A few weeks ago, in a regular client meeting one of the directors made a comment that has stuck in my mind since…. she said, “it’s good to mix things up a bit every so often”. We were talking about business changes that were happening, changes in personnel and a potential merger that looked likely to happen in 2020. Her reaction to all the changes that were happening impressed me because it wasn’t one of fear despite the uncertainty that was ahead regarding her own role. Some other people could have had an opposite response to the same set of circumstances. They could have been fearful and negative about all the changes and if they were vocal about their personal reaction then this could have rubbed off on other people involved who were perhaps themselves feeling uncertain about what the impact would be on them.
I think we can all get comfortable, myself included especially when things are working relatively well, and life is ticking along. When this happens to me personally I do enjoy the stability for a while and there is the reassurance that you can work or live with relatively little pressure when you know what to expect and you are doing things well within your ability levels and capacity. Don’t get me wrong having periods in our life when we operate in this way are great and in fact needed as we don’t want to always be living in a pressurised, unpredictability way as this can be very stressful.
The tricky thing I think is recognising when the time is right to “mix things up” or start doing something different or consider changing something that is working ok. They word OK is I think the key and is what I have been thinking about since hearing that phrase made by one of our clients a few weeks ago. A lot of the changes we have made to our business in the last year haven’t been triggered by things breaking or circumstances demanding we change. The changes we have made have been to things that were working OK, things that could have gone on in that way for many months or years and could have been still satisfactory. We decided to make the changes we did for a couple of reasons firstly we weren’t enjoying some projects anymore; the comfortable feeling was starting to tip into a feeling of dissatisfaction as we knew OK could have been great. The second reason was that we weren’t growing personally or professionally and when you are in the business of encouraging personal development role modelling the right behaviors is important.
In finishing this, first post of 2020 at the turn of the year and decade, one question I will leave you with is this “Is there anything that would be good to mix up a bit in your life in 2020?” Go for it, take things from OK to great.
Recently I have been working with a couple of people that have taken on new roles either from internal promotion or moving to a different company. We have been talking about how important it is to have a plan for the initial few months of the role. For many reasons adopting this methodology is helpful: to create a powerful professional first impression, it helps prioritise your time so that you learn as much as you can as quick as you can and you start building relationships with all the key stakeholders.
So what might this 90 day plan look like ? Take a look at a book entitled The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins for some more detailed material.
It should be a very personally created plan that is tailored to suit both you individually and the needs that success in the role require both short and long term.
As Steven Covey states in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People “ begin with the end in mind” even when planning for the first 90 day transition period. A few questions that might help you here are :
- If you imagine the new role in two years time what do you want to have achieved?
- What legacy do you want to leave?
- How can you add value to the role?
- What type of person do you want to be described as by your team/colleagues?
- Describe you short/medium/long term vision for role
- What do your stakeholders want from you
- How can you take the role to the next level
The next element of the plan is to assess the current resources that are available to you both people and otherwise? How well do you understand the different personalities and motivations of the individuals that are critical to your success? If the answers are difficult in this section the first 90 days might include an action to build this knowledge and assess the resources available.
The final element is what actions are required to close the gap and what are the quick wins that can be accomplished in the first 90 day’s. In addition for the longer term action items, when they are broken down into chunks which are the chunks that can be realistically set down as goals to achieve in this 90 day period and which what chunks need to be assigned to the 180 day plus part of the strategic plan
The final step is to pull all the elements of the 90 day plan above into an easy to update one page top level summary that you can carry around with you as a working reminder and communication tool for the next 90 day’s,
Sandra works as a coach with both business and private clients. More information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com
Make space to enjoy your surroundings
Someone asked me this question earlier in the year regarding my diary management, however as the months have gone on I have used this question for both my own time management but also in some of the coaching conversations that I am having with our clients.
How often do we look at how we are using our time and assess are we spending the time on the right things. In our Time Management Programmes we state that one resource that we all have equally unlike money, talent, skills etc is time. We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. How we use it, however is our choice.
- When it comes to Job Hunting , are you making enough space in the diary for networking, putting your face in front of the agencies? So that people see your personality rather than just a curriculum vitae on their desk.
- When it comes to Leading People are you making time for quality 1-1’s with your direct reports? To understand their individual personality and motivation.
- When you are Running a Business are you making time to put together a solid strategic plan? Schedule some time away from the office to simply think where do you want to take the business.
No matter what role you have, and why this question was originally asked of me was, are you making enough space in your diary for “unstructured time” so that you are not running from one meeting or appointment to another?
Enjoy the space.