There really are two kinds of people in the workplace, aren’t there?
There are those happy with the status quo; who like to work to a set of procedures and tick off all the tasks on their ‘to do’ lists and they feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment during their working day with these strengths. Then, there are those who are the opposite. They observe problems with the status quo, and they’re fixed on trying to solve them and to better the situation. They love the flexibility and adaptability that change brings and it’s in this corner of the workspace that they thrive.
There’s no right way or wrong way here. The world needs both these perspectives and strengths. Today, however, we’re talking about the strength of ‘Improver’ and what this means for the workplace now, and in the future.
Let’s go back to Birmingham, Alabama 1903, right in the throes of the industrial revolution. Mary Anderson was a 36-year-old real estate developer, a business she had been left after the death of her father, on a business trip to New York City. Anderson tool a trolley car lift and observed that the driver was struggling to see out of the window due to fast falling sleet. He was therefore unable to clear the windscreen and was forced to stop, clear and start again. The system the vehicle had in place for such weather was inadequate, but it was something drivers just put up with. Anderson, who was not an engineer but an entrepreneur, identified the problem and its opportunity. She envisioned a windshield wiper blade that the trolley driver could operate from the inside. Thus, a patent was awarded, and the solution is now a mandatory safety feature in all modern cars.
Mary Anderson was an ‘Improver’. If you, too, are an Improver, you’re likely to get a buzz from seeing things change for the better. You might not be asked to fix a problem, but you definitely see problems and have a sense of how to improve a situation. You are likely to be methodical, innovative, love efficiency and simplicity.
If Improver isn’t a strength of yours, perhaps you can use Mary Anderson’s approach:
What will you improve today?