Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Getting Yourself In The Right Seat

Good to Great author Jim Collins argues that the most successful companies put massive focus not just on bringing good people in, but on getting them all in the right positions. The most successful employees are those who seek and stay in positions that match their skills and interests.

This not only ensures that jobs are done well but that the people IN the jobs are happy and engaged in their work. Though constant growth and acquiring new skills are good things, Gallup research shows that people are most engaged when they apply the strengths they already have to the position they are in.

That’s where you come in. Are YOU currently in the right seat for your skills and your passion? Don’t wait for management to see a poor fit and fix it. No one is impacted more by your disengagement than you and your downwardly spirally career that comes with that attitude.

Then there’s the flipside. Sometimes employees who love what they do and where they are seek “the next thing” and end up being promoted into misery. If you’re climbing the ladder yourself, make sure you aren’t leaving the perfect seat on the bus to climb out a window! Understand your emotional intelligence scores and align your career to the work that best fits you.

Controlling Your Work Environment

The Harvard Business Review recently described a fascinating study on how the control you have over your workspace affects your satisfaction with your job. Listen to these stats:

98% of highly satisfied workers say their work environment allows them to concentrate. Only 15% of dissatisfied workers say it does.

96% of highly satisfied workers say they have a place for informal conversations with their colleagues. Only 35% of dissatisfied workers say that.

95% of highly satisfied workers say they can work without being interrupted. Only 13% of dissatisfied workers say that.

See the pattern here? Highly satisfied workers are more likely to have some control over their work environment.

So, what do you do if your workplace doesn’t give you that control—which is the norm? Unless you have a job that is only customer facing, ask your manager if you can post a sign that says, “focus time” that signals others that you are not to be bothered while you knock down a project that is important. Put others on notice that you’re in “lock down” and when you’ll come available again.

Be On Time For Real

Some people play a game with punctuality. They think they can arrive late at a meeting as long as they have a good story, or text ahead to say they’re running late, or just come in looking flustered and apologizing.

You probably have someone in mind right now—someone who can be counted on to be late. In other words, you can count on NOT counting on them.

And that’s not just about meeting times, of course. That’s the last person you would trust with an important project, or to meet with an important client, or to do anything…important.

Starting now, make up your mind to be the opposite of that person. Be the one who can be counted on to arrive two minutes early. Just TWO MINUTES. It takes a small dose of discipline, and the payoff is huge. Others will begin to see you as focused, reliable, and respectful of the time of others.

And they’ll be right!

Get Serious About Getting Away

Back in the old days, a vacation was really a vacation. Nobody stayed in touch with the office because you couldn’t.

Now it’s easy to stay in touch—which also means it’s hard NOT to. Your office follows you everywhere. A glance at your phone or a click on your laptop puts you right back in your office chair.

Worst of all, the folks back in the office know this, so the emails and texts and calls keep coming.

The research on this is conclusive: The failure to truly get away from work is killing your productivity AND your health.

So it’s time to draw a line in the sand. Before you leave for your next vacation, make it clear that you are gone, gone, gone. Designate someone to answer all questions for you, and if possible, forward your email so it doesn’t pile up. Leave your laptop at home and tell your wife or husband to be a pest whenever you look at your cell phone. If you MUST check in, let them know the limited time that will be and what are the only topics that get covered at that time.

When you get back, your productivity and your mental and physical health will thank you.

Make the Choice to Engage

As if we needed any more evidence of the problem, a study by Dale Carnegie Training shows that only 23% of non-management workers are engaged in their jobs.

69% of the disengaged employees said they would leave their current job if someone else offered just a 5% pay increase, and disengaged employees overall are more than twice as likely to leave than engaged employees for any increase in pay.

If you are in that number—and statistically, you probably are—don’t wait for someone else to wave a wand and fix your engagement. This is a do-it-yourself job.

We’ve all known people who can walk out into a breathtaking sunny day and see nothing but skin cancer in it. Or walk into a room filled with colorful butterflies and focus on the black moth. Hopefully you’ve also known plenty who can see three weeks of drizzle from the lawn’s point of view. In both cases, the person’s attitude will have taken the mere data of the weather and interpret it.

All experience passes through the prism of your attitude. Make the choice to see the good, and watch what happens to your life and the effect you have on those around you.