Brian Smith Ph.D. and Mary Smith’s new book, Individual Advantages: Be the I in Team, could easily float in the current stratosphere reimagining workplace ideology and discourse. Many nonfiction authors are capitalizing off the current trend that is overtaking business endeavors of all shapes and sizes, not only in the United States but across the globe.
The seismic shifts altering the once cutthroat, cold nature of the corporate jungle are proving subjective to a certain degree, interpretive in some cases even. There’s a sense of intangibility outside of the core tenets inspiring the massive overhauls of corporate hierarchies. Everyone has an opinion on what a more equal, more judicious workplace looks like. Some authors write their opinions in vague, generalized statements — emphasizing the visceral over the factual, the emotionality over the proven statistics. Both the elder Smith and the younger Smith do a good job balancing the relevant emotive aspects of such a change, but curb any excess with hard data and a bastion of good, old-fashioned, everyday-proven common sense. It’s less about the actual actions one takes in a corporate leadership role, they write.
While obviously traits belonging in such a category are relevant, it’s really the attitude someone with that profile goes in with that makes or breaks the operation. “Change is not something to shy away from,” the Smiths write. “Change brings new beginnings and is something we can, and should, embrace. We see change everywhere, not just in our personal and professional lives but around the world. In politics, stories, sides, and positions are changing constantly. In marketing, businesses use strategies to alter public perception regarding their products.”
They continue, “When we think about change consciously, our minds tend to turn it into a negative. We fear change, as it is the unknown. Alas, change is inevitable. We must accept that change is consistent. The challenge will be for you to find a way to consciously embrace change in a pragmatic way, so you can be positively influenced by the unknown. Only by opening ourselves up to the possibility of change will we learn, grow, and become positive leaders for ourselves and our teams.”
The footnote they apply to this insight is especially evocative. It reads, “All change begins with a choice.” It’s a nice articulation of a mentality that has finally enabled for ideals like justice, accountability, and ethics to have the same positional rankings as productivity, industry, and success. It’s ironic as many critics of the present day culture write about the excessive technological and social advancements resulting in feelings of distress, isolation, and alienation. Yet it is those same technological and social strides continually pushing the goalpost forward — opening new opportunities for underrepresented groups, creating ethical and sanitary working conditions, and shining a light on injustices of a white collar profile.
It’s a welcome change of form, and books like Individual Advantages: Be the I in Team do an excellent job of advocating and articulating why such strides are welcome, in some ways being life-saving.