Making a Difference in Your Work

I recently finished the book “Great Work – How to Make a Difference People Love” By David Sturt and wanted to share my takeaways relevant to the workforce, regardless of your role or industry.

The book exemplifies that innovation can make a difference in people’s lives (big or small) and can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. The book is a guide that uses scientific research, including years of studies and interesting & inspiring real-life stories to show that people everywhere and at any level can become catalysts for positive change in all aspects of their lives. The book details the key mindsets needed to be a difference maker, including examples of how difference makers think and what difference makers do. The book outlines the five critical skill sets that are necessary to perform great work and make a difference including:

  • Asking the right question
  • Seeing for yourself
  • Talking to your outer circle
  • Improving the mix
  • Delivering the difference

Let me give you an example of how at Geocomp, I’ve seen people making a difference that others appreciate, while working from home because of COVID-19.

Our growing consulting group is very busy with project work, but we’ve faced some challenges related to sharing internal resources to get our work done efficiently.  In the past, we all worked together in the office and shared resources including specialty items like computer software for engineering analyses. When analyses needed to be done, we shared the software “keys” that allow one user at a time to perform an analysis and then physically pass the key to the next engineer when they needed to do another analysis.  A system of key sign-outs was devised to ensure priority project work could be completed and that keys were accessible to all when they needed them.

With staff working from home, this process just wasn’t working and we needed to make a change. Our Consulting Group tried using the keys on a remote computer, but this didn’t make much of a difference since there were several other software packages that were being accessed from the same remote computer. We even tried adding another remote computer, but we still had scheduling issues due to the volume of work we’ve been trying to get done. 

Finally, one of our newly hired engineers suggested upgrading to a network license. He researched the cost and provided a comparably low-cost plan to transfer our original licenses over to new network licenses. Such a small change made such a big difference! This iteration of changes leading up to a final result worked well for the team and was felt by everyone in the group from engineers doing the work, to project managers coordinating the work, to myself as the group leader knowing that we could satisfy our clients and that our team was again happy and engaged with their work.

At a time when negative news is all around us, this book was a welcome diversion.  After finishing this quick read, I was inspired and excited to notice examples of people all around me making a positive difference in others’ lives. I plan to continue to promote a culture at Geocomp of making a positive difference for others by providing this book to my staff and hosting a group conversation. I highly recommend “Great Work – How to Make a Difference People Love” to anyone who gets satisfaction from helping others and has big or little tasks that need accomplishing.

Book: Great Work – How to Make a Difference People Love, David Sturt, O.C. Tanner Institute Company (McGraw-Hill Education), 2014.

Post by: Dori Ross, Vice President and Manager of Massachusetts Consulting Group


Dori Ross has been with Geocomp for 11 years. She has been instrumental in growing the company and developing strong relationships with key clients by delivering a positive experience at every opportunity. Dori is a registered professional engineer with over 25 years experience in project/program management in the geotechnical, instrumentation & monitoring disciplines.

Published by Geocomp Blog

Geocomp is a company of people dedicated to delivering best-value services and solutions to help clients identify and manage risks to natural and built environments using innovative applications of science and technology.

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