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Influencing Through Role Modeling

For the last couple of weeks I have debated whether I should write this post or not.  I feel the topic of role modeling is important but writing about myself in this manner seems arrogant.  The topic won out and I decided to write the post.  Please understand my intent is to illustrate how role modeling can influence people, not brag or pat myself on my back.

Over the last few months, I have posted blogs about my own continuous improvement that have been inspired by others.  Some of the topics have been reflection, stand-up desk, and personal kanban (here and here).  I tried some of these things out to improve and change my work.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I was role modeling behaviors of continuous improvement that others at work were noticing.

People started asking me about things I was trying out.  It wasn’t long before I noticed a couple of more people with stand-up desks.  Then others with personal kanban boards being tried.  Lastly, seeing others doing more reflection at the end of meetings or at the end of the week.

It felt good to see others trying new things because of what they saw me doing.  My intent wasn’t to change others but to improve my own work.  As I did, others picked up on it little by little and started trying some of the same things.

It re-enforced the need to always be aware of my actions because you never know who is watching and will pick up on them.  As leaders, we want to send the right message.

My Continuous Improvement – Stand-up Desk

As I look for ways to improve, I am inspired by other lean thinkers and bloggers.  I see what they are trying and look to how that might work for me.  I try and experiment with things in order to make my job easier and to feel more in control and organized.

I decided to start a series that will be based on what I have tried in order to make my work better.  It may be small or large things and most likely it was an inspiration I got from someone else.  I hope that by passing along what I have learned that it may inspire others the way others have inspired me.

One idea that I have gotten from others like Jamie Flinchbaugh (here) and Kevin Meyer (here and here) is the stand-up desk.  I read about the benefits of a stand-up desk.  It is healthier.  It makes it easier to drive the ‘go and see’ behavior.  It makes you more accessible to your employees and so on.

When I was assigned to a manufacturing facility, I got myself a stand-up desk out in the middle of the production area I was working with.  It was great.  I could see what actually was happening at any time.  The employees liked having access to me without having to leave their production area.  People who came to see me to chat didn’t stay long because they didn’t like to stand, so I also became more productive.

Then I transitioned to our corporate office.  I am now working with more office environment processes.  After a couple of months of sitting in a chai I was going nuts.  I asked for a stand-up desk.  There was some crazy red-tape to get through but a couple of months ago I got it.  I have a nice sized cubicle, so I took a section and had it raised with the help of our ergonomic expert.

It isn’t pretty but it works very well.  I am able to get some of the antsy-ness out from spending so many years in manufacturing and walking on the floor.  I noticed more of my colleagues stopping by to ask questions.  More importantly, I got off my lazy can and now go seek out people to ask questions.  I don’t just pick up a phone and call people that are 50 feet away.  And finally, as you can see I can enjoy the nice view out the windows.  Even if it is the aluminum siding of another building.

I get some crazy looks and sometimes my cubicle neighbors can feel uncomfortable because they don’t know if they should be saying something to me.  I have even been used as a landmark.  “I sit in the cube next to the guy standing.  You can’t miss him.”  That might be because I am 6’2″.

I have enjoyed it and it shows that it can work in an office environment as well as a manufacturing environment.