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The value of high quality work.

People First!


Michelle is an experienced Scrum Master and Scrum Coach. She is instrumental in the success of multiple agile transformation initiatives.

High quality work

Most of us think we’d like to be our own boss and even that having more power would mean having more job satisfaction. It’s even common to hear the phrase, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” Yet I recently witnessed something outside the office that got me thinking: what motivates people to behave how they do, and why are some people more motivated than others?  Does the world really need better managers or could it be something else?

One thing that came to mind was that some people self-organize and some people do not. Some people behave as if they need to be told what to do and others simply do. Additionally, some work hard when the boss is around and others work hard because that’s the job.  

To me, to be doing your job well is to be doing it so well that no matter who's watching, you’d be proud of what they’d see. It could be a junior team member, the CEO, or anyone in between. If they peaked in on your activities at any given moment, would they find it was adding value and would you feel good about what they saw?  

Having the integrity to do good work, even when no one will see it is important.  And this doesn’t just mean "good work" for you or your boss. Sometimes, this means having tough conversations or looking out for your team members. Sometimes, it's continuous improvement and checking yourself on what you do or don't know. Plus, in the real world, you can only go so far on empty words and actions. Most people will pick up on if you’re really as good as you say you are. 

Bottom Line: Your work ethic, how you do work and why, is an essential part of who you are in the work place.  I don’t believe the magic answer lies in better managers but that we should strive to manage ourselves better (and to give power to others to do the same). Building a reputation on trust and integrity means no one has to look over your back to know you have their back. 

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