Change Starts with Me

I’ve had several conversations with my wife where we discussed what was happening at my job, and where I was trying to make a difference. Stir things up. Go against the stream to try and get people to look at our business problems from a different perspective. It’s a conversation we’ve had numerous times, and while I was working at several different companies. And her response was typical of the response I received from most of my co-workers: Why go against the stream? Why do things differently? Why not just put in your hours and go home at the end of the day like everyone else?

Seth Godin’s latest blog entry pinpoints this same thinking. People recognize the concepts of Purple Cow thinking, but because acting on these ideas and attempting to make a real change — at their work, or in their professional lives — takes some effort, they pass on the idea. People embrace average because its easier. The path of least resistance. They so quickly assume these concepts "don’t apply" because its easier than coming up with ways to apply them.

How hard is it to really think out of the box – to try something different? You read so much about diversity in the workplace as a way of expanding outside of homogeneous thinking, but what about diversity of thought for the individual? Experiment. Try to fail. Pursue stupid ideas — if nothing more than to break up the monotony and get you thinking differently about your project.

A concept I embrace in software development is rapid application development. Short iterations with few requirements. You try, you fail, you try again, something works, you add onto it. Build, test, deploy, monitor, build again. I don’t know how many times I’ve preached this concept for business — I’m sure my previous team was sick of hearing it. But it applies to just about everything, folks. Try it.

(reprint, 042106)

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.