Avoiding Extinction

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Avoiding Extinction 2017-04-10T08:23:37+00:00

Avoiding Extinction!

How to Provide Personal Value in a Changing Workplace

Increasing the amount of value that you personally provide in today’s and tomorrow’s workplace will not guarantee you job security at your current employer. Learning how to add value will however make you more marketable and employable in general. The “Avoiding Extinction” process requires you to reframe your beliefs, alter your behaviors, and redesign your job, all in order to add an increasing degree of personal value on a daily basis.

Completing the six steps of this process will help you meet all three of the above requirements. Once you have completed an initial pass through this process however, you will not be finished. The pace and magnitude of change in the world will not allow you to do so. Fortunately, most of these steps set some important personal systems in motion to facilitate repeated use of the process.


In a sense, the process of adding value can be boiled down to how you spend your time — every minute of your day, each day. Making such investment decisions however is not as simple as it sounds, and involves much more than “simply” practicing effective time management. Adding value is much more of a mental process than a physical one. It is not as much about how you spend your time as it is about how you decide what you spend your time on, how you act and think as you spend it, and how disciplined you are in adhering to the goals and plans that support your efforts.

One major key for adding value at work involves aligning your beliefs, behaviors, and daily tasks with those that are valued by the organization. In turn, you need to know the direction the leaders of the organization want to go, what processes they feel are important to improve, and roles they expect people in your position to fill. Since cost effectiveness drives most organizations, you need to know what the key cost areas are, and what actions you can take to minimize those performance areas that you can influence.

About the Avoiding Extinction Process

The “Avoiding Extinction” process represents an evolving attempt to provide supervisors, line managers, and others in support roles with a practical tool for preparing themselves for the workplace of tomorrow (and today in many cases). It was created out of frustration to a large extent, as many packages that dealt with adapting one’s role to the changing workplace fell short of providing practical, usable tools for actually making such significant personal changes.

It was also designed with respect for the jobs of the line manager and supervisor in particular. When one does not work on “the front lines” on a regular basis, it becomes difficult to form a perspective of what it is like to try to change the way they do their job in the midst of the daily “fires.” This workbook attempts to show an appreciation for such time demands and job stresses, while also providing practical tools for making a personal role change possible. Part of this workbook is centered around the twelve knowledge, skill, and ability areas (KSAs) defined by the Association for Quality and Participation in their “Voices From the Field” research. I personally feel that these twelve skills are important (if not mandatory) for any individual who is considering some type of role in tomorrow’s workplace. This is particularly true if this role will include some form of leadership responsibility.

EXPLORE More: The Need for Great Front Line Leaders

Three design factors were followed to help make the Avoiding Extinction package more effective:

  • A Focus on Skill Retention and Application — This first factor is based on the fact that most formal training focuses mainly on creating awareness and understanding, but usually falls short of achieving skill retention and application. This process contains a variety of tools that are included to foster both retention and application.
  • A Focus on Theory Building to Enhance Learning — This second factor can be summed up by Deming’s statement of “No theory, no learning.” Instead of tweaking tools or rearranging approaches that currently exist in the field, the package developer has worked to build new theories on such topics as personal change, role shift techniques and challenges, and time for learning into the exercises and other content of this package.
  • A Focus on the Individual — Last but most important, the process reflects a personal change slant. In respect for and in support of the “Inside Out” theory of personal change prescribed by Dr. Stephen Covey, the package developer has designed this process so it focuses on the future career needs of the individual first, and the organization second.

If you see value in this workbook or need more information about it, please send me an e-mail at kevin@greatsystems.com and we can see what we can do about getting one into your hands. I also do onsite, customized workshops that are based on the concepts and tools found in this workbook.

Keep improving! – Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems

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