This is the final post in a short series explaining why my new firm is called 3COze (rhymes with “she goes”). The name links directly to our mission statement: “we will radically transform the way people communicate, connect, and contribute so they can achieve amazing things together.”

In the first three posts over here at 3COze ChangeYourTeam, I’m articulating why communicating, connecting, and contributing became the cornerstones of this new organization. I already covered communication and connection. Today, the focus is on contribution.

It’s easy to reassure yourself that you’re contributing at work. Surely you must be adding some value—you’re working non-stop! I have no doubt that you’re doing a huge amount of stuff; I’m just not sure that stuff is the meaningful work that is getting you or your organization ahead. How often do you feel confident that something you did made a significant contribution?

I’m troubled by all the people who are burning themselves out doing endless tasks without making a dent in the real issues. I’m worried about individuals and teams working at cross-purposes and negating one another’s impact. I’m starting to think that a huge amount of the work we’re doing is for naught.

What’s Going On?

There are many reasons why our contributions are waning, even as we work more and more hours. Which of these factors degrades your contribution?

Are you overwhelmed by workload and struggling to get by? Unfortunately, when you reach that frantic state, it triggers a vicious cycle. First, you fail to prioritize one thing at a time and attempt to multi-task. That causes you to get less done rather than more. Next, because work has been done poorly, it causes rework or fire fighting. That drives more work, heightens the anxiety, and perpetuates the cycle.

Do you show up at meetings, present your information, and then spectate for the rest of the time? Maybe you feel sheepish about contributing anything above and beyond the so-called experts in the room. Or maybe your own workload made it difficult for you to do the pre-reads so you’d have something intelligent to say. Are you just mailing it in?

Do you appreciate the unique value that you can contribute on your team? You have something to offer that no one else does, but if you don’t realize it, you’re won’t fully appreciate your obligation to participate. What is your role and how is it supposed to put tension on the system?

Does your fear of conflict or of an uncomfortable conversation stop you from saying something that needs to be said? Even if you have the best of intentions in not voicing something that might be controversial, embarrassing, or hurtful, you’re only relegating these important conversations to the shadows. You’re holding your team back and postponing the inevitable.

We’re doing more and more and accomplishing less and less. Our contributions are lessened by two competing forces. On the one hand, we struggle to prioritize effectively and try to take on too much all at once. We’re distracted and our efforts are diffused, which takes longer and sacrifices quality. To cope, we’re narrowing our focus, sticking to our own work and as a result, we’re no longer informed enough to contribute to the work of others. The sum total for an organization is shoddy work that’s poorly integrated: not a recipe for success.

So when we founded 3COze, it was with the understanding that most of us are working hard but not making enough of a contribution. If we can help you understand your unique value, both in your own work and in how you add to the work of others, we can help you do less and contribute more.

That’s why the third CO in 3COze is contribute.

Further Reading

Know When and How to Say No

Stop Making Excuses for Overextending Yourself

Killing Your Busy Culture

Tension is a Good Thing