Archive for the ‘ Challenges ’ Category
I had an interesting question asked in my master’s degree this week. How much responsibility should a company take in managing their employee’s careers? In an ever changing society, where people are now wanting careers and not just a job it’s important for managers to help their employees grow, but should they be the driver?
Quast (2014) looks at the research by Phoenix University and EdAssist. 71% of employees say that employers should provide job opportunities and career paths; whilst 85% of employers say it’s the employee’s responsibility to identify job opportunities and career paths. This lack of alignment can cause huge problems. Employees & employers need to have open discussions around desires and expectations.
I personally think you need to drive your own career, with a manager’s support. Below are a couple of steps you might find useful to help drive your career.
Step 1 – What do you Want?
First of all what makes you tick? Where do you want to be heading? Only you can decide what career you want. This is probably the toughest question of all. Sit down one weekend and just map out in your ideal world what you would be doing, what would the role look like and how you can get there.
Step 2 – Tell People What you Want, Find out Options
You’re not alone if you are nervous or uncomfortable about talking to your manager about career progression – 44.8% of UK workers feel the same! If you have a good manager they will understand and want to help you achieve your goals. Talking about career progression isn’t having all the answers now, but knowing that you are growing and moving in the right direction. A company needs to support you in this if they want to keep hold of you. If your manager is aware of what you are thinking, they can look out for opportunities when having meetings with other managers.
Step 3 – Keep on Track
It’s so easy to go off track! Make sure you put your goals around growth and progression into your quarterly performance appraisal. This will help you stay on track, and help communication around your career aspirations.
We’re doing something a little different this week.
Instead of a written post, Gus Jaramillo and I collaborated on a video post as part of the Leadership Quote vlog series. Subscribe for future videos!
I have always been taught to “think before you act” – I should consider what exactly I want to do; why; and what the impact is. This way, you have clarity on what you’re doing, and you can avoid making the wrong decision or upsetting people (especially important in leadership).
However, we’re working in business around the globe, using real-time communication, and keeping up with continuous improvements technology; and we need to keep pace with a constantly changing environment – and this means changing our decision making process to match this faster pace.
The “OODA Loop” is not new – it was developed by US Air Force Colonel John Boyd in the 1950’s, and refers to the recurring decision cycle of: observe-orient-decide-act. The quicker this cycle can be processed, the more an organization or individual can gain the upper hand, by being one step ahead of their “opponent’s” decision making.
The model demonstrates a four-point decision loop that supports fast, effective and proactive decision-making:
|Observe||Gather as much relevant information as possible. (In business, data becomes an important part of this process).|
|Orient||Analyze the information, and use it to change the situation. The better and quicker the leader of an organization is able to gain clarity, the better the decision that can be made|
|Decide||Determine a course of action. Having good data analysis and orientation allows organizations to make better and more repeatable decisions.|
|Act||Follow through on your decision. Act with energy, discipline and drive. This is the heart of the execution process|
You cycle through the loop by observing the results of your actions, reviewing and revising your initial decision, and moving to your next action. It needs to be a smooth, continual process, and the faster you can move through each stage the better. In fact, if you were to sit down and map out each step, it would slow down instead of speed up.
The initial concept was based on military combat operations. Consider a fighter pilot trying to shoot down an enemy aircraft. Before the enemy is even in vision, the pilot considers information of the enemy pilot (level of training, cultural traditions, etc). When the enemy aircraft comes into the radar, our pilot gets more information on speed and size of the enemy plane. A decision is made based on the available information. Our pilot can then loop back to observation: is the attacker reacting to the action of our pilot? Then to orient: is the enemy reacting characteristically? Is his plane exhibiting better-than-expected performance? Based on these, he can cycle back through the loop to making a decision on his next course of action, and carry it out.
If you’re looking to work on your leadership, and become a better leader, your first step might be to create an action plan. “In order to be a better leader, I want to do this, this, and this”. Whilst this action plan might focus your efforts, and provide a roadmap; it is just that: a plan.
When it comes to leadership, the way to produce the change of mindset – to improve the skills you require to become a better leader – is to act differently, rather than just think about it.
In fact, acting differently is more likely to make you think differently.
Someone once told me that, if I act like someone that I would like to meet, in time, I’d become a person that other people want to meet (and this is now written on a piece of A4 paper, stuck on the ceiling above my bed, and I read it every morning when I wake up). This is Boyd’s OODA Loop theory applied to being a ‘nicer’ person; but the same can apply to leadership. Act like the leader that you would like to have leading you, and in time, you’ll become the kind of leader that others want leading them.
You can try something new and, after action, observe the results – how it feels to us, how others around us react – and only later reflect on what our experience taught us.
In other words, we “act like a leader” and then “think like a leader”.
Looking past the viral-oriented nature of this video, the main concept presented is critical for leadership. Thoughts, when attached to emotions other than sadness, generally have higher “infection” rates.
Thus, it is important to generate more emotion (hopefully positive and not anger-inducing) around messages that you want your direct reports to remember or share. It seems idea is lost at times in the data-driven world of today, where it’s more important to get across the numbers and metrics than it is to tell a story.
So communicate with feeling and generate positive emotions in your direct reports. Make the topic relevant to them. They will be more receptive to your messages and will remember them better. Let’s infect the world with the good germs to promote healthy thoughts.
Just don’t anger them… or you may end up on the wrong side of a thought germ!