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“The Butterfly Effect” in the Workplace

By: Shawn Pursley, Account Executive 

The question has been asked many times and in many ways:  “What do I/you bring to this organization?”  Whether you are talking about a job interview, a promotion, organizing operational structures, or simply joining a committee, it is a valid question.  What do you bring to a dynamic group of individuals when you become involved with them professionally?

One of the most important factors in answering that question for yourself is perspective.  Most of us work hard and we are grateful for each promotion we are granted or each rung of the ladder we climb. Our perspective is typically focused on our efforts to work well with peers and on impressing our superiors by a job well done.  We perform as well as we can so that we can earn promotions, raises, and further opportunities.  But many of us don’t take the time to consider what impact our performance has on the overall efficiency and health of our organization.

When we perform well, we make the jobs of those around us easier.  Even when our responsibilities don’t directly interface with other positions, our work ethics and attitudes can affect our coworkers in significant ways.  Something as simple as making coffee when the pot runs low could mean that an account manager can return a call faster which results in a successful pitch that generates more revenue.  Or perhaps taking a moment to put paper in the copier subsequently improves the mood of a customer service representative whose resulting positive attitude smooths the feathers of a riled customer who would have taken their business elsewhere had the call not gone so well.  These “butterfly effect” moments illustrate how an employee can make significant differences in their work environment through the smallest, often indirect, interactions.

When an employee is performing above and beyond expectation, it results in a positive and efficient atmosphere for both that employee and all of those around them.  That includes the direct effect such efforts have on supervision since it allows those managers to more efficiently expend their energy solving more critical problems in other areas which can, in turn, potentially benefit other employees, supervisors, and the company as a whole.

This perspective serves any employee or organization well.  From the most entry level position to the CEO, taking a moment to consider how your individual performance and attitude affects those around you can make an immense difference in improving morale, increasing productivity, reducing employee turnover, and fostering an overall positive and rewarding experience for yourself professionally.