I want to rebel against this statement, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I have been noticing it lately, and it has gotten me thinking. My sense is that this is a martyr¹s statement about self – sufficiency, the sentiment being lauded in a research environment. However, this is a statement that perpetuates the inability for people to delegate and take responsibility for communicating effectively in their delegation. This statement should be, “If you want something done YOUR way, do it yourself.”
Perhaps surprisingly, I am not writing this out of any sort of response to a particular incident, I am writing this because I am realizing that when I truly allow for (buzz word alert!) cross-functional input into a “deliverable,” I always seem to have a much better outcome in the finished product. And, though the statement sounds like a proud mantra, it is a truly lonely way to approach work projects that does not leverage the value of the matrix environment in which I thrive.
The plus side of doing something yourself is that you get a credit for doing it yourself (insert sarcastic “yeah”). Except that I rarely find myself taking credit for my work anyway so who cares? My job in a corporate environment is to make my boss look good and to then make his boss look good and so on till the shareholders are happy. THANK GOODNESS that I enjoy what I do in this endeavor.
So, why try to do it yourself when there are lots of stakeholders ready to give you feedback, and by getting that feedback you are inadvertently securing buy-in from them (because you make it theirs when you work together)? The best way to simultaneously get buy in and make something better is to involve people in the development process (even if it isn’t anything more than asking them to edit the “close to final” announcement). A good lesson here is to make sure you word your request in a way that does not obligate you to implement all feedback, but we need to get over our fear of feedback. Tech writers are over it, so we should all jump on board. Perfectionists unite against perfectionism and balance that perfection with a little bit of old fashioned productivity. Soapbox relinquished. I welcome opinions and feedback!