Friday, August 29, 2008

Creating Your Own Reason for Being “Most Excellent”

Regardless of whether you are doing your life's work in the perfect job, or sweeping floors until you get your inheritance; work, like life, is still “earth school”.

The cast of characters you interact with; customers, co-workers, supervisors (bosses), viewed symbolically (impersonally), can provide a rich environment for self discovery. Taken personally, the workplace can become a melodramatic and sticky mess.

Like Bob Dylan sings, “you're gonna have to serve somebody”, so we might as well adopt a service attitude and use the opportunity to earn AND learn.

In the conventional workplace setting, if management follows wisdom, they have created a “bottoms up” info/organizational structure that encourages a frictionless interchange of ideas from those who interact with the public.

However, an idea box that doesn’t also act on the suggestions will quickly be seen as empty political posturing, which will backfire. It’s important to follow up by effectively enabling the change and then rewarding the idea’s creator. The atmosphere created in such a workspace entrains a sense of trust and gratitude.

The companies that will thrive into the 21st century must focus on price, quality, flexibility, innovation and sustainable development. They must see their human talent as business capital.

Making widgets for the sake of adding to the amount of consumable landfill stuff can be a soul shriveling prospect. There’s simply got to be a better reason to be your best. It starts by creating your own reason for being excellent.

Every person has an intangible balance sheet. An honest inventory can reveal your true assets and liabilities – which can be extremely helpful in determining where you can be of service and where you need some personal development.

The most valuable asset to cultivate in your personal balance sheet is integrity. It is simply the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the companies we work with.

In the book, The Corporate Mystic, by Gay Hendricks, PhD., & Kate Ludeman, PhD., it is noted that any “problem” that shows up in the workplace can ALWAYS be traced to a breach of integrity.

So how does one be a credit to their ancestors (be true to themselves) while being of service? How does one value one’s time, talent and accountability while they are carrying out the instructions of a supervisor who may or may not be interested in their point of view?

If we get caught in ours and other’s personal wounds, the workplace can be a regular soap opera of intrigue, deception, gossip and betrayal – a place for shadow boxing and diminished productivity.

If you find yourself wrapped up in low vibe drama at work, you can be sure that there has been a breach of integrity. The questions you must answer honestly are: Am I being authentic with myself? Am I being authentic with the people I work with or serve? Am I doing each and everything I say I’m going to do?

If you feel sure you are not the breach of integrity, ask someone else their opinion and be open to learning (rather than trying to save face). So now what? You’ve cleared your conscience, but that boss or co-worker is still ruining your life.

If you’re always in integrity, if your co-workers and supervisors know that you are always authentic, then you have nothing to worry about by drawing attention to issues that directly affect your ability to serve, not as blame, but out of an effort to improve the organizations ability to serve and be efficient. If you feel you can’t be authentic at work, perhaps wisdom would say that there is another company more suited to your personal values.

Without wisdom at the helm honoring wisdom at the front lines, there is an atmosphere of tension, distrust and feeling devalued, leading to “internal shrinkage” (theft) which is a common employee response to feeling unseen or under appreciated in some way.

Be the change you want to see in the workplace and constantly monitor your own integrity. The workplace may never become idyllic, but at least your part in it can be most excellent.

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