So You Want to Work at Google? How to Make Your Workplace “The” Place to Work

April 20, 2014 8:39 pm Published by

So you want to work at Google? Or Apple? Or one of the “cool” places where they have free food, flexible work hours, and an informal work environment?  But the challenge is – you don’t live near Silicon Valley or have the skill set they require. (The second issue is the real limitation, isn’t it?)

So what can you do where you work currently?  Even though you may not be the owner of your company, or even a high level executive, you can help make your workplace become “the” place to work.  Really.

It is all about influence.

We all have influence, and generally we have more than we think we do.  Influence is a result of communication between people, modeling, and shaping others’ behavior.

If you work with or for other people, communication happens. How you communicate with others probably has as much impact as what you communicate.  If you communicate directly, respectfully, and positively with those around you (this includes people you may just talk to on the phone, or see in the hallway), then you are going have a positive impact on the culture in which you work – as opposed to those who communicate indirectly (or not at all), condescendingly, and in a complaining manner. (I guess I should also mention that communicating appreciation for what others do is a good strategy, too!)

Secondly, we influence by modeling.  That is, not all of our interactions are directly with others, but there are times when others observe how we handle situations and communicate with clients, vendors, or other departments.  So calmly handling a complaint by a customer, or cheerfully offering to go the “extra mile” to make sure a client’s needs are met can be a “teaching moment”, modeled in front of our team members.  As some have said, people are often influenced more by what is “caught” (by observing) than “taught” through direct instruction.

Finally, we can influence our workplace environment by shaping the behavior of others.  To some, this may sound manipulative or controlling, but I am just describing what happens in real life.  When we compliment someone on an action or attitude that we value (for example, answering the phone cheerfully), the person is more likely to repeat the behavior – they may or may not because it is their choice, but it is true they are more likely to.  Similarly, if someone is engaged in a behavior we don’t appreciate (for example, complaining about someone else or gossiping), if you just walk away without saying anything, they are less likely to demonstrate that behavior in front of you in the future.

It takes time, intentionality, and perseverance but each of us can shape the interactions and “mood” of the people around us to be more positive, supportive, fun, and less negative.  We can help make our department different than the others.  Eventually, (it doesn’t take too long, really) people will notice, and will want to work for our department, or division, or office location – and over time we gather more and more positive-focused team members.

In virtually every community or industry, there is a company or organization that has a positive reputation of being a good place to work.  In fact, one of the most common descriptors you hear is that “they treat their people well”.  I hope that my little company will have this “rep”  — “Yea, it would be cool to work for Dr. White’s firm – they not only provide top quality services and products to their clients but they seem to have fun working together.”  How about you, do you want to make this a goal for your department or company, as well?


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April 20, 2014 8:39 pm

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