An executive recently shared that he was facing each new Monday with a sense of dread and foreboding. No, his business wasn’t struggling any more than it had in the past. No, his problems didn’t seem too overwhelming, just seemed like the usual nuisances were cropping up. Even his most stellar performers seemed to have lost their luster. In essence, his company, his work, even his life had become ordinary.
Does this story sound familiar?
I, for one, have even experienced from time-to-time the same sense of “what the heck, this is just so tiring ” feeling. Then I found a very simple technique that has proven to turn around even the most work and life numbing attitudes. It’s not secret – put some EXTRA in your ordinary.
- Invest 15 minutes a week (at least) in what I like to call a review of the extra-ordinary. On Friday, before you close the door at the end of the day, take 15 minutes to review the good, even great things that happened in the week. If you do this every week for a month, you will have invested one hour a month in finding some things extra-ordinary about your business. If you do this every month for a year, you will have invested at least 12 hours. In fact, once I get started, I generally spend more than 15 minutes once per week and invest time at the end of every day, finding the extra-ordinary people and events that make my work and life worthwhile.
- Take a day to go “undercover.” One of my favorite TV shows is Undercover Boss. When the senior level executives go undercover for a week, they find some amazing people, acts and opportunities that can capitalize upon or change for the better. As the Boss gets to know the how business is really conducted, they are often impressed by the talent, creativity and sheer determination that people display every day, even in the most daunting and distressing situations. This show doesn’t sugarcoat, giving me a very real appreciation for how people will rise to the occasion in an extra-ordinary manner.
- Pay attention to laughter and camaraderie. There is always a place for fun, and I don’t mean fun and games (however, there are many interesting ways to approach work with games, but that’s for another blog). In a very serious meeting, a cell phone went off. The ringtone, Inagodadavida, blared into the room. The culprit, the senior level executive in the room, struggled to reach his phone and the room suddenly burst into laughter. The tension immediately lifted and fantastic ideas started to flow around the room. This camaraderie led us to extra-ordinary and daring ideas. Some of those ideas were game changes for our organization.
These are just a few very simple ways to put the extra in an ordinary workday, business or life for that matter. We will continue to share more ideas that can put extra in your ordinary. Please feel free to share your ideas, we would love to hear from you.