We live in a culture that often celebrates commitment to results over quality of process. Think about your work, or in what you demand from the people you hire: we tend to focus on the end result.
Make it work.
As long as someone delivers results, we don’t really care about the process or how that result was obtained. We just want the result, and typically we want it as soon as possible.
A big trap for many high achievers in the workplace is that, focused on achieving the result as soon as possible, they take on work that should be done by an assistant or a colleague. The reasons we do this (and we all do it at times) are numerous and varied. Maybe you believe it’s “more efficient to do it myself,” or the person doesn’t have the same skills to do the work at the level you desire.
Driven by the desire to “get things done” and achieve your desired result as quickly as possible, you take over the work that you should be delegating (or that wasn’t yours to do in the first place).
In any isolated instance, it might be more efficient to take over for the colleague.
But what happens if you do this consistently?
You might find yourself irritable, angry, and frustrated with your situation. Possibly blaming your ineffective colleague or assistant for “forcing” you to take over because they aren’t up to the task.
Your work “muscles” fatigue and you can no longer do the work at your high standard.
Eventually, you will get tired, possibly sick, maybe even approach burnout because you overloaded yourself with too much work.
What do you do then?
Now it’s even more difficult to delegate that work to your assistant, or to allow your colleague to take back his role.
The person who should have been doing the work all along isn’t able to jump in and assist because he lacks the skill.
Instead of taking the time to train that person how to do his job, developing the muscles that should be working, you took on the job for yourself and overtaxed your muscles.
Now neither of you can do the job.
You initially took over the other person’s work to get the result more efficiently. The consequence is that now you can’t get the result at all.
This is a Pattern That Shows Up Everywhere
All of life is patterns. This same pattern plays out in many places in your life.
Most notably, it happens in our physical body.
The body is an amazing organism. If you ask it to get something done, it will find a way.
Sometimes it lacks range of motion or muscle strength to do what you ask. When strength and mobility are insufficient to perform the task, the body will find another way.
Don’t you wish your colleagues were like this??
The body does this through something called compensation patterns.
Through compensation patterns, certain muscles take over for other muscles to get the job done.
If this is an isolated scenario in a true emergency situation, it’s probably not a big deal.
The problem comes when you turn that one-time emergency exception into the standard way of operating. When you repeat these dysfunctional patterns consistently, you develop dysfunctional movement habits.
The effects are similar to the work situation we discussed above.
The muscles doing all the work eventually fatigue and burnout. The muscles that should have been doing the work don’t know how to do their job, because you never trained them to do it.
The consequence can include chronic pains, injury, even debilitating conditions.
Short-Cuts Aren’t Sustainable in the Long Term
No matter the context, focusing on the result at the expense of process is a set-up for pain down the road.
Reversing the damage requires a greater investment of resources — time, energy, focus, assets — than doing it right in the first place.
Efficient is not the same as effective.
The path of least resistance may seem to be the most expedient path in the moment, but it’s actually a path to long-term dysfunction.