I know plenty of financial advisors who would love to spend a few hours reviewing my investments, cash position, investment goals and helping me make a realistic plan.
I know how much I spent on food, travel, housing, school in the last month, year and if I did the sums I could calculate a rough lifetime spend.
You can always earn more money.
Organisations spend small fortunes developing capital expenditure budgets and operational budgets and auditing the cash of the business.
My time, in contrast, goes un-managed. Most organisations have no systematic procedure to eliminate time wasters. They place clear objectives for the use of every dollar, but no barriers on the expenditure of another hour.
My first girlfriend used to tell me that time is like money but with one major difference – at the end of every day, everything you have left unspent is taken away from you. Imagine if you started every day with €240 and you knew that at midnight, any left unspent will be taken away.
Imagine Managing Time Like Companies Budget Capital
Imagine if every month, instead of receiving a bank statement, I received a time-statement: a detailed breakdown of where my hours have been put, how many were invested and how many just dripped through the cracks.
Would it change how I spend my time? Would it reduce facebook and increase playing with my daughter? Would it reduce email and increase face-to-face meetings? How would the measurement change me?
I hear that we are in the economy of the knowledge worker. Nope, we skipped that.
We were supposed to be shifting from the manufacturing worker to the knowledge worker. All the big gurus told us of this shift. They tell me that it has been going on for 20 years.
The only problem is that the very tools that prompted the shift from manufacturing to knowledge have allowed us to skip a level. We never actually needed knowledge workers. It wasn’t what they knew that was valuable.
Knowledge is easy, knowledge is everywhere
Knowledge is easy. It’s at our fingertips. My 7 year old daughter can find knowledge – in her case how to build different structures in Minecraft. I head over to Google, YouTube, Wikipedia and a few blogs and I am loaded up on knowledge.
How to reset an ADSL modem? I’ll check youtube. How many people live in Georgia? I’ll check wikipedia. What to do to renew my passport? I’ll google it, with a preference for .gov websites.
It is not knowledge that differentiates great employees.
It is not contacts.
It is not presence or communications or a nice suit.
It never was. It was what the best “knowledge” workers were able to do with the stuff that they knew – be resourceful in overcoming obstacles; be creative in facing setbacks; be open minded in dealing with uncertainty.
What matters now is resourcefulness, the ability to devise innovative solutions from knowledge. This is something technology still cannot emulate. There is not a lot of money or reward in “knowing”, there is a lot of reward in taking responsibility for a problem and creating a solution using the resources that are available.
In 1920, at the age of 20, my grandfather took an exam, obtained high marks and got a full time job at The Bank of Ireland. He worked for the next 45 years in the same company, and then retired on a full pension.
This world is gone.
Today, job stability is gone.
Where do I start on this new career journey? How do I find the job that is right for me? What job can I get when I finish my studies?
There is no longer a HR department that takes over your career development as soon as you join a company. You are your HR department. You must manage your own development. You must always be training yourself for the next step up.
We are rapidly moving towards a polarised world of producers and consumers. There are those that produce, and there are those that consume. If you are good at producing and keep getting better, you’ll do well.
The most important thing you can do is to become self aware. What do you enjoy? What type of activity do you care about?
If you just want to follow instructions, robots will replace you…
Today robots and AI will allow any of us to easily and quickly find answers, create products or accomplish tasks fully supported by resources available to all.
In this future, it will become increasingly important for you to know who you are, and find a place of work where you can fully develop your strengths and your passions.
If you care about your job, you’ll do well.
If you don’t care about your job, you won’t learn, you won’t get better and better… and soon a machine will overtake your capacity to produce.
The only way to stay ahead of the machines: Care deeply about your work, about the people that it serves, about the skills you wish to develop to improve your capacity to deliver.
Where will you find the work that you care about?
What Suits You?
What career is right for me? This is not a topic that often comes up in school. Careerwiki says 51% of adults are not satisfied by their career… the younger you can choose work that fits you, the more likely you will have a satisfying career. How do I do this? Repeatedly answering a few simple questions about yourself will help you see the kinds of jobs you could thrive in.
What are your talents? What things do you do naturally and fluidly? These are things you do without even thinking and enjoy doing them.
What is your working style? Do you prefer flexibility or more structure to your work environment?
Where do you prefer to work? Close to home? A small office or large corporate building? Do you like or hate traveling?
What level of social interaction do you like while working? Do you like a team environment or prefer being an individual contributor?
How comfortable are you with visibility? Do you prefer to be on stage in front of others or working quietly in the background unnoticed?
How well do you handle stress? Some people thrive on it while others struggle when challenges arise in the workplace.
The Path of Regular Self Reflection
Nobody can choose for you, nobody can know you as well as you can know you… if you take the time.
Important warning… this reflection can only be done if you are spending most of your time out of the house and engaged in the world. If you are sitting on the sofa all week, you have no new experiences to reflect upon… and no new reflections.
I came across a study reported in Mark Murphy’s book Hiring for Attitude. (Here is a summary of Hiring for Attitude [pdf]). The findings are based on 5,247 interviews. Mark and his team categorised the top five reasons why new hires failed (were fired, asked to leave, received disciplinary action or significantly negative performance reviews).
The 5 Biggest Reasons why New Hires Fail
The following are the top 5 areas of failure, matched with the percentage of respondents.
Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others.
Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and accurately assess others’ emotions.
Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve one’s full potential and excel on the job.
Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment.
Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job.
Technical competence is fairly easy to test. Don’t ask people how they would do something, Ask them about a time they have already done it. Don’t allow people to tell you hypothetical stories, make them share real experience.
Coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are more predictive of a new hires’ success or failure than technical skills are. How can you begin to decide if potential new hires have what it takes to be coachable, emotionally intelligent, self-motivated and have a balanced temperament? Mark says this is more difficult, but you can watch how they are during the interview process.
Positive Attitudes of High Performers:
They take ownership of problems
They’re highly collaborative
They aren’t afraid to make mistakes
They meet commitments
They’re empathetic towards customers’ and colleagues’ needs
Negative Attitudes of Poor Performers:
They always find the negative
They respond to feedback with an argument
They only do the bare minimum expected of them
They get overwhelmed by multiple demands and priorities
They always find someone else to blame for their mistakes
They’re unwilling to leave their comfort zone
How’s Your Employee Engagement?
My friend Bart Huisken is founder of Celpax. They have a wonderfully simple business model. They install a “good day/bad day” detector in the exit of a building and are able to track how HR initiatives impact the attitude and engagement of employees in the companies. Have a look at this 35 second video to see how Celpax work: http://vimeo.com/67047557
I was teaching a seminar recently and a young film producer told me “I am not a good manager”. I asked him why he believed this. He described a recent series of disasters that he had overseen with his team.
I asked him “who are the people on your team?”.
He said his cousin helped out with finances and his uncle was helping out on sales.
I suggested that his problem had nothing to do with management or leadership skills. It was a HR challenge. This reminded me of this video I recorded on “The 5 Styles of Managing People”:
It’s important to adapt your leading style to each individual and actually it goes more detailed than that it is down to each major task that each individual has so that may be that one person in order to produce the weekly
status report they don’t need any supervision at all you can delegate it fully to them, but in creating a marketing plan for the department its something that they hadn’t done before and they’re going to need a lot more “hands-on” management.
As you think about managing people it comes down to individuals and the tasks assigned to them. With each
task that you assign to an individual: what is important to think about are two things:
the motivation to take on this challenge and,
the experience they have in doing this sort of thing
Motivation: 0, 1 or 2
What i would ask is that you think about for each individual motivation on a scale: zero, one or two
Zero: is they are not motivated. Someone with motivation zero: they really aren’t interested in doing this task perhaps with a particular employee they don’t want to be the one that creates the status report for the weekly team meeting, or you’ve asked them to do a planned visit and write up a report on how things are going and they are really not motivated by that they prefer some other aspect, perhaps the technology is something that turns them on.
So zero is that individual is not motivated by this task. One is there is some motivation there it’s not that they are jumping up and down its not that they are asking you “please please can I do this?” but, there is a desire to grow and two: is that you can see fire in their eyes. They really want to do this, perhaps it’s an area that they really want to develop for their future perhaps its a type of work they really love.
In my case i remember when I first started at Accenture, programming computers was something you didn’t need to manage me to do. I loved doing it. I would do it in my spare time, at the weekends. So, my manager looking at me while he hands me a programming task would see me light up and and be excited almost have to hold me in the room to explain the full project before I could go out and start playing with the computers. Because in my mind it was playing that i was doing when I was programming if that same manager had said “on friday, instead of programming i want you to spend the day with the accounts receivable team drawing a process map of how they conduct the process” – that fire would have gone out of my eyes because it was not something that really motivated me.
So with each task and each employee: it’s important to just think about what level of motivation they have to get this activity done and the same for experience and again we have a zero, one, two scale.
Experience: 0, 1 or 2
Someone who has done many years of this, perhaps someone on your team has been creating the minutes for the team meeting for a couple of years they do it well: their experience is two. They’ve got three or four years of experience doing it, they’ve got the template, they know what goes in there, they know what doesn’t go into there they don’t need to ask for help.
Maybe there’s someone has just started on the team, they’ve never created minutes and they don’t know what it quite looks like: their experience is zero.
Maybe there is someone on your team that for a programming task they really haven’t got a background in this, they don’t know the language or they have not programmed in this particular language before so their experience is zero or one or two. So you need to think through…
What’s what’s this skill level of this person how much experience are they bringing to get to this particular activity and you score for each activity and each person:
where they are on motivation: zero, 1 or 2
where they are on experience: zero, 1 or 2
This will give you some basis, so perhaps you have someone who is zero and zero…
The Leaders Window: Management Matrix
Lets move that onto our our management matrix: so you have taken a particular task and an employee… and and you have done the sums, and you have looked at how their motivation is to do this particular task, how their experience is to do this particular task and maybe the sum of motivation and experience is zero:
You decide this person is not motivated by this particular task. They have got no experience: zero plus zero leads to zero.
Motivation + Experience: Zero
When you are faced with an individual on your team that is not motivated and that does not have previous experience there’s nothing you can do as a manager to get them to do this well. So, a zero is a HR problem
A zero: there is no management that you can do to get good work out of this individual. It’s a waste of time giving this piece of the activity to that individual employee. So your best decision, if this is a very important piece of work for the team, is to give it to someone else and if you don’t have someone else to do it
you need to replace this individual on the team because there’s no short or long term solution under which
someone who is not motivated and doesn’t have a good level of experience is going to be able to contribute anything worthwhile to the team so if it zero for motivation and zero for experience you need to find someone else to do this work.
Motivation + Experience: One
Let’s say they’ve got a little bit of motivation but no previous experience; or the other case
they’re not really motivated but they’ve been doing it for long enough that they can do it fairly simply
the case of producing minutes from a team meeting the individual is not motivated but they know generally what it looks like which case you’ve got a one as the sum.
In the case of “1” we move to micro-management in the case of micromanagement you’re going to have to supervise quite closely you going to have to set the activity weekly set the timing and describe how you want it done and audit and look over it anyone who’s in this “1” level whether it’s because their experiences is zero or their motivation is zero it is going to be hard work.
Micro-Management is not something you have an enormous scope to be able to to do much of. So the only reason you will allow someone to be in this micro management level is because either some things is going to change or you can see a path for them either to be more motivated or to gain the experience to be able to do it unsupervised.
Your objective is to move people away from micro-management and move them to level “2”, so level “2” is perhaps there’s a little bit of motivation, a 1 score in motivation and a little bit of past experience: so
one and one gives you two maybe its someone who is young who hasn’t done this before, but is very, very motivated to learn so their motivation is 2 but their experience is zero or somebody who’s not very motivated but they’ve been doing this for a long time and have a great deal of experience and know how to get it done, in which case your score is 2 and that 2 an activity, and an individual with a score of 2: you can Manage.
Motivation + Experience: Two
In the case of Manage, you are delegating the “how” to them so the individual it’s up to them them to decide how they want to do it but you keep control of the when and the what. So its the status report: “I want it 10 minutes before the team meeting on friday”, “I want it to look more or less like what we have always had”, “It’s up to you when and how do you do it”.
Or marketing plan, you set the when: “its due in two weeks time” the what: its a market plan. I’d like it to look to looks somewhat like the template we did last time but you leave it up to them to come to you with the how. but you are available for helping with the how, but that is delegated to them.
In the case of management you’re still keeping control of what is being done, you’re still keeping control of the deadline but you’re passing over the day-to-day work on the project to the individual and again this with the accountability question needs to be reinforced each time they come to you you’re pushing back the problem to
“what else do we need to do?”
“what other things could be done?”
“what do you need to get it done?”
Anyone that you are managing: you really want to be looking at how you can move them to to level 3. Because level 3 is where you can lead. The key here at the management level, and at the micro-management level; this side of this quadrant you have a scarce amount of energy and time to dedicate here once you move your employees, the people reporting to you over into the style of leadership of “leading” or fully delegating; you can start to have many, many more people on your team because they’re not sucking a scarce resource that you have in terms of energy, in terms of time.
Motivation + Experience: Three
Leading: if you look at a task, and this task + person: they are highly motivated, they are really motivated to learn, and there’s a little bit of experience so you have given them 2 on the motivation, given them 1 in terms of experience: “3”, you’re leading.
In the case of leading, you are handing over even more responsibility, you are delegating the “what”, you are delegating the “when” you are delegating the “how” over to the individual and you are being there just to
to make sure that they are being supported to remove obstacles and help them be successful so, you’re role is no longer manager but moving more to coach and pushing the ownership of all of the task over to the individual
and if you’ve got an activity where someone is fully motivated: motivation level 2 and they’ve got plenty of experience: experience level 2 you start to get to 4.
With 4 you can delegate and ideally you want to move everyone into this phase: into delegation
Motivation + Experience: Four
You are now handing over full control, and you’re trusting, you’re trusting and doing some regular verification.
The important thing in delegation: the difference between an employee, a team member feeling that they’ve received something delegated to them, or the negative, they have received it dumped onto them it is a very different feeling as a team member to have something dumped on to you.
The big difference between dumping and delegation: in delegation you tell the individual:
“I have specifically chosen you”
“I trust you to do it”
“I am here if you need anything”
“I know you could do it better than I can do it”
You need to come back regularly with praise. Let them know you are aware they’re working on it. Let them know that you think they’re doing a good job. Dumping is a very horrible feeling. It feels like someone has just
passed, thrown the work over at them because you don’t want to do it yourself.
Having something dumped on you is a very un-healthy feeling. Having something delegated to you and someone look you in the eyes and say
“I have specifically chosen you”
“you can do this better that I can”
“I trust you to come to me if you hit an obstacle”
“if you need some support to think through the problems”
“I trust you to get it done”
“I am not going to follow up, I am not going to check up”
“This is yours to get done”
When you get your team into leading and delegating as the main styles that your working with them as the team lead you now are freeing up your time to really look ahead you are not stuck in the details of day to day
and you are going to be able to start to look ahead and create time really make those that work for you successful.
Freeing up time for the Future
The real job of a leader, a great leader, is someone that everyone underneath them is even more successful than they are without you as the leader that can only happen when you start to move most of the activity that is being done by your team into these modes of leading and and delegating, and giving you the time and the energy to look up to see the roadblocks, remove the obstacles, praise, and reward and really boost the team into a high performance team so these are some important things to think about as you are giving the work to each member of the team and each activity, and each individual team member will need a different style in terms of how you relate to them how you help them take responsibility for their work.
The objective is always to be moving people out of micro-management into management; out of management into a style of leading and as soon as possible moving them from leading to a style where you can delegate.
Delegation can only happen when the individual team member is motivated and they have enough experience to know more or less how to get the job done so your job as a leader is to make working on their motivation and on working on giving them the skills so that they can be a 2+2 person; giving them a “4”, keeping them in the delegate box
if you can achieve that: you’re going to be really successful as a team leader.
John Kotter has an 8 step process that can reduce the likelihood that your project of organisational change (and all leadership projects mean some form of change the the existing status quo).
A big source of failure is starting action before you have put together a solid base of support and understanding before acting.
The 8-Step Process for Leading Change
Establishing a Sense of Urgency – Help others see the need for change and they will be convinced of the importance of acting immediately.
Creating the Guiding Coalition – Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team.
Developing a Change Vision – Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision.
Communicating the Vision for Buy-in – Make sure as many as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.
Empowering Broad-based Action – Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.
Generating Short-term Wins – Plan for achievements that can easily be made visible, follow-through with those achievements and recognize and reward employees who were involved.
Never Letting Up – Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents.
Incorporating Changes into the Culture – Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.
Economist Andrew McAfee suggests that, yes, probably, droids will take our jobs — or at least the kinds of jobs we know now. In this far-seeing talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like, and how to educate coming generations to hold them.
Are you Bill or Ted?
There is a big and growingseparation between the fortunes in the western world for “People like Bill” and “People like Ted”. (Defined at 7:00 in Andrew’s video presentation).
“People like Bill” – not college educated, low-level blue-collar work
Will be replaced by droids. Increasing divorce, increasing underemployment, increasing social exclusion.
“People like Ted” – College educated, professional type, engineer/doctor/lawyer
Have a great future. Increasing opportunity, improved lifestyle, great social life.
What do you think?
Is the future this clearly win/loss?
What is the role of education in preparing “People like Bill” for a better inclusive role in the digital droid future?
I often blog about productivity, about removing purposeless-busy-ness from our lives; but sometimes I don’t car and I want to give the impression that I am really working hard.
Here are 10 golden rules for looking like you are working hard:
George Costanza’s 10 Commandments For ‘Working Hard’
Never walk without a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they’re heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they’re heading for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.
Use computers to look busy. Any time you use a computer, it looks like “work” to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, chat, and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren’t exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about but they’re not bad either. When you get caught by your boss — and you will get caught — your best defence is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.
Keep a messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year’s work looks the same as today’s work; it’s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.
Use voice mail. Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don’t call you just because they want to give you something for nothing — they call because they want you to do work for them. That’s no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice-mail message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they’re not there — it looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel.
Look impatient & annoyed. One should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.
Leave the office late. Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and storybooks that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving. Make sure you walk past the boss’ room on your way out. Send important e-mail at unearthly hours (e.g. 9:35 p.m., 7:05 a.m., etc.) and during public holidays.
Use sighing for effect. Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.
Opt for the stacking strategy. It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).
Build your vocabulary. Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember; they don’t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.
Don’t get caught. MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t forward this page’s URL to your boss by mistake!
PS This might be a joke, but it is also a good checklist for identifying people around you who may be putting more effort into appearances of productivity than into real productivity (or yourself…)
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