Bucking Convention: 3 Workplace Rules Meant to Be Broken
The truth is I’ve never been great at accepting the status quo. Most conventional things, especially ways of thinking, seem a bit basic to me.
You could say my aversion to the “normal” started when my mom tried to teach me the ABCs. I learned all 26 letters but couldn’t be less interested in reciting them in the conventional order. After a few weeks of trying, she embraced my perspective – and we moved on. She continues to encourage me to color outside the lines every chance she gets.
Now, I’d like to think I go with the flow more than my stubborn days as a toddler. But I still believe there’s good reason to balk at conventionality. In fact, here are a few times when bucking convention really paid off for me.
NEVER WORK WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
I hired, and ultimately fired, my best friend. Now, you might be thinking: “Duh, that’s because you should never work with your friends and family.” But even after going through that experience, I still disagree.
Working together taught us both so much. For one, having to tell your best friend he’s not meeting performance expectations brings your feedback skills to a different level. Because of that experience I rarely shy away from difficult conversations. Also, working side-by-side with my best friend taught me to take myself less seriously. He helped me bring more of myself, and less of who I thought I should be, to my work. For that, and so many other reasons, I’m so thankful.
After we parted ways professionally, he went on to find a job that brings him fulfillment, and I learned how transformational it can be when someone finds work they truly love. If you’re wondering, we’re still best friends. We even laugh about that time I had to fire him.
STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW
If I had listened to this nugget of “wisdom,” I would have never found my way into the insurance industry or to Assurance. I went to school for psychology and worked in the healthcare field. After that came to an end, I had a choice. I could find something familiar that was tried and true. Or I could contemplate what I love doing – and then find a way to do it. I chose the latter and jumped into a totally new industry. Yes, it freaked me out at first. But it has ultimately led to fulfillment and purpose.
Even still, in the nearly five years I’ve been at Assurance, my role has evolved and changed more times than I can count. In fact, no two years have looked the same. As a fast-paced, growing business this level of flexibility has been needed from me. Who knows where I’d be if I didn’t push myself to learn more, sometimes in unconventional ways.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY...
Okay, I don’t have a story to go along with this one. But I really hate this saying. Mostly because the truth isn’t always exactly nice. Now, I’m not suggesting you should ever be unkind. Just the opposite. I think telling the truth, even when it isn’t exactly conventionally “nice,” is the kind thing to do. Bottom line, it shows you care.
Aside from professional and personal growth, there are really good reasons to approach business unconventionally. These examples only begin to scratch the surface. Out-of-the-box thinking allows for higher levels of innovation, creates a greater sense of belonging and promotes inclusion and diversity. All of these things are good for your people, your clients and your community.
So…when’s the last time you bucked convention?
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