How often are you asked to do more at work?


Have you ever been asked to do something extra at work? Yes, I know, that was an easy question. Ok, here's the more interesting one. When you were asked, did the person ask you how you were going to find the time? No, right? This is a major problem in organizations - every organizational member has multiple tasks / teams / goals to manage yet others are seemingly not sensitive to that fact when you are asked to do more and more.


Within those multiple goals that we must manage are a portfolio of relationships we each must manage. People we need to get promotions, people to help us do tasks, people who we are friends with, people who were just hired that we might need in the future, and so on. Relationships are incredible valuable for organizational members, yet we don't spend much time thinking about how organizational members manage these relationships across various initiatives or projects.


We care about this portfolio because it impacts how people make decisions in the moment. If Sally says no to a taskforce assignment because she has other teams to manage, she risks not being introduced to someone on the taskforce who might offer her a job later. If Sally says yes to the taskforce she might alienate her other teams because she won't have enough time. What does Sally do? The solution starts with a honest conversation between Sally and her boss (or her mentor) about what her portfolio of relationships looks like, where it is weak, where it needs to get stronger, and how can she efficiently allocate time so as to have the strongest and most resilient possible portfolio.


You can read the original research here: The Dilemma Portfolio: A Strategy to Advance the Study of Social Dilemmas in Organizations

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