The Place Where I Want to Work
by Greg R. Barry

I want to work where all of us, regardless of titles or positions, come early to work everyday because we are excited about trying or changing something we woke up thinking or dreaming about the night before. Where all of us go home from work at night wanting to talk about what we did that day, rather than trying to forget about it. Where the phrase "This is the way it has always been done" is replaced by the phrase "This is the way to do it better." Where there is an atmosphere and culture that is fun; and where on late Sunday afternoons, we start getting excited about Monday morning.

I want to work where we can find a better way, everyday, of doing things; and where by shaping our own work experience, we make our lives better and our company the best it can be. Where all of us are involved and we feel personally responsible and have accountability for our success. Where expressing our own feelings, thoughts, and ideas is encouraged to challenge the system in order to make it better. Where anything and everything is possible regardless of the height of the hurdle. Where the politics are left to the politicians we elect to office, not in our office. Where we are told "you did a great job today" and where we are rewarded by someone simply saying "Thanks."

Is this unrealistic? Just a dream? Or even impossible to achieve? No, because it exists today. This type of excitement, involvement, and high-energy fast paced culture is present in every successful start-up enterprise throughout the world. It does not currently exist in big companies but that does not mean it cannot happen in ours. For it to happen, we need to start thinking of ourselves as a small start up company and change our mindset to the point where anything is possible. We should not get bogged down by the past but instead we should be looking towards the future. We need to put on a fresh pair of eyeglasses and view our company by not what it is today but what it could be tomorrow. We need to realign our thinking and conclude that our glass is now a jar and it is three quarters full instead of half empty. Our future success depends upon it especially as we head into an uncertain future. Remember, what we do today will dramatically affect our future of tomorrow.

Try this as a test. Tonight when you go home, take a different route home. Take a route that is unfamiliar and see how it feels to experience change first hand. My guess is that it will be a whole new experience and one that you will enjoy. You will experience things you never noticed before. Neighborhoods, shopping centers, and parks you never knew existed. If this is good experience, I offer the same challenge when you go to work tomorrow. Come in 30 minutes early and try something different in your job. Look at things differently and challenge yourself to ask the question why? And what if? In addition, challenge your peers. Ask them why? And what if? After all, this is the kind of place where I want to work. How about you?

Greg R. Barry is Vice President of residential products for Lithonia Lighting located in Conyers Georgia. His interests include Strategy and Strategic change. For comments or opinions he can be reached at

See also Creative Leadership, High Performance Teams and The HR Refresher in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2001 by Greg R. Barry. All rights reserved.

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