Yesterday, I happened to attend a talk by Lori Brownell on “Leading at Microsoft”. Lori has been at Microsoft for over 18 years and shared some of her experiences working in the company. Clearly, the most fascinating story was of an event that happened several years ago when she was new to the company. She was hired as a build engineer and her very first jobs was to make the RTM disks of a product that was about to be shipped. She had just switched jobs and here she was, a new employee hopeful of a thrilling and exciting job being made to write tons of floppy disks late on a Sunday night!!! As she was sitting in the lab, writing those floppies for release along with another colleague, thinking if she did the right thing by making a switch to Microsoft, she heard someone knock on the door. And there was BillG asking “Hi! What are you doing?”. Apparently, Lori was too tongue tied to speak 🙂 When the person with her replied to Bill that they were writing the floppies for release, Bill said “Oh wow! Can I help?” and actually sat down and helped them write the remaining floppies in the lab!! Woo hoo!
What a great example to show that there is nothing like “that work is brainless and beneath my dignity!” Oftentimes, we encounter this in the workplace where folks are not interested in doing some kind of work because they feel it does not give them the required mileage or visibility. Of course, this does not mean I start writing floppies from tomorrow (that was for my manager, just in case 😉 Obviously you have to delegate work intelligently, use time optimally yada yada, but having the conviction to do whatever it takes to get a step closer to shipping – that is solid commitment. In my org, I have had the oppurtunity to see a lot of my senior team members sometimes do the kind of stuff that you would expect to be way below their level, with a lot of sincerity and passion. But in the end what matters is that YOU are making the product ship and that has got to be the greatest feeling ever! 🙂