We like it clear, explicit and straightforward.

But life is never clear, explicit and straightforward. In today’s knowledge economy, we’re hired to solve problems that are vague, ambiguous and complicated.

For most of us, our education system has prepped us for clear, explicit and straightforward. A multiple choice question implies that the answer is in the question, the case studies we discuss have pre-determined answers and the assignments we work on have pre-defined outcomes.

It’s not surprising then that most of us struggle at the workplace.

What do you do when there’s no one to tell you how to solve a problem? 

You blame your boss because you expect a […]

We like it clear, explicit and straightforward. 2017-07-21T15:24:12+00:00

66%. Is that Good or Bad?

Well, it depends.

If the class genius is scoring 70%, 66% looks pretty good.

If the average class score is 80%, 66% looks pretty bad.

Here’s an interesting question:

If the average class score is 60% but the average school score is 80%, is 66% good or bad?

What if you’re the only one taking the test and there’s no one to compare with, is 66% good or bad?

Our judgement of good or bad is often relative to the benchmarks we choose.

If we choose a high benchmark, we strive to do better.

If we choose a low benchmark, we settle for mediocre.

 

A side note on […]

66%. Is that Good or Bad? 2017-07-20T05:49:55+00:00

Conscious Decisions

We’re constantly making a decision on whether to change or stay in the status quo. Change is risky and staying in the status quo is risky. So we make our decision based on the risk and payoff.

Change / Stay?
Change / Stay?
Change / Stay?

It’s an endless chain of decisions. Sometimes big (should I change jobs) sometimes small (should I have dinner out?)

The problem is not that we’re making bad decisions. The problem is we’re not making decisions consciously.

We’re on autopilot, making decisions based on intuition, impulse, assumptions and experience. That’s okay for most of life’s mundane decisions but not okay […]

Conscious Decisions 2017-07-19T08:51:35+00:00

What motivates us at work?

Motivation implies a desire to contribute, to take initiative and ownership. It’s the secret sauce organisations look for in their employees.

A TED Talk by behavioural economist Dan Ariely provides critical insight into employee motivation. His study of the issue has revealed employees are not just motivated by money or happiness at work; employees thrive when they’re making constant progress and when they feel a sense of purpose at work.

This isn’t really new insight. Most employee engagement surveys have been showing money isn’t always the No. 1 priority.

The key is to appreciate the complexity of motivation. There isn’t one factor […]

What motivates us at work? 2017-07-18T09:59:52+00:00

Things change

New technology gets introduced, alternative options surface, resources get moved around and people change their mind.

All this change affects the goals we set and the decisions we make. Because the speed of change is increasing, the life span of our goals and decisions are reducing.

The skill we chose to learn last year has become outdated, the project we designed last quarter is now irrelevant and the decision we made last week now has more options.

The speed of change has been so overwhelming that most of us choose not to respond to it. We stick to out dated goals and […]

Things change 2017-07-17T10:03:32+00:00

The 10 Minute Check-In

It’s the simple act of connecting with someone else. It’s essential in all areas of our life but for the sake of this post, let’s focus on checking-in at work.

To start with, a check-in is not task oriented. Asking for an update on a project at work or trouble shooting technical challenges your colleague is facing is not the sort of check-in we’re referring to here.

The check-in we’re talking about is a genuine open ended enquiry into another person’s well being.

A good check-in starts with a question like ‘What’s on your mind?’.
It offers the person who’s asking insight into […]

The 10 Minute Check-In 2017-07-14T13:28:34+00:00

A Tip for Job Seekers

Looking for a new job can be frustrating. Long application processes, pushy recruitment consultants and slow to respond hiring companies are only few of the challenges you’ll face.

A great way to make sure you’re not wasting your time is to be crystal clear about what you’re looking for in a new job.

The easiest way to do this is to identify your top 3 must haves in a new job. This typically includes preferences like:

  • Salary expectation
  • Job location
  • Nature of work
  • Industry
  • Progression opportunities
  • Leadership’s reputation
  • Flexi working hours

In an ideal world you’d get everything you’re looking for. However, […]

A Tip for Job Seekers 2017-07-13T08:43:30+00:00

Goal Management instead of Goal Setting

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Goals. We know it’s important. Yet, for most of us goal setting is once a year event. It’s an activity we indulge in at the start of a new year or during a personal development workshop.

If it’s so important to our success, why isn’t goal setting a priority?

Here’s the problem; our goals change. They change due to circumstances, new opportunities, changing preferences and a whole list of other reasons.

When we don’t account for change, our goal setting exercises fail.

To manage for change we need to switch from goal setting to goal […]

Goal Management instead of Goal Setting 2017-07-12T11:59:53+00:00

Work, Rest, Work, Rest, Repeat

The key to getting things done is focus.

The ‘Ding’ on WhatsApp,
Coffee from the hipster cafe downstairs,
A quick 5 minute chat with a colleague;

These are the little thieves that steal from our focus. They creep up on us and take us away from the work that needs to be done.

However, the reality is we need our breaks. It’s unrealistic to be fully focused all throughout the working day. Breaks help us clear the clutter in our brain, gives us perspective and help us refocus on what’s important.

The problem is, responding to a WhatsApp message every 10 minutes while you’re trying […]

Work, Rest, Work, Rest, Repeat 2017-07-11T10:37:28+00:00

We’re Pursuing Passion All Wrong

Do what you love
Love what you do

The same four words rearranged may sound alike but upon closer inspection you’ll notice a subtle but important difference.

‘Do what you love’ implies you should first know what you love. The focus is on first finding your passion and then having the courage to pursue it.

‘Love what you do’ implies you should learn to love what you do. The focus is on finding meaning in your current work.

Popular advice has been to ‘Do what you love’. Steve Job’s popular Stanford Commencement speech is one such piece of advice. The problem is, most […]

We’re Pursuing Passion All Wrong 2017-07-12T11:56:59+00:00