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Career Remedy : Practical Insights

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Are you having fun at work? What is your lunch hour or social meetings with colleagues like? Is it is filled with complaints and gossiping punctuated with endless sighs and the more than frequent colleague/boss bashing sessions?

Maybe it’s time to do the Steve Jobs test :

Every morning, I wake up; I stand in front of a mirror and ask myself if this is what I want to do on the last day of my life. If the answer is NO, I know its time for a change – Steve Jobs

If your answer is a big ‘No’ then perhaps you should consider letting go and moving on.

If your answer is ‘Yes, without a doubt!’ but you are surrounded by nonsensical politics and all talk and no action scenarios – or simply want to have more fun and results at work, here are some simple ways to do just that.

1. How to Deal With Doubters And Naysayers

Doing or proposing anything that is the slightest bit interesting will bring criticism. It’s all part of the game. The bigger your idea, the more criticism it will bring.

Doubt and not believe seems to be the underlying motto for the majority.

Business is people and people’s personalities vary greatly. Attempting to satisfy everyone will never be possible. So we really need to be ready to deal with the heat.

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity – General Colin Powell

On criticisms :
I remember a wise man once said – If I were to not accept a gift, then who will it belong to? The giver.

Here’s another food for thought : Do not retaliate with brute force, but redirect the force.(More on this in Item 5 at the end of this post)

The following snippet is some great advice from a leadership presentation by Colin Powell:

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.

Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

2. How to Get Support And Buy In

Ever entered into a presentation and the entire room shot down your proposal?

Try this instead:

Syndication : Always seek the views and opinions of key colleagues (colleagues with influence) before your formal presentation. This gives them a chance to really understand your idea, create buy in and  to garner their support. Identify who are the key stakeholders and approach them individually. Speak to individuals  in private and if at all possible in a casual surrounding. Your actual presentation should be used to formalize a plan/program and not to seek support. Going into the meeting room without syndication is like going into a slaughterhouse. Explain to them in detail and seek their feedback. – way beforehand. Compile and re-discuss their feedback if necessary and address all their concerns. Create a list and perhaps put  it in at the end of your presentation to say what has been addressed and what will need to be addressed. The act of listing their concerns brings them into the team/picture and putting them up in the open creates transparency.

If all else fails : you will just have to push it through. Nothing beats showing results to get you the support and buy in you need.

‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ – Nelson Mandela

3. Stay REALLY Focused – Measure Based on Results And Not Philosophy

You heard this a thousand times before – Goals are important.

But more importantly is exactly How to measure the success of the goal.

If we are unable to quantify a goal then there is no way to measure the success of it. Qualitative measures are only indicative but fact based quantitative data are indisputable. Sure there can be caveats here and there to normalize numbers but in the end facts and figures are unarguable.

Many management experts speak on a philosophical level which all fine. But there are too many variables in achieving a philosophy and therefore it is important to have the specifics i.e. detailed plans and measures.

Tying a plan to a specific measure weeds out and stops all the nonsensical chatter i.e. ideas or philosophical talk that does not contribute to achieving the specifics measures should be kicked out the door.

Always have guiding principles:

Sure there a million and one ways to achieve a goal but it’s the guiding principles that makes it clear what to do and what Not to. Anyone without guiding principles who attempts to try everything will surely burn out. Guiding principles helps us to say no to competing priorities and only do what contributes directly to the goals.

Being efficient and being effective are two different things.

You can be the most efficient person doing the wrong things.

Or you can be the most efficient person doing the right things.

I was once told – If a person is looking for the sunset runs as fast as he can towards the east, is he effective? No but he is sure efficient. Know a colleague like that?

Some questions to ask yourself:
What are your company’s/departments specific targets?
How are they measured?
What are the guiding principles to achieve that?

4. How to Separate The Liars

Let’s be clear: There is no fool proof method to detect a lie but this method rocks with simplicity.

It is a method of detecting lies by reading eye movement.

Is it foolproof? Of course not but it works most of the time.(90% as some experts claim)

Your colleagues will fear you and at most this will be a nice lunch topic.

It is based on the notion that we all have a specific and unique process/syntax that our mind goes through to evaluate and answer questions. And depending on the type of questions asked, our eyes will move in specific directions to access the answers in our brains.

To be specific if a person is visually inclined and is asked a question ‘What was the color of the shirt that you wore yesterday?’ – To recall that image she would look diagonally left and up.

If he/she is unable to recall and needs to imagine or create the image, he/she will look diagonally right and upwards. This is when someone is said to be creating an answer and hence ‘lying’.

5. Break The Cycle of Interpretation

Are you interpreting your situation based on the past or on a future that you want?

What??

Let’s say you want to be promoted but received a rejection.

Most will interpret the situation based on the past – ‘I can’t make it because I do not have the paper qualifications’ for example.

However if you were to interpret it based on the future, you would ask this – ‘What else would I need to do to earn that promotion’?

It’s a world of difference and by virtue of the second question alone – it will spawn a entirely different and positive set of answers and therefore action.

The more we interpret situations based on the past, the more we are caught in a virtuous cycle of failures and hence the saying ‘living in the past’.

Try this : ask questions from the future that you desire.

What are the steps that you can do to bring you closer to a future you want?

It is not how good you are but how good you want to be. Your vision of how good you want to be is your greatest asset – Paul Arden

Know and move towards the future.

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