June 2, 2023

Don’t Hold the Elevator Doors

There’s a story of people getting off the elevator whenever Steve Jobs would get in on them at the Apple Campus. The premise being that he would ask: what are you working on? And if your answer was not satisfactory or interesting enough, you would get fired.

While the story seems more myth than fact, as all urban legends, it sure sounds plausible.

The thing is, your current project could be the ugly side or the sharp edge of major initiatives that as a whole does bring change and adds value.

Sometimes things need a temporary solution. Sometimes your pillar is critical, but its upgrade is not a priority.

The question is, then, should you get off the elevator whenever what you’re working on is not elevator-proof™?, or should you be prepared to answer that question?

As an individual contributor, it’s unfair to make you be aware of what’s the business-like answer of what you’re working on question. As a project manager, or better said, as a manager, this is a sixth sense that you should have. Reading the room, understanding your ugly duckling role in the major project.

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