Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
Far too many work environments in our time and place are cesspools of mediocrity. It wasn’t always this way, but in recent generations, something dreadful has happened to the work ethic of our society. Every so often you hear of a company or an organization that grabs headlines, generates buzz about performing at the top of their industry, and becomes known as a place with very low turnover and a line of applicants desperate to get through the door. They are a rare find.
But even in the countless places where dreams of excellence go to die, you’ll find people who are just…weird. They’re weird because they are remarkable performers in dreadfully unremarkable environments. Mediocrity is a strong undertow in these places that can pull under even the most professionally valiant. Yet some manage to keep their heads above water and not only survive, but swim strongly against the current. They are looked down upon by colleagues who prefer the mind-numbing mediocrity they’ve created. They are the topic of toxic conversations in the break room. People wish they would surrender to the status quo or simply go away so that any threat of the bar being raised for everyone else would be eliminated. Some do, and go silently into the night. Some stay strong. And every so often one or two “weird” people manage to bring enough freshness, creativity, and positive energy into the environment that the waters are cleansed, the toxicity is neutralized, and excellence goes viral.
As you begin a new workweek, give some thought to ways that you can introduce healing “weirdness” to your mediocre workplace. Tell us in the comment section what you came up with. Here are three suggestions to prime the pump:
- Read a non-fiction book, on your own time, that applies to your work, and identify a dozen or so principles or practices that you can begin implementing immediately. Need a suggestion? Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard is a great quick and easy read on the subject of customer service.
- Commit to finishing every special project given to you by your supervisor ahead of schedule. Late is typical. On-time is expected. Early is delightfully weird.
- What do you see as a weakness in your company? Are customers chronically unhappy? Do employees work in unsafe conditions? Are there inefficiencies that impact profitability or productivity? Observe them, name them, then approach your supervisor and ask his/her permission to pull together a task force to brainstorm ideas for improvement.