Welcome to another Ask Katrina. The question today is:

“Katrina, I’m a new executive. I thought the busy work ended with this promotion. How do I make it stop?”

Typically busy work doesn’t really happen at the executive level.

You are more so in meetings and discussions, you are navigating relationships and building relationships with people, and you are influencing and driving change through individuals.

There’s not a whole lot of paper pushing or busy work or checking boxes.

If you’re doing busy work why are you doing it?

Why does it exist in your role?

What I have found through personal experience, and through helping other women navigate this, is that actually, and unfortunately, you are the one who is creating the busy work.

I know you don’t want to hear that because it is so much easier to look at the company and say, “Why are you putting this on me? Why are you giving me so much?” Or. “Why are you setting me up to fail, because I can’t get it all done?”

Let’s walk through the reality of this situation.

Busy Work Isn’t Safe

First, the company wants you to add value to the organization. That’s it. That is the one rule that we all have to follow in business. We must add value. The company wants you to add value which means they don’t want you busy, they want you to get results.

It’s counterintuitive for them to keep you busy in a way that isn’t generating the results that they want to see.

But what happens, especially when we step into a new role, is that we keep doing the busy work, and we do it to ourselves.

The first reason we self-sabotage is that we have not created our executive brand. We don’t know how to exec correctly so we ask ourselves, “What do I know how to do, that when I do it, will help me maintain a little bit of confidence?”

We’re trying to learn how to be the executive, we’re trying to exec correctly, but we’re hanging on to doing the busy work, we’re hanging on to the functions that no longer serve us because it gives us security.

We think that if we do the busy work functions, someone will recognize the work and say, “Wow, she’s learning how to be an executive. But she’s also performing and doing all these other things. We appreciate that!”

The reality is that the company is not necessarily going to appreciate that. They usually don’t. They may for a small window of time. But once your replacement is in place in your previous role, the company is going to want you to be fully execing.

So again, the number one reason you’re still doing busy work is that you don’t have your brand locked in. You don’t know exactly what you need to do to perform at the executive level so you’re doing what makes you feel safe.

How do you solve that?

You learn how to create and then solidify your brand.

Start creating this high-performance executive brand by first changing your mindset.

We must fully recognize that doing busy work isn’t actually keeping us safe. The safest thing to do is to rip off the band-aid and step into the executive role, quickly create your brand, and add value at the level expected.

It’s scary and it feels counterintuitive but it’s the right action to take.

If you want to help eliminating the busy work, creating your brand, and getting executive-level results, schedule a free no charge, 30-minute executive brand assessment call with us, and let us look at your brand together. Schedule a call here!

It’s time to stop the busy work!