-in-progress. I believe the most important element of this process is you. Hiring Talent is a mindset about work. It’s a different way of looking at work and the candidates you select from your talent pool.

Most managers never consider the level of work when thinking about a new role or filling an existing role. All the tasks and activities get lumped on a list with the tagline – “and anything else we can think of.”

Level of work is the key to understanding the capability required for success in the role. Here is my quick-list on levels of work.

  • S-I – Individual output, longest task – 1 day to 3 months
  • S-II – Coordinate team output, longest task – 3 months to 12 months
  • S-III – Create, monitor, improve system output, longest task – 12 months to 24 months
  • S-IV – Integrate multiple systems and subsystems for “whole” system throughput, longest task – 2 years to 5 years
  • S-V – Create, monitor, improve value chain between internal “whole” system and external market, longest task – 5 years to 10 years.

Any questions?

2 thoughts on “Quick-list on Levels of Work

  1. Travis M

    Perhaps this is only tangentially related, but as we start defining, if we end up with a role where most of the tasks are stratum-1, but some are stratum-2, is this OK or a sign of a problem?

    I’m concerned that a S-2 individual would become bored in the role, because it doesn’t offer enough S-2 work. At the same time a S-1 individual might be overwhelmed.

  2. chris publow

    Tom, you are right on. The development of a culture is ongoing. It took my company a good 5 years to get in the groove. It could have been quicker but I didn’t push enough to get the message out the 10 times it takes to repeat it until they finally figured out I was serious. Once we weeded out the non-followers success came very fast and we grew at remarkable speed. When we got bigger (from 3 stores to 10) I started to realize that many of the new people were not following the model very well. It was like we had to start all over again at the beginning describing the simple objectives (create a loyal customer, enjoy your work, make a fair profit). The simple 11 words had to be spoken and repeated and published then defined and reinforced and on and on once again. Now at only about two years we all seem to be in alignment and things are getting great again….what a roller coaster ride. cp


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