Take a permanent recess from your job title

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I’ve always hated job titles organizations give people. Staff Associate. Staff Associate II. Staff Associate III. Director of Agency Affairs. VP of Strategy. Worker I. Worker II. Supervisor. Planning Analyst. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Let’s face it, most large companies have many planning analysts, and they’re typically not doing the same thing; nor are they really doing any planning at the analyst level. And while I realize some people’s title defines who they are, and not always in a good way, often I find these titles to show lack of meaning or really explain what a person does day in and day out. Or in the very least to get people asking or interested in what you really do for those 20, 30, or 40+ hours per week.

And that is why I always ask this question of participants when I am working with them: What do you really do? Which is then followed by blank stares.

A couple of weeks ago I was working with a Parks & Recreation Department in a large city. It was a day to RECESSitate*.  I took them through a process of coming up with a different job title, one that not only would get them interacting as a team better, but would get customers inquiring as well to help build that relationship. It was intended to get people to dumb down their job titles and then come up with some fun and creative new ones.

Two weeks later I was sent a copy of their department newsletter which included what you see over on the right!

Didn’t cost much to do. Didn’t require endless meetings of wasted time to make decisions. And now they’re walking around with titles and name tags that strengthen relationships inside and outside the organization. Titles that are more fun. Titles that get people smiling and asking questions. C’mon let’s face it, if you saw an employee wearing a name badge that said Mr. Good Times wouldn’t you want to know what he did for work? I would.

So many organizations talk about changing a culture or environment. And that’s what they do. They talk. And meet. And set future meetings. And never implement.

Talk is cheap. However, sometimes implementation is too. And in this case, quick as well. I love how these employees took an idea and ran. And ran fast. Kudos to them! I can’t wait to hear how their customers are responding.

Now if I can just get HR to formally change them.

*- RECESSitate: to undergo a period of learning, recharging and celebration. Could your team use a RECESSitation. It’s much better than a Resuscitation! #RECESSATWORK. Get in touch today


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