Resist. Resist. Resist. That seems to be the congressional model these days. Whatever one party is for, the other is against. Before an idea makes it to the blogosphere, opposing party political pundits are railing against whatever approach or bill or stance was taken.

Now before smugness gets the better of us, I\’d suggest we take a closer look. The against-it-resist-it road is alive and well in many workplaces, too. Of course the labels are different. It\’s not those Democrats or Republicans, it\’s those employees or that management; it\’s the boss or the workers; the finance department or human resources; or the front line versus support areas.

Being against something is often easier. We don\’t have to stick our necks out if we can grumble against budget tightening instead of proactively sharing fiscal responsibility by cutting our favorite projects or limiting our spending.

We don\’t have to risk failure when we can identify flaws in a coworker\’s approach rather than develop, pitch, and execute our own ideas. We don\’t have to look inward at where we work and shop when we can rant over senior level compensation, rather than standing firm for working at or buying only from companies that offer fair compensation to all levels.

When you follow the against-it-resist-it road, you don\’t have to be in the spotlight, voice what you believe in, or offer solutions. You can finger point or blame or identify problems without engaging in ideas or answers.

This may seem like semantics. But the difference between being for something versus being against something is significant.

You see, when you\’re for something more backbone is needed, more independent thinking is required, more integration between who you are and how you operate is necessary. When you\’re for something, you\’re working towards what you want to bring about or contribute to, and that shifts accountability, energy, and commitment.

Being for something requires strength of convictions and a willingness to stand up for them. And people who are winning at working know it\’s the way to create sustainable change, develop solutions to twenty-first century problems, ignite a thriving economy with plentiful jobs, have meaningful work, and engage personal talents and passions.

People who are winning at working know that it\’s when they tap into a purpose bigger than themselves that they offer the best of who they are to their work, and the world. They\’re full of ideas, self-motivation, trust building approaches, and meaningful contribution when they work for something they care about.

What about you? What do you aspire to bring about in your life? Be for that. What do you value? Be for that. What do you want more of in your work or workplace? Be for that.

(c) 2009 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Award winning author of Hitting Your Stride (Capital Books; 2008). Radio host of “Work Matters with Nan Russell” weekly on Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. Sign up to receive Nan\’s “Winning at Working” tips and insights at

Nan Russell Columnist, Writer, Instructor

Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, and speaker. Her career insights column, Winning at Working ( ) regularly appears on over eighty websites; and her life-reflections column, In the Scheme of Things ( is published in six states and Canada. Her work has been selected to appear in several anthologies. To sign up for Nan's free eColumn(s), or read more about Nan or her work, visit: