How do you react when some one says, “You should…”, followed by advice that you weren’t looking for? My Mom was famous for that! Always telling me the way that I should do things… which generally was the way that she liked things done.
During the early years of motherhood, it wasn’t uncommon for her to comment about the state of my home — while not a disaster zone worthy of FEMA funding, I will confess to a few dust bunnies. She said that I should get someone to watch the kids so I could clean the house. There was always some area of the house that, to her, needed to be addressed. While her intentions were good and from the heart, her style just wasn’t going to work for me. I love being a Mom. I love spending time with my children. While I like a clean home, if I have to decide between my children and dust bunnies, the kids win every time. Doing what my Mom thought I should be doing was like putting a round peg is a square hole, it just wasn’t going to work.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of times that I’ve had someone share a story with me about their attempt to organize a colleague. Often times it’s a relative trying to organize another family member, especially in a family-run business. They share how successful their strategy is for them along with their frustration with the other party’s inability to “do it their way”. All too common I hear, “They should do what I do, and then they would be fine.” Really?
Just because one way works for you, doesn’t mean that it will work for someone else. It’s like someone saying to you that you should be able to fit into my pants when clearly there is a size difference. It doesn’t matter if the pants are bigger or smaller – either way, they won’t fit. The same holds true for creating a productive work environment.
It’s not about everyone doing the same thing — the same 3, 5 or 7 step process. It’s about using the same or similar tools to accomplish the objectives of the day. Think of the tools that you have available to you as a Chinese menu. Select the items from the various sections of the menu that will best support your efforts. Being able to customize your work environment is a “should” that will benefit you the most.