Create a cooperative environment within your organization and you will radiate energy, innovation and success, says Lynda Gratton.In times of recession and job uncertainty, it is crucial that each of us be able to prove our worth to our employer. It has never been more important to be sparky, energized, innovative and able to work effectively as a member of a team.
Inevitably, recessions lead to an overriding focus on a company’s finances; and often budgets are cut in the more creative areas such as innovation, research and development, and marketing. However, while organizations may focus on cutting costs, this does not mean they should spend their time simply on saving money. I believe that this renewed focus on value leaves the door open for the adoption of new innovation practices and the learning of new habits and skills. These pressures and fissures within an organization – while difficult at the time – can over time yield fresh ideas, engaging experiments and interesting adaptations.
So rather than focusing on the past and asking what we did wrong or could have done differently, the challenge is to be receptive to change and open to new ways of working. This will require us to question fundamental assumptions about the way we work and how businesses are run. We have the opportunity to change how we work – for the better. For organizations, this means fostering teamwork and knowledge sharing; for the individual, it means broadening one’s knowledge and skills base and unlocking new ways of cooperating with colleagues and within our networks.
We increasingly define ourselves through our work: it’s what we spend the majority of our lives engaged in. Each one of us deserves to have a fulfilling work life; and to make this happen, we need to create a great environment for ourselves and for our colleagues. In this ever-changing world, we must stay ahead of the curve and be the first port of call when new opportunities arise. We can do this by glowing – by radiating positive energy that fosters a great working experience, excites and ignites others through our own inspiration and delivers superior value through our work.
Only too often, though, we think that to be invaluable means being first into the office and last out, working on our days off and taking on every task asked of us. That just isn’t the case any more: thanks to technology and cheap outsourced labour (as well as young graduates snapping at our heels in a shrinking job market), there is always someone who will do the task faster and cheaper.
How do you respond to work challenges? Let’s take a look at Fred and Frank. Fred has been in his company for five years. One day his manager gives Fred a tough piece of work that really tests the limits of his competence, but he is delighted to have the opportunity. Fred decides to put his head down so he can really concentrate and closes his office door so he will not be disturbed.