Work, Learn, Innovate: Principles We Can All Adopt in the Work Place was originally posted on the Projects page of LDSTech. It was written by David Kosorok.
We are pleased to introduce David Kosorok as a regular contributor to the LDSTech site.
David is a QA Team Manager for the Church in the ICS Department.
David wrote monthly how-to articles in WordPerfect Magazine for five years and has tested software and managed test teams for over 15 years.
David brings his technical expertise and snappy dress style (jeans, t-shirt and boots) back home to Utah. He enjoys spending his free time with family, reading a good sci-fi/fantasy book, camping, or watching a good movie, in that order.
Look for articles from David every other month.
<hr width="100%"> I’ve been married for over 20 years. With eight kids in one house my wife and I have established a few patterns that keep us moving in the right direction. One of these patterns is her asking me after a stake or general priesthood meeting, “What did you learn about treating me better?” I smile, sit down, and look at the answers I’ve carefully written on the palm of my hand.
Well, this last general conference I was down-right excited to give her my answer: one talk in particular led me to an epiphany, one that I have been able to apply both at home and the office. In fact, since that time, I’ve adopted it as a personal motto: “Work, Learn, Innovate.”
The team I manage serves many groups across ICS. We create tools and services to help other teams successfully build their deliverables on time and with high quality. Every team member must deliver their piece on time or the domino effect hits us pretty quickly. In the October 2009 Priesthood Session of General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration.” (Two Principles for Any Economy) We can’t afford to sit around and chew the fat, so to speak. Instead, we must get up and do it, work our best every day, or we will not have done everything we could have done to build the Lord’s kingdom.
Not only is daily hard work expected of each of us, but we are also encouraged to build our technical knowledge by learning each day. Books, online training, and providing our own internal training (such as the recent SORT conference presented by ICS) helps each of us improve our skills. In the same talk, President Uchtdorf reminded us that, “For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it’s a commandment.” If I am not doing everything I can to increase my knowledge base and skill set every year, become a better manager, fine tune my software testing skills, or better myself in other key ways, I’m not doing all I can to build His kingdom. I’m failing my team members and my customers. Elder Uchtdorf goes on to say that the prophet Joseph Smith taught the Saints that knowledge was a necessary part of our mortal journey, for “a man is saved no faster than he [gains] knowledge,” and that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain . . . in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” Elduer Uchtdorf continues by explaining that during challenging times, it is even more important to learn. Whenever we learn, doubt is diluted and replaced with self-assurance.
Finally, Elder Ballard’s words from a previous General Conference address O Be Wise summarize these previous principles of working and learning: “As we work to magnify our callings, we should seek the inspiration of the Spirit to solve problems in ways that will best help the people we serve… Being innovative also means that we do not have to be told everything we should do.” Elder Ballard goes on to quote from the Doctrine and Covenants: “It is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant” (D&C 58:26).
Applying the principles of hard work and daily learning, we are expected to keep our eyes and minds open, and to look for new and better ways to work. A wheel is better than a sled, pen and paper are better than a stone tablet and chisel, and e-mail is better than smoke signals. Anything can be improved upon and when we combine hard work and the learning of good things we can receive the inspiration to innovate.
No work place is perfect, but if your employer encourages you to work, learn, and innovate, then that’s an environment you want to build a career in, in my book. It also doesn’t hurt to show off to your wife that you’re actually staying awake and paying attention in priesthood meeting.
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