Act like an executive, impact your company like an executive.

I have said it a couple times before: complaining alone won't get you very far and it means you heavily rely on other people to solve your problems. What helped me in trying to make my environment better, specifically at work, is to ask myself: what would I do if I were the CEO or CTO? What would I change today?

What would you change today?

Now you can ask this in many different ways. In fact, it's an interview question of mine where I ask applicants what they would change in their current team if they were the Teams Manager / Lead tomorrow. So whatever position of power you think in necessary in your org to trigger meaningful, lasting change - imagine you were in it.

You might think of your immediate pain points first: a better procurement process, a fancier notebook, breakfast for everyone. But sooner or later you will start to look at things from a bigger scope. Breakfast is nice, sure, but it won't make or break your team or your company. What will? What's needed to achieve the big goals?

Every team and every company is different so I can only speak from my experience, but when I joined car2go in 2016, I created a "Masterplan" project in Things (my GTD ToDo App of choice). Arrogantly, as if I knew what's best for a company that I just joined, I listed everything I thought that needed to change to make this a company I am proud to work at. It doubled as my commitment to stay, grow and push car2go towards a better future. "Better" meaning a subjective image that I consider ideal, of course.

There were items I could directly influence, like giving purpose to my team. There are topics that are so hard to reach I would need many years to make a difference, like eliminating company silos. And of course, there are items that I could never dream influence, like getting legal to think about our customer first (a big issue for many German companies).

Slowly but surely, I've started to tackle some of the issues. And a lot of them have been changed/solved. Either directly by me, by an influence of mine or by people with the same mindset without me doing anything for it. And it is great! And the longer I worked on these the more I realise that I don't have to be the CTO to change the company for the better. You don't have to be that either. Write down what needs changing, then start to work on it. Talk to people if they agree that this is an issue worth tackling - you might find allies to trigger lasting, positive change.

What happens when you put yourself into that spot is that the little annoying things that bother you fade away. They are still annoying of course but solving them is dwarfed by the impact of helping the entire company to achieve goals or solve problems of a (much) higher scope. It's where I want to operate. Where do you want to operate?