According to a recent Job Title Practices report*, businesses create official job titles for several reasons, such as to outline company hierarchy, to define job roles and to attract talented recruits. But as useful as job titles can be in the workplace, business coach, Daria Hanson has a simple word of caution for business owners and management.
'Be aware - an employee's true contribution to your business often has nothing to do with their job title."
Hanson is an entrepreneurial development coach, Joy of Business facilitator and global finance coordinator for Access Consciousness®, a set of life-enhancing tools practiced in 173 countries worldwide. She has enjoyed a successful career in retail sales, store management, business finance and executive leadership, and is quick to admit that she never worried about the title of each of her job opportunities.
'I have moved between front-line positions to executive roles and back again, several times. I never worried about the labels", Hanson remarks. 'I knew the value of my skills and experience, and I knew that each new job would open new possibilities for me."
Drawing on her experience as an employee, employer and business coach, Hanson cautions business owners and management against defining their employees too much by their job title, believing that this often restricts the true value each employee can bring to the company.
'There is too much emphasis on labels; the idea that your label defines your success, your worth. If this mindset is adopted by business owners and leaders, it limits the creative and problem-solving capacity of the business. Why? Because decisions are only made by those whose job title fits the brief", she explains.
Hanson believes the savvy business leader is able to overlook labels and allow their staff to contribute outside, and often beyond, what their job title would suggest.
'At Access Consciousness, we don't have job titles. It's not about the labels; it's about what you do. If you have a talent and you can contribute in some way, then you are encouraged to be involved. It makes sense to me," Hanson remarks. 'Why would you compartmentalise your staff?"
In order to help businesses devise better strategies, solve issues easier and stimulate more creative ideas and visions, Hanson suggests business leaders adopt one simple business practice. 'Have a regular all-hands meeting to discuss creative solutions and ideas", she suggests. 'Step beyond the idea that only management have the ability to solve problems, or that only your marketing team can come up with creative and innovative ideas", she encourages.
According to Hanson, an all-hands meeting, at least once a month, can help businesses in the following ways:
Stimulates creative ideas and solutions. 'Allow all staff to approach these meetings as creative equals. Make the point of these meetings -What can be contributed to? What can we co-create as a team?'"
Offers a 360° awareness of the business. 'What insight can your receptionist give you about customer satisfaction? What value can your sales team give you about branding and marketing? Having a broad view of your business helps you create more positive outcomes."
Increases staff engagement and decision -buy-in'. 'Studies show that taking part in the decision making process increases staff engagement and makes them more enthusiastic about implementing the changes or solutions that are decided upon."
Improves staff morale and confidence. 'Most employees are put into a box around their job title; they are told -This is who you are; this is what you do; this is what we think you are capable of'. In these all-hands meetings, everyone in the room is respected for their ideas, experiences, insights and creativity. Everyone has an opportunity to recognise their value to the business."
Hanson says, 'The key is to provide a space where your staff are no longer defined or limited by the description on their business card. Instead, they become individuals with innate skills, talents and ideas."
Daria Hanson is a business mentor, life coach, Joy of Business facilitator and global finance coordinator for Access Consciousness®, a set of life-enhancing tools practiced in 173 countries worldwide. She has a degree in Economics and Management and a successful background in retail sales, store management, business finance and executive leadership. Through Joy of Business, a special program by Access Consciousness, Daria coaches entrepreneurs and business owners around the world, empowering them step up to their greatest capacity. www.dariahanson.com
Question: How can employers encourage employees to see beyond a job title?
Daria Hanson: I would say the first requirement is for the employer to see that the employee is not defined by the job title he/she is given. And if this is challenging to do, my recommendation is for the employer to ask a question: "What have I decided about this person that is limiting what this person can contribute, beyond their job title". I see an employer as a leader and a true leader is there to empower people to seek greatness ... to push the limits … not to limit people to what they have already decided they can be. How do you push the limit and invite people to their greatness? You do that by asking them questions: "What do you see is possible for this company that has not yet been explored? What do you know? What could we be and do different? What are the challenges that you see we would not have, if we implemented a new system? What is this system? How do you see this system? What do you perceive is missing? What are you aware of that we might not be aware of?" When a leader is asking questions of the people who work with him/her, doors to greatness open up. Yes! A true leader does not have people work for him/her. A true leader has people working with him/her. When an employer does not treat an employee as less than him/her, he/she empowers people to step and contribute beyond their job title. Most people when they are given a job title have to make themselves smaller and lesser to fit the job title. Why? Because most of us have been made wrong most of our lives. And when we are given any title, we have to make everything that does not fit that title 'wrong' and cut off any knowledge or instinctive awareness that we have that goes beyond the title description.
Question: What is the quickest way we place limits on the creative side of a business?
Daria Hanson: The quickest way to place limits on the creative side of business is to have a pre-determined conclusion of what this business is, means, and will be in the future. It is challenging to have a vision of the business and not make it solid and concrete, while still having projected targets for the next year, 10 years, 50 years. Projections by definition are limiting. One has to be willing to go beyond the predictable future and explore the unpredictable possibilities the business might attract. Kodak, for example, concluded that they were the best in their business and were not willing to change, even as the new trends of digital photography was emerging. And they failed. Their vision did not include change, an unpredictable future or malleability of business. You have to be willing to perceive possible change in the future, and be prepared to create with that possible future, not reject it.
Question: Can a job title hold the business back from success?
Daria Hanson: I believe it can, if you misuse it. Titles can be useful to help you structure the company, make sure certain tasks are done and be aware who is responsible for those tasks. But it should not be the definition, or a limitation, that is imposed on the person performing the task. If the employee is defined by his/her tasks, they often cut off their instinctive awareness of other things they know and can learn; things that can contribute to the success of business. Some people might feel like they are held down and are limited by their titles, and become bored with the routine of everyday tasks. Some people are amazing at maintaining and establishing. Some people are great at creating and connecting. And some people, like me, need both: the opportunity to establish, and the space for creation and the freedom of exploration of possibilities and change. When employees are invited to contribute and are empowered to be more than what their definition of their tasks are, they have a creative spirit in business and joy in everything they do. They might come up with new ways of making their tasks more efficient. They might see that some tasks might be combined, or are not even necessary anymore. When a job title does not limit, change and growth are possible.
Question: How important is it to employee and ask for help within business?
Daria Hanson: If you are not willing to ask for help, you have to do it all on your own. When a leader functions from the learned habit of doing it all by themselves, they cut off anything that does not fit their skills and capacities. And most of the time people don't ask for help, as they don't want to be wrong or incompetent. But those who are willing to be wrong and not -know it all', find ways to add to their business by adding new expertise and business skills that are beyond what is currently present in business. A good CFO, for example, will always reach out to a few experts and ask questions of random people to gather the information that was not inside the reach of the company. This helps them expand and -outcreate' – or create beyond the paradigms of – what is currently possible for the company.
Question: Can you share your simple tips for Mompreneurs?
Daria Hanson: I see a lot of mompreneurs willing to ask questions and reach for expertise within their circle and the comfort zone of people they know. I would highly recommend they get out of the circle of comfort; to go out and get expertise and advice from people they are intimidated by. People love giving advice. It makes them feel special and valuable. And a lot of successful people love sharing their experience and knowledge with others. Ask yourself "Who in my field has reached a success I could never dream of?" Then reach out to that person. Be willing to invite them for dinner or drinks and pick their brains, or pay for a consulting session. When you have their time, ask them as many questions as possible. Be interested in the person and what they perceive gave them a chance to create the empire they have created. Don't try to be interesting – make this time about them. Ask them "What would you do differently if you were to start your business from scratch now? What would you change? What would you be or do to outcreate what you have currently created? What are the possibilities you have lot explored yet, that might be percolating in your world now?"
Question: Do you have a daily morning routine? Can you share it with us?
Daria Hanson: My daily routine is pretty simple:
I start today as if yesterday did not exist. When I wake up, I use a simple tool where I -destroy and uncreated' everything I thought was right and perfect yesterday. I destroy and uncreated everything my business was to me yesterday. Instead of basing all my decisions on what happened yesterday, and all the conclusions that I came to yesterday, I bring myself into the possibilities of the current day. We habitually come to conclusions about who we are, what is possible, what yesterday means for our future etc, and every conclusion kills a possibility that exists today.
Ask "what requires my attention now?" I work on 5 to 10 projects at the same time. I do not make to-do lists. I make "to-create" list. That allows me for a space to choose and be aware of what actually requires my energy and time, instead of what I concluded needs to be done today. I noticed over years that everything has a perfect timing ... if things are implemented too soon, they might not be received and flourish as much and as fast as they could when they are ready for blooming. Timing always needs to be right and all factors have to be aligned for projects to come to fruition with ease. And when we push things before they are ready, often they just die. Business is just like a rose you plant. You can't make it bloom until it's ready to bloom. But you can stop caring for it. Otherwise it will die too. So, it is a very sensitive dance of awareness and action. Often 9 out of 10 projects will require me to ask questions and connect with people, but it's not necessary to take action yet. Sometimes you need to look at things a few times before you can choose any action to proceed with. And some days I have 9 out of 10 requiring action. Then, I ask which one requires to be tended to first and follow my instincts. This is the joy of business, embodied. When you are willing to listen and act when action is required and let things rest when nothing is required to be done.
Question: What are the easiest ways to succeed in our workplace?
Daria Hanson: I have found that it is easiest to succeed when you don't need to be right, when you are willing to look at anything, change anything, be responsive and be present with whatever is being presented to you with no drama or trauma attached to it, and with no need to defend your position or your visions of the future. When we have a need to defend, we entrench ourselves in a point of view, one that is based on we have decided things should be. This creates conflict with any other possibilities that may be presenting themselves and creates conflict with co-workers who are seeing the situation from a perspective. We all see things uniquely and if we try to defend our position, we offend others and end up working in opposition, rather than in cooperation, with them. Working on solutions and ideas in cooperation with others, always creates a greater and more expansive future for the business. When we refuse to see things the way others see them – even our own ideas – we are refusing possibilities that we have never considered before. When we allow ourselves to see others' point of view, we create a space where they don't have to defend themselves as being -right'. It also allows us to have a chance to see things in the way they perceive them. This is a win-win situation and an excellent space for creation and success.
Question: Can you share your top tips for enhancing business?
Daria Hanson: Ask yourself everyday "what can this business be, and into, that I have never considered?"
Ask each day 'how does this business can get better than it currently is?" The point is to ask from true curiosity and wonderment, not expectation and projection.
Be willing to start each day as a new possibility. -Destroy and uncreate' everything you have decided this business is and will be every day
Be willing to receive advice from anyone and everyone. Sometimes just one word can change your entire business
Be willing to listen to the whispers of change in trends and business industry
Trust your instincts and don't let others make you wrong. By the same token, don't reject what they are offering. Ask yourself "what part of what this person is suggesting can work for this business and take it to the next level?"
Be willing to change everything on a dime
Never settle for current success, always ask for "what else is possible?"
Recognise and acknowledge the contribution of every employee of the company. They will value it, and will do everything possible to help the business thrive.
Practice empowerment instead of exercising your power. Exercising power is easy. Empowerment is a gift that keeps gifting and creates a ripple of positive change.
Interview by Brooke Hunter