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Personal development

Strong ideas loosely held is the path to success.

Often our opinions are not heard by leaders, whether bias, credibility or other reasons. In that moment when there is no acknowledgement or you are shot down or the conversation moves on to someone who is listened to far more than you, you know that you flogging a dead horse. One of my colleagues has a saying “put it in the drawer and dust it down in two years”. When she told me this, I was puzzled. The reason: when I don’t get heard I keep going in the hope the message will land. Repetition irritates others and hope is never a strategy, its better to take my colleagues advice and move on and put the suggestion in the drawer for another day.

Strong opinions are often based on bias, so we need to consider our first position as an initial hypothesis, until we uncover further information to develop an opinion. Source https://medium.com/@ameet/strong-opinions-weakly-held-a-framework-for-thinking-6530d417e364. We need to actively seek out contradictory information instead of clinging to an opinion.

In the words of John Gruber: Strong ideas loosely held is the path to success. The inference is not to cling to your original idea, decision, or forecast even in the face of contradictory information. In fact, actively seek the contradictory information — this provides you with data to iteratively improve the situation or forecast, until you get to the right answer.

If you have not disproved your original opinion, when the opportunity comes knocking, you dust down your opinion and off you go for round 2! However by now you may also have a greater groundswell of support and evidence, but what was implemented is not working.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink: the power of thinking without thinking , makes the argument that people frequently make some of their best decisions in mere seconds. We think without thinking, sizing up situations and determining how we feel about someone or something based not on voluminous new information, but rather on our accumulated experience.

The alternative is that other facts or information have emerged, which demonstrates your opinion or idea was ill informed and its time to well and truly move on. This is also a great personal learning to reflect on what bias created the strong opinion in the first place?

Categories
Personal development

Connecting with your peers and leaders

A common question I get asked is how to connect with peers and leaders in the business, when there is not the opportunity to meet with them in your daily work.

Here are three ways you can connect to a wider circle in your organisation:

1. Share insights, information that you know will be valuable to the receiver. An example is being close to the customers I get to hear what is happening in the market, trends, changes in leadership and more. With this information I would text my boss and bosses, so they knew what was going on. My team also do the same thing, as we work in frontline of sales. I also send a weekly update across the division and beyond as people ask to be added to the distribution. The update contains key information on what is happening in the team, whats in the news relative to the customers we manage, insights, key frustrations for customers and focus for the following week.

2. When you spot a problem, Don’t walk past it, thinking its not your area. Own the development of the problem statement along with interested peers. Set up a workshop to outline the problem and brainstorm solutions with people that are interested in resolving the issue. This is an opportunity to get a cross functional team across the problem. The owner of the solution always emerges. Phenomenal opportunity to work with an extended network in your company

3. Praise your colleagues and leaders by thanking them personally in a call, email and internal workplace. Be specific about what they have done and utilise the company values to call out the behaviour that supported the value, and ensure your include their boss and bosses boss if relevant . We all love to be praised, recognising others is a great way to connect with your colleagues and leaders. Also call out your boss or leader if they have done something that inspires you, helps you or just for caring. It’s important for them as it is for you to be valued.

Creating connection with others is critical to being successful. The wider the network the more effective you can be in your role.

Categories
Career planning Mentoring Personal development

Tips for young women starting out in their career

carreer womenIf you are career minded and want to get on, there are 5 things to start doing now, don’t leave it too late to achieve the following:

1. Sales and Finance

Both skills can lead you to a CEO role. Rarely is the top role filled from other disciplines in a business. So nailing one or the other or both, is essential is you plan on getting to the top. Sales has had a bad wrap, but it is the best place to prove yourself by delivering outstanding results.

Action: Land a sales role or finance and get exposure to the other, by working with those teams, understand what they do and how you can learn from each other.

2. Public speaking

If you are not able to hold a room, then your career will come to a screeching holt. No matter how good you are, public speaking is key.

Action: Join Toastmasters and practice practice practice

3. Mentors

Find great mentors inside and outside the business. Ask your boss to help find the person in your organisation. Outside ask your family or friends. Once you have established contact, its your responsibility to schedule the catch ups ie once a month.

Always go prepared with questions for your mentor. This is a great opportunity to seek out advice on how to deal with situations, understand what they have done to get on in their career. Most important: Be vulnerable.

Ensure you thank and acknowledge feedback. Get comfortable as you cannot get to where you are going without feedback. It’s a lifetimes work.

4. Networking

Meeting new people, making new connections, helping them with their goals, is the only way to get on in life and business. It’s also gratifying helping others and they never forget your generosity. Use every opportunity to get out and network.

A great read, to help you learn and implement great connection with others is How to win friends and influencers people by Dale Carnegie

5. Develop an opinion on whats happening in the world

Not only develop an opinion, share and challenge others. This will build confidence. You dont have to agree with anyone, be seen as holding your own views. One of the criticisms of women by senior men, is that women don’t have an opinion on whats happening in the world.

Also look at your behaviour, ie giggly girls is not how you want to be remembered.

Good luck with your ambitions, ensure you get as much support as you can and remember to let others know your plans along the way otherwise they will fill the void with wild assumptions that I can guarantee are not going to help you. As my business coach says to me ” never die wondering” in other words ask the questions and speak up!