How many of you have ever used a light switch to turn a light on?
Most everyone in a first world country, right?
And when you turn the light switch on, what happened?
The light came on, didn’t it? Well at least if the power was working or the light bulb wasn’t burned out.
The more important question is – How many times do you expect a different result when you turn the light switch on?
Probably none. We all expect the light to turn on every time.
When I get up in the mornings, I know that after a certain time that if I start petting my chihuahua that he will want to get up and be petted. However, if I don’t make a gesture that resembles petting him, he will simply lay there and stay still or continue to try and sleep.
What do chihuahuas and light bulbs have to do with anything?
Glad you’re wondering and keep reading!
How often do we repeat the same action and expect a different result?
For example, how often have you forgotten to take out the trash resulting in your spouse getting mad? In all the times you’ve done that, it’s usually the same response, right? Don’t take out the trash, they get upset or irritated.
In the workplace, how often has:
- Someone failed to come in on time and the supervisor been less than thrilled?
- The Know-It-All been any less annoying?
- The Company Gossip seem any less slithery?
- The Loud Talker been any less distracting?
- The Golden Child of the boss been well liked by the rest of the group?
I know this article has been full of questions. But, I really wanted us all to stop and think what it means when we are repeating an action, yet expecting a different result. You know what they say insanity is – doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
So the goal was to really get you thinking about what actions you are taking and the impact they have. Then next, begin contemplating the different steps you can take to break free from some of those actions and the impact they will have on your personal and professional relationships.
For actions regarding your professional relationships that can have an impact on the trajectory of your career, I’d strongly suggest that you consider the light switch analogy. I’d also encourage you to remember that as a leader or someone who wants to lead, that if you’re not getting the result you want from someone, that you contemplate changing your behavior to elicit a new response. Because as the leader, you are responsible for setting the tone and finding ways to influence your staff to optimize performance, productivity, and profits.