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Virtuosity in the Workplace
Jason Antal
Monday, July 27, 2015

I love CrossFit. Everything about it speaks to improved performance and quality of life for any individual. Within CrossFit, we preach and emphasize mastery of the basics. Learn the basics, work to improve at the basics, and measure and test or benchmark your progress. We refer to this as “doing the common uncommonly well,” or virtuosity. How does virtuosity translate to the workplace? Consider these three areas and you decide.

  1. Standard work. Standard work could be defined as “the most efficient method to produce a product or service at a balanced flow to achieve a desired output rate.1” In my job role, this translates into standardized procedures for creating backups, or running restores, or installing/upgrading software, i.e. standardizing common tasks. The work is broken down into elements that are ordered, organized and repeatedly followed. Find the standard work in your role. Identify it, document it, refine it, and reap the benefits!

  2. Continuous Improvement. Continuous Improvement is “an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.2” Piggy-backing directly on standard work, continuous improvement is a must when it comes to achieving virtuosity. We must continually evaluate our standard work to ensure we are still achieving the results we’re aiming for. As we improve our processes, the bar is set higher, and we must then return to and improve the processes. If we’re not improving, we are moving backwards. There is no standing still!

  3. Measureable Output. In order to achieve virtuosity in our roles, we must find a way to measure our performance. How do we know our standard work is effective? How do we know we are continuing to improve? Find the metrics. For us, we can measure the time it takes to create a backup policy, the overall time it takes to complete a restore request, or the time it takes to upgrade an environment. All of these things have measurable output to accurately reflect our virtuosity in the important aspects of our daily roles. Find yours and start measuring!

These three areas are excellent reflections of virtuosity in the workplace. Focus on them, make them habitual and you and your teams will begin consistently doing the common uncommonly well!

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