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Make yourself Redundant

Consider a situation:
You are playing the role of a project manager and you set processes in place that enables you to get all the inputs like clockwork and no member of your team needs your guidance to tell them what needs to be done next – all due to clearly defining the plans and processes and making each team member accountable to the role that they are playing.
This would reduce your need in the project and make you open for taking up more challenges, thus giving you a path to a better career growth.

So what is this about?
There might be many roles in a project or an organization and a careful study of these will surely showcase that the advent of the Information Technology was with the purpose of making life easier to the Humans.
But on the contrary, it looks, from the present trends that more and more people are becoming busy in this niche area of Information Technology. There seems to be less and less time to spend with family and doing “Fun” activities and most of these people call themselves “Extreme Workers” and make work their way of looking at fun.
This apparently seems to digress from the original intent of Information Technology, where instead of making life free to do other things, it is making humans hooked on to something else.

The key to any process is to ensure that things become less and less person dependant. If you observe any software or hardware product, each of them work with a predetermined set of instructions and have its own limitations. The advent of databases, various programming languages were all with the intent of making more such “intelligent” products which can effectively replace the need to remember and perform the activities that was eons ago the responsibility of humans with good education and memory power.

With this global process of identifying and removing dependencies, it would be a serious flaw in the system if we are still dependant on the human aspect of the Information Technology.
Just Joking!!

Humans are pregnant with a unique gift of insight and awareness which is absent in the so called machines and Information Technology. When I say pregnant, I literally mean it as we have not yet delivered our full potential to this world.
We are in the process of evolution and this evolution is witnessing great changes in the way we interpret things and how we translate this in to work.

Death of the body is an accepted process and life insurance is one way of trying to mitigate the need of the person. Though there cannot be a complete replacement of a person, the dependency of the person can be reduced to a great extent if the right measures are taken to prevent the dependencies.

We may be playing the role of a developer and migrate to a role of a Project Manager. But as it is with life, playing the role of a daughter would give a better insight into how a mother should be. Similarly, being a developer would give a better insight while playing the role of a project manager.

It would however be difficult to replace the role of a daughter or a mother, but looking deeper, one can realize that life does not stop anywhere and it goes on.

One can reach the point of replacement only when the person makes oneself redundant. That is when it is not necessary for the person to be present physically to get things done.
Again, let me be clear that this replacement is with the original intent of the advent of the Information Technology - to make life easier and not to be considered a means to play unethical games in an organization. This redundancy would also be very beneficial to the organization and its employees – including the role holder.

Those are my shoes, I am going to die! I have to leave a legacy!
One way to achieve redundancy is to Plan for Success. Ensure that once you are in charge of a role, you adhere to the responsibilities of the role and ensure that you deliver what is expected of you from the organization, project and the intent of the role.
The other way which is equally as intent oriented as “Plan for Success” is a method which I have called “Those are my shoes and I am going to die! I have to leave a legacy”.

The metaphor used here (Those are my shoes) is about taking ownership of the role that you are playing. It is just not wearing the shoes, but it also means that the wearer becomes the role. This of course can happen by practice – like what has been described in the famous book by Edward De-Bono – Six Thinking Hats and many more.

The shoe wearer (role holder) should dive into the role completely to an extent that the person lives, breathes, and eats the role. Only then would the intent and the need of the role dawn upon the wearer completely.

The second method – I am going to die – is invoking a more serious mental challenge by the role holder. The person is to imagine that he/she would die and the only way that they would escape death is by ensuring that the activities of the role is done in an effective and efficient manner.

This simple metaphor, coupled with the powerful statement would enable the person to dive into the role completely and be able to perform in a very special manner.

Just these two would do the trick, but to make it more visible, the intent can be enhanced if the role holder, by the end, should leave a legacy behind which can be used by the rest of the people in the team/organization/company.

The concept of leaving a legacy has been well discussed by many authors including Stephen Covey – the author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. But to make the meaning clear:
Leaving behind a legacy is like leaving something for your family to continue from where you left off – to give them a better life. It is something more than having yourself insured for life.
This combination of “Those are my shoes, I am going to Die, I have to leave a legacy” would enable any role holder to make him/her self redundant.

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