Years ago, my former boss gave me an assignment to create a performance management system. Two of us collaborated on the project, and we decided to see how other companies had set up their systems. We took a field trip to local organization that had just implemented a new system; they were honest with us and shared that their first system didn’t work. In this system everyone had four goals, and they were set up individually for each employee. Many of the staff did whatever they thought would help them met their goals; some achieved, and others did not. Some people simply got in the way of others. The next year, they added a 5th dimension; one that asserted that following the values of teamwork and overall civility mattered.
Organizational goals are never met by the actions of one person or department; companies succeed when everyone moves together. This requires a different approach; one with a different set of actions described with unusual words—calm, gentle, unfailing, undaunted, determined, focused, and selfless. There are very few roles in a company that don’t have an impact on others. Whether raises are tied to behaviors (like it was in my former boss’s plan) or not —you can still make someone else’s life easier or more difficult. Always be on the lookout for the phrases that get in the way of us all being our best and doing our best. Here are few of them and some ways to counteract them, to keep progressing in your professional growth:
- Thinking “my department is too busy, we can’t take on another thing!”
Listen carefully to what the other person needs, and what they’re asking for. What is their worthy goal? Be gentle, ask questions; is there a way to say “yes”? Can you negotiate when to complete the task? Can you negotiate how it’ll get done?
- “There is nothing I can do to change that; that’s the way it has always been, and it will never change.”
Listen carefully; and when you say “never”—be honest with yourself. When you say the word “never”—it should raise a red flag. Believing in “never” makes us a part of the problem instead of the solution. Don’t hurt yourself by limiting a potential opportunity, be gentle. Maybe it’s time for your vision to improve so you see something new. Take on challenges and problems with a new pair of glasses, because a new set of questions might open you up to new possibilities.
Remember when there is a will—more times than not, there is always a way. Listen, ask questions, and be gentle