Don't stay in your own lane

Josh Sherman
2 min read

Don’t give me that disconcerting look. I’m not talking about while you’re driving. I’m talking about roles at a startup!

In a small organization that is strapped for time and resources the last thing you want to be is as Alton Brown would say, a “unitasker”.

Staying in your own lane is a way to crash!

It’s not enough to be someone that can wear multiple hats. You have to be surrounded by individuals that lack enough ego to let you wear their hat sometimes.

Once egos are factored out of the equation, you can exploit productivity by floating in and out of different roles within your company.

That’s not to say that you should run around stepping on everybody’s toes. You should be communicating with your team and jumping in where work needs to be done, not where your title or role fits the best.

Everybody should be ready to pick up a mop and get their hands dirty if that’s what it takes to ship another widget or whatever it is your business offers.

Nothing can get in the way of a small group of people with overlapping skills and a collective willingness to trust each other enough to let them work on something they may have the most domain expertise with.

Remember, a startup may only have 2 or 3 people so one person carries a lot of weight. If one person gets sick and they are the only person that can do something, productivity will probably grind to a halt.

This can compound very quickly and starts to negatively affect work-life balance. We’ve all known the one co-worker that is the only person that will let somebody do a certain task.

If I had to guess, they probably complained a lot about how they worked over the weekend and about how they haven’t taken a vacation in years.

This is usually followed up with a quip about how it’s because they are so smart compared to their peers and that nobody can pull off that task that makes them so darn special.

Don’t be that guy or girl. Do some things well, especially letting other people do things well too.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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