Welcome to the September 2011 issue of Alignment Solutions! Here’s what’s going on:
This month’s theme is success without struggle. Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Tina Tessina recently wrote an article in which she said that one of the things she has learned as a therapist is that struggle is often used by families to structure time. She went on to say that by replacing “the drama of struggle with the delight of humor,” she and her husband have dramatically improved the quality of their lives. I think this concept of choosing to replace struggle with a positive approach of one’s choice can be applied to the workplace as well. For example, people may experience work as a struggle because they approach it as a chore or a burden, or perhaps they have an unconscious belief that nothing of value can be gained without struggle. What if, instead of approaching work as a struggle, people chose to view it as an opportunity? Without the difficulties, angst, or drama that sometimes characterize work environments, workplaces would be transformed! Would you rather be successful with a struggle, or without one?
The Feature Article, “The ROI of Leveraging Differences into Opportunities,” makes the case that leaders who focus on what employees have in common create work environments that are much more conducive to employee engagement and productivity than leaders who focus on how people are different. We compare and contrast the two scenarios, and invite you to choose the approach that makes the most sense to you.
In “12 Ways to Reduce Workplace Struggles,” the Business Solutions section provides specific suggestions for succeeding while minimizing unnecessary workplace struggles.
In the Personal Solutions section, “How to Navigate Smoothly through Life’s Transitions” identifies twelve ways to help make life’s transitions (e.g., to and through adulthood, to employee, to manager, to a different career, to retiree, to business owner) less of a struggle than people often experience them.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com to find other articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
Do you know someone who could benefit from the value we provide? If so, let’s create a win-win-win situation! Contact us about how we can make this happen.
The ROI of Leveraging Differences into Opportunities
Recently I was asked to speak to participants in a statewide leadership program about generational differences in the workplace. With four generations in the workforce today, it’s only natural that there is a great deal of interest in this topic, especially since some of the differences we read about seem irreconcilable. Interesting stuff! But definitely the wrong focus this group. Why?
First, generational differences are only one type of difference; the workplace is rife with others. Leaders must educate themselves about other kinds of differences as well. Second, and more important, focusing on differences, whatever their source, is unproductive at best, and destructive at worst. Here are eight reasons why this is true:
Would you want to work in an environment with those characteristics? What if, instead of focusing on differences, leaders kept the spotlight on what people have in common? Here are just a few of the reasons why emphasizing how we are alike makes good business sense:
While it’s important to learn about what makes people different so we can understand others’ perspectives, it would be a mistake to dwell on those differences. Consider what a difference it would make in the work environment if leaders emphasized what’s common across human beings – i.e., that people generally want to succeed, to be respected and feel valued, to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to enjoy what they do. Imagine what could happen in YOUR organization if people focused on what unites them rather than on what divides them. In which environment would your employees be most productive, engaged, and committed? The choice is yours. What will it be?