This is not another post about time management!

Our behaviour at work is the result of the perceptions of the reality around us. For example,  the perceptions related to a particular work environment are different amongst the employees of the same organization. There are employees who find the work environment very enjoyable and other ones who hate it.

One important perception is the one related to “time”. Let’s start with a simple example. We usually feel that the time is flying while we’re doing something that we like. On the contrary, we have a completely different experience when we are part of something (task, project, activity) that does not stimulate us and/or does not boost our creativity. As a consequence,  it is difficult for a manager to interpret the individuals’ perception of time. Why? We interpret our roles/task/activities in a complete different ways.

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However, the managerial role is not tricky as for what I am going to describe now. Specifically, what is the perception of time with respect to success or failure?

Well, the whole thing becomes even more complicated and less generalizable than what said about the interesting (or not) tasks . The reaction towards the time spent to a complete an activity can be positive if you have completed something quickly; however, it can be perceived also positive if you have finally completed a task after a lot of time; why? you feel relieved.

 

Moreover, how much time we dedicate to the celebration of success or thinking about failures? Again, another perception and interpretation which depends on personality, attitude and also the work environment.

Yes. lt is very complicated. There are cases, such as in sales departments, where the achievements ( for example new deals) are celebrated. But, as the group celebrates, what is the achiever thinking? Is that celebration perceived as enough? Or is it needed more time for an individual (personal) self-reflection?  

Yes. It is complicated.  Your perception of the time is simply a fundamental dimension of your relationship with your job.

 

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What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team?

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team? I will tell you in a minute.

It happens often to read several articles about team building and collaboration; the fundamental elements which are usually presented as fundamental to create the “chemistry” are:trust, clear communication , clear goals and having an inspiring manager. In order to achieve this framework, organisations usually invest money for programs or specific initiatives. I imagine that it is happened to most of us to participate in offsites, social events or simple team meetings where your manager defines (or redefines) the team goals and/or the way of working.

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But, are these official occasions enough? Do they really create that needed chemistry? Probably they do, but not completely. The first reason is due to the fact that not all the organisations invest in this kind of initiatives . Secondly, even if they do,  there is a lack of continuous development which follows these events; in other words, there are not initiatives which follows the official event.
So, which is the simplest thing to do? Creating a culture of gratitude. Saying “thank you” when someone is working with you, saying “thanks” to your boss for the opportunities and supports are just few example. Recognition is fundamental in order to creating a good teamwork atmosphere and a needed collaboration…

Do you usually thanks people only when they have done something for you? Better to open up your horizon to create a better work framework.

The reason why we still use job boards!

Technology development leads us to think that products or services that we are currently using are completely brand new. In other words, we think that we are using products and services that are a complete revolution in comparison to what we were using years ago. It is definitely true that technology has innovated many things (i.e. SMS vs WhatsApp); but if you think twice about it, the technology has improved services more than revolutionize that.  In other words, it is not change the “what” but only the “how”.

Additionally, it is very important to underline that the only technologies that have been completely adopted are the ones that were already present (but in a different form) in our way of doing things.  Let me give you just a few examples:

– Tablets are the PC evolution

– WhatsApp is the SMS evolution

– Netflix is the old VCR

Let’s say, the biggest technological innovation has been Internet; obviously, I am not considering the science research side.

Diapositiva1There is a similar idea (or misconception) in my world: recruiting.  As said in various posts, Linkedin has brought manychanges (https://hrbreak.com/2014/02/01/recruiters-curse-linkedin/).  But, more than something different on the “what”, Linkedin has changed the relation between companies and candidates, so the “how”. For example, the resume is still the way through candidates apply for a job; Linkedin has (for the moment) only facilitated the visibility and reduced distance between companies and candidates.  For this reason, also the job boards remain very strong as system of application. Why? because they are a common and recognized way for looking for jobs and for this reason companies still use that.  Various sites have disappeared or lost market share because they failed to catch up on innovation; Linkedin has clearly made its job board very useful and easy, but it is not THE Job Board (look for example at Glassdoor and Indeed). When there will be a “routine” shift, job boards might disappear…. but it is not the case, yet.

 

 

Being pessimistic is not helping you, trust me!

In our work life we ​​face many challenges that see us as “winner or loser” ; therefore, our emotions  are triggered depending on how the successes and failures are balanced (if they are). The particular thing is that our reactions are often the result of interpretations of such situations and not directly related to the result of that; in other words, even in the case we do not know yet the outcome of our action/project/delivery we guess the possible outcome. One thing often mentioned in this blog is that usually the positive outcomes are seen as normal/expected achievements; on the contrary, the negative ones become the only ones which have an impact on our self evaluation and self confidence. This is also why organizations should celebrate more their successes with the aim of improving the organizational culture and performances. Celebrate!

 

Diapositiva1 Recently I started working on changing my point of view about successes and what is the real impact of mental anticipation of work outcomes. When we expect to see the result of what we’ve done, we may incur in anxiety and a “complaining mode”. But why complaining? Is this helping us in what we are doing? Absolutely not; firstly, a complain creates only negative thoughts and emotional overload; secondly, it is true that complaining can help release the tension but the results are only in the short term; what actually happens in the long run is that our negative thoughts create a mental framework based on pessimism. Consequence? We waste part of our cognitive energies.

So why not leave the space to positive thinking? It is an important (mental) framework change;  it does not mean that we will able to change the output of our work thanks to positive thinking; but actually complaining is not helping either. Positive thinking allows you to wait the outcome of your work with less anxiety.  Why would you think that something is necessarily going to be wrong? There are cognitive studies which speak about of self-fulfilling prophecies. Essentially these authors think that our thoughts modify our behaviors and attitudes which consequently impact our outcomes (others speak about faith). You could be skeptic about this , but trust me you will be less stressed.

Industrial districts? Not only for 200 years ago!

…and If we’re really return to industrial districts? For those who are not familiar with the topic, the industrial district is a cluster of small and medium-sized companies located in a specific territory characterized by interconnections between themselves and social context where they are built. Industrial district is something that characterized industrial revolution,  but do not you think that might be part of the startups or the big tech world? Does it sound like Silicon Valley for example?

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Let me explain why this might seem to be the future.  In recent years there have been various initiatives that move what is the interest of the well-being within the company, going to move more and more to what happens externally. Obviously it is essential to go to improve the internal conditions of your employees:  simply for the fact that they spend most of their time on the farm or in the office; then for the same reason it is necessary, in my opinion, going to move to the outside world are the ones that move (  Organization intrusion?  ). If work life balance agenda is full of topics related to commuting, create lighter careers in terms of presence in the office (simply called flexible hours plan), industrial districts may be the answer. It’s because at the time of the industrial districts, companies also had an impact on such as programs of housing and neighborhood home- office. Designing your own branded – town clearly has costs and must be evaluated in the long term in terms of integration with the territory and daily life; it definitely could have a positive impact on corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Learning from a bad boss? it is possible

Having a good and caring boss means having someone focused on what happens during the day, ready to listen, competent and supportive. For many employees, this sounds like a dream.   With respect to the operational aspect of your job, a good boss manages and supports you to achieve your (daily) goals. A leader, at the right time in the right place. Additionally,  if your boss is a subject matter expert, she/he also legitimizes your team’s political and social presence (recognition, merit, exposure) towards your organization. Apart from the technical knowledge, employees look for a boss with an eye on personal development, training and ready to support (and protect) the team.

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But if your boss has nothing of what just described?  Probably, the relationship with your boss is not based on trust and mutual appreciation.  In these cases, what can you learn from your boss? Many could say : nothing. In my opinion, you learn something:  you see exactly what you do not want to become/be; in other words, a bad example could be a good example for your self improvement/development drive!

Being ambitious can be a threat!

It is often said that ambition is the aspect that definitely boosts a career and maintain alive career’s expectations. Some say that ambition is element that prevents you stopping internal will and drive. Often the definition of “ambitious” goes against the one of being lazy; well, being in lazy at work , its causes and effects I’ll be maybe discussed in another post.  For me being ambitious means having the natural urge to improve and looking for more.

Diapositiva1Saying that, it is not always positive being ambitious; it depends on case by case. For example, if there is no room in your organization for your professional growth, your ambition (as natural urge to want more and more) is inevitably stopped; in this case your ambition becomes a plastic hammer to destroy a wall;  definitely an useless tool. Having no space to use your ambition it is clearly accompanied by stress and loading of negative emotions that threatens your skill of career’s expectations management. In short, there is psychological heaviness that certainly does not help you in tasks’ delivery. A part from personal threats, there are also organizational ones. In fact, if there is no proper career management which listens to skills and internal drives, there will be surely a talents’ retention issue.   Therefore organizations should be good not only to set short term expectations regarding goals that need to be achieved, but also clarify those who are long-term ones that are linked with ambition. Being ambitious is a push, but you have to know how to manage it and living in an organizational environment able to support it.

Insecurity will help to secure your job!

Being constantly motivated to face challenges is something that depends on our nature and attitude to react or activate stimuli, internal or external ones. From the work point of view it is exactly the same thing, where for example stimuli (or external pressures) come from your boss or colleagues; just mentioned aspects are those that lead to execution of given tasks. Leaving aside the external influence that I have treated in other posts and as just stated are referred to environment, relationship with the boss and colleagues, I want to focus on the internal drive or motivation. There are many small tricks to boost motivation and match set goals; among these, you can find insights in other posts of this blog (i.e. to do list  & being craftsman).

Diapositiva1Fundamental thing is having trick that helps you in the long run, feeling on being on trial every day is one key; clearly is not something easy to bear, especially if we think of those stressful days where we go to reduce our defense (it actually seems a sort of level of masochism). Having this feeling of constant insecurity leads to setting up  mindset of having to earn something every day that pushes you to do the extra mile. I am not saying that you must be feel inadequate or not skilled, but having pressure of possible lost is what you need to do better. Even in real life, as we hold better things that are at risk of being lost,  the mechanism is exactly the same for work.

Are you sure that you want to write a cover letter for your application?

For those who are not familiar with HR matters, recruitment processes or human resources subjects are seen as mysterious and complicated topics; it is common thought that there is always something hidden, very difficult to understand. HR professionals are also seen as untold secrets’ holders!

Diapositiva1One of this mystery is related to the fact if when we apply for a job, a part from the CV, we have to add a cover letter. Many would respond with a “definitely, without any doubts, you have to do it”; and at question “why?”, what do they say? The answer comes from the idea that you can introduce yourself to a company in a personal manner, demonstrating motivation and will to join them (assumption more than true).  A part from that, in my opinion, preparing an interesting, well written, concise cover letter is quite complicated. As just said, your presentation has to be reliable but concise; in 10 lines is not exactly easy. In addition to this, the cover letter should be an added value to the curriculum and not a summary of that. Repeating many times helps, but in this case it is superfluous. It’s not over; it is important to underline that we need to be original to making a good impression and stand out from the crowd. A curriculum created with a personal style could easily replace a cover letter. The contact with a company is an opportunity and for this we must try to catch attention in the best way, without doing something “classic”. Now, are you sure to write a cover letter?

You can be replaced! but how?

It is often said that no one is indispensable in organizations; actually it’s very true, in theory. Why in theory? It is clear that we are all replaceable for example when there is a succession plan or we decide to leave and organizations go to market to fill the vacancy. Looking for a person with the same seniority that potentially has held a similar position, it takes time but it certainly is possible. As I said there is no doubt that with a strong plan of organizational management, all unexpected or planned vacancy are planned. Everything is possible if supported by excellent organizational processes.

Diapositiva1With the assumption that everyone can be replaced, but how is high risk of not matching replacement? The idea seems trivial, but since we are very different and have different career paths created in different organizations that are not the same, of course, there are considerable differences. Vacancy is replaced but not replicated; that is what actually happens. For this reason, organizations have to think about this aspect, since it is core to consider not only the skills set of replacement but aspects like personality, attitude and character and work ethic that are many times forgotten. Recruiting for skills, it is only a short term strategy.