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Compliments of jakeprezspo via Flickr

There’s a hilarious scene in the movie “Office Space” where a TPS report (a meaningless perfunctory chore), is blown out of proportion by managers who repeatedly inquire as to its whereabouts.

In the spirit of Dilbert, the trivial assumes colossal status when firms place their focus on minutiae, instead of on transformational efforts to move forward.

The above scene would be funny if it didn’t occur so frequently. “Big picture” people are what’s needed to catapult companies to the next level, and to gain competitive advantage.

The TPS report mentality mires organizations n the status quo by:

  1.  Focusing efforts on the unimportant; and
  2. Chastising people (and making them feel guilty) over things that don’t matter (thus robbing them of energy that can be used elsewhere).

In his post “Pursuit and Leadership” Myatt explains that “one of the most often overlooked aspects of leadership is the need for pursuit…leadership is pursuit – pursuit of excellence, of truth, of what’s next, of change, value, of results, of relationships, of service, of knowledge, and of something bigger than themselves.”

The defining quality of a leader then is not just pursuing goals, but choosing the right ones on which to focus. Larger than life dreams are those that transport people to higher relational realms – ones in which they act in tandem to achieve the unthinkable. “The failure to pursue change proves apathy.” Coalescing your employees to work for a common goal bonds them in a way that works past petty differences, interpersonal dislikes, and past bloodshed.

By having the right focus, you as a leader can galvanize your employees to shift your company to a stronger competitive stance. Conversely, you can stagnate by planning activities that stoke your ego and stack the company bricks in their respective place. Excellence by definition involves an examination of what’s not working and the willingness to fix it – a commitment to move forward in a direction that may not be to your liking, but that will be for the greater good.

As a boss, realize you are simply the caretaker of company resources – and not an owner who can dispose of them as you please. As such, your job is to lead people in their best usage. Remember it’s not about gratifying yourself, but about a achieving a larger goal.

Organizations doomed to mediocrity don’t focus on putting aside differences, but rather, magnify them to remain in separate enclaves of ideological thought. As a leader, what are your goals? Have you determined how to get people on board? Mega goals need to be larger than yourself, and more encompassing than ensuring that everyone “flies right.”

In the spirit of dismantling TPS, leaders should be asking themselves how they can transform society by taking steps in their immediate sphere. By judicious use of human capital, they can leave their imprint in a way that moves past the confines of their ego.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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