Archives for posts with tag: Decision making

ImageRegular visitors to the blog will have seen yesterday’s discussion blog post entitled “if you could make one change, what would it be?” and there was a great discussion with a wide range of responses. Sadly, I haven’t quite located that magic wand as yet, so rather than grant the wishes, I thought I’d simply highlight some of them today.

So, what was on the list? Well there was my straightforward (and lazy) wish to be able to speak a foreign language with ease (and without effort!) and my wife’s latest attempt to convince me that we need to get a puppy! Strangely, there was a consensus amongst those who wished they lived in a different country that the ideal location would be Switzerland. Send me back a Toblerone!

There was a fantastic, and very selfless, suggestion from one commenter who wants to change the ruling elite to those who put others first, with an excellent chain of events that would lead to “teaching others that it helps everyone to consider the wellbeing of all”. If only I really did have that magic wand! Maybe a bit of Eric Clapton will help to change the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGDIxcuPT7s

For some people, the big change they wanted to make in their life was to change their career, including to work for themselves, and some had already bitten the bullet and made this change. A lingering regret in some cases was that this hadn’t been done earlier, and this chimed with another popular sentiment that a number of commenters expressed. This was that they wished that the knowledge, self-belief and confidence that they possess now had been theirs when they were younger. I can strongly empathise with that view, if only we could fast-forward through the painful, growing up experiences quickly and then time could slow down again so that we could enjoy the fruits of those experiences at our leisure!

Sadly, it seems, life doesn’t seem to work that way. And I think, on balance, I’m glad for that. No-one truly enjoys being in the midst of some of the more painful, difficult experiences of our lives. But if we’re really honest, those adages about needing the rain in order to truly experience the sunshine contain more than a grain of truth. Getting through a bad time can make you even more grateful for the good times.

This was emphasised by one contributor who would change nothing about her life as she is grateful for all the things she does have, including her family, her business and her health. Another contributor wished she could change an aspect of her health – a life-long anxiety disorder – whilst also acknowledging that it was a driving force that underpinned her carrying out the job that she loves. We need the rain as well as the sun!

I’m also a strong believer in experiential based learning, or learning by doing. And, sadly, some of that “doing” inevitably involves making mistakes, bad things happening and general pain. However, if someone tried to sit you down and teach you all the lessons that could be gained from that “doing” without you having to experience the bad bits, would it have the same effect? Would you even listen? Your parents or teacher or other well-meaning adult may well have tried to do this for you. Did it work? I suspect not!

Finally, there was quite a common theme around commenters wishing they could be more confident, whilst worrying less, working harder and being bolder. I’m going to have a mull on that one, so watch this space for the possible topic of a future blog post!

Advertisements

ImageFor today’s blog post, there’s going to be very little from me, and (I hope) much more from you! I’d like to start a discussion with you, as part of ProBlogger’s Group Writing Project. Please have a think and start hitting those comments with your thoughts, and I’ll give my answer in the comments too.

So here’s the topic I’d like to have a discussion with you about: if you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? Something related to your career, your personal life, your own skills and abilities, where you live, anything? If there were no limitations of time, money, effort, of anything, if I could wave that mythical magic wand. What would change?

Over to you.

ImageI’ve spent most of today working through part of an online training course on Six Sigma – a process improvement technique. As interesting as the subject matter is, sitting in front of a screen all day reading about complex concepts and making copious notes in the hope that they’ll stick in your brain isn’t the most dynamic of ways to spend your time.

So it was nice to come across, amongst all the descriptions of statistical models and definitions of documentation requirements and team structures, a rather nice saying that I believe has applications far beyond the field of process re-engineering: one cannot change what cannot be measured.

It caused me to pause in my work for a moment and ponder the truth of the statement. It made me think of times in one’s life where things aren’t going as well as they could be and, from within the mire of worry or upset or perhaps even panic, it can be difficult to comprehend a way out. Sometimes this difficulty can – at least in part – stem from the fact that the root causes of the problem aren’t clear. When this is the case, it is easy to unknowingly fall into the trap of trying to solve the problem’s symptoms, thinking this will resolve the situation.

Only when you are able to clearly understand the genuine underlying causes of the bad situation are you able to begin to successfully identify the possible steps to be taken to resolve those causes and start on the journey towards addressing the issues once and for all. So, only when you are able to accurately identify and understand (or measure) the matters requiring resolution are you then able to set out the necessary actions to make the desired changes.

So, as well as a phrase that has great significance to the process re-engineering industry, I believe that it also has a bearing on coaching, for it is often with the input of a coach that the key issues facing an individual are finally able to be measured. I don’t mean that the coach whips out a metre rule and starts trying and failing to take measurements of intangible thoughts and feelings!

Rather, I mean that the use of probing questions and structured models and techniques can be the independent, objective approach that teases out a greater understanding of the underlying issues. This, in turn, could be the factor that makes the difference to an individual who has been trying their best to positively address the issues facing them, without realising that their efforts are to no avail, solely because they are unwittingly targeted at the effects instead of the cause.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself thinking that things are not going very well, whether it be in your work or personal life, you will think to yourself “one cannot change what cannot be measured”, and take the time to be sure that you have accurately identified the causes of the stresses or concerns. That way you can effectively make the changes that are required to improve the situation and, ultimately, your life.

For more information on coaching or to book yourself a free introductory session, go to www.millerandmillerconsulting.co.uk

ImageToday was the day of the dreaded job interview. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love talking about myself as much as the next person. Probably more. Unless, of course, the next person is Katie Price. I do have some limits.

But there’s something about the enforced formality of the situation that gets my blood pressure on the rise. Perhaps it’s the fact that the pressure is on to apply the brain filter for a whole hour, pretend to be a proper grown up and not blurt out ridiculous stories about my school days and spending time at the local swimming pool, which had a wave machine. Not that I actually managed to avoid those particular topics today, but you get the idea.

Obviously the primary nerve-inducing element of most interviews is the pressure to successfully secure the job. This can lead to the interviewee concentrating on the professional aspects of their lives – skills, experience, responsibility, etc. All obviously very important to clearly express during an interview, and undoubtedly key factors in the interviewers’ decision-making process on your suitability for the role.

But I feel that failing to allow a little of your personality out might be selling yourself short. Most employers don’t expect their staff to be automatons, an error free package of work-related skills and abilities applied robotically to any situation flawlessly and emotionlessly. It is increasingly becoming just as important to demonstrate that you are a good “cultural fit” to a particular team or organisation as to demonstrate that your skills are relevant to the role.

That can mean letting your professional guard down a bit and letting the interviewers in on a little of your personality. Show them you have hobbies or other outside interests, for example, indicating you’re a well-rounded individual, or perhaps casually mention your wife/husband/family, demonstrating your work-life balance. Share a little evidence of your good sense of humour. Though go carefully here – simply quoting knock knock jokes may not confirm that your sense of humour falls into the “good” category. Worse still, a full on Bernard Manning routine may not be the thing that seals the deal on the job offer!

I once received feedback from a former line manager that I hadn’t actually cracked a single smile during the whole interview, and it was only when she lead me down the corridor to the room in which I was to sit a test that I allowed one to pass my lips. I’m naturally a very smiley person, especially when I’m a bit nervous, so I was really surprised to hear that. I suppose I was focussing so much on not showing my nerves that I blocked out all my little tell-tales signs, but inadvertently went a bit too far with the smiles! The feedback was that they weren’t sure whether I was right for the team until I relaxed and let slip a smile in the corridor, because they just hadn’t got a sense of my personality from the interview.

These days, therefore, I try consciously to leave interviewers not just with an understanding of my suitability for the technical aspects of a role, but also with a sense of my personality. I work hard, but I like to have fun too and I believe that people and teams are far more effective when they are able to be themselves and have a sense of camaraderie in the workplace.

So I feel comfortable – and, indeed, justified – letting my guard down a little more during interviews nowadays. Which is my excuse for telling daft swimming pool based anecdotes, and I’m sticking to it!