Are you busy?
You surely can get things done – if not, you are not so busy!
There are two scenarios you need to watch out for:
The fake-busy person. They are the coworker who always seems to be doing something but doesn’t really get anything accomplished. These people are always too busy to take on any work or help out someone else. This is a true sign of the fake-busy person.
They never take on any extra work. They are always too busy doing “their thing”.
The over-busy person. Everyone has a limit somewhere. Busy people have limits too. So there is a fine balance between getting more out of a busy person.
When a true busy person goes down, it can be disastrous for an organization. Invariably, they are pulling a disproportionate share of the weight of the organization. Whether it’s some kind of a breakdown, or its an illness from over-stress, losing the busy person can have a dramatic effect.
Are you a busy person? Do you know who the busy person on your team is? Most of the time this is a pretty clear thing. Do you have any sense how close that person is to the point where they start to drop important details?
Busy people fall into the heroic effort trap. That is they seem to have the ability to dig deep and produce outstanding results when most needed (which might be all the time).
They sort of fall into a hero role (the person who sacrifices themselves for others). Many organizations have “no hero” rules – because heroes don’t scale very well, and present a risk factor to the organization (what happens when the hero gets another job that pays better?).
Working with busy people is a balancing act. It’s nice to have them around, but they are best used in exceptional times, not as a matter of course.
Once you start to depend upon them, you are actually in a dangerous situation. So when that next task comes up, you might just hand it off to the busy person.
However, you might want to think about developing the organization to have a higher capacity rather than just the one person.
Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise
My thoughts in writing above, are inspired by an article written by Dennis Stevenson