Where I am & Where I am going…

When we compare to someone, their success, and riches it feels distraught & jealous. We expend a huge amount of energy around this and sap ourselves.

While we know that we have a fair chance to be as successful as someone if we put our mind and hard work into it.

The internal question we frame while comparing:

“Where someone is and Where I am today”

Let’s turn the question around to:

“Where someone is and Where I am going to be tomorrow”

It changes our perception, gives us motivation for putting energy in our future. And instead of dwelling on comparison and jealousy, it will be far more achieving and fruitful for us.

Righteousness…

Do you want to grow in your career or do you want to be right? The two are mutually exclusive. The need to be proven right in arguments and discussions shuts you out to learning and course correction while you come across as arrogant.

The opposite is your need to grow which makes you open to suggestions, different ideas, and criticism. Some of which will add to your learning while leading to better results.

So, remind yourself each time that you are better off being wrong and learning something new for the future instead of being perceived to be right temporarily.

Inspect what you expect…

As a leader or manager, it’s puzzling and sometimes frustrating “why people do not do as expected”.
Even though we define clear goals and target numbers, it’s still not achieved.
Let’s look at some of the possible reasons & solutions.

#Miss-Communication:- Are we sure that goals and targets are clear to the individual. You should confirm that let’s ask the individual to repeat it in writing if possible. Not that you don’t trust, its just that it’s imperative to understand their clarity.

#How to Achieve? :- “What to Achieve” is clear, but what about the “How part”? Both the manager and the individual should have a fair understanding of how to reach the goal. This should give some confidence level on the achievement of the goal.

#Inspect what you expect:- This is the most critical step, to inspect what you are expecting at regular intervals. Check the status of the plan, where its reached, what are the bottlenecks etc and any glaring problems. Discuss with the individual to understand and help her if possible.

#Postmortem of past failures to learn:- Let’s learn from failures to ensure that in future we do not repeat the mistakes. Ask the individual to do the analysis and comeback with recommendations.

Overall “Inspect what you expect” at regular intervals to guide your team to achieve their goals.

A platform with leverage…

That’s something worth building.
 
Electricity is a platform with leverage. Once communities have access to a little electricity, a solar lantern, say, they quickly discover that they want/need more electricity. The productivity increases create more income which gives them more money to buy more electricity. The leverage that this productivity and income give them (combined with the actual power at their disposal) creates a one-way route toward the future.
 
The same thinking applies to a personal career.
 
The first speech you’ll give will be difficult. The tenth one will be easier. Each speech, well-delivered, creates more demand for more speeches. Each speech given gives you more leverage to give better speeches. Better speeches create more demand…
 
This is the opposite of shoplifting. Shoplifting isn’t a platform or leverage. The system actually pushes back harder and harder the more you do it. And it has no leverage.
 
Some businesses work at scale because they’re a platform (they cause motion in one direction) and they’re able to reinvest from that platform to create more leverage. Amazon is certainly the most shining example of this simple process.
 
But it can also work for the local university. A little learning creates a demand for more learning. Useful degrees as a label for effort offer leverage to those that receive them, and the demand for more learning and more leverage gives the university resources to expand and do it even more.
 
When in doubt, look for the platform and look for leverage.

Breaking down communication barriers to grow…

Even if you think you have a great rapport with someone, you’ll always be receiving some form of filtered viewpoint designed with your authority in mind.
 
It’s hard enough talking to leaders and people in positions of authority. Don’t make it harder artificially.
 
Here are some things you can do to reduce the friction others may feel when communicating with you.
 

Institute an open-door policy

Publicly and privately state that you want people approaching you and giving you unsolicited feedback or dropping in for a chat.
 
Make sure you are approachable. Any barrier you put is just one more roadblock to communicating with you.
 

Recognize your open-door policy is ineffective

Already instituted an open-door policy? Great — it probably won’t work.
 
Many people won’t come up to you for various reasons — shyness, busyness, etc. Arrange a specific time yourself to hear people’s thoughts and opinions in addition to your open-door policy.
 
You can’t be passive about promoting communication — open-door policies are the least you can do.
 

Remove physical barriers

Your office desk is the second biggest barrier to effective communication next to a closed door.
 
The typical office layout involves a desk in the middle of the office, with a chair close to the doorway for guests and the office owner’s chair in a seat of power between the wall and the desk.
 
The problem with this layout is that it creates a very real physical barrier between you and the person you are communicating with. This physical barrier is enhanced by any other item on your desk — typically a monitor.
 
Break down the barrier — position your desk against the wall so that any guest that enters your office to talk is sitting in front of you with no barriers in-between.
 
Remove those headphones, move that coffee mug to the side.
 

Get out of the office

Another person’s office is viewed as hostile territory. Human beings have a psychological aversion to crossing that door frame — the threshold between the outside of the office and the inside — the safe area and the lion’s den.
 
In an office, the lines of authority are clearly defined and communication flows through that lens.
 
You’re unlikely to get effective communication within it.
 
The solution? Get out of your office. Talk to people in their office. Bring people to coffee shops. Grab lunch.
 

Reach out to people directly

If you want to hear from someone, ask them explicitly what their thoughts are.
 
Ask them regularly. Ask them through different mediums — in person, over chat, email, etc.
 
People have different comfort levels communicating through different mediums — find the one that works the best for the person you are communicating with.
 

Build rapport

You’re more likely to receive honest feedback and ensure solid communication if people feel comfortable and safe communicating with you. You can’t build that sense of safety or camaraderie with communication limited to work tasks.
 
Ask people about their day, how their work is going, or what they did that weekend. Build relationships with people, even if they aren’t even in your department.
 

Avoid silos

You can see these environments start to form — groups begin to silo themselves or cut off visibility and communication in the name of privacy, security, or some other reason.
 
Perhaps they begin to place certain information on a “need-to-know” basis, or suddenly make their meeting notes private. Maybe they stop inviting non-group members to lunch.
 
Many times there’s a valid reason to do so — especially in areas where a breach in privacy can be a massive issue (eg. HR, medical, defense, etc.) or a loss of focus can result in decreased productivity (eg. training, junior employees, highly complex endeavors, etc.).
 
However, many other times these silos are created with no other reason than to simply create an in-group, exercise authority, or develop miniature empires to stroke egos.
 
Over times, these silos were to operate independently, contributing to a dysfunctional communication environment that makes delivering accurate messages and operating effectively much more difficult.
 
Effective communication is hard, but not impossible. Leaders can make small changes in their behavior and the environment that lead to compound results down the road.