There are a number of factors that can affect the way we view our job and our workplace. There maybe task related problems; unavoidable delays, misunderstanding and of course difficult customers; and what about finding out that someone less qualified actually earns more money than you. Or you have to take on extra work because a job vacancy hasn’t been filled. Surely there is very little we can do to change these issues.

Well that is not quite true – sometimes effecting a small change can bring about big changes. Business Consultant David Dribble describes the effect of a small change in his book The New Agreement in the Workplace*. In the course of his investigation into a troubled software company he noticed that the worst affected place was the warehouse and shipping department. The place was a mess, rubbish was lying around everywhere and staff members obviously took as little pride in their work as they did in their workplace. David found that they had previously, on a number of occasions, complained about the lack of rubbish bins in the warehouse, but no-one had listened to them. “If they don’t care why should we” appeared to be the attitude. David decided that a small change might be the answer and went out and purchased a number of rubbish bins for a total of $69.

This small change had a great effect on the moral of the staff and a tidy workplace induced a new attitude. Soon the warehouse had been redesigned and repainted and the problem was well on the way to being solved.

So it may not need a great organisational change to bring improvement to your working environment, it could be the little things that only you think of. So if you would like to bring about a change at work consider these small steps:

¨ Begin with you. Whatever is within your control to change, can be changed. So why not improve your actual workspace. Change things around, bring in a pot plant, have a bowl of stones and crystals alongside your monitor.

¨ Sit and watch – sometimes it takes time to understand what can be changed, so just watching how things happen can identify areas where small changes in procedure could be beneficial.

¨ Change your attitude – “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well!” If our job is repetitive or merely boring, it can be difficult to find a sense of worth in it all. But the axiom just quoted is a common philosophical thought that can, if followed, instil a sense of pride in our work. We need to have an interested attitude to what we do, and to challenge ourselves to achieve the best outcome. It is our attitude that can change the way in which we view our work.

¨ Change the way you relate to others – We are not going to get on with everybody we work with and some people appear to go out of their way to annoy and distress us. But remember that relationships take two to tango! Again, the way in which we choose to relate to our fellow staff members is ours to control. Try to avoid confrontation, especially when you are angry. Try to understand the situation from the other person’s point of view; they may have a valid cause for complaint. Learn how to deliver Positive Feedback.

It doesn’t take much to bring about a small change at work, but the sense of personal achievement can be great. Sometimes the problem is the sense of inevitability, the idea that nothing can be done. It can be we feel we have lost the power to change anything. But perhaps the problem is merely that we are looking too far away, change begins with us.

So let us start with the small things and then watch the big changes begin.

* David Dribble, The New Agreement in the Workplace, The Emeritus Group, New York, 2002

Michele @ Trischel

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