This is the first blog post I have written for a while as I wanted to take a break until I felt inspired to write another one!
The many clients I have been working with over that last few months have inspired this reflection on the area of career management and the many different challenges people face at any age and at any stage of their career.
These are some of the thoughts or questions people are having or asking themselves and indeed some I have asked myself over my career
- Why am I not enjoying my job anymore?
- I don’t get on with my boss very well is that a good reason to leave?
- I have been in the same role/company for a few years should I stay or should I move?
- I don’t feel appreciated anymore – am I valued?
- I don’t get any feedback at all and other people seem to be getting more opportunities to progress than I am
- I haven’t got a development plan or any real objectives
- I need a change
- What I really want to do is work for myself
- I need to get back into the world of work after a career break where do I start?
- When is a good time to retire and then what do I do?
- I want to do something different but unsure if I should look for another job in the same company or look at different companies
- Should I get more qualifications?
- I am having a tough time at work at the moment but is this just temporary or should I start looking for something else?
- If I eventually want to work for myself should I just be brave and make it happen or shall I set up a “side hussle” while I am still in work?
- I like what I do but I am not inspired by the industry or the company I am working for
- My work life balance is out of control can I improve my situation in my current role or do I need to change?
Just reading through the list above how many of these have gone through your mind over that last few years? Is there one particular one that resonates currently?
What I am going to do over the next few blog posts is look deeper into a few of the areas and from a coaches perspective illustrate the type of work and further questions you can ask yourself to determine the next steps or possible options you can consider taking to explore further the correct course of action for your personal career management.
Sandra works as an executive coach for businesses and also has a private coaching practice for career/life and business coaching. More information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She is also author of Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon Check book out here and a recently launched series of Own It Podcasts which gives inspiration and tips for professional and personal life Own It Podcasts
In my work over the past few weeks the subject of motivation inside and outside of work has come up a lot. When working with new starts in companies the first thing we cover in their training and development induction is personality preferences and then we move onto their motivational makeup. When you start thinking about what motivates you it is good to consider both professional and personal life. Some people are lucky enough to find professional roles that tick a lot to their motivational mix boxes however in the majority of cases some of our motivational requirements are met by work while others are from outside of work activities. It doesn’t matter how your motivation is fuelled however it needs to be from one source of the other to ensure you are fulfilled and happy with the direction in your life
There are many different things that can motivate us individually and if you manage a team of people it is time well invested to understand not only your own motivational factors but also those of each person who works for you. There are many different models you can use to facilitate a discussion on this subject and the one that I have used for over 10 years has a grid of 21 different things that can be considered ranging from Rewards – e.g. money, perks, status to Creativity to things like suitability,structure and security to name just a few of the 21. The whole point of a discussion around motivation is so that both parties work out what makes the other person thrive. It is also helpful to realise that what motivates one person might de motivate another e.g. I am motivated by new challenges and the types of people I work with whereas my business partner is motivated by variety and fun and recognition. From a leadership perspective working what each member of your team needs to keep motivated is like a golden key. It is also useful to find out what has a demotivating effect on each individual so that if you do have choice it the type of project or tasks that you allocate out amongst the team you can match these to the right person wherever possible.
Sandra works as a coach to both business and private clients and more information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com she has also published a self development book called Own it http://www.own-it-book.com
We are all extremely busy, whether we are working for an organisation or running our own businesses however when I worked for a company the question of whether to do a task myself or whether to ask someone else to do it felt a lot easier to decide. I was lucky to have some good mentors in my corporate career who encouraged me to delegate as much of my role as possible so that I was free to lead my team properly and as a result the people who worked for me got an opportunity to grow as they took on more interesting work and raised their visibility. When working with leaders in a coaching capacity today this is the approach I encourage them to take, working with the fear of initially letting go and trusting others to do work to the same standard. Learning to delegate well is a topic and gives fertile training ground for ensuring explicitness in the final deliverables.
The challenge of delegating to others or outsourcing tasks when you are self-employed or running a small business is often cost. To be specific it’s the return on the investment of outsourcing work and the opportunity cost of your own time spent doing other things that you either find easier, are more able to do or earn you more money per hour.
The fun matrix at the top of this blog illustrates a thought process than can be used to decide on whether to outsource or not and whether to stop an activity or not. Sometimes a key question is firstly does it need to be done at all? Is it something that isn’t adding any value and therefore you can stop doing without any impact on customer satisfaction or profitability. It can often be tough to let go of something if you are emotionally attached to the topic or process however it might be that it isn’t working, it’s not cost effective or may no longer be required. The second difficulty is if it costs you a lot to outsource to an expert and you are running a business which is the early stages and where money is tight you might find it difficult to justify this additional cost. From my personal experience in the early years I did make some expensive errors of judgement in this area and if I look back the mistakes I made where when the activity didn’t pass the value-added test e.g. Did the activity need to be done? Some of the activities I outsourced in the earlier days weren’t critical to the success of the business and I also made some wrong choices when I choose suppliers and didn’t shop around enough to find the right person or company whose values and professionalism aligned to the company we were setting up. I now test any supplier with a small project of work first to ensure I am happy with the quality and the working relationship before outsourcing more work on an ongoing basis. The emotional relief and quality of output when you do find the right partners and can negotiate a win win result in the price paid however is well worth the risk and allows you to work on the stuff you are good at.
More details on this model and other information can be found in Sandra’s book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
We are all familiar with this saying but today I did I get a practical reminder of this fact.
Just catching the train to London on a busy platform three different people came up to say hello within a matter of minutes. All business people or connected to business people and all have access to a lot more people in their networks. It was a very brief conversation as the train approached however it got me thinking.
As we are in the second month of 2016 I have been reviewing goals that individuals set at the start of the year to see how things are going. As a coach I also have my own goals and to achieve the ones that I set both personally and in regards of the business they all require reaching out and connecting with the right people who can help me achieve my goals. When reviewing some of my clients goals the same question emerges who have you connected with since the beginning of the year, who have you asked for help?
Most high performing individuals realise the benefit of building a supportive and useful network and in order to achieve this are normally also keen to put others in touch with people they know who they think could help you. I love realising that two people I know would benefit from having a conversation and over the years one of the most rewarding aspects of my role has been seeing how some of these initial connections that I have initiated have grown into powerful relationships and sometimes powerful business opportunities and solutions.
The step that a lot of people don’t take is making time to strategically review their network in the light of the goals they want to achieve and deliberately take action to make the powerful connections they need to make.
So my action on the train as I type this is to think… Following my chance three conversations on the platform an hour ago are any of those people connected to anyone in organisations that I am trying to reach out too and can I ask for an introduction to another person who may be able to help me.
Anyone who you come into contact with over the next few days have a think whether they might just happen to know someone who can help you with your goals. If in doubt ask, do this frequently so it becomes a habit and a natural skill to add to your personal toolkit. Also when people ask you for similar try and help out it is very rewarding to see some of the results.
Love it or hate it New Year’s Eve will divide most groups of friends or colleagues a bit like marmite. I love it as it provides a perfect time to take stock formally on how the current year has been from a holistic work/life balance perspective.
Some people will argue why wait until the end of the year to review progress and they would be right, in an ideal world a high performer will be having regular checkpoints throughout the twelve months to ensure everything is on track. A more thorough review exercise is still however really valuable on an annual basis similar to the performance appraisals we come across in business life.
So how did you do in 2015? How are you going to review the year do you have a structured approach? The method isn’t that important it’s the discipline of the exercise which I find powerful and encourages continual personal growth and development.
I have kept a few personal development journals over the years and these little books are great for reviewing at this time of year. In these journals are rough goal setting exercises, reviews of prior years in narrative and tabular formats. I haven’t really had a consistent structure as the process has gradually been streamlined in recent years.
On previous New Year’s eves I have listed various elements of my life such as work,family,relationship,friends,health,spiritual,financial,social etc. and given them a score out of 10. Looking back on these tables now the categories show very different scores with some significant areas of improvement which is good to see a reward for some key decisions taken and action put into place in prior years.
A few years ago I changed the format into a more narrative account of what had happened in the year and I did this every 6 months. For certain areas of my life I did specify some particular goals I wanted to achieve or events I wanted to attend.
For the past two years as well as writing an account of the year I also set myself the challenge of identifying just one single goal to focus on for each year and this approach has worked well.
So today on my to-do list is to journal my review of 2015 and tomorrow I will write down my area of focus for 2016.
A recent week in the sun allowed for a period of rest and reflection and it was very much needed to recharge the batteries. Work has been very hectic and I hadn’t planned my holidays last year that well meaning that there had been no break from work for along time. It made me realise the importance of such breaks in relation to productivity and energy levels at work.
I have met a few people recently who haven’t been taking their allotted leave entitlements because of workload and I have had to actively encourage them to devise a plan where this situation can be rectified. If people continue to work long hours for an extended period of time it can cause inefficiency to creep in, leaders can become less effective and teamwork becomes strained.
If you have a customer facing role it is expected that every day you will face the public with enthusiasm and energy. In order to keep these attributes high, regular breaks with a chance to restore your energy levels, are vital.
With technology and ease of availability to work e.g emails , voicemail, in order to take a complete break and recharge you need to be extremely disciplined not to check email and get involved in work related issues while on holiday. Ask someone to read your emails while you are away so that they can edit all the rubbish and only leave those you need to action or actually read. Consciously make an effort to change the daily routine while on holiday. For a week there was no alarm on our recent break…. complete heaven allowing us to wake naturally. There was no schedule of activities we just decided on the day what to do, again a completely different routine. As a consequence of deliberate changes in routine it was a chance to rest, recharge and reflect and energy levels were restored.
Over the past couple of weeks many students have received the results from degrees, A Levels and GCSE’s. Some people will have achieved more than they expected, others may be disappointed. What ever the outcome is High Performing individuals have the ability to adapt their efforts quickly in the light of new information or feedback. They also learn as they achieve and adapt their methods accordingly.
It helps to have an ideal outcome in mind and aim for this eg certain grades, getting a place at a specific university, achieving the headstand as in the picture heading this blog, however the learning may be in the journey to achieving this outcome not the outcome itself.
What have you learnt about yourself while attempting to achieve your desired outcome. Was it easier than your thought? was it far more difficult than you first imagined when you set out? Did you have to ask for help on the way? At times did is seem impossible – what did you do when you felt this way? Did you give it 100% effort at all times?
One key skill of a high performer is how they pick themselves up when things don’t go the way they wanted. How quickly they can accept what is and put together a new action plan or may be to deliberately take time out to reflect what to do next and not make any quick decisions. Take advice, consider options, speak to others who have experienced similar. All of these actions are positive and you are forming your future and your future outcomes