Experiments

Experiments without any goal or a method is some random time spent. If time is the currency, then you burnt it. There’s no way to bring back what is burnt. So, is the spent time. But even if you don’t spend it, time gets burnt. There’s no way to store it, share it. That’s what makes it unique. There’s nothing like it in the world. You can associate an opportunity cost if you wish. The opportunity and its value you missed and can’t get it back. It will only makes you feel bad, a little more.

Experiments do cost money. Another important resource. If you lose it, there’s a chance of getting it back. Of course, by spending a lot more time and effort. Which could have funded other meaningful projects. Effort, or energy in specific, is burnt along-with time and money for any experiment you carry out. Again, getting it back requires more time, money and effort! So, it is prudent to follow a method to experiment.

A method that proves or disproves the hypothesis you wish to test. That is the experiment. First frame the hypothesis, fix it’s boundaries and choose a method to test. Observe, analyse and interpret the results. That entire act qualifies as a valid experiment. Observations of the process, dependencies and results teach a lot more on the subject. It is also powerful learning – as you prepared, conducted and saw the act, yourself.

Experiments do help in avoiding larger embarrassments at a later stage. The risk you have taken to carryout the experiment makes you courageous. Experiment is curiosity put to action. That builds confidence. Confidence is critical to success. So, experiments might pave a path to success.

Small experiments build a basis for larger ones to follow. Break complex hypothesis into small and meaningful ones. Generalisation do not help in specific understanding. As small and specific you get, the results will be solid to take you right on the journey. Favour the small. Plan, do, check, act and learn. Manage your time and energy.

Build a portfolio of small nuggets through regular experiments. Use them as you might like in the course of your journey of life, business or profession. Failure to experiment is akin to failure to live life in full.

Remember, Experiment is curiosity put to action!

be a #dreamerdoer

Third Conditioning

Approvals. Yes. Expecting and taking approvals is the third conditioning. 

When you are new, it’s natural. Not interested in being the bad apple in the mix, you look up to your seniors and bosses for approvals of your action. Just to be sure. Approvals are required to ensure governance and compliance too. But why do you need an approval, a permission to do your best work?

When approvals and permissions become a way-of-life, the workplace turns mechanical. Life becomes routine. Automation finds its way. People soon find the exit routes more frequented. A great opportunity to challenge. Innovation is knocking the doors. 

Innovators find it toxic to be contained in a system governed by rules, regulations and approvals. Operational freedom, permission to try, fail and explore is critical. 

It starts with your mind. Ability to think and break barriers for good. Find the constraints of the system early on. Devise your method for small experiments. Show and tell. Results change the system. When not challenged, people believe that system is working well. More approvals will be required in due course. 

Don’t get caught in the web of approvals. Permission to try is always there. Just embrace it like an uniform you may wear to work.

Craft the purpose of your work to work at your best

When you wish to hire someone for a job at work, you start with a job description. It is supposed to provide boundaries of the work one has to perform when hired for that job. Take a look at your own job description. It is mostly a long list of duties and expectations. It does not necessarily have anything specific to your company and the job you do there. A software engineer’s job description remains the same in any software company. A manager’s description will fit any company. So, is a CEO’s.

Mainly, you work with people. Every company has to work with people – in the form of customers, collaborators, associates, etc. But, hardly job-descriptions have anything or any mention of that part of work. A receptionist at a hospital has a very different challenge at work compared to the one at a Bank or a commercial enterprise. That is due to the people they have to work with and serve. People skills and orientation towards the true needs of the customers makes the true job-definition.

Though the list of duties for the job remains the same across industries/companies, why you excel in one than the other stems from why you work and why you work at that place. Find that purpose of your work. It reveals an important aspect of what makes you work at your best. A CEO of a healthcare company requires a very different people orientation compared to that of a software company. If you love seeing and working with people to help them get cured or get better at their health, you fit a healthcare company than that of a software company.

However, no job-description may exist for an Intrapreneur in your company. Neither you may have it as part of the list of duties in the current job’s description. That is something you love to be in any job or a company you work with. You have to craft this purpose. Note that an intrapreneur succeeds in a company that supports enterprising people. Else, you will be bombarded with barriers and constraints that might take a lot more from you than it’s worth. When you know this difference and associate yourself with where you belong, you will be landing in your dream job. You will work at your best! Your work and craft both become remarkable.

be a #dreamerdoer

Making Communication Work

Most managers spend an average of 75% their time on communication. Depending on the stage of the project, this might vary significantly. Later stages recording the highest. Primary purpose of the communication is to bridge, connect. More disconnects in a project, leads to more communication. More communication might lead to more disconnections too.

It is important to make sure that communication is effective – stay relevant over a period of time than a running commentary required for only non participating audience.

In order to make communication work, design it for the target audience. The content, level of detail, mode of communication and the periodicity/ timing should be inline with the expectation of the receiving party. Universal template for all stakeholders has not been found effective. Though template helps in preparation and consumption, it fails to be effective unless designed for the profile of the stakeholders.

Routinely updating the stakeholder map and information needs will help in making the communication work. Make sure you are bridging and not breaking the connections towards progress. Take note of the information load and distraction at work. Devise simple and subject specific communication mechanisms. Make use of social media and networking platforms carefully – since most of them still remain informal and discretionary.

Many a times people expect you to followup to get things done and expect you to be following through on what you committed. Ensure followup and following through are part of your work to make communication effective.

be a #dreamerdoer

How to sustain the momentum at work

When you head out for a long journey spanning days and several miles, you will need a lot of preparation – mentally and physically. You will first walk-through the path mentally and prepare for what you think is essential. Depending on your risk-appetite, you will make provisions for cash, supplies and mostly the number of stops along-the-way. You also know that there may be detoursand unanticipated surprises. If you make it a point to enjoy the journey, you welcome the surprises, challenges and new acquaintances on the way. Career journey is no different.

It is easy to start anything. But to sustain the momentum, you need to keep your enthusiasm, intact. Anytime, you feel low or exhausted, chances of making mistakes and not-noticing important elements around becomes higher. There’s no fun in getting tiered in reaching the destination and not having the energy to enjoy being at that place. People who work very hard on a project, idea or business day-in-day-out, have this tendency of ignoring the journey and  being focused only on the destination.

Keeping the momentum at work, requires you to be enthusiastic about the journey, the idea or the project you are after. Caring about something you are involved with is the best way of developing the enthusiasm required. When you care about something, your involvement in the journey increases.

When you care about the outcome of the work you are involved in, the bigger picture becomes clearer and the overall goal seems to be in the vicinity. Create milestones in your project/ idea realisation/ business building to help you guide through the journey. While you drive, every time a milestone tells you how close you are to the destination, your enthusiasm to complete the remaining part of the journey increases. You will sustain the momentum…

Be enthusiastic and care about what you do at work, to sustain the momentum.

be a #dreamerdoer