Rework your development

I love reading books that inspire me and my most recent is rework. This book is aimed at businesses, however I wanted to write about how some of the controversial ideas could be adapted for your leadership development

The book has essentially 7 chapters (I am only going to look at a few in this post)

  1. Ignore the real world
  2. Planning is guessing
  3. Start making something
  4. Embrace constraints
  5. Make tiny decisions
  6. Underdo your competition
  7. Build an audience

Ignore the real world

Many of us unfortunately work in enviroments where the atmosphere is less than positive and new ideas are greeted with ‘that wont work in the real world’, however, if you look at the truly innovative ideas and products of the last 20 years they probably met with the same response.

Routine will severley damage you as a creative, thought leader. If you make the same noises at work as everyone else then be prepared to be seen as part of the group not a leader and individual

Planning is guessing

Now the book controversially advises against long term business plan and as a executive coach you may be surprised that I kind of agree when it comes to development. I have met people that have 5 year plans and that works out for them but it isn’t for everyone.

To test the theory ask yourself, am I where I wanted to be after the last 5 years? Has the business stuck to its long term plan?

Have a Vision of where you want to be eventually, however concentrate on what needs to be done now take action to meet to immediate needs, stay flexible so that you are open to unexpected opportunities.

We all change as people as we get older we should acknowledge this and change our plan as appropriate.

Start making something

Leaders hate problems and love solutions… so if your call to arms to change something in the workplace falls on deaf ears it is because you aren’t presenting solutions.

Start making the solution, this could be a short presentation, run a pilot using your ideas, putting an unofficial mentoring programme in place etc.

Then when you have the facts and can show success then people will be more open to your ideas. I am always amazed when there is a success then people start talking about how they were involved, when they weren’t that interested in the first place.

Embrace Constraints

Learning& development budgets are currently been slashed in spite of recent research showing that companies that spend on development have better productivity, but rather than dwell on this it is time to be more creative.

Development that costs nothing but a little time

  • Coaching, mentoring and shadowing – eitheir ask for it or put yourself forward to help other people
  • Challenge people to get involved in projects outwith their job role
  • Introduce ‘stretch’ concept into 1:1’s, talk about the added value you bring or challenge people to bring added value to their role
  • Access to the internet – you be amazed how much free stuff is on here e.g. follow a leadership blog! ;)
  • Give groups of employees time to work on anything apart from their existing role to come up with ideas that will increase efficiency, productivity,reduce costs,increase employee engagement etc (it worked at google)

Make Tiny Decisions

Sometimes wholesale change in your life can be overwhelming and it allows our inner critic to step in an scupper our motivation. Also if things go wrong on what you see as a massive goal it can become a source of embarassment, the critics in our reality have won.

So, make small changes in your life and stick to them and once it has become the norm add another before long you will have made a massive change.

Another tip is not to talk to much about the changes as it may lessen the energy of the idea, just keep doing it and you will start to hear people commenting on your positive change.

You can find more on rework here (I am in no way related to the authors or publishers, I just liked the book)

http://changethis.com/manifesto/68.01.37Signals/pdf/68.01.37Signals.pdf

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ReWork-Change-Way-Work-Forever/dp/0091929784

Please let me know what you think for or against this book

If your are thinking about buying a new book, here is a link to someone who read 200 and his thoughts.

http://inoveryourhead.net/lessons-i-learned-reading-over-200-books/

The Sisyphus Trap

‘In Greek mythology was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.’

‘In experiments that test how workers respond when the meaning of their task is diminished, the test condition is referred to as the Sisyphusian condition. The two main conclusions of the experiment are that people work harder when their work seems more meaningful, and that people underestimate the relationship between meaning and motivation’

Sometimes as individuals and leaders we fall into this trap, we tried to change things and it didn’t work, this caused us to be fearful so we resolved not to let that happen again and took the safe route. We make compromises with our values, we start saying things like ‘another day another dollar’ (or equivalent currency), ‘I wish I had a job that I enjoyed’

I wish means: wouldn’t it be nice if … If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else. Always wishing life was different. (just like Sisphus) Paul Arden

In fact our brain is hardwired to seek stability and not change as it takes more energy to build new synapsis that are required to retain new information and ways of doing things. Don’t believe me, then think back to when you had to study some new process or qualification, did you feel tired?

To start avoiding the Sisyphus Trap you need to consider

Values & Beliefs Attitude Behaviour

Your values and beliefs influence your attitude and these manifests in your behaviour to yourself and others. When you compromise these too much your attitude will become less positive and this will affect your behaviour.

So step 1 is for you to identify your values e.g. honesty, being creative, team player, recognition, autonomy etc.

Then look at how many you have given up in your current work / home environment. Then plan how you can start to overcome barriers to being ‘valued’ in your life and work. Start with small steps e.g. talking with your boss about other opportunities to be more creative or greater autonomy. When you start planning solutions on how to create links from what you do to your values, you will notice your attitude and behaviour will start to change.

If you are a leader and you notice that your teams attitude, behaviour and motivation is not where it should be then it maybe down to their values being overly compromised. Find out their individual values and help them to see links to what they do. I have run a values exercise with leadership teams many times and it is amazing what sharing values in a safe environment can do.

Summary to escape the Sisyphus Trap

  1. Re-identify your values
  2. Make a plan to connect your values to what you do and take action
  3. Bring meaning and purpose back into what you do in your life through your values
  4. Recognise and appreciate that people’s values are different
  5. Be tenacious and recognise the successes you make

Please use the comment box if you have any questions or have experience of this happening in your working world.

If you would like to talk to me about coaching or team development please contact me at mcdougallmartin@aol.com

It’s Better to Regret What You Have Done Than What You Haven’t

I wanted to leave you with this great Ted video

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions

Important Numbers in Life – the clock is ticking

 

29500 Average life span in days of a woman in the western world

26500 Average life span in days of a man in the western world

100,000 estimated hours you will work in your lifetime

Now some people will argue with my math, however, in this instance my grasp of figures doesn’t need to be perfect, so whats my point?

29500 & 26500 where are you on that scale? life is short and the only certainities in life are death and taxes as Daniel Defoe eluded to.

So what are your goals? Life & work? the clock is ticking… right down 3 that you haven’t achieved and want to.

Now pick the most important to you.

Now your probably saying yes, but… I can do that when I retire, I have a family to support etc

Have a look at this article about top 5 regrets taken from Bronnie Ware who worked in palitive care http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html

Makes you think…

You don’t have time for regrets, we have all made the best decisions we could, at the time, either that or we wouldn’t have made that decision. Let go and move on

What I am not saying is give everything up this instant, what I am asking is for you to consider is how you can make changes in your life to help you achieve your goals.

So ask yourself; what is the reality of your situation, opportunities,challenges, current skills, desire to attain these goals?

How do you enchance the pro’s and mitigate the con’s?

So what can you do about it? what are your options for taking things forward? Which is best for you now?

Ok, what are you going to do first, how can you plan the steps you need to take, to stop it being overwhelming? How do you know your getting there? What is it going to feel like when you reach each step and ultimately you end goal?

Be honest with yourself, whats stopping you?

Finally, thinking about 100,000, its a hell a long time to do something that you hate doing but it will go in the blink of an eye if you enjoy or do I say it love your job!

Congratulations… (not just for reading as far as this in my blog!)… If you have answerred the questions above, then you have had a short coaching session with yourself. If you would be interested in knowing more about coaching please contact me at mcdougallmartin@aol.com

I know January is nearly finished and so will many resolutions, however if you read through this article and you want to tackle your career here is 5 things you might want to think abouthttp://www.linkedin.com/share?viewLink=&sid=s842636350&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eforbes%2Ecom%2Fsites%2Fdanschawbel%2F2012%2F01%2F23%2F89-of-new-hires-fail-because-of-their-attitude%2F&urlhash=Cb_j&pk=nprofile-view-success&pp=1&poster=54966038&uid=5567707556568104960&trk=NUS_UNIU_SHARE-title

photo credit <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1526″>Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>