ish:

The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’

 

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    Entries in agility (7)

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    What society expects of you

    In recent posts I’ve mentioned the expectations we can have:

    - of ourselves

    - of others.

    There’s a third. It’s what we perceive society expects of us.  

    - Society ... you know, other people. Them. Those people over there.

    We can worry a lot about what people think of us. What will they say? How will they perceive us? These worries can become huge filters, censors and constraints to our thoughts and behaviour. They can cause us unnecessary doubt and make us procrastinate, second guess ourselves and reject some of the great things we attempt.

    We can also worry that we ‘should’ be doing better ... or more or higher or faster or longer or neater or cleaner, than we are.

    These are the three types of perfectionism and expectations, all on the increase in the world right now:

    - Of ourselves

    - Of others

    - What society expects of us.

    All of this pressure, piling up, making us overthink, overwork, lose sleep and get stuck.

    Next time you feel stuck or find yourself judging your work or ideas, check in on which of these three types of perfectionism could be at play. 'Seeing it' is the first step to finding ways around it. 

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    A high expectation of others. 

    I’ve been posting on 'ish', the practice of good enough and the challenges when don't know the standard we're going for. But what about others?

    Unhappy about the work someone has done for you or a service delivered to you? Perhaps it didn’t have the right information, didn’t look right or wasn’t the way you expected.

    The increasing problem the world has with perfectionism isn’t just about the standards we have for ourselves. Our expectations of others is a problem on the rise too.

    If someone hasn’t done a ‘good enough’ job, you absolutely must clarify the expectations you had ... and the expectations they had. We're not so great at doing this.

    Instead we talk due dates, timelines and deadlines with little to no regard for quality, fidelity or standard. If you 'manage expectations’ in your role, it's not just managing other people’s expectations of you.

    It’s also about you managing your expectations of them. Don’t be difficult about it. Be clear. The ‘are we on the same page’ metaphor is worth working on until you really are on the same page. 

    Tuesday
    Apr302019

    Learning and Development

    L&D: does it stand for learning and development or long and drawn-out.

    Is it time for L&D to be more responsive, to lead the way in agility, experiments and lean solutions?

    I was speaking with an L&D team about running my ‘ish' workshop for the organisation - where people learn to challenge perfectionist tendencies and work until it's 'good enough', working in increments and iterations. The L&D team said, "Actually, WE need that!"

    Often an organisation’s learning program is embedded in an annual calendar; by the time the dates come around there’s other/better/more responsive things out there, the market has shifted, and the skills need has shifted. Does your organisation still work on an annual calendar? (Sure, a calendar works for availability, logistics and managing budget).

    Is it time to get more agility into L&D? How responsive is something that’s planned a year or more out? How does a team or project and the skills and capabilities they need change in that time?

    Could L&D run on shorter 90-day cycles for example, responding to the needs in the business and what’s happening in the market, offering stuff swiftly to build skills now, not in 365 days time?


    Wednesday
    Sep062017

    Have you got these Future Ready skills?

    How to get ready for the stuff that hasn't even happened yet

     

    So many articles and predictions can worry us wild about how jobs are changing, workplaces need to adapt and plenty of roles that are there now... won’t be soon.
     
    You don't need to be a futurist to work out that things keep changing and if you stay where and what you are…. yes, the future could indeed get more tricky for you. 
     
    Beyond the tech-crazy predictions and timelines of when it’s all going to hit the fan, there’s a more sensible and practical response that organisations and their leaders need -- that is, to get ready for the stuff that hasn’t happened yet.
     
    There’s a need to be future ready and there's a quartet of skills, a foursome of domains that will serve you so very well.  While these may not be as specific as in ‘go to this course’ or ‘get this certification’ (don't by the way) -- there are some domains of expertise that will help us handle what’s ahead, no matter our role, project, team, enterprise or industry. 
     
    The Institute for the Future and the World Economic Forum have both tipped in their thoughts over recent years on what’s needed and while that’s all good in a predictive sense, here’s what I’m seeing and hearing day in day out with teams and projects on being future ready. That is, ready for what your clients, the industry and the world might need of you, and gah! sooner than you might think.
     
     

    The Foursome of 'Future Ready'

    Think 
    We’re the only creatures who can think about how we think, so it’s worth thinking about how we can think better! This domain is about getting insights now… not waiting so long for hindsights to appear. Even though hindsight is a great thing, we need to get to them quicker so we can respond quicker. We need to be aware, awake, insight-full, reading, learning, thinking, reflective, improving, evolving, staying open…
     
    In the middle of last century - that sounds so o-l-d, the 1950s - two colleagues, Joe and Harry created the classic tool for identifying your relationship to yourself and others – the Johari Window.

    I remember laughing (or cringing) with colleagues about leaders whose ‘window wasn’t even there, let alone open!’ when it came to their lack of thinking and self awareness.
     
    Johari got you to assess yourself – and think – on some adjectives about your personality and whether they were ‘open’, ‘hidden’, ‘blind’ or ‘unknown’ to you.
     
    (Looks like Joe and Harry were clearly onto the Startup trend of combining their names or two words to create killer, entertaining business tools. Joe + Harry = Johari. See this giggle on fake startup websites for today’s tech versions of Joe and Harry.)
     
    There’s room in the Think domain for us to be more open, to work to reveal things that are hidden to us or we are blinded to, and to uncover the stuff that is still unknown to us.
     
     

    Connect
    If we’re intrinsically wired to connect with others, then this domain is about how we connect ideas and people and environments. We need to be synthesisers, sensemakers, distillers and integrators. To be able to take lots of stuff and find the pieces that belong, that work or could work together.  It’s integration, not isolation. Also it's anti-silo.
     
    I like to ask teams, “Do you see where the white spaces are here?" where you could move something to, where there is opportunity or possibility that's untapped.
     
    Sure, artificial intelligence will be able to do some of this for us, but there’s something magical about human connections with others, with information, with places and spaces that we will need forever.

     

    Adapt
    How do you adapt to changing conditions, situations, information and environments? This domain is about agility not rigidity. How willing are you to test, learn, experiment and dwell on the whole ‘failure IS an option’ thing? Is your project in such control-freak mode that trust is low and we can’t try something to see what happens?

    Try transforming something rather than tinkering with everything as I wrote recently.

    This is our need to be agile-ish; being able to pivot, change direction and give up on a thing you’ve been fighting for; being willing to embrace a new direction or belief. Yes, this can be tougher than we think. Aaah back to that thinking domain again!

     

    Share 
    How you spread, share and radiate your thinking, ideas, messages and solutions to others in your nearest loops …and wider loops is what this domain is all about. It’s how you pull people in to be part of something not just sending it out and crossing your fingers with hope. How do you bring people in? It’s inclusion not exclusion.

    How can you share things that help build, not break. This is being an influencer, shaper, communicator, engager… on topics that people might not be initially interested in or they have longstanding biases about.
     
     
    There’s an opportunity for us to think bigger; to make bigger shifts in our teams and enterprise regarding what we're going to build capability in.
     
    Think.
    Connect.
    Adapt.
    Share.  

     
    Together these will help get you ready for the future… aaaaaaand oh look, it’s here already.
     

    Friday
    Jan152016

    3 Things to Future-Proof Your Career

    Are you thinking for a living?

    When demographer Bernard Salt presents, he's always sensemaking for us; making sense of complex data, trends and information, no matter the topic.
     
    At a presentation on Jobs in the Knowledge Economy, he said with the rise of machine learning and constant technological developments, we might wonder if knowledge jobs (where you 'think for a living') are under threat or it's an even bigger opportunity waiting to happen.
     
    Constant change and daily disruption are familiar themes in the world of work and business today; the big upsides I see are there for the makers, artisans and creators.
     
    This is not about hippy art, pastels and macrame. It's about the way we think, design, engage and create things for customers, clients and each other.

    It's becoming easier to be a maker today. As Salt says:
     
    ‘the tools of production
    have become democratised’
     
    We've got greater access to a host of tools to make, create, shape and inspire change – whether that's in an analogue and/or a digital way.
     
    Entrepreneurism too is becoming even more accessible where you can adopt the thinking style of an entrepreneur, even if you're in a job role. I see this as the path for the future.

    Being entrepreneurial is no longer the thing you would 'fall back on' if your career path wasn't quite working out. Rather as Cameron Herold explains in his TED talk 'Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs' (read the transcript) we have an instinctive drive to create, make and share. 
     
    In business we need to work smarter to adopt a culture of enterprise – and with it, a culture of failure. Failure is still hot right now in talk, yet I don’t see nearly enough leaders encouraging experimentation, inspiring curiosity or allowing and fostering ingenuity in their teams.
      
    Though digital might have brought the 'death of distance', Salt says we humans still crave connection. Our ability to start and maintain interpersonal relationships is still crucial to our future careers. 

    So how do you future-proof your career as these changes and disruptions continue?

    These three things will do it:
    • Fluidity
    • Agility
    • Mobility
    That means we need to be malleable and to 'go with it'.
    We need to adapt and respond. Swift-like!
    And we need to move... and be willing to be moved. 
     
    We need to upskill, reskill and soft skill and to adopt an easy-goingness that makes us approachable. This is a type of affability that keeps you friendly and outgoing... so that people want to work with you.
     
    Being social will get you far.  Whether it’s social face-to-face, online, remotely or however else you can connect, engage and be human with other humans... do that. 
     
    Fluidity. Agility. Mobility. And while you're at it, upskill, reskill, softskill.

    Affability will take you well into the future of work.