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Pimp Your Work - Improving Your Work Day Efficiency

Good Things Take Time

by Scot Herrick on November 30th, 2006

CBS Sunday Morning does this thing every once in a while where they go looking for the “good” things in the newspapers across the country so they can report on them.

It takes them quite a while to find the good stuff. In a perfect Tivo world, I watched Sunday morning last night — Wednesday night. The good stuff, the positive news, was tough to find but inspiring to watch.

There was a story on the significant improvement in school scores — and student attitudes about school — in North Philadelphia. Then the pollution control initiative by Dominion Power in Virginia where management decided to implement controls on the coal-fired plant even when not required by law. And then there’s that quirky group of Romeos — Retired Old Men Eating Out — who provide support for older men through daily lunch gatherings.

The stories were inspiring. But there were common themes worth remembering as we go about our daily work:

Good things take time. All of these initiatives started at some point and took a while to show visible results of the improvement. That means that, at first, people resisted the effort to do the good thing. It means that leaders and, eventually, others needed to have faith that what was happening was a good thing and it would work out in the end.

Good things take investment. Dominion Power invested money. Others invested their time. Every one of the groups did the successful thing day after day until what they were doing became the normal thing to do. That’s hard.

Good things start with small groups. In a global economy, it still comes down to a small group of individuals who can change things for the better. The principles may change the world, but the results start small.

Good things will not be noticed. It is incredibly easy to report the fire, the crime, the crisis, and the incompetence. Whether mainstream media or the blogosphere, people naturally gravitate to the crisis of the here and now. Because building something is difficult to report in a sound bite, good things will not be reported until they are a success — and then reported once, ignoring all of the work that went into the success.

As you go about Pimping Your Work, remember that good things take time to create and little successes can help create the confidence needed to continue building the good thing.

What’s a positive creation in your work? How long did it take to become the success it is?

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POSTED IN: Cube life, GTD, General work pimps, Strategy, Survival Skills, Workplace Wellness

2 opinions for Good Things Take Time

  • Bill Quinn
    Nov 30, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I have a great business example of this tendency to focus on the bad news, until you point out the good news. I’m working with managers of a company going through a lot of change. They constantly tell bw about who was the latest victim to get fired. So, I armed myself with information about how many new-hires, promotions, bonus payouts etc, had happened in the company. They were dumbstruck.

    The world is full of far more good than bad. Take a vacation from reading the newspapers, or watching the TV news, you’ll be happier for it!

  • Scot Herrick
    Nov 30, 2020 at 10:50 am

    It’s kind of like “all politics is local” concept where if things are happening in your group you pay attention to that and miss the bigger picture. Or, magnify stuff happening other places in the company and assume they will happen to you.

    This work stuff is tough. You have to have confidence in your skills and abilities while watching the work environment for things to happen.

    And make sure your performance stays high regardless of what is happening or you’ll get labeled as a person not performing well!

    Great comment, Bill. Thanks.

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