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Career

66 STASHED IDEAS

"The Standard of Performance" is a way of doing things

The standard of performance is a leadership philosophy where the focus is on disciplined improvement as well as core values, principles and ideals.

This approach is not about control - it is about instilling excellence.

Makayla O. (@mak_oo16) - Profile Photo

@mak_oo16

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Career

The highest contribution to our goals comes from applying the little things consistently.

In isolation, these trivial things are seen as insignificant and we quickly brush them aside. But when combined, they make a big difference in the things we achieve.

We all start on goals with good intentions. But a common mistake is failing to identify the tangible actions needed to make meaningful progress toward that goal.

We do this for three reasons:

  1. We don't really know why we want to reach this goal.
  2. The goal is framed as "could" or "should". ("I could go on a diet") instead of "must" ("I must study").
  3. We don't have specific, step-by-step instructions to follow (what, when, and how).
  1. Choose an action and an attitude that will make the highest contribution toward your goal. The actions are the daily habits that make everything else easier. The attitude is believing that it will work.
  2. Give yourself instructions to follow. Write down what, when and how you'll do it.
  3. Commit your action and attitude to at least 66 days. Studies show it takes about two months to make an action become the new normal.

If you focus on your habits, your goals will take care of themselves.

Authentic Leadership: Growing Pains

In the last 10 years, authenticity has been a huge buzzword in the business press. Professionals who are good at their core job, are more often than not struggling in roles they get after they are promoted, as the same skills that made them successful are not enough.

These transition positions require us to leave our established identity and move towards new skills, often at the cost of a complete personality overhaul. This identity crisis while shifting towards a new role feels inauthentic.

  • The word ‘sincere’ comes from ancient Rome where merchants selling statues would often hide the cracks and flaws with wax. The ones who weren’t dishonest used to hang a sign outside their shop saying “Sine Cera”, meaning without wax.
  • The world ‘authenticity’ comes from the Greek word ‘authenteos’ which means: What is done by one’s own hands.**
  1. Authenticity is being true to yourself: But if the ‘self’ is changing, how is one authentic to the past, present or future self at the same time?
  2. Authenticity is being sincere: It is about saying what we mean, and meaning what we say.
  3. Authenticity is being true to your values: If one has an ingrained value, one cannot sabotage it.

A professional moving up the ladder wants to be successful and have the desired impact, but if in doing so has to sacrifice the ingrained values and integrity, one would end up being less sincere and more ‘political’.

The answer to this paradox may be on how we see our job. If we are only focused on content delivery, knowledge, ideas and research, we would not be able to do anything with ourselves. We have to focus on owning the space where we work with our presence, creating engagement and increasing learning.

Being authentic and sincere is only possible if we grow ourselves through learning, which happens when we do things we aren’t very comfortable with.

We have to move out of the comfort zone we have created in our existing job roles and take the approach of self-authoring, by experimenting and learning things we haven’t done before.

Managing Without Micromanaging
  • Micromanagement has a bad reputation, and team members want to work autonomously, not being watched all the time and told what to do.
  • Managers, however, cannot be held guilty in most cases, as team members doing complex work often need extensive help, and are now farther away in their homes, making it even more difficult to oversee.
  • Extensive research has shown that ‘pervasive helping’ leads to better performance, as compared to leaving the employee alone.
George S. Patton
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

Successful managers don’t preempt every obstacle a team member encounters but watch and listen, looking for the right time to pitch in. If someone is already stuck in the challenge, first-hand, they are engaged enough to take the advice in a positive manner.

Lending the hand at the right time makes the employee use the instructions in a better way, as if the same thing was said in the beginning, it would not have registered with them at all.

  • The power dynamics of being a manager and the multiple personalities that make up a boss can make the subordinates doubt the fact that they can get any effective help.
  • A boss stepping in is perceived as a sign of failure.
  • Employees can become defensive, unreceptive or the provided assistance and demoralized with the involvement of a boss.
  • The Manager needs to clarify their intentions and voice out the fact that they are there as an advisor and not an evaluator.
  • If the project is complex, cognitively demanding and highly creative, one has to engage in a deep manner in the short term, but non-engagement(path clearing) in the long term.
  • The manager has to step in when an employee has come upon an obstacle which cannot be taken care of by some feedback or light input and may need to closely align with the team for days.
  • If the other two key strategies are followed by managers, they won’t have a problem doing a timely and intensive intervention when the need is there.
Larry Fink
Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential; it will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”
Human Well-being 

As companies strive to become more meaningful, purpose-led, sustainable and connected to human well-being, they are seeing increasing value among stakeholders and customers.

A crucial Alliance

To make real progress, governments, civil society, companies, and charities must come together and form an alliance.

As companies work towards their purpose, these are new skills they need to learn:

  • Empathy
  • Global movement
  • Employee orientation towards meaningful work.
Empathy

Companies usually look at what customers want or need.

They need to understand the feelings of the customers, their motivations and empathize with customers beyond the product, at a grassroots level.

Global Movement

Normally, companies are spending top dollar in marketing and lobbying around economic agendas, to increase their profit share in the market.

They need to have a similar global movement towards social causes, using the resources they have, to have a real impact.

Helping Employees find meaning

Good, purpose-led values that drive work in the charity sector needs to be cultivated at the workplace.

Corporates should unlock the purpose and motivation that a charity has, by making their employees find meaning in their work, and helping society, starting from their workforce.

Being Smart Is Not Enough

Most companies hire the smartest people they can find, as they look for candidates who can provide innovative ideas, do the best kind of ‘coding’ or make a great presentation/report.

What hiring managers overlook and often ignore are the predominantly social people who ‘talk’ a lot, and are always on social media, assuming them to be a useless, unproductive lot.

Geniuses: An organization filled with genius-level workforce won’t have people learning from each other, turning into an anti-social organization full of isolated, lonely performers.

Butterflies: Socially adept workers pollinate good ideas and spread innovation around, even ideas that may not be concrete, brilliant or easily visible. This makes the butterflies an essential part of the pollination of information in the organization, creating a healthier, more productive environment.

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