top of page

Workplace Revolution 2.0

I wrote this post on the first two steps for a workplace revolution. Because I heard a lot of griping and complaining but no one had any clear next steps for something better than talking about how bad things were.

Honestly, rage bait gets you more eyeballs than any sort of balanced approach. I commented on a post on Linkedin about how good leaders lose trust through their very human failings. But usually they are not terrible people plotting how they will ruin your day. And the commenters were much more interested in making someone else the bad guy. There was zero responsibility for their part in contributing to a workplace dysfunction. They were much more interested in talking about their toxic boss and zero interested in understanding the actionable steps to a solution. 

The question in the ether is….can we actually change anything? 

Are those with bleeding hearts and a strong sense of justice able to move the needle?

Is there room for something better or is becoming a cynic the only way to survive?

Look, I was born with a strong spirit and a call to change the world. I know. Cringe. It’s not cool to say that. It didn’t help that my upbringing fed the delusion. All I had to do was figure out how I was going to participate in changing the world. So, I am always focused on the actionable part.

My bandwidth is limited, so I only care about stuff that will actually move the needle at a systemic level. I am not going to spend my time and energy marching at a protest because it’s unclear how much of an impact they make. If at all. And I am not going to risk things going sideways because a large group of people is volatile and unpredictable. It’s not my style, so I am going to say no when you invite me to a protest. 

I need something more boring and substantial. That’s just how I am built. And that’s what makes me interested in harnessing the power of the big emotions with which people decry the current state of the workplace in America, and channel it into something that is actionable in a way that actually gains traction. I know the work is for life and you have to be in it for the long game, but I am a fan of the stuff that creates transformation in the short term and begins setting the foundation for the long term. That’s why I am going to give you the next two steps to the workplace revolution. 

Paraphrasing my last post:

Step one is to have clarity of vision of what you DO want to see. But you have to be specific. You have to balance the thirty thousand foot view with getting very granular. You can’t just rage against what is and try to move away from it. You have to move toward what you do want.

Step two is get buy-in. Let me tell you that it’s a lot easier to sit and gripe and navel gaze about the state of the world than it is to become the kind of leader people want to follow. (If you haven’t signed up for The Lift you totally should. Our next cohort starts in September- sign up HERE for the waitlist.) Getting people excited about your vision is one of the biggest and most important skills you will ever develop as a leader. Otherwise you’ll only ever be an intellectual full of good ideas that never see the light of day.

End paraphrase. Now you’re all caught up. 

Okay pay attention because I am going to keep it short. 

Step three is: build them a map to get there.

Systemic change is daunting. 

It can make your knees buckle just to face the enormity of the job we have ahead of us to bring a better, more beautiful way. And if you get everyone excited but don’t give them a path forward, believe me they will become immediately disillusioned.

I used to work at this place where the staff kept saying “they always say things are going to change and be different. But how is it going to be different? What does that even mean? And they’ve been saying that for twelve years and everything stays the same.” 

I came in all fired up, really believing in the vision that the execs I interviewed with shared with me. Let me tell you! I got an education. Sharing space daily with the employees, I could see the chasm between the executives that sat in their headquarter offices (that were so much nicer than the employee’s) and the people who actually carried out the work (who didn’t have a proper breakroom to take their breaks and lunch so they usually just stayed in the same space and had to take care of the patients but not get paid for it). They were pitted against each other but no one would bring up their real concerns and issues that they gossiped about with me during the staff meetings. 

At the time, I didn’t know the term “psychological safety” but I could tell people didn’t feel free to be honest. There was a lot of coded language and I felt whiplash from the exaggerated back and forth. The executives called people lazy and uncreative, and the staff called the executives detached, uppity, uncaring. It was a hot mess. And I was so anxious that I began to drink an unhealthy amount after work, just so I could calm down enough to have dinner with my kids. But the drinking caught up with me. I was constantly tired and it interrupted my sleep. I stopped being physically active and it was really hard to connect with my family. The stress made it hard to mentally disconnect during the weekends. I began taking antidepressants.  

Talking about change and something better without a map to move forward will only make you come across as disingenuous. Someone who is paying lip service but can’t be trusted. Or maybe your people will think you are an okay person with good intentions but are inept at leading. Which is just as bad. You want them to trust in you and believe in the path you’re laying before them. So your strategy needs to make everyone feel like what is required of them is doable and they are set up to win. 

Only then can you harness the power of those willing to follow you into a new reality where work doesn’t break your soul but instead makes you into a more expanded version of yourself. 

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page