I was talking to a friend this weekend about his desire to call out the things that are wrong with his company and the faulty processes they use. Of course, some of this is fine…but going overboard and being the “truth sayer” day after day with comments or complaints about all the things that are wrong…will get you uninvited to the inner circle at best…and uninvited to remain at the company at the worst. Then on Monday morning, I saw the blog that follows written by Jack Welch.
By Jack and Suzy Welch
You’re out having lunch at your favorite pizza spot, sitting around with your colleagues, and the hot topic of the day is the new evaluation system at work. You hate it. It’s all a bunch of bureaucratic phoniness.
At last week’s lunch, it was the strategic planning process. All chart-making, not real discussion – no one can stand it. And budget reviews, they’re just one big negotiation. Who’s the smartest negotiator in the room? Usually it’s your guy Joe in the next cube, who always gets a little more money in his budget, just because he’s smoother and more articulate. He somehow pulls it all off on personal relationships – it’s not really fair.
Not to mention your frustration at your latest raise, which you learned was the exact same amount everyone else got – even though you did so much more of the work. If only, you wish, someone would recognize it.
Just stop all this, okay?
You’re on an absolute suicide mission when you moan about what you can’t fix. A victim loses every single time. You can be sure people are sick of listening to you, even if you’re completely justified in everything you’re thinking. Even if you’re the smartest person in the room, you can’t just go and tell your boss (or worse, the person sitting next to you) that they’re doing something backwards. They bought into it. They’re doing it. They own the responsibility for the outcome, you don’t.
But there is one thing you can do about it. Actually, a lot you can do.
That is, you can make it your mission to change all the things you’ve been thinking about within your own little group, whether it’s three people or six people or ten. Make the way you operate more transparent. Make the planning sessions real – with true give and take, taking the market into account. Encourage your team to find a better way every day. And celebrate when they do – making a big party out of each small win. Have the kind of straight-talk performance reviews that inspire your people to stretch and always be reaching for more (and be sure you don’t punish them when they’re willing to do that.) And finally, differentiate – rewarding the people who do the most with the most, versus sprinkling dollars and resources evenly.
Make your own project or department hum. Make your place the place to be.
In other words, do what you control. The best vent for all your frustrations is within your own reach. You’ve got to create an atmosphere for yourself where you focus all your energy on the things that you can impact directly. It’s the best antidote to whatever annoys you.
And when you do, two things will happen: 1) you’ll see better results start pouring in and 2) everyone will start wanting to hang out in your group because it’s more fun.
Guess what? You’ll get noticed for those things. You’ll become a magnet. All of a sudden, you’ll see that everybody wants to come work for you, because you’ve made your place more exciting, open, and transparent. Other departments will start looking to your little laboratory trying to figure out what it is you’re doing that is so wildly effective.
That’s the kind of action that gets you promoted. It’s the type of action that gets your people promoted, as you push them onwards and upwards with these great behaviors and crazy results. Not to mention, every time you move up, you and your team will bring all the stuff you know works in your area with you, spreading it throughout the company as your sphere of influence grows and grows and grows.
And, if you play this long game well, in time, we’d bet, you’ll find yourself in a position where you have the power to really drive the larger change initiatives and culture improvements you’ve always wanted to see throughout the organization on a greater scale.
Instead of just venting about them.
Jack Welch is Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute. Through its online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute transforms the lives of its students by providing them with the tools to become better leaders, build great teams, and help their organizations win. The program was recently named the #1 most influential education brand on LinkedIn and one of the top business schools to watch in 2016.
Suzy Welch is co-author, with Jack Welch, of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post best-seller The Real-Life MBA, and of the international best-seller Winning.
Executive Chairman, The Jack Welch Management Institute