Taking risks is a stressful experience.
Taking risks means learning.
Taking risks can lead to failure.
Taking risks fosters innovation.
When we embrace a new challenge, we do not have full control. We have the fear of failure and being considered a failure. What can we do about it? We need to look for people who give us feedback, support us and empower us. Building a network of people who empower us is key. Empower us to risk. Empower us to try.
Changing is not easy. Suprise? Surely not.
You need to decide to change and you need to be ready for it. You can decide to change but also other people can “decide” for you. An example at work? You are asked to learn something new or you need to perform a new task.
You need to invest energies if you want to maintain your new behaviour over time. If adopting a new behaviour is just a response to an external event, you are reacting more than changing. In other words, if the results of a change were immediate and visible, you would just modify something or react
Dedication and hard work lead to the creation of new actions and habits. You must keep working and remaining patient even if you fail during this changing process. Only if you’d continue to invest time and energies, you will change.
You work with colleagues who have different soft and technical skills than yours. Is it not the case? Think about the person who sits close to you. He or she could be better than you in running presentations, analysing data or in collaborating with other teams. The differences between professionals are the beauty and the secret of successful organisations. Many studies have proven that diverse teams work and perform much better than teams that are not diverse.
Do you work in a diverse team? No? Well, you should think whether your team it is the right one for you. You are also different from your manager. The backgrounds, the experiences, the skills and the competencies are (and should) not be the same.
What should you do if you do something better than your manager?
Simple. Keep working at your best even if you are showing better skills/experiences than your manager. Do not be afraid of being better. Your manager should sponsor, support and present you as a subject matter expert within the organisation. This is what happens in healthy and positive organisational cultures.
Is it not your case? It’s time to change team then.
There are many recruiters and hiring managers who still evaluate candidates for their number of years of experience. What do I think? It is time to stop this practice. The real focus needs to be on the quality of the years of experience, not the quantity.
One year of experience in a company is different from one year into another one. There are companies that give visibility and autonomy to their employees; other organisations do not. There are companies which constantly innovate and other companies do not. We need to evaluate the quality of the years of experience considering the better fit for our organisation. The amount of years of experience is a wrong perspective on talent, potential and core capabilities.
There are articles, blogs (like mine), presentations, and speakers that illustrate best practices or suggestions about certain topics. They talk about work, motivation, training etc. Really any kind of topic.
When we read these suggestions, we tend to copy exactly the “recipe” and adopt it as such. If we behave in this way, we make a mistake. Why are we mistaken? We read articles that come from personal experiences or events that happen in a specific context; they are therefore subjective. For this reason, you have to be able to step back, understand the proposed solution and try to adapt it to your context. Of course, you can also adopt the solution as it is; however, you should look at the results as an experiment and not give a final opinion on it. This is true for business or personal decisions; even about your career development. We need to treat the proposed solution as an experiment and then adopting or modifying it to make it ours.
I’m not saying that we should stop reading… otherwise this blog would not exist either. You have to take inspiration and look for your solution. Find your way.
You often hear about the importance of the candidate experience. The candidate experience refers to the dynamics related to the candidate’s journey during a recruiting process; the “journey” involves a few actors (interviewers, recruiter) and interactions (the steps of the interview process, email exchanges etc..).
Many companies try to understand, analyse and talk about the emotional side of the candidate experience, considering the involvement of different actors (recruiters and candidates for example). In addition to that, they tend to associate the candidate experience with the customer experience; the latter is the result of actions or planned actions/interactions between a customer and a company. Do the candidates need to be considered customers? Yes, twice; they are using a service (= your recruiting process) and they are prospects or already customers for the service(s) your company provides to the market.
Is your company really treating candidates as customers? Or are they doing just an emotions check? There is much more than the emotional side when we talk about the candidate experience. Does your company assess the points of contacts with the candidates (social media, company website, news etc), their tone of voice and the quality of the interactions? If not, they should start looking at the complete candidate journey and not only at the emotional experience.
The organisational culture creates unique workplaces. Why? Companies are built by individuals. For example, two companies of the same sector and with the same organisational structure are different due to the social component.
When you think about your career, it’s important to understand to which kind of organisational culture you belong to. Not all organisations are the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them… yes, even if the role your applying for matches your experiences. You have to think about the type of supervision you want (autonomy in the role vs close collaboration with your manager), the visibility (work in a client role facing or not) and the collaboration required in the team. It is important also to say that these aspects (autonomy, visibility, and collaboration) vary during your career. You need to evaluate these aspects in the specific period of time and in relation to your career development goals and ambition.
Finally, remember that the cultural context in your organisation changes over time. It changes and evolves as you do.
In most organizations, we manage our own working time around meetings. In order to make our time effective we try to match our tasks with the meetings requests that we receive; unfortunately, we often end up with the so-called “back to back“.
We need to find time for ourselves. To do what? Several things. It is true that attending many meetings gives you visibility and allow you to proceed with your work tasks (well, not always) …. however, in order to complete your work, to grow and develop you have to think about what’s really important. You need to dedicate time to training, networking or sorting out your work admin.
What is an easy solution to reduce your back to back?
Block your calendar! It allows you to handle also any last-minute requests without having to worry too much. Try it out and you will notice that you’d manage better your work priorities and your needs (=training and work tasks).
Working in a positive environment is fundamental. In order to enjoy your day, you need to feel comfortable and having positive relationships. The culture that surrounds you is important as the content of your job is.
I often say that eight hours of work are always eight hours of work; however, the perception of these 8 hours is different when you feel comfortable with yourself and with your colleagues.
You have surely heard that you need to have friends at work. Are we sure? As mentioned before, it’s crucial to be in a positive workplace to live it at its best; however, if you do not want to make new friends at work, you do not need to. Forcing yourself means modifying your behaviour and work attitude. The important thing is having positive work relationships. Having friends at work does not have to be a cultural norm (or a best practice) in your organisation. On the other hand, you’d need to have sponsors and allies.
I often write about the importance of collaboration. It has been said that companies should invest and have invested in technology, projects and programs (for example team building or mentorship) to improve collaboration between and within teams. Technology has changed the way we collaborate and exchange information. Conference calls and emails have completely revolutionised our way of working.
There is an aspect of your work that remains isolated and you should keep it isolated and personal.
What is it? Your career management. Receiving advice from colleagues or your manager is clearly important; however, your career path definition needs to be a personal investment and you cannot rely on collaboration. Managing your career path does not mean undermining colleagues or diminishing other people successes. Managing your career means creating your own path with your efforts. Take risks, join new teams, have different experiences and think about these experiences.