Disruptor League

That Department

That Department

Which department acts like a lightening rod within your organization? You know that if they are called to participate in a meeting that it will be both productive and enjoyable. You smile anticipating the meeting, even leaving your smartphone and laptop on your desk because you know it will be completely engrossing.

(Side note: If you don’t have such a department, find higher ground now. You deserve a culture that spawns them organically.)

Enjoying your work at work is not frivolous. I am not talking about such forced fun as ice cream socials, awkward outings, or miniature golf in the hallways, but actual fun doing actual work. Study after study shows the tangible benefits of productivity and play.

Is this ideal even possible? Can work be fun? Yes. Take heart from these high-performance masters.

Noel Coward said, “Work is much more fun than fun?” Or as Steve Jobs was fond of saying, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Can you name a person or two you’ve meet in your career that radiate such passion and joy? What was it like to work with them? How did it feel? What were the results? What made the experience so memorable?

Here’s the real question: Could it be you? Can you be that person at your organization? That lightning rod?

Can you lead that department? Can you become that agent of goodwill, productivity, and positivity? Living and working at this edge has many pluses.

You’ll be called on for special projects that are high profile and high impact. You will be known for the valuable soft skills for which leading companies highly compensate: your collaboration skills, creativity, planning, strategy, facilitation ability, and most importantly, your ability to inspire each individual in the meeting.

The HR department has read all of the studies. They know that you are responsible for such things as reduced employee turnover, higher productivity, more collaboration, creating option value, and making the workplace generally healthier.

The leadership will depend on you for mission critical projects and programs. Soon, you may find yourself presenting to the Board or speaking at an annual company meeting.

Chronic complainers and water-cooler agents of gossip will stay clear of you—and this invisible wall may be the biggest benefit of seeing yourself as that department.

One danger, however, is that the timid will seek to protect their turf. This concern is often more important to them than progress. If you are assigned to help a failing project or division, you have to build trust and common ground as the first part of the assignment. Only after making sure they understand that you are there to help them will they stop blocking every suggestion. Be honest, but be kind. Don’t play games. Mediocre performers are frightened by high performers but need their help. Winning their trust will be your hardest task.

Life is short, Play to win. Be that person, that department. It’s fun and profitable.

 
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Michael GraberMichael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

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