Maybe We Should Let Things Go To The Dogs
I’m convinced that if given the chance, dogs would be better at business than we are. Sounds a little weird, I know. But bear with me.
In my years of doing business, I’ve watched some amazing leaders (and some not so amazing leaders) make mistakes, declare victories and put their names on the map with some pretty amazing feats of business-ness. To be sure, I haven’tperfected the execution of winning combination of skills and traits…yet. But I do think I have a good handle on what you need to succeed. And that’s what brings me back to the dogs. Because all signs suggest they know what they’re doing.
And that we don’t.
Trust. I’ll start with one of the most important of all skills. Who trusts us more than our dogs do? They trust us to walk them, feed them, provide shelter, love them…the dog trusts his owner to handle absolutely everything.
Now let’s look at trust from the corporate perspective. Companies (and the leaders within them) could stand to do a lot more trusting these days. When was the last time a decision you made was overturned by a leader who panicked? How many of the Fortune 500 companies are giving their employees budgets to execute their own ideas? Does your boss trust you to manage that massive project or are they micro-managing over you?
Learn how to become trustworthy, and then return the favor while you’re at it.As Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests, it’s one of the most important character traits to have and to give in the workplace, and it’s not something that magically appears – you have to earn it. And so do those around you.
Finding the Silver Lining. Even when heading to the vet, a dog will stillstick his head out of the window and enjoy the ride. A dog digs in to figure out a way to have fun (albeit clueless as to where he’s headed).
At the office, how often do your superiors, peers and direct reports think something’s going to turn out right? Are you surrounded by a world of positivity? Or is it more like, “we’ve never done this before, surely something will go wrong here.” Or how about, “I heard a rumor that job cuts were headed this way,” or “they aren’t issuing bonuses this year!” Job satisfaction is at an all-time low right now. Due in large part to the morale issues associated with the recession, but as Harry Bradford suggests, it’s also because of a variety of other factors we come in contact with on the job. Things like healthcare, schedule flexibility, a bad boss or difficult colleagues…
Stop thinking about that part and understand this – work is going to suck sometimes.
Get yourself on a schedule so you can take more time for yourself. You could do what I do to relieve stress before it even happens, or you can just wait until things blow over (because they will). Above all, be like the dog and find the ability to enjoy the ride, regardless of where you’re headed or what’s happening right then.
Give It Your All. A dog puts 100% into living life, giving it his all every time. When my dog was diagnosed with cancer, it was a kick in the pants to his energy level. But he still gave as much effort as he could to life. He played until he got tired, he ate, snuggled and did all his dog stuff whenever he felt up to it. He found a way to give as much as he physically could.
We can learn from that.
We all get bad news at work. Maybe some colleagues have gotten laid off (or, like Forbes Contributor Elisha Hoffman, maybe you got laid off). Perhaps you got pulled from a major project or lost funding for something that was going to put you on the map. These things are painful, so let it sit for a second and suffer a tiny bit. But don’t let it take the wind out of your sails too much. Find a way to keep giving it your all.