Topic of the Week Contagion: Strategies to Help You Change
Contagion: Strategies to Help You Change:
- LESS of other things.
- MORE of certain things.
- START doing something.
- STOP doing something.
Contagion: Strategies to Help You Change
The toughest part of work for most of us is breaking old patterns and adapting to our current situation. Which reminds me of a judge in Indiana, Loretta Rush. Judge Rush described a case where a child was born with drugs in his system. She was trying to find someone in the family who was responsible enough to look after the child when she learned that both parents were using drugs. Ditto for both grandparents. Finally she asked his great-grandmother if she could pass a drug test. She said no.
Some patterns can be hard to change, like drug use in that family. But we all need to learn how make dramatic personal changes so we can adapt to a changing workplace. That's why I've included four rules for changing yourself below. They are very simple questions, but answering them and then acting on what you discover will make you much more effective at work. For more, check out Brian Tracy's book "Full Engagement" (Amacom, 2011).
MORE of certain things. What is working that you need to do more of? But don't just trust your judgment. Talk to colleagues, customers, vendors and anyone else who you come into contact with at work. Okay, I've been called a feedback junkie, but I just love to find out how to improve what I'm doing. Ask what you should do and listen to the response no matter how silly it initially may sound to you. And take notes, the suggestions might not make sense to you now, but they could be very helpful at some point in the future.
LESS of other things. At work today most of us are like people in Jersey at an all you can eat restaurant. We pile our plates as high as we can. We routinely add more and more to our to-do list and never take the time to remove anything. To do justice to all the new things we regularly add to our work lives we must also take stuff off our plates.
START doing something. You can teach an old dog new tricks, for example, I just started doing workplace TV segments on the local news. Most of us get so locked into what we think we can and can't do that we totally lose touch with the fact that our brains can continue to learn and grow throughout our lifetimes. Always be on the lookout for new things that you can do. Who knows, you may have a totally new career inside of you.
STOP doing something. This is why I'm such a big fan of a "Not To-Do" list. I think that most of us complain about not having enough time to get everything done, yet each day we spend time doing things that don't help our cause. That's why it is so important to constantly be on the lookout for things to stop doing.
Even after generations of the status quo we can all learn to change our behaviors. Use these tips and you'll lead the way.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.