Are you showing your work?

Do you remember that statement from school: “Show your work”? Let’s unpack that for a second now we’re not in 5th grade and navigating the school halls of life. Why do you think the teacher was asking the question? The teacher wanted to see that you understood the thought process and not just the right answer. New math, old math, it doesn’t matter; your teachers wanted to make sure you understood how to solve the fundamental problem so you’d always know how to find the solution.

This whole idea made wonder how old you are when teachers stop asking you to show your work?

In the workplace we are not asked to “show our work,” we’re expected just to complete it. At least that’s the expectation set when you’re in the early years of your career. I can almost hear the supervisor’s instructions:

  1. Here’s what we’d like you to do.
  2. Follow the process, and x result will manifest.
  3. We want lots of x.

Sure, I have simplified this a little, but if you took your work today and simplified it, would it break down into those three simple steps? Probably so.

This becomes a problem, however, the more senior you are in an organization. While your ability to make lots of “x” – better known as executing a plan or goal doesn’t go away – there is an expectation for you to be more strategic. Continue reading “Are you showing your work?”