are some staff/positions more valuable than others?

April 2, 2014

Good morning, looks like a beautiful sunrise here this morning!

Recently, I was asked if some roles or positions (people) more valuable to the organization’s mission than others.Following is basically how I responded. After you read it, tell me what you think.

I once very much subscribed to the theory that some were more important than others to an organization. And my opinion went very much along with the thinking that the higher up or more prominent they were, then of course the more key they were to the organization. Then as I matured, I began noticing who it was that really made things happen in an organization. Usually they were the quiet (often underpaid) people that kept the organization going and productive – and often in spite of the organizational “heroes”.

In business, one man told me that if you were in management not to get too proud of yourself because in reality you were just an overhead expense – it was the people on the production floor that made the money for the company. In the Army we quickly learned the value of the soldiers. They were the ones actually meeting the enemy face-to-face in battle, they were the ones loading the trucks, they were the ones preparing and serving the food, and so on.

If you are familiar with machinery, you know the value of a linchpin. A critical little piece of metal no one notices, until it breaks. In all organizations, there are linchpins – not noticed, but absolutely critical to the operations of the organization. (Check out Seth Godin’s book Linchpin)

Another analogy – that of a spear. It is often used in the military, but is true in most organizations. The edge of the spearhead is what actually cuts, yet it is a very small part of the spear. Yet no matter how sharp the spearhead, without a good shaft, it is useless. If the shaft is rotting it is in danger of breaking at a most inopportune time. So, the spearhead gets all of the attention, but in reality it is useless without the rest of the spear – just like an organization.

And finally, read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. An organization is a body with many parts. Note this one phrase, ” . . . the parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable, . . .” In light of that Scripture and that of what Christ said in Matthew chapter 20, I can no longer say one is more important than another.

As in Scripture, there are different roles, some with more authority/responsibility, but in Christ, no difference in value and no less important. The same is actually true in a healthy organization and, yes, the “lower” level positions are just as important as the senior leaders.

All who are part of the organization are important and should be valued. If their position is not needed, if they are not trained well, if they aren’t a good fit for the job, if they really don’t belong in the organization, if they don’t have the tools to do their job, if there is not enough money to pay them well – it is not their fault! Those are all management decisions and not of the staff member. Joseph Juran often stated that at least 80% of all [problems] are caused by management. He also went on to say 100% of firings are management caused. Yet, so often, those lower in the organization pay a heavy price for the poor decisions of management.

Now, no matter how hard we try and with the best of systems, organizations do bring on the wrong people. However, the healthy organizations take ownership of their mistake and do not penalize the employee for the organization’s mistake. They work hard to find a place that does fit the employee.

Look at one of my posts sharing something from the Ken Blanchard Company, he states that power is held in trust. As leaders we are stewards of the lives of others – others who are precious in the site of The Lord. This is not to be taken lightly.

So, I do believe that while we may have differing levels of authority and responsibility in an organization, no one is more valuable than another – in a healthy organization.

I would be interested in hearing your take on this as I imagine there are many of you out there that may disagree.

Blessings on your day!

BG

2 responses to are some staff/positions more valuable than others?

  1. 

    Good observations Chris – thanks! I like the comment “lead from the bottom up, not the top down!”

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  2. 

    BG, don’t disagree at all. My successes in coaching sports always came from one simple principle, we were only as good as our weakest link. IN other words the guy that never made the field or the court was our greatest project. When we got him to the skill level that he could contribute we would enjoy success. So the same applies in business, many just want them to go away. I want them to go away succeeding, in so doing I am a success! Many just want them to “go away” period and let someone else struggle with their inadequacies! If we lead, we had better lead from the bottom up, not the top down!

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