What happens when you frame the work

One of the hardest parts of making the jump to being a manager, leader, or starting a company/org is learning to frame your work. 

This is a brutal truth: most people don’t know how to frame the work they are doing. 

It shows up all the time… 

  • Two people schedule a meeting and spend the first 20 minutes telling a third person about a conversation they already had. 

  • Someone with writing as a core part of their job delivers two projects. One is amazing and on-point, the other is ok but written for the wrong audience. 

  • A partnership opportunity appears out of thin air but the company/org can’t move fast enough to leverage it. 

The bullet points in a calendar invite. The “background” section of a creative brief with audience, goal, and references. A short description of potential collaborations and value before the partner kickoff meeting. 

These are critical moments that make or break how well something happens, and how you feel about it. Even the 5 minutes before a meeting you aren’t prepared for…this, too, is an opportunity to frame the work.  

There are different reasons why people don’t learn to do this. A lot of managers and leaders simply haven’t had much time to practice this skill, or they work for people who don’t spend the time on it themselves. Sometimes, it’s competitive. A manager might be happy to hand off the work itself but feel territorial about the strategy. Most of the time, if we’re being honest, it’s laziness. 

But if you are leading a team, whether formally or informally, than modeling, mentoring, and showcasing how to frame work before it happens is the single most important growth mechanism you can build in from the start. When you do, your own work will get better and happen faster. 

You’ll also set up the people around you for a better career and the ability to show up at your doorstep, desk, and in your email already prepared to fix that unexpected problem or take advantage of an opportunity that won’t be around for long.