Celebrate roadwork, improve your security career

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Ever think roadwork holds the key to improving your security career?

It does.

A few years back my son took a turn as "co-pilot" as we drove our RV through Ohio. He sat quiet for a few minutes before asking me about the "snakes" in the road (he was about to turn 4 at the time).

Confused, I probed to find out what, precisely, the snakes were.

Turns out the sealant used for the cracks in the road appeared to him as snakes. Upon consideration, they did to me, too. And he wanted to know why they were there. For the next several miles, we discussed how roads are built, the impact of driving on the roads and how water can seep into the cracks, freeze into ice and split the roads open. When we finished negotiating the narrow lanes, detours and lane closures, we exited onto a section of the highway that had not been treated. Handling the steering wheel was a sharp contrast to the treated section we just drove on.

The roads that had been treated were noticeably different. They were smoother. So we talked about the difference between the roads someone had worked on and the roads that were taken for granted.

Then my son asked me about the people we saw working on the road -- was it dangerous for them to be working so close to all the cars and trucks?

That led to a long discussion between us and a realization for me: Most of the time we complain and cry foul that traffic was snarled, the lanes were closed or people werent working fast enough. We focus on the immediate -- and often negative -- impact to us.

See also: Are you too perfect to be an effective security manager?

In the process, we take the work of others for granted. By focusing so intensely on the discomfort and interruption to us, we overlook the positive impact they have.

But at the urging of my son, we took a moment to celebrate their work. Because of our conversation, we recognized the difference their effort made. So we clapped, and while they couldn't hear us, we thanked them.

When pursuing a career in security, it is somewhat natural to focus on the negative. Or at least thats what we are taught. After all, isn't our job to focus on reducing risk and preventing bad things from happening?

What if the key to a better security career is taking time to celebrate the good work people do?

By looking beyond the temporary obstructions and potential delays, we might see that the efforts of others have contributed to the smoothness of our experience.

And we should celebrate and say "thank you."

When we do, we'll see it continues. In fact, the efforts spread.

In my case, that particular trip with my family was to Nashville. When we pulled into our site at the campground, we noticed some new sites along the way. The heavy equipment was still on site, the pavement fresh and it just looked cool. My son, enamored with all things construction (which must be genetic - still waiting to get my first real tractor), took my hand and we walked over to the foot of the site directly across from ours.

As the dusk settled, we stood there, quietly, taking it all in. And then he started clapping.

He looked up at me and said, "Daddy, they did a great job, and I'm going to celebrate their work."

We both learned a valuable lesson that day. And I learned the importance of celebrating the work of others.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

About Michael Santarcangelo:The author of Into the Breach and creator of Awareness that Works", Michael Santarcangelo is a human catalyst that advocates for individuals while advancing organizations. By connecting people to the consequences of their actions, he delivers results that reduce risk, increase resiliency and allow organizations to make better decisions and do more with less. Guaranteed.

Learn more at www.securitycatalyst.com/learn, get more insights from his blog at www.securitycatalyst.com/blog or engage with him on twitter.com/catalyst.

This story, "Celebrate roadwork, improve your security career" was originally published by CSO.

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