During my nearly 38-year career at a Fortune 50 organization, I worked with a number of talented leaders, each of whom emphasized different aspects of leadership. I learned a lot from the men and women I worked with. As an example, see my article “11 Things I Learned to Do From My Leaders”. One of my leaders emphasized the importance of follow-up, another emphasized bringing a possible solution to a problem, while another emphasized critical thinking and completed staff work, the latter of which may not be a concept that everyone is familiar with. The leader who emphasized completed staff work did it so frequently that in one of our function meetings we did a skit about it, and even had a rap group named CSW (Completed Staff Work) do a song about it. It was all done in good fun, and to emphasize the importance of completed staff work. But what is completed staff work, why is it important, and is it always necessary to do it?
I would define completed staff work as work that when it is submitted to your leader, nothing else is needed. Your leader doesn’t have any questions, there are no corrections to be made, etc. It is a finished, high quality work product, including the use of proper punctuation and formatting, no spelling errors, etc.
For example, let’s say that you are writing a recommendation to add an additional member to your team. The recommendation would consider everything – the business need for the additional person, where the funding will be coming from, what work will not be able to be completed if the additional person is not secured (and the impact of the work not being completed), etc. When your leader reviews the recommendation, they have everything they need to make an informed decision. Delivering completed staff work in this instance saves both your leader’s time in addressing questions or concerns they have with incomplete work, as well as your time in reworking your recommendation to address your leader’s feedback.
Is it always necessary to do completed staff work? Another way of asking this is to broaden our scope and ask whether you should always do your best work. I previously wrote about this in my article “Should We Always Do Our Very Best at Whatever We Do?”. I do believe that Christians should be the best workers at whatever we do because we are representing Jesus in the work we do – whether it is in the workplace, in the home, at church, as a volunteer, etc. The work we do as believers reflects on Him.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.
You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
Taking this back to the issue of completed staff work, Christians who are doing their work for the Lord will not want to have a reputation for turning in sloppy, inaccurate and incomplete work, but instead be known for their excellence.
Were you previously familiar with the concept of completed staff work? What else would you add about this subject?