One Big Fat Experiment That We All Have To Run

I’ve used to look for the right way. As if there was one to live ones life.

I’m reading The Lean Startup book and the most coolest thing I get from it until now is the concept of experimentation and learning. According to the author the most crucial thing that the startup has to do is to experiment in order to prove or disprove the customer / problem / solution hypothesis. Basically, they have to experiment to find out, whether what they think, is actually true.

We are all living one big fat scientific problem during our own lives. We have enormous options and we assume some might be good and some wrong. We have hypotheses about what will happen. But without testing them, without experimenting, we have just an assumption. Of course, in some periods we experiment more, in other less. Sometimes we take big leaps of faith, other times we just don’t. And we find out what works and what doesn’t.

I’m right now in the period of life, when I want to experiment on things. To see what it brings, how it works with me. Both in professional and personal life. One of these experiments is transforming itself into monthlong.club thing. It’s an idea connected with starting a new for me interesting habit every month. I don’t know where it will lead me, or what the monthlong thing will become, but I’m enjoying the experiment.

I’m excited of what will come.

What about you? What are you experimenting on right now?

 

What’s Hidden Behind My Business Card…

On May 1st  I started the fourth year of work with DEVELOR. I can hardly believe this sentence. I’ve never imagined to stay somewhere for more than 12 months without moving to another job. And I’ve never imagined to be a „sales-person“. Though working in sales in DEVELOR is not what people usually imagine under selling.

To characterise these 36 months I’d use “INTENSE LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE”. We found a mutual work style, that benefits both sides.

This has been the best business school for me. I’ve learnt about the learning & development business. I’ve met with over 200 learning and development managers, coordinators, administrators, HR managers. I’ve attended over 300 business meetings and presentations. I’ve visited, consulted and supported services for companies of 30 – 3000 employees. This is awesome!

The key learning is what I’ve recently wrote about on our company blog – the knowing-doing gap and the way to overcome it. It’s a struggle of everyone looking to improve – all people go for learning, but not everyone does, what he/she is taught. Getting from KNOWING what, how and why to do, to DOING it, that’s the real development.

What I value the most on working with DEVELOR?

I have freedom. I had to earn it with my performance, but right now I rarely have to report to anyone. The results are all we need. There’s no micro-managing boss behind my back giving “GO” or “NO-GO” on every small step. I rule over my time, my priorities, my effectiveness and my results.

I can rely on the others. I don’t know how we do it, but we get people that are loyal and have high quality standard. So when I promise something, I can really be sure people will do maximum to deliver it. I can rely on the colleagues to do their best. What more you need?

I have endless resources available. Twenty years of existence, 200 people in the network, countless training and consulting done. There’s hardly something we have not been part of and thus I’m given a lot of opportunity to learn. Through our internal conferences (4x a year) I have space to re-charge, learn and get back to the work.

We are currently looking for new people to join our team. This post is not aimed to give you an over-optimistic view of how awesome working with us could be. Though until now it could look like it.

Let me tell you the other side of the story – what’s tough?

We rarely do ready-made solutions. That means almost everything we do is tailored and someone needs to tailor it. Almost everything needs to be customised, which means special materials, special approach, search and adapt. A lot of work to satisfy the client.

We are very organic. There’s system in our work, but there’s a lot of uncertainty and flexibility. Every day brings change. You need to negotiate with your clients but also with your colleagues. You need to influence, motivate and oversee. Nothing is finished, until it’s finished.

We don’t do baby-sitting. That took me a while to figure out and adapt to. DEVELOR is built around one simple pre-condition – your own independence. You need something? Get it yourself. Need resources? Ask, search, find. Nothing comes on a silver platter. You have to fight for the attention, because most of the attention goes to the client. That’s reality. Deal with it

I could go on with both sides of the story. I think I covered the top for me. To conclude, I’m glad to work with DEVELOR. I deliver solid performance for DEVELOR. And we deliver quality service for clients. Last three years were a great journey, a great mixture of value and tough work. I’m looking forward where it will go further…

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What about you? Does that, what you do, give you that right mixture to be satisfied with?

60 Minutes That Will Help You Achieve More

First three months of the year are gone. It’s just like that and we have already reached 1/4 of the 2015. How are you doing with your plans for this year?

Goal-setting at the beginning of the year is so common. Every time when I open my laptop around that time of the year and go online, my LinkedIn, Facebook and RSS inbox are buzzing with the articles about how to set the goals for this year right.

Pokračovať v čítaní: 60 Minutes That Will Help You Achieve More

Simple App To Track Your Promises

Most of the people promise themselves couple of new activities and habits over the year. I do the same thing, based on what I feel is important and would help me grow. But how to track those? We deal with the same question in DEVELOR and we developed a special tool to track the action plans and their fulfilment for our training participants. But for personal use, I have a simple app, which I want to recommend to you.

For past couple of months I’ve been using the Way of Life app. It’s a simple tracking tool with a pleasant interface and that makes it easy to use.

In simple words, the app lets you set positive or negative habits and then update, whether you’ve completed them and uses the colour coding to show you at a glance, how you’re doing.

After you’ve set up the habits, this is what the week looks like:

Way of Life - Start of the Week
Way of Life – Start of the Week

This is how simple is the update. You only have 3 options: you’ve done it, you didn’t or it doesn’t apply for the day. The update in the evening takes 30 seconds (for me with 7 habits to track):

Way of Life - updating
Way of Life – updating positive habit
Way of Life - updating negative habit
Way of Life – updating negative habit

Here’s the app basic view at the end of the week (a successful one):

Way of life - this week
Way of life – this week

The best think about the app which I like is that for me, it actually pushes me to get the things done, as I really don’t want to see the red bar in the week overview. So last week, when it was already pretty late on Friday and I wasn’t feeling like reading, but had only read on Thursday, I pushed myself to read for 30 minutes, so that I can get the green slot instead of read.

Plus, there are some cool additional features, such as viewing trends for longer time, setting reminders for morning and evening to update, archiving the completed goals and other.

Way of Life - 12 W trend
Way of Life – 12 W trend

I recommend everyone to get this app, for now it’s available for iOS devices. For Android users, a quick google search returned for example this app as an option.

What do you use to track your promises to yourself? Is it an app, a paper tracker, or some other tool? Let me know, I’m really curious.

Krátke intro do koučovania

Today it’s time to put a bit of clarity into what coaching actually is. I think the best source to tap into is the ICF (International Coach Federation). Let’s look what they say about coaching:

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.(1)

I think this definition is something that’s really touching the center of the coaching as profession. I especially appreciate some of the words, which give me meaning to work on becoming coach.

PARTNERING means that coaching isn’t something where you are on the receiving end and coach is on the giving end. It’s a mutual relationship which will not work without both sides covering their responsibilities.

HONORING CLIENT AS AN EXPERT ON HIS LIFE actually means, that coach isn’t going to give you any kind of advise, because he / she is not entitled to play an expert on you and your life story. He’s solely there to walk with you through the discovery process and help you.

The ICF definition continues:

Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
Encourage client self-discovery
Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.(1)

In my opinion, the defined COACHES RESPONSIBILITIES quite clearly tell what he shall be doing in the process – clarify the goal, help the personal discovery, work with the generated solutions of client and make him accountable throughout the coaching relationship.

You can find a bit more about coaching here.

What do you think of coaching? 

My Favourite (Work) Feeling

Done. Completed. Accomplished.

I’m one of those who like to tick the to-do list, track the plan, use the schedule. Simply see the small progress. Some used to call me „structure freak“, some just called me plain crazy 🙂 But this works for me.

After a couple of months, when I was extremely unstructured and reactive, I put together some kind of schedule for my day. Before I came often into the situation, that I was so overwhelmed with the number of „big things to do“, that I actually didn’t get anything done. But the schedule helps.

It is simple:

  • Wake up, exercise, meditate
  • Get to work, get the work done
  • Get home, rest, eat, run
  • Work on personal projects for next 2-3 hours
  • Read / paint / write
  • Sleep for 7 hours min

The beauty of the schedule is, that following it forms the habit. And it helps me to go step-by-step, without being scared of having too much to do.

Once in a while, I need to sit down and revise the things from the bigger perspective. And then back to schedule. Inch by inch I will get there.

And that is my favorite feeling. Knowing, that today I made another step towards achieving something.

No One Cares About Your Plans

I have a complete post about my targets for 2015 written and saved in the draft. Just now I realized, how stupid it is.

Who gives a damn about what I plan to do? No one. No one cares about the plans, plans are just plans.

I have a lot of plans and lots of ideas, but the truth is, as my girlfriend says „No one pays for ideas.“ And no one cares about plans. People care about what was done, what was accomplished.

So I’ll leave that post in the drafts for now and I’ll publish it by the end of the year, to see what I’ve actually accomplished.

I know, people say (I think there’s research on that as well) that public commitment could make me perform better. This actually is a form of public commitment. I commit to give you the showdown by the end of the year and to compare the „what I wanted to achieve“ vs „what I’ve actually accomplished“. That will be something that people could care about.

Bottom line: Don’t listen to people talking about their plans, ask them about what they’ve already done.

What Footprint You Leave Behind?

Recently on our company event we discussed the topic of our „sales footprint“. What is the impact, impression we leave after our sales encounters.

Do our footprints get washed away by first wave, or we leave a lasting impression?

It’s very important to clear out for yourself, what YOUR impression is about. Are you professional, creative, innovative, structured, inspiring, hardworking…? What are the characteristics you leave behind?

For me my footprint is defined by my ambition, my goals. So here are couple of methods I find useful in defining my footprint:

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT:

I made this exercise of setting up my personal „mission statement“ some months ago. It’s inspired by the 7 habits book by Stephen R. Covey. For me I have 3 roles, 3 types of impressions I want to leave with people I meet and projects I get involved with:

CONTRIBUTOR – a person who gives in the best possible contribution to the idea that matters.

CHANGE AGENT – someone who helps driving positive change and generates the change in others.

LIFELONG LEARNER – someone who is willing to learn and improve for whole life and inspires others to do so.

You can also read more about my mission in this presentation.

BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL:

When I was still active in AIESEC we were putting together the ambition for year 2015, something like a long-term vision. The interesting concept we used was BHAG = Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

BHAG, as Wikipedia defines it „is a strategic business statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.“

AIESEC set it’s BHAG as „Engage and develop every young person in the world.

My BHAG is to significantly help 1.000.000 people.

It does not matter which way you choose to define your footprint. It’s important to define it, commit to it and act on it.

So what is your footprint?

The Spark In The Eyes Makes The Difference

Last weekend we were running an innovation workshop for the guys from AIESEC Slovakia. As a part of it we had a short presentation from a Jozef Porhincak from Challengest project.

What mostly inspired me about his talk was not the content. Though the idea and success of the project are really interesting. What caught my attention was the spark of enthusiasm and full commitment that he displayed.

It’s great to see people fully devoted to the idea they believe in. And it makes me think „what does make me feel this way“? What is the thing that would light the spark in my eyes?

Do you have something that lights your spark? If yes, what do you do about it?