We wear a lot of different hats here. Everybody does a little bit of everything. We don’t have the budget for a marketing person, so Brenda also does that part time. Ok, let me put on my sales hat for this. You’ll just have to juggle those commitments. He is the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer for this project. The employees just love the new flex scheduling. We maintain a lean organization.
Business and industry maintain these fictions with fierce, predictable regularity. They reduce inefficiencies (aka high wages) by issuing many hats from the hat supply. Your engineering staff also work as first line floor managers, sales and marketing get combined into an ever enlarging idiot, maintenance is trimmed out of existence, and HR also drives the bus. They consult. They outsource. They brainstorm and fill walls with postits.
What they don’t do is deliver a reliable product, on time and exactly as described, built by engaged and committed workers. To pull off this magic of many hats, something has to slip.
People have real limits, both physically and cognitively that businesses ignore at their peril. Your customer can tell when an effort is misguided, performed by a tired or overwhelmed person, or delivered with only partial attention. No matter how many times that person is reviewed, team empowered, cajoled, kicked, or bullied, they still cannot create more time. Nobody can accomplish even the most clearly stated goals if they aren’t given sufficient time to do the work. Disappointment shows up as diminished quality, lackluster response to customers, or a state of constant panic, confusion, and breakdown.
If it’s obvious to your customers, it should also be obvious to you.