Being An Instrument of Change



Jon Wetzel
01/23/2012

As we move into the new year now is the time to look around your surroundings and examine where and how you can effect positive change in your own environment.

Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  Let this resonate. Think about the place you want to work and then lead by example.

Everything you do affects others and vice versa

Ask yourself- 

  • How quickly do I respond to emails, phone messages and texts?
  • How well do I communicate with others?

Set a goal to respond to all emails in a timely manner.  This is effective even if you’re only acknowledging receipt of them and giving time frames when you’ll get the information to the recipient.  After doing this for 3 weeks co-workers will start doing the same.

Be on time and be prepared

I used to watch my boss show up for his own operations meeting 15 minutes late with great consistency.  In frustration my assistant manager asked me “Why do we show up on time if we know he’s going to be late?”

My simple answer was “We lead others by setting a solid example.  We’re Lab Ops, we run on time otherwise we don’t run smoothly.”

Everyone in my department followed our lead and Lab Ops became notorious for being on time for updates, meetings, shipments and projects.  Other departments saw that we weren’t just timely but that the staff also took pride in their work.

Lab Ops became the gold standard by how other departments benchmarked themselves and we were often asked to have members of the Lab Ops staff on other teams in order to help facilitate and guide projects.

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves” – Flora Edwards

The documents, excel sheets and products you produce usually go to someone else for the next part of a process.

Ask your colleague, “How can I make it easier for you when transferring over these products?”  By doing this you are making the job easier for you and for them.  How?

 Some of the responses you may get are –

  • I don’t even look at those documents
  • I don’t need all the info you provide just a few of the items
  • If you can sort them before you submit them it will help speed things up

Not only will you get important feedback on how you can improve your work, ideally, this person will “pay it forward” and ask the co-worker in charge of the next chain of the process the same thing.  It’s called the “domino effect of good deeds” and can lead to amazing results in a short period of time.

Final things to consider

These are just a few examples of how you can change your environment.  I encourage you to find the problems in your own surroundings and decide which ones to target and instigate the change you want to see in your world.

We lead by example or we don’t lead at all!

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