Thursday, November 20, 2014

You take your skills wherever you go

I've got a new job and it's very exciting; it's been a while since I've been in a position where I didn't know what I was doing. I am finding it exhilarating!

Day four and what I've most noticed is... that while I may not understand the nuance and tasks associated with the business and the job, the skillset I have is exactly the right fit for the job. Too often we get caught in the details, worrying that the specifics are missing. It is really the big picture into which we need to fit; everything else falls into place with time and experience.

Actually, I did the very thing I coach others to never do. As the job was described to me, I said "Hey, I know some great folks to send you who will be terrific!"
"Why not you?" I was asked.
"Oh no... I could only do a third of the job competently," I replied.

Even the mentors forget their training occasionally.

Am I immediately useful to my new manager? Yes. Because I understand the critical thinking necessary for success in delivering what he wants. So I can ask good questions even if I don't have access or understanding of the specifics yet. Risk, controls, cost, people, behaviours, etc. are all still valid questions. In answering these questions, the entire teams drives to a deeper and stronger solution.

I might not be able to propose solutions at this point but I certainly can contribute thoughtful questions. That's a habit to keep, new in the job or not.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are goals like New Year's resolutions?

We have great intentions but often a goal or resolution is only a concept with no plan. Sometimes it is a goal that is so large it is overwhelming or unrealistic.

I had a goal to run every day this summer. I had no plan. I had no thinking around how to mitigate the risk of bad weather, achy tummies or working long hours. I was absolutely determined to run every day and that's as far as I got because it seemed like a reasonable, attainable goal with a few missed days notwithstanding.

At the end of each week, I reasserted my desire to run every day.

Here's what I should have done:
·         Decided what my minimum standard of running would be vs. declaring EVERY day a running day
·         Looked at possible risks/impediments and figured out mitigations
·         Evaluated at the end of each week if I met/exceeded my minimum steps towards my ultimate goal of a daily run

It's the same for all goals. I may say I'm going to clean my whole house this weekend but we all know that's not possible. What needs to be cleaned this weekend? How will I know I've achieved the minimum? How will I plan to eventually sweep through the whole house? What stands in my way of getting the house clean?

And – perhaps most importantly – how will I celebrate the steps I took along the way towards the bigger goal?

I think we love New Year's resolutions because we have a party at which we're celebrating our resolve.
Maybe it's time to add the celebrations at the week or month mark of the steps towards those big goals & intentions. Maybe it would motivate us to stay on track? To plan and evaluate better in order to reward ourselves along the way?

I know I'm running four days a week and I'm seeing improvements. I have a long-term goal but I'm very pleased with my progress and the steps along the way. I wish I'd approached some other goals the same way…

Monday, October 27, 2014

Governance can be fun!

If you were asked to make up a new swear word, how would you approach the challenge?

Like many, you might start by asking questions:
Why make one up?
Who is the audience?
When do you need it by?
Is there any funding?

All good questions but not necessarily in support of building a good swear word - or the right swear word.

This is where governance can help. Asking about and understanding the principles of a good swear word can support better ideation and execution. Principles are guidelines (though some are hard/fast rules too) that ensure the basic design principles are understood and can be effectively executed and consistently measured.

Governance, effectively applied, can speed the process instead of stalling it. Governance is not all artifacts and forms (which are a record of your application of the principles). Governance can help you imagine the next great swear word!