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

How to make change initiatives work

Every organization you work and build will have to stay relevant to the customer you serve. Since customer priorities and pressures keep changing, you and the company also have to change. This is a very well accepted fact. All externally induced changes happen at a pace unimaginable. Be it is adherence to a new tax regime, changes in billing cycle or responding to market forces on pricing. But the same organization finds it hard to change from within. Why is it so difficult?

Proactive changes within a company are always triggered by a perceived notion of the near future. Most of these changes circle around organizational interfaces and its structure. It hardly touches the core of the company – the work and how the craft is built and delivered. Majority of the impact is only for people within the company – either their roles and/or reporting structure.

If you are part of the company for a long time, you might have seen several attempts of change initiatives. Over a period of time, you might have developed your own understanding of ‘why’ and ‘how’ of this change and also to maneuver through the same. But you also have a responsibility to make the change work.

A powerful way to do so starts with painting-the-picture-of-tomorrow – how the world around you will function, when change is fully implemented. If you visualize and articulate the future-state and the positive impact it brings to everyone, the possibilities of realizing the change increase multi-fold. Because everyone develops and keeps the picture-of-tomorrow in their gut. If their gut-feeling says it is not going to work, their system follows to make it real. Other-way is true as well. If the future is visualized well with how people contribute, live and work, their gut starts feeling it works. And the effort to make it work starts automatically. That picture starts acting as a director, a GPS to help navigate seamlessly. Just compare this to a virtual-reality walk-through of your new home before it is even drafted on paper. You start living in that much before it is actually complete. When you occupy the place, you feel fully at-home from day one.

When you believe how the future-state will look-like, you find your way to stay there and maneuver. Mostly, you start living in the future right-away and the results show-up in all actions. People around you will do the same as well. Surprisingly, the change would set-in, seamlessly.

Paint-the-picture-of-tomorrow as clearly and colorfully as possible. Display it where no-one can miss. Allow people to paint/ picture themselves in that canvas. When they start participating in completing the picture on the canvas, they are making the change happen!

be a #dreamerdoer