You have freedom to choose | Story no. 138

When I came on board as director of human resources, I heard horror stories about what my boss like.

I was actually in his office when he lost his temper with an employee. I vowed then and there never to get on my boss’s bad side.

I spoke nicely to him in the hallways. I had all my reports in on time to his secretary. I made sure I wasn’t one of the last people out of the office for lunch so he wouldn’t single me out. I didn’t even want to play golf with him in case I beat him.

A short time later, I started to seeing myself in all my cowardly glory. I was consumed with things on the job that I had no control over.

I would spend precious creative energy devising solutions to problems that hadn’t even happened yet.

Because I was scared, I wasn’t giving the company my best effort. I wasn’t an agent of change. In fact, the only change I felt comfortable instituting was me changing to another company. I even had an Interview scheduled.

Ashamed of myself, I canceled that interview and committed to focusing only on those things I could truly influence for just 90 days.

I begin by deciding – I wanted above all to create a sound relationship with my boss. We didn’t have to be best buddies, but we did have to interact with colleagues.

One day my boss came into my office. After some discussion and after swallowing and practicing the words in my head a few times, I said, “By the way what can I be doing to help you to be more effective here?”

He was perplexed. “What do you mean?”

I barely forged. What can I do to alleviate some of the pressure that you have in your job? It’s my job to make sure your job gets easier.

I will never forget the look on his face. That was really the beginning point of our relationship.

At first, I was asked to do just little things, things I couldn’t really screw up, like “type this memo for me” and or “do you mind making this call for me?”

After six weeks of doing that, he came to me and said, “I understand with your background that you know worker’s comp pretty well? Do you mind working on this aspect of insurance? Our rates are high, see what you can do?”

It was the first time he had asked me to do anything that had a significant impact on the organization. I took a dollar 2.5 lakh premium and got it reduced to 1 lakh 98 thousand.

Once when we had a disagreement, I proved to him that it stayed behind closed doors.

I soon discovered that my 90-day test was paying off. My relationship and influence did grow by focusing on what I could do to change the environment in which I worked.

Today, the trust between me and my boss is very high, and I feel I’m making a contribution here.

De-briefing of this story

No matter what is happened is now happening or will happen, there is space between those things and our responses to them.

If there is even a fraction of a second between stimulus and response, that space represents our power to choose our response to any situation.

By exercising your freedom to choose, you may change those bad circumstances and profoundly influence people for good.


Story Source

From the book “The Eighth habit” by Stephen R. Covey


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