Today’s post is written by Claire Le Grice (@clairelegrice), an experienced HR and communications generalist with a passion for developing people and brands. With a background in consulting and internal HR roles, Claire is a strong networker who thrives on collaborating with and connecting to others. She is continuously furthering her understanding of business, determining what works best and how we can foster creative, collaborative and fun environments. She loves to learn and is currently studying towards her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) through the University of Melbourne and excited to be part of a growing discipline within psychology that is becoming increasingly important in an organizational and larger collective sense. Being a member of HR, PP and business communities (online and IRL) provides the opportunity to be part of a Global Village and learn and connect with people from anywhere, at any time.
12 days of long hours and short wicks
Ok, I’ll hand it to you up front. The title of this blog has nothing to do with the content. I thought it sounded cool and slightly controversial and this blog is both. Settled then, on with it.
To provide some context, as I’m new to this blog thing, I will sum up my 2014 in a few bullet points:
• March: Married my wonderful hubby at home in Auckland; started my Masters part-time in Melbourne whilst continuing to work full-time in Auckland
• April: Hubby applied for his Masters
• June: Hubby accepted place at Oxford – we’re moving!
• July/August: Stuff like renting out our house/handover at work/leaving parties and dinners galore
• September/October: Relocated to Oxford via Melbourne (for my course); met the fabulous @PerryTimms and some other #NZLead community peeps IRL
• October/November: Job hunting; Socializing; Netflix addiction; Richard (@HRmanNZ) kindly asked me to contribute to his blog; Voila – it’s nearly Christmas!
It has been a fabulous, if at times slightly hectic, year. Many lessons learnt, and today I share with you the most pertinent of these:
Doing the right thing, or winning, or both, does not mean you will be in the majority, or liked, or successful, or even jubilant. However it doesn’t mean you have to stop.
Two months in to our overseas experience (#3 for me) a few kiwis (and an Aussie) were sitting in an English pub, watching rugby, England v NZ. During the pre-game entertainment it dawned on me that we were well in the minority, with four of ‘us’, and a pub full of ‘them’. Confident in our ability to pull off a win*, I settled down in hard seat, warm pint in hand to enjoy the game.
However, not long in to the game I realized my desire for a win was perhaps not as strong as my desire not to upset the locals. Suddenly, while having visions of over zealous English fans frustrated with referee calls and our Captain’s penchant for testing the boundaries of the rules, it hit me – you may be supporting the winning team, yet right now sunshine, you are in the minority.
New Zealand went on to win the game (no thanks to the ref but that’s another blog) with us proudly supporting them all the way through. Yet it was not without some uncomfortable moments.
It made me think of how it can be uncomfortable, or unpopular, (or both!) to challenge the status quo in our places of work. I imagine those of you reading this know what I mean. For some reason being the one to say ‘oh hang on, there may be a better way to do this’ can be a lonely role, and over the last couple of months I’ve learnt it is not specific to NZ. When speaking with a couple of UK based comrades, I’ve heard extreme examples of high performers leaving roles, sometimes self directed, and sometimes through suggestion, because they were ‘too efficient’ or ‘showing up their peers’.
This made me soooo frustrated. My man Chewy gets it…
Is this really how we want to work? Skiving off, attempting to do the bare minimum while seeking maximum reward and hoping no one notices that we’re not really paying attention to what we do? Don’t get me wrong, I do subscribe to the idea that being lazy can lead to some incredible efficiencies – there is a high chance that a lazy person will find the path of least resistance to getting a job done! However, although this person might find the easiest way to get something done it doesn’t mean they have found the best way, or the way that adds the most value.
In my opinion those people I mentioned earlier who moved on because they were ’too efficient’ or were ’showing up their peers’ had a lucky break. I want to work with those who strive to be better and strive to make their places of work better. Sometimes to do that we need to challenge ourselves and challenge those around us – we may not always be right, and our ideas may not always be feasible but that’s OK! After all, it’s better to try than sit on the sidelines and criticise.
So – I challenge you to stick to your guns. It might be uncomfortable or even awkward at times, but in the long run if we sit back and let the status quo be, who benefits?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke.
*In case you don’t follow Rugby, NZ are the best in the world!! Discuss…
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Hi great post Claire
You are so right – doing the right thing, finding better ways can make you unpopular and yes its a lonely road sometimes.
Thanks for your comments! I think you captured the essence of it in the title and body of your blog “we walk the line”.
From experience, I’ve found that it is hard to get people to change the way they (we) do things. However, I have been learning more and more about taking people on a journey. These people may be reports, peers or bosses.
The key is to find ways to remove the emotion.
I have started doing some work around taking organisations through looking at roadmaps. When you overlay roadmaps for key initiatives, it becomes clear that the current way of working may not achieve the desired results. Once people realise this, their willingness to do things in a different way changes.
I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very cool peeps (colleagues and managers) and I 100% agree with you that a roadmap, or bringing people in to the fold of the story/journey is a great way to get them ‘on-board’! Thanks!
That’s a very good read Claire. I like what you say about “strive to be better and strive to make places of work better” by challenging ourselves and the people around us. Surely such challenges lead to changes and change is life. Skiving off, attempting to do the bare minimum while seeking maximum reward and hoping no one notices leads to stagnation and leads to sluggishness at some stage. As said “Rolling stones can never gather mass”.
Thanks for sharing it Claire!
P.S: Hope you are having a good time there in Oxford
Thanks for your comments, I am very much enjoying a mix of Oxford & London life. I really like the quote you used & have noted it for future reference.
Hey Claire. Great blog and with you all the way on this. Thanks for mentioning me too. It was an awesome honour to be one of your first meets in the UK and hope to see you again soon.
Thanks Perry! Hope to catch up with you & some other NZLead/ConnectHR peeps at the Christmas get together on the 18th!