Friday, October 23, 2009

Lessons from Kathryn:
Chemistry 101

In a blog post entitled, "It's Good Business to Work With People You Like", Donald Trump says the following: 
"You’re fortunate to work with people you like, I know I am. Some of my employees have been with me for 20, 25, even 30 years. If we didn't like each other, that would be a long sentence of misery. As it is, we work well together, we respect each other, and we get a lot accomplished. Management becomes a whole lot easier if you are careful choosing your employees or partners.  If you can get a core group of people you like and who understand your needs, you will be heading in the right direction.  You have to give people a chance to prove themselves. In the interim, though, it helps a lot if you like having them around." 
Workplace relationships are something I think about a lot.  I think that's because I've had some great ones, and some disastrous ones.  Either way I have learned some of the biggest lessons of my life from those relationships, whether they were a success or failure.  For me there's not too much in between, and maybe that's because I'm such a passionate person one way or another.  I'm either really crazy about things or I'm not and there doesn't seem to be too much wiggle room in between the majority of the time. And yes, I know that has a downside, especially when you're talking about people.  But I'm just being honest.  (Also one of my downsides at times...LOL)

I realized the other day that whether I worked with Kathryn or not she's the type of person I'd want to call and talk to on the phone.  

It's the same way with my assistant, Cathy. She was a member of the church for years before she started working for us, and I enjoyed being with her before she was an employee and enjoy her even more now that she is.  I don't call her just because she works for me,  I talk with her because she's an important person in my life.  If she resigned tomorrow I'd still be calling her just to talk.  However I would have to figure out who was going to travel with me for speaking engagements, driving in the dark in the boondocks, navigating without a GPS, wondering if somebody was going to pop out and try to kill us at any moment.  (Yes, this has happened to us many times.  One time she was genuinely scared that our host was going to eat us for dinner, and I am not kidding.  We've had some crazy stuff happen to us.)  Sometimes I've wondered if there is simply this kind of working relationship possible because we are in the church and knew each other as friends beforehand, but I have come to realize through my situation with Kathryn that no...sometimes it works just because it's the right fit.  Or could it be that sometimes it works  because it's ordained or divine?  I like to think that all three are the case.

In career coaching we are told that 70% of people are hired because of chemistry.  I believe it!   In fact, I have come to realize that chemistry is EVERYTHING in the workplace.  I also believe that there are no coincidences in life and God orchestrates things in the workplace for a reason.  The following is not a lesson I learned so much from Kathryn's wisdom and input, but rather something I learned through the circumstance of her being placed in my life as my manager. 

I never knew Kathryn before working at Next Job .    However she's become the kind of person that I would count on for just about anything and would hope she knows she could do the same for me.   But I remember back when I heard that she was becoming my manager, I was reluctant about it.  My husband was even concerned about it and he's not one to say much about my other job, but on this subject he did.  You see, the person who used to serve as my immediate supervisor was a personal friend, Tina, (someone I knew before coming to NJ) who we knew would always watch out for me, and have my best interest at heart.   Not knowing Kathryn, the change was something I was leery about.   As human beings we have a tendency to fear the unknown...in fact it can be the worst fear!   I already had a comfort level with Tina and knew I could count on her.  Now I was afraid of the unknown.   However, God the Father is ultimately much better than even a personal friend in the company, and He's watching out for us, having our best interest at heart at all times.  In retrospect, the change of having Kathryn as my manager could not have been more God orchestrated and now I realize what a magnificent gift He gave me when HE made the switch!  (Make no mistake, I still love Tina as much as ever, but my point is, I can't imagine my life without Kathryn now.  I often think, "what if this change would have never happened?")   I would have missed out on a great blessing in life. 

I also realize that life on this earth is too short to stay in a place where you are unhappy, with people you are unhappy with.  There is nothing like the joy of enjoying WHO you do life with everyday!  I remember Dr. Lee telling me a few years ago when  he was coaching Larry and I that there were times in his ministry when he was much happier making less money or being at what would be considered "smaller places" because he enjoyed who he was working with.  There is so much to be said for chemistry in the workplace whether it be in the business world or in ministry. 

There are three lessons learned from this:

 1)  Trust the Lord and give Him a chance to orchestrate things even when you are unsure at first.  As Donald Trump said, "You have to give people a chance to prove themselves. In the interim, though, it helps a lot if you like having them around."

2)  Appreciate chemistry when you have it -- don't take it for granted.   It you've got great chemistry going on, you might want to think twice about getting a resume out, even if it's somewhere where you will get paid a lot more or work somewhere more prestigious, etc.  Consider the fact that if you go somewhere else and  can't stand who you work with everyday, the thrill of the pay or prestige may wane.

3)  On the other hand, life is too short to stay in a workplace long term where you don't click with who you work with.   If you are dreading coming in to work everyday, you might want to think about getting a resume active,  for your sake and the person at work who is driving you crazy.  (You are probably driving them crazy too, so do them a favor and leave.)    Or...if you ARE the boss, consider hiring Kathryn to come in and do some conflict management with your team.  She's great at it.

1 comment:

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