Friday, February 15, 2013

Relationships at Work

During Valentine’s Day I was not only thinking about my “Valentine, “ though he did a great job hand delivering flowers to me at work and going on an amazing dinner date. I was thinking about how that day is really to revel in the happiness that are positive relationships with anyone; friends, family, coworkers, teammates, significant others, etc. I’ve often mentioned how important building relationships are outside of work, but I started thinking about what positive relationships at work look like and how to really GENUINELY cultivate them.

I’ve recently needed to quickly develop working relationships across departments in order to “get the job done.” This was necessary because I have gone through one acquisition in 2012 and will be doing another in 2013. The first acquisition was my boutique, hospitality driven consulting firm being purchased by a very large HR consulting firm. It was a firm I’ve always wanted to work for and I felt like I received a golden ticket. From that, many processes, products, etc. needed to be streamlined and a large amount of cross training had to be conducted. 

Throughout that process (and it is an ongoing one) I’ve attempted to learn different methodologies, apply ones that are most suitable for the situation, and suggest new and improved ways of doing things. I couldn’t do all of that had it not been for my consulting team really helping to train me on everything. Outside of my department, there are large components of project management and technology that I can’t possibly know everything about. But through a few friendly IM chats, emails and discussions on the phone, I now know who can help when I have a problem. They also know who to ask when dealing with what I do. In all of these instances, I feel like these relationships are mutually beneficial, very collaborative and team oriented and very positive working relationships. You don’t have to go out on weekends with all of your coworkers to have great relationships with them. 

The main point that I want to make is that these relationships take time, interest and actual cultivation. When I was developing these strong relationships, I took a genuine interest in learning, developing, the other person’s expertise and had GREAT respect for their time. The consideration for time and respect for their perspectives goes a long way (even in relationships not at work). Being genuinely interested in people shows and it helps you to develop good strong relationships more rapidly. I didn’t realize that being myself when talking with coworkers and taking a genuine interest in them would make finding out things and learning things so much easier. 

I have an example of trying to implement a new process for a client and I had NO idea how to actually distribute information, upload information into a different system, how to manage client expectations surrounding the new process, etc. I reached out to a project manager who is rather new, but that I have worked with previously on a similar task asking her the steps etc. She offered to help manage the project, found out whom to ask about my specific issue and learned something new about our processes. The person she reached out to walked me through a new system, showed me how to upload things, explained the process, informed me on a few pitfalls I could run into and gave me contacts in case anything went wrong. I honestly did not expect that my reaching out to a project manager would result in something so helpful, individualized and positive. 
Since then, I’ve become a “go-to” person when implementing this new process for a few of the consultants that haven’t worked in that space. It gave them more resources to utilize when doing something new and it helped me to give back a bit since they had taught me so much already. I felt as if my personal development has gone through the roof by having such good working relationships and it makes me a better employee as well as really enhancing my career. I challenge all of you to develop more and better relationships within your workplace; you’ll be surprised at the outcome!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Give it a YEAR!

While driving, I tend to reflect on things to not only keep the road rage at bay (hey, I live in Dallas), but also because I believe constant reflection is important. Continually assessing yourself, how you fit into the world (your job, your family, your relationships) is so very important. It helps me stay grounded and also helps me to plan what new adventure I’d like to tackle next. While driving to work in horrible fog and rain that paralyzes Dallas drivers from not riding the break or going the speed limit, I thought about how much you can actually change within a year’s time. Now a year as you get older (haha, like me) seems like a very short time to be able to accomplish major life changes, but I feel as if a year is a good way to measure if you have been actually attempting to do something differently. 

The past year, for me, has changed in many different ways. I still work at the same company and I still do Industrial Organizational Psychology, but I feel that my job has changed ten-fold for the better. I’m continually learning and growing and taking on new tasks and challenges. Peer training has been an amazing experience for me. There was a point in the past year that I was very upset with my job, the role, everything about what I was doing. And then I looked around within my group and organization and thought, hey, maybe I can learn new things within my function. So, I reached out to anyone that would listen whether it was my boss, the head of my department, more senior coworkers or coworkers on my same level. Really I talked to anyone that would listen to why I was upset and how I wanted to grow. Since then, I’ve taken on so many varied tasks and am learning and developing myself much more in the past year than I have in the three years prior. I really took initiative and took control of my feelings of unhappiness and made the best of out the situation. Now, I couldn’t be happier. I feel as if I’m really progressing and really developing. In one year, going from wanting to quit this job and career path, to excelling in it. 

I talk about the next thing a lot, as it is one of my passions. Last year at this time, I made the decision that I will dance on a professional or semi-professional dance team. I knew I had no idea the ins and outs on how to accomplish that, who to reach out to, what I needed to be doing to train; none of it. And I went to audition after audition and was cut in the very first round. Each time, it hurt my heart, confidence and dream. I got to the point that I almost stopped auditioning for the fear of rejection yet again. I did get some help from several people who told me to just keep trying. That someone will see my potential and really help me to develop that. Since then, I’ve made the Texas Tornado Sirens who support the Texas Tornado Hockey team and have really grown as a professional dancer. I’m training for audition season again, and have so much more experience, insight and confidence. I also have a lot more resources that I know who to ask when I don’t have a clue on what to do. So, in one year I went from the girl who gets cut first round to being on a dance team. 

Since being on the dance team, I had to change my workout schedules and nutrition just to be able to support the demanding physical activity and schedule that I held. I started out auditioning for teams and feeling like all the other women around me were much more fit and healthy. I attempted to get there, but it is really a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Since I gained access to great resources, I’ve not only increased my overall health, I’ve lost 18 pounds since September. I wasn’t a large girl to begin with, but I feel much more energized, active and just GOOD. That wasn’t even a year’s time and I look forward to seeing what becomes of my journey to accomplish a healthier lifestyle. 

The point of this entry is to point out that taking control and making the decision to change your life for the better can have AWESOME results within a short time (JUST A YEAR). I challenge each reader to go for something that they have been holding out on, or to make a bad thing in your life better by taking control of what you can take control of. Sometimes, that isn’t always possible, but trying and continually trying can have very unexpected and positive results. Give it a year!!