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Up and at ’em: Stepping up to change at work and play


Step Up is a handy pocketbook seemingly targeted to individuals in corporate managerial positions but, frankly, beneficial to anyone wishing to learn how better to influence others. It therefore ought to appeal to anyone who is up to improving their interpersonal skills, be it a CEO of a huge firm or the guy in accounting who simply wants to get along better with employees in other departments. Heck, you might even take some of author Michelle Gibbings’ advice and apply it to your social circles.

The first thing Gibbings talks about is the importance of change. Changing your mindset first, in order to change the mindsets of those you work with (or indeed, mingle with in a social sense). “The only thing that can change is your capacity to cope with change,” she insists, and while it may seem a rhetoric statement, it is a valid one in an age where change is faster and more constant than in any previous era.

Rapidly evolving technologies and shapeshifting business practices make for a modern working environment that is disruptive to say the least, and Gibbings offers hints on how to sift through the chaos and excess information so as to slow down and take stock of your thinking.

Ironically, a tolerance to disorder is an important motivator for the individual to want to change: basically learning to realise and to cope with chaos before trying to tackle it. Here, the author places focus on four ‘C’ words; that is moving away from feeling captured, conflicted and confused and toward feeling more centred.

Some of the advice throughout the book is fairly obvious – like not being afraid to ask simple questions of co-workers, and accepting your flaws before working on them – but then what self-improvement guide isn’t without its cliches? These only make for fresher insights to stand out even more-so.

Step Up is an attractive go-to guide because rather than simply blow smoke up a bunch of CEOs’ butts, it actually considers individuals at all levels of business. While I’m not sure how many folks in big business will be willing to ‘operate with integrity’ as suggested, at least they may be influenced to move away from the old-school ‘winner takes all’ mentality and more toward helpful ‘win-win’ scenarios.

The bottom line here is understanding your own mindset and realising your ability to change this, thereby understanding and helping influence the mindset and behaviour of others.

It might take a little self-analysis and time to decode the responsive behaviour of those around you but then the expenditure of energy and time is sure to see rewards reaped in the long run.  Antonino Tati


‘Step Up’ is published by Major Street Publishing, available in paperback and e-book.

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