Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a discussion

Opinions. Advice. Lessons learned. Cautions and questions. Seems for every idea someone has, someone else puts a fence around it.

I'm not any different. Some days I stop myself from saying anything by silently asking "Do I need anyone to know that I think that?". (which is counter-intuitive to blogging, I know! lol)

Ideas thrive on butting up against other ideas. As long as you're not trying to stop an idea, but build on it - poke at it - turn it over, etc. then creativity will thrive with conversation and input. There is never just one answer (except maybe in math?).

That's really the criteria for offering those opinions and questions. Are you trying to start conversation or stop it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taking/Giving credit

A common complaint these days seems to be folks not feeling like they've been giving (enough) credit for contributing to a project.

This isn't as much about the need for formal group recognition, as individuals seeking acknowledgment of their unique contributions to the whole.

Recently, I experimented with taking ownership when things went awry and keeping quiet when others submitted work that contained a notable chunk of my work. ('notable' meaning I did more than offer an opinion or have a brief review) I had a few 'aha' moments from this - some uncomfortable. The biggest 'aha being that it had me realise the type of credit I value most vs. having blanket acknowledgment.

So... is it right that the person who submits the final product, tacitly claims the credit for pulling it together? Should submissions come with a program listing the contributors and their roles?

Only if all the contributors are willing to share in the blame... How many folks stick up their hands when something needs to go back to the drawing board?

Perhaps we need to coach ourselves in understanding exactly why we're seeking credit for each contribution?

It's a double-edged sword and I've certainly cut myself as often as anyone else.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's who you know...

A controversial statement...

Often we hear of a job given through 'knowing' the right person. Or information shared. Or an invitation to an event filled with power brokers. It's true - most of us would rather work with and share good fortune with folks we know and like. It's not chance that has affords us these opportunities; most of the time, it's steady networking effort and good relationship skills.

But does that mean you should only look 'upward' at those who are already powerful/influential when building your network?


First - most folks grow into their influence and position. Those who were part of their communities along the way are more trusted than those who came along with the success. Your inner circles and friendships are not a result of success - success is a result of your circles and friendships. I'd rather talk with someone who has believed in me all along than someone who is hoping to get close and pump me for the secret of my success.

Secondly - everyone you meet has the potential to add value/information/other people to your community as you do for theirs. I'm not saying befriend everyone. I am counselling that you don't eliminate folks for potential inclusion in your community based on their current level of success (however you define it). That would be like me eliminating each guy I meet as 'unmarriagable'... which doesn't leave me with any males to have as a friend, colleague or even repairman!

Besides, you meet folks at a point in time for them and for you. As your goals/needs change, so do theirs. As your success or explorations move on, so do theirs.

It's who you know... because there are so many definitions of 'who' you'll need along the journey.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The “G” and “H” lists

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "G":

1. Garment-or: What not to wear expert

2. Gedankenexperiment-or: Theories of mentoring and networking brought to life

3. Government-or: Never sign an offer or contract without her

Continuing with "H":

1. Habiliment-or: Garment-or in the know re: Parisian style

2. Harassment-or: When you need someone to help you find a way out

3. Hereditament-or: Helps reuse the best of what has come before

4. Hyperdevelopment-or: When you’re worried you're promoted past your skill set

5. Hyperexcitement-or: The best person to lead the cheer

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More unwinding ideas

Thanks to all of you who sent in these ideas. I call them "joy breaks"... something that pulls you away from your desk and back into a more creative frame of mind.

 15 min. walk in the middle of the afternoon
 Call a friend just to say ‘hi’
 Pop into an office and share a story (not a b*tch session... a story)
 Gelato or coffee run
 Read 3 pages of a book or 10 of a magazine
 Sit with your back to your computer for 10 min.
 Plan how to spend $10,000
 Google “chocolate” and read 3 entries on the 10th page of results

Ask your mentors and mentorees what they do to refresh mind and spirit when 15 min. is all they have.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Drifting

I spent part of a sunny Sunday afternoon editing friends' resumes, part playing with a baby and part doing the usual chores to get ready for the week ahead. (we've usually run out of salad fixings and clean under-things by Sunday)

There's not much organization or planning around such an afternoon. I generally don't feel like I made a dent in the 'to do' list. By supper, it's usually obvious I might have even forgotten lunch.

Yet, these are the very afternoons that cement friendships, allow house lists to get made (or worked on) and give one a sense that the entire week is not about meetings and schedules.

One of my mentorees remarked last week how frustrated she is that she isn't doing enough. "Enough", of course, in the big general sense of life.

As Monday winds us up again, perhaps we all need a reminder that drifting a little also can create space and order within our communities and needs.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Work/life again

Since the original work/life balance post, I've gotten a lot of email.

One person told me how her boss was not pleased that folks were 'forced' to not work on Good Friday. Another told me how his boss was shocked that a fellow on his team actually took parental leave.

Most (not all) of the stories reflected the struggle folks feel they have in convincing management that one should be allowed to do the bare minimum in keeping health/family/friends/outside activities going.

That's sad. There is so much education, publicity and wellness workplace programs that one would think we'd progressed.

Mentors - are you addressing/discussing this issue with your mentorees? Where is it on your/their agenda?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Top 10 tips for successful networking & mentoring

1 - Take care of yourself - eat more fruit and veg and get enough sleep
2 - Smile more
3 - Say please and thanks
4 - Listen when others are speaking
5 - Ask for advice and offer to help
6 - Provide introductions between your acquaintances
7 - Be honest and considerate
8 - Be consistent
9 - Remember the world is small
10 - Make it a choice vs a knee-jerk reaction

Monday, April 5, 2010

I have an idea...

We all give advice and offer opinions. We do so freely and widely. We're flattered when someone asks for our thoughts. We sometimes make recommendations with no prompting.

If you're like me, you may have days of meetings filled with folks offering opinions and ideas. Most of them are good. Some of them are worth implementing.

I wonder how silent the room would fall if we put one caveat in front of such well-intentioned thoughts:
Don't offer an idea you're not willing to take action on yourself.

I can hear the pins dropping now...