Going Title-Less

It is a big leap to ditch titles in an organization. But you might be surprised how doing so can change your mindset about your teammates and where they fit without your organizational structure.

We all like to be acknowledged for our intelligence—“WOW! You are so smart!” For the way that we look—“WOW! You are so hot and sexy!” Or maybe even for our experience level—“I bow down to you, Magnificent, Wise One!”

We get it! We all like to have some recognition for our abilities, experience, and for the efforts we make. Many companies around the world have incorporated this need into their organizational structure. Why not? If it meets a specific requirement, we should try it, right?

Well, we don’t think so. Recently, we made a move here at Oculus to remove everyone’s job function title and replace it with the department we work for. 

PAUSE FOR SHOCK AND HORROR!

Yes! That means we don’t have titles anymore. After all, doesn’t the department we work for describe what we do in the end? We think so.

I was a Chief Company Culture Director, a Training Guru, Sales and Operations Director, etc.! My head is spinning trying to keep up, and my desk is full of unused business cards as we changed titles throughout the year! 

Why We Did It

So why did we ultimately make this decision to eliminate titles? Three reasons:

1. We are in this together.

In a world where the entire team brings many different things to the table, titles create a hierarchy. YUCK! I get it! You have to know who your boss is and who you report to. That is great for accountability, goal-setting, and getting things done. That is why we have organizational charts. But titles, in our opinion, can create a form of separation: 

“I am consequential and more powerful than you are. Kneel before all of my authority and fear me!”

Hmm, no. That is generally not what we are going for. One of the reasons we decided to eliminate the titles was to ensure that all team members know that within day-to-day operations, we are all in it together. We are equal. All jobs are important. We might have different tasks, but we ultimately are working toward the same end goal.

2. Everyone has the capability!

“Can I take a look at your business card? Oh, you are just the coordinator? I would rather speak with a manager.”

Have you ever had that happen? It does. Maybe you are even guilty of being that person thinking you can get what you need by speaking with someone who is really “in charge.” I know I have been in that boat. Title tends to do that.

  • Have an issue? Ask for the manager. 
  • Need someone to open your door or to help with luggage? Any person will do!

Who says the person who is opening your door cannot assist you with a bigger issue you are having? In fact, why shouldn’t they?

All of our team members here are trained to resolve issues, and if they don’t know the answer, they do know where to find it. That makes them the experts and they have the power to influence any experience. We feel titles get in the way of all of that. 

3. It just doesn’t matter.

Let’s face it. Titles don’t matter. What are you looking for from your service provider? A fancy, engaging, long-winded title, or someone who is willing to help you, can provide on-the-spot service, and genuinely cares? I know I would choose the latter.

We know it is a big leap to ditch the designation. You might have worked hard to get where you are, but should you decide to jump, you might be surprised how your mindset can change about your teammates and where they fit without your organizational structure.

We know it’s scary, but we recommend you rip that bandage off and give it a try! Now back to cleaning out my desk and getting rid of those titled business cards! Global Learning and Performance team, here I come!

Kevin James Saunders is a trainer at Oculus Training Group, a British Columbia-based corporate training and mystery shopping company offering sales management, reservations, sensitivity, and customer service training programs for a variety of service-based industries throughout Canada, the U.S., and the world. For more information, call 888.OCULUS4 or visit www.oculustraining.com. You also can connect with Oculus on Twitter @oculustraining, via e-mail at peoplecare@oculustraining.com or visit it on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

 

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