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Aug 01 2019
Cogs in the Wheel
Stephanie Johnson, CCE, Gritton & Associates

Have you ever seen the inside of a clock? I am not talking your Apple watch or Fitbit, but a proper "needs to be wound in order to work properly" clock? The cogs or gears all vary in size and function. They fit together perfectly and harmoniously to make the clock work.


If one cog or wheel is broken or missing, the clock does not work properly. It might still work partially, but certainly does not work fully. It's proper function of telling time and/or date could be affected. Remove one cog, or a sequence of cogs, and the function stops.

One cog is not more important than any other. The smallest cog is as important as the largest cog to the function of the clock. Really, if you think about it, the small cogs turn more frequently than the larger ones; often looking as if it works harder than the large cogs.

In our various organizations we too have many cogs, wheels, and functions. Sales has to work in order for the warehouse to work, in order for the accountants to work, in order for the money to work, in order for the company to work, and so on, and so on. Remove one piece and the function of the organization stops or ceases to function properly. One process, or employee, or function is not more important than another.

I was at a drive-through for a fast food restaurant recently. There was a sign on the wall that I could read through the window. It said something similar to:

Have you checked the order?

Have you verified the sides?

Is everything hot and prepared correctly?

Are you proud of this order?

That last line floored me. Are you proud of this order? I was so grateful for that lesson as I waited for my cheeseburger kids' meal (yes, for the toy, don't judge). I admit to some days not feeling proud of the work I do. Some days I dread coming to the office because I know that I have to make collection calls on delinquent accounts that day, and I already know it is going to be unpleasant. Some days I feel like I am the broken cog in an organizational clock. Some days I do not feel like what I do is enough or matters for the organization. Not anymore. The day after reading the sign in the window, I woke up ready to be proud of the work that I do. I was invigorated to go to work, and I had a very productive day.

Every cog is important. Every cog matters. I am enough. You are enough. Let's get to work and be proud of what we do.