Sunday, December 30, 2007

If it ain't broke-fix it

How often do we as individuals perform our work duties in the same mundane manner, day in and day out? We show up for work, taking the same route, parking in the same spot, carrying the same contents in our lunch bags, and arrive on time, or within that 5 minute ‘tardy’ time- to just follow the same routine as yesterday. Typically our daily work activities have been set as precedent by the job description, the employee who conducted the training or just by the nature of the job. Our experiences sometimes come into play, but are often underutilized, as we make the unconscious decision to stick to the same routine. Well why not; if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

But where does that leave room for personal or even employee growth? How do we excel, or use our talents to accomplish bigger and better results, whatever the situation?

Given today’s sometimes stressful work place, employees often times don’t want to ‘rock the boat’, offer input or advice due to fears their voices won’t be heard or that their supervisor hasn’t requested any input. But, knowing that routine doesn’t always equal success, why is the ol’ ‘cog in the wheel’ so mainstream in today’s employee/employer relations?

Making a difference for the animals is always on a shelter worker's mind, but why isn’t it also important for the worker themselves to find ways to enhance the current conditions, for everyone involved? Can’t that same employee recognize when something can be just a tad bit better, and if so, can’t that same employee go ahead and make minor changes without fear of ‘rocking the boat’?

Too often animal welfare organizations beat to the same drums of yesteryear. They preach the same rhetoric, advocating old philosophies and ideals and even utilize old standard protocols and procedures. Industry statistics don’t predict the average age of kennel workers, but just walk into any brick and mortar and you will see younger and younger hands on technicians and animal handlers filling the shelter walls. They are however mixed with old school thinkers, the ones who have scrubbed cages and fed the animals exactly the same way for years, and who sometimes challenge the changes the more progressive staffers might want to initiate. Even new ‘bosses’ bringing in up to date or new ideas to their positions are often met with skepticism by nay sayers.

Change can often be painstakingly slow, even when things don’t look like they need to be changed. So let’s not let ‘newness’ become the dividing line between the usual ways daily routines have been traditionally performed. But get everyone on board, one at a time if necessary and let’s open the proverbial kennel doors to question the belief that ‘routine is right’ when fixing it is really the issue. After all it might be broke without anyone even knowing it.

CherylAnn Fernandes

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