Magazine

Improving Yourself Will Lead to Your Company’s Success

By Marsha Egan

Downsizing is a reality. People lose their jobs. And those who don’t are left behind to do the same amount of work, yet with less manpower to do it. The layoff survivor’s tendency to feel victimized can be high. Negativity can invade the workplace, and people’s motivation can wane. The downward spiral for the survivors has begun.
One key to reversing that downward spiral is to look for ways you can improve. Then advance those improvements.
By working to make things better, to add value and to improve, you can turn around the survivor’s guilt and victimization you may feel because the weight of the company has been placed squarely on your shoulders. When you refocus your attention to a project, you can avoid or minimize the self-pity and fear that can invade your thoughts and hurt your overall performance.
Three areas are ripe for this attention: Improve your company, improve your workgroup, and improve yourself.
Let’s face it – your company had to lay off people for a reason. Its leaders were forced to take this action to enable the company’s future. No one wants layoffs, including company leaders. In the process, they selected the workers to remain with the company in hopes that they will be able to survive and thrive in the future. They selected you.
In essence, they are counting on you to help them help their company survive. Anything you can do to improve the profit and functioning of the company will be welcomed. And the sooner, the better.
By adding a daily strategy of “How can I work to improve this company’s profit today?” you will be able to refocus on the positive, reverse the downward spiral, and enable the future success of the company. Adding to the bottom line by controlling expenses, increasing sales, improving productivity can all work toward this end. Working within your department or workgroup, with an eye on improvement, is another area where you can impact layoff survivors.
In addition to actions that can add value to the company, a focus on making sure that your department, team or workgroup is working synergistically and positively can bring great returns.
Whether you are the group’s leader or a group member, infusing a positive and proactive attitude in that group will help them focus on the work of improving the company, and minimize the water-cooler chatter that detracts so much from productivity. Looking for ways to make the team function more efficiently, and in essence to help them improve, can motivate them.
Finally, taking an active role in improving yourself during these recessionary times is a smart strategy. What can you do to learn more that will make you better at your job? Are there courses you can take? Are there projects you can volunteer for that will broaden your skills?
One mistake many layoff survivors make is to immerse themselves 24/7 in the job, failing to see the forest for the trees. Understanding the broad context of how your company fits into your business, which fits into the economy, increases your value and your ability to perform well in your job. While it may appear to be selfish or self-focused, the reality is that you add value to your team and to your company by improving yourself.
Adding value to your company, improving the functioning of your team, and enhancing your skills should be objectives for any career-minded worker during even the best of times. These actions initiate the upward spiral that can make a business – and your career – thrive.
Focusing on improvement increases in importance in these recessionary times. You have survived once; make sure it happens again.
Marsha Egan, CEO of The Egan Group, is a certified executive coach and professional speaker, specializing in leadership development and positive change. Contact her at marsha@marshaegan.com.

Article Abstract from May, 2009




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