I know you wouldn’t steal your company’s computer. You know the one I mean. The one your employer bought for you that you store everything on and haul back and forth to the office. Fortunately, MY readers don’t steal. They are honest folks.
And of course, in 2018, most of us realize that many of us are being paid for our brain power. Some people do actually perform tasks and produce goods that are tangible, but most of us write, read, talk, organize, email, prioritize, and distribute. Most of us are paid for the knowledge we hold and convey. So, all I am asking you is, “Are you mostly productive?”
This is a gentle reminder that while you are texting, Snapchatting, Instagramming, and Facebooking, unless you are contributing to the social media for your organization, you are sort of stealing.
I am frequently asked about software that monitors how much time employees spend surfing the net, or are otherwise disengaged. I ask, “Who’s going to monitor the employee monitoring system?”
If you wouldn’t steal a computer, then don’t lose track of the time your employer is paying you for. It’s just a simple reminder.
Are you mostly productive?
I went to the movies to see Frozen years ago. The song “Let it Go” stuck in my head and I hear it playing in my mind quite frequently when I am working with clients and teams, or working through my own grievances. I just reviewed the lyrics as I was wondering what makes it so catchy. It’s just the “Let it Go” part that is so apt.
One of the things I constantly notice is how rapidly the successful people I coach and work with “Let it Go.” They are so resilient. Below are some of the struggles that coaches and colleagues I admire have experienced this year and shared with me. In addition to their struggles, they have solutions, and they have “Let it Go.”
Ran out of product to sell.
This woman’s response to me, when one third of her product line was eliminated: “Well, fortunately we have two other products that can keep us in business until we find some alternatives.” Four years later, her business has eight new products.
Laptop and wallet stolen.
This man had his laptop and wallet stolen while he was in a long line at a Starbucks. He was on a call with me tw0 hours later, focused on a project. When I asked if he needed time to process what had happened, he said, “No, I have already filed the police report. As soon as I focus on business as usual, the less impact the theft will have.”
Being fired by an alcoholic.
When this single mother lost her job because her boss was an alcoholic, no one in the industry would rehire her. Her response: “I better learn to forgive very quickly.” She sold her house, went back to school, and now owns her own (profitable) business.
And I need this lesson myself!
When I was recently working with my business coach, sharing a misfortune with her, I said, “You would be so proud of me! After only 2 weeks I stopped thinking about it.” She replied, “I will be happy for you when you change from 2 weeks to 2 hours.”
What are you holding on to that is no longer serving you?
I was able to combine a speaking engagement with a trip to the Oregon coast with my extended family recently. I hadn’t seen that part of our beautiful country, and what can be better than a week with family? We were walking on the beach and enjoying the beauty when we decided to stop and take a picture. We stumbled upon writing in the sand, posed, and my husband took the photo.
See if you notice what’s wrong with this picture:
Well, yes, we could have posed better, but that’s not it. The Sand Sign Creators spelled Oregon differently than we do. Okay, they spelled it incorrectly. We were a bit embarrassed when we realized it, since we had Snapchatted and Facebooked a photo that indicated that we didn’t know how to spell O-R-E-G-O-N.
That led my niece to say, “If only you got caught on camera every time you stole someone else’s idea or work.” And from there, we had a long discussion about how many times in corporate America colleagues “steal our work.”
One family member shared an experience he had when he closed a huge sale with a new client. Through a series of, shall we say, “questionable” events, a new colleague received the credit.
If you have worked with colleagues for even one year, you have certainly felt the sting of being robbed of the credit you deserved for an idea or a project. And even if you haven’t joined the labor market, all of us have had a school project where we stayed up all night and our well-rested classmate stood in front of the class and said, “When I did this research…”
So what can you do about it?
Calm down. Don’t say anything in the heat of the moment that will jeopardize your career or your reputation later.
Don’t take it personally. This behavior happens in all work environments and it happens often. You are not the first person or the last person that this has happened to.
Role model great credit-giving strategies. Before I spoke at a conference a few years ago, there was an awards ceremony. The manager of a department, Pam, was given an award and she said, “I am so grateful to be accepting this award on behalf of the team.” She went on to note one contribution each member made, and then she graciously asked them to all gather for a picture together. Her reputation precedes her. Everyone in the audience knew about her incredible hard work and that she truly was the brains behind the effort. What she modeled was inclusion. Everyone wanted to be on that team!
Remember that you work for the organization. You are being compensated to move the project, the goal, and the organization forward.
Do not “rat out” the idea stealer (in most situations). Your manager wants the deal closed, the project completed. He isn’t interested in being a referee, and he probably already knows that he has an “idea stealer” on the team.
Try to join work on different projects and on different teams so that other members of the organization will see your hard work, your collaboration, and your brilliance. It won’t matter as much to you if you are not recognized in one arena if you are recognized in others.
Realize that the perpetrator has earned his or her own reputation. Everyone knows, or will eventually know, her antics. Just because justice hasn’t been served this time doesn’t mean that members of the organization aren’t aware.
And if all else fails, go out and write in the sand, and be sure to spell Oregon correctly!
How do you handle not receiving the credit you deserve?