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Five Simple Truths For the Work Place

By Kathy Miller on September 4th, 2013

Zen garden

Labor Day always seems like the beginning of the New Year to me. Perhaps that’s because for so many Septembers I was eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new school year. Well this year Labor Day has come and gone, along with my company’s 34th anniversary as a business, and It is time to reflect.

We all know the world is a much more complex place than when I was in school, and even more complicated now than when I started my business in 1979. As we begin celebrating our business birthday, my colleagues and I are musing about the changes we have experienced during the last thirty-four years — personal computers, email and internet, cell phones, social media, global access. And each year brings more new changes. Nevertheless, even in the face of enormous transformations, there are still some simple truths that are enduring. Strong leaders, and indeed all solid human beings, possess some basic qualities which persist throughout time. I offer a partial list of these enduring simple truths:

1. Relationships really are everything – In business, as in the rest of life, much of our fulfillment and our success hinges on the quality of the connections we make with others.

2. Embracing differences leads to superior results. As Albert Einstein said, “When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.” Sound decisions come from a process that includes a variety of ideas and opinions. Moreover, implementing the decision is smoother and longer lasting when a variety of voices have been “at the table” and heard.

3. To make choices is to have some regrets. I used to say I wanted to live my life in such a way that I would have no regrets. How naïve! Every choice means moving towards one alternative while leaving other choices behind. And who among us can go through life without making choices? Regrets are, regrettably, a part of life. If we didn’t have some regrets, we wouldn’t be strong leaders.

4. Everyone wants to be heard. Our consulting opportunities over the last three plus decades have taught us that people are much more likely to resist changes when they have not had any input regarding those changes. None of us likes change of any kind without some say in the matter! If for some reason you can’t allow for input as you make a decision, at least provide your employees an opportunity to give you input about the best ways for you to implement the changes.

5. All of Us Want to Create Value and To Feel Valued. When we are recognized for a job well-done, or given the opportunity to grow and develop, we are much more likely to be engaged in our work. According to a great deal of research on the subject, the key to “well being in the workplace” is the ability – – opportunity – – to make progress on meaningful work.

So, as we face new challenges that will inevitably be arriving nonstop, let’s not forget that some things will never change. And that is a good thing!