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The designer/manager and the worker of your machine

I think we let our circumstances drive our actions, decisions, behaviors and to a significant extent, our lives! And that’s a terrible strategy as it sets you back as a victim who’s clueless, doesn’t have a choice, and couldn’t have done anything differently. All of which, isn’t true*. 

A good question for analysis will be: are you any wiser right here and now? It forces us to pay attention to our thought process and look at our circumstances objectively. And interestingly, one may observe that our lives are nothing but factories that cranks machines (a.k.a., circumstances) one after the other. At times, it spits out a faulty one that deserves our time and attention, failing which, it can create a whole host of problems for the end-consumer (the people around us). 

Now, there’s a certain skill with which you can address the problem at hand. And this is where your roles as a worker and designer/manager come into play.    

The worker has limited skills, knowledge, and authority to think from a strategic perspective. He’s too busy to think beyond the production target for the day. A faulty machine is nothing but a pain-in-the-ass. It’s a disruption. It hampers productivity. It impacts morale. And he believe it’s just bad for the business.

On the flip side, there’s the designer/manager who has the right skills, attitudes, tools, training, experience, authority, and influence to fix things. That doesn’t mean she would know how to repair faulty machinery but she definitely can figure out a way to get it fixed.

I’m sure you can relate to these roles as there’s a worker and a designer/manager within each of us. In my experience, being a worker is like operating from the space of emotions, reactions, and overwhelm; a massive waste of time. I’d rather assign my biggest challenges to the one who’s a problem solver and can turn things around. 

The problem is that we just don’t believe in calling in the boss for help thinking it’s our responsibility to fix things. We’re “workers” after all. But this needs to change as we need to put the right person in charge of solving problems. 

*Of course, that’s not to say that you won’t make any mistakes. You will. In fact, you need to make several mistakes to become the best version of who you can be. The key is to identify which one of the mistakes were genuine and which ones were deliberate. You need to embrace the latter and learn from the others.