In the day to day of our work lives, we often lose sight of the big picture. We get caught up in the minutia of office politics, what project we completed, or how we feel vis-a-vis… [fill in the blank – seriously, it can be anything that distracts you, from your email to the latest crabby client].

But, honestly, we are better off if we keep in mind two questions: What precisely is the service that we offer to our customers/clients, and how am I contributing to that mission?

If you work in a corporation, a company, or some kind of for-profit venture, the measure of how well you are doing is measured in income (or revenue) produced by your organization.

However, if you work in a non-profit, or a governmental entity, the measure of your value is not in the revenue, but in how many clients or constituents you serve, how much you change opinion or policy decisions, or in how much you effect change in the way that your organization envisions it.

Whatever the metric, you know what the overall mission and preferred outcome is of YOUR organization. You know why your company, organization or agency exists, and what impact or effect YOU want to see in the world.

If you keep that vision, that mission, that outcome crystal clear in your mind and front and center at all times, you will undoubtedly be a better worker – and excel in your career.

Why?  Because the only other big picture question is:  How am I contributing to that mission? You know what your role is, or what it’s meant to be, and how to better complete your role. You know if your position is leading mission critical projects, or if you’re doing the infrastructure work that makes your organization run.

And if you know what the overall mission is, you also can figure out HOW you fit into the overall picture, if you like your role, and if you are the proper person for the role, or if your role is best maximizing your gifts and skills.

So, the two questions are: 

  1. What is the mission of my organization?
  2. How am I contributing to that mission?

To the extent you keep those two questions in mind, you can evaluate a number of other things that happen in the workplace.

While we talk about people, processes, and tools – and all of these are important – all of what you do should be measured at each workplace based on the two key questions listed above.

You can then measure your effectiveness, and your happiness, based around if you agree with the mission, and if you feel you’re contributing greatly. If you do not feel you’re adding significant value, or don’t feel truly in alignment with – or moved by – the mission of your organization, it may be time to find another place to be.

When you answer these big questions for yourself frequently, you will be better able to guide your own career path, and figure out how to make the greatest difference.

What are the answers to the big picture questions for you?

Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website, PowerfulLatinas.com, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

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Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website, PowerfulLatinas.com, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

 

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