The ability to see the wood from the trees is a skill that comes with time in the workforce. Often when we first start working we simply want to prove ourselves in our role and strive for excellence. As time goes on however, we need to examine the counter-effect this could have on our own sense of fulfilment and career progression.
At Liv By Design our strong belief is that everyone has something to contribute to their workplace and everyone can affect change no matter what your job title is. Unfortunately, the way most organisations are structured means that only a few people are given formal opportunities to effect strategic plans and offer innovative ideas. In human-centred design or design thinking we often thinking of adapting this to develop a product or improve a service, however, we can take the theories of design thinking and adapt these to our own personal development.
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t on all our agendas and it certainly shouldn’t be our primary motivation. Yet, we all want to be content in our roles and belong amongst the environment we work in. To really amplify our sense of achievement and belonging this can mean challenging ourselves to do things out of our comfort zone.
Let’s look at some methods that you can start with.
- Look at the bigger picture.
If you’re not involved in board meetings or executive team meetings don’t let this stop you. Have a conversation with the CEO when they’re grabbing a cuppa in the staff room or ask for 5 mins of their time, so they can share the organisations goals with you and where they see the big opportunities for change. Talk to your manager and ask them what their priorities are and how they want to improve the organisation. Having these conversations isn’t limited to a title. It’s guaranteed to give you new insights to what’s happening around you and it may help you improve efficiencies in your own role. Improve your understanding by knowing how what you do every day affects others in their roles.
Create alliances and strong relationships.
If you’ve done the first step guess what? You’ve already given yourself a head start. Having one on one’s and multiple conversations will help you get to know what’s important to other people and how you can help them. As a result, you’ll become a trusted colleague. If we look at the structure of ‘design thinking’ you would hold a workshop involving a cross functional team from various departments in your business to work towards a solution but there’s nothing stopping you from emulating this and having one on one brainstorming discussions. At the very least you’ll be the most proactive team member they’ve ever seen!
Present new ideas.
Having many conversations with colleagues and managers is going to give you some new ideas. Make sure you communicate these and share these. Bounce ideas off people and gain their insight. Prepare yourself though. You may be way off the mark but as Winston Churchill stated, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. At the very least you’ll have a better understanding of the challenges that exist, and each idea will get you closer to a winner.
So, you’ve done all the above and you’re feeling good. You’ve received positive feedback from your colleagues and you are respected by your managers. What’s next? If you really want to continue furthering your knowledge this step is the scariest yet most rewarding. Ask yourself a couple of quick questions.
1. Who is your organsiation trying to serve?
2. How could you as an individual get to understand them better?
To get any true understanding of customers or clients you will need to get out from behind a desk. The narrow focus of most job descriptions will mean that this is likely this will be out of the scope of your role but now that you have the organisation behind you talk to people about what you have in mind, what your objective is and how you think this could help the organisation.
Lastly, be brave ….
These steps can be daunting but take one small action at a time and build up it. You’ll find your confidence grows over time so try to tackle each day with something small that is outside your comfort zone.
Actress Lily Tomlin once said “The road to success is still under construction” so disregard your title and give yourself the opportunity to find out what gives you personal satisfaction.
We’ve talked a lot about looking at the bigger picture for your organsiation but the most important thing to keep in mind through these processes is to look at the bigger picture for yourself. By taking these steps and challenging yourself you will get a better understanding of your workplace and you will uncover some strengths you never knew you had. Think about what personally interests you and drives you. Knowing this can help you develop your career and help you examine how to gain personal satisfaction from what you do day in day out.
If you’ve got an idea for a project in your workplace and you would like some advice on how to tackle it with design thinking we’re here to chat.