I've always loved doing research. OK, well, not always, but ever since I became a grown-up. One of the things that I like most about my job is that I am often given a problem to solve, the resources to solve it and the autonomy to get it done. There's nothing better than taking something ambiguous and turning it into a well-thought-out solution. So for me, at the beginning of a project, I am inclined to hop online to see if anyone else has solved a similar problem and/or info on defining the problem, resources devoted to the problem, etc.
I also love to work independently. Call it only child-syndrome if you want. Having team goals and projects is fine with me, but I need to carve out my little piece. It's not that I don't want to deal with the ambiguity. In fact, I deal with ambiguity quite well...I try to create order where it doesn't exist.
Such has been the case quite a bit recently with my work. But yesterday, I had a good reminder that I don't need to do it all myself. I'm writing slides for a presentation on blogging and recruiting, starting from scratch. I got most of my info down on note cards (I already told you I am like this...I can't help it...I'm organized!). But I was struggling with a few. So I called Robert Scoble (well known blogger here at MS, if you are new and didn't know). In a ten minute conversation, Robert walked me through some really amazing info that I was able to use to complete my deck. I would have spent hours doing additional research to get the info that Robert rattled off effortlessly (or so it seemed).
I guess that the moral of this story is that it's OK to work independently, but leverage the people around you (reminder to self). When I first joined Microsoft, I was amazed at how willing people were to invite you into their office and give you a download on any topic you asked about. It seemed a little "Stepford co-worker" initially, but I soon realized that this is part of a culture that values the sharing of information. And it wasn't too long before I was inviting people into my office so I could share what I know with them. Now I am trying to do this with people outside Microsoft in staffing and marketing (hence the presentation slides).
Now I just need to figure out what to do with those few extra hours I saved. ; )
PS: Robert, if you see this, thanks so much!