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?

The Simplest Advice On Customer Care

Companies spend a lot of time and money on figuring out how to make their customers happy. People spend a lot of effort on trying to crack the code to good relations with others…

The key to all relations (with clients, friends, family…) is to actually CARE. Care for their problems, for what is happening in their lives.

Every person likes to feel the real, authentic interest. Show that to those whom you want to win. Show interest. Care. It will make them happy and it will help you win their loyalty and love.

It is not about claiming that you do care. It’s about acting. Listening with attention. Speaking with right intention. Offering and actually delivering your help. Searching for options. And being personally happy for the chance to help.

Snap! Every Moment Counts In Life

We live in the age of amazing speed. Everyday, every hour, every minute, every second amazing number of new ideas are born.

Snap! The opportunity is lost. Snap! Another one appears. Snap!

Our personal and business success depends on our quick reaction. I used to work for Alcatel-Lucent, whose motto is „At the Speed of Ideas“. But only now working in B2B sales I understand what it really means to be in quick. You can lose an opportunity faster than you think. You need to ack quickly and decisively.

Snap!

The time between „snaps“ gets shorter and shorter and we need to learn and act quicker and quicker. We don’t have the time to gather all the information we need. We even don’t have the capacity for that, for the amount of data is enormous. We need to do more decisions in shorter time with limited information.

It’s more costly to hesitate than to risk and fail.

I’m naturally not the most decisive and quick to act. But I have to learn this. It’s a skill just like any other.

I’ve had one business idea in my drawer for almost 2 years. Now a friend of mine came up with a connected idea and within couple of weeks he’s starting to build a prototype of first product. Makes me wonder, where I would be, if I had started acting earlier…

What about you? Are you quick enough to succeed? Do you hear that snapping sound? Does it announce your success or failure to act?

SNAP!

Jump Over Knowing Doing Gap

There’s so many things we know. We know exercising is healthy. We know taking care for client is productive. We know planning makes sense. We know…

I know for example that to achieve my goals I need to plan and track activities. But still I fail in doing that properly. That means, that my knowledge is useless.

To know is not enough, knowledge has to be applied. Good intention isn’t enough, we must act.

This is the „motto“ my boss, Martin, uses. And all our company lives that motto. Whether in work with our clients or in our internal improvement.

Knowing is not enough. The knowledge is as much as passive acknowledgement of needed change. If I know I am not good at presenting, it’s a start. Even if I know good techniques to present, it still is not enough. Until I start using those techniques, I won’t get better. Ever.

Once you acquire some new piece of information, you should ask yourself simple question:

What will I do about it? When?

And then act. Don’t expect the change to happen without action.

It applies to skills improvement, personal change, as well as to company improvement. If you know there’s something that can be done better, but you don’t act, you don’t contribute.

So what do you know and don’t act on?


Short information point (not intended as promotion, just to let you know):
The key thing that distinguishes DEVELOR from other training and consulting companies is the fact that we walk the performance talk. We are one of few companies who are certified by Kirkpatrick Partners to use Kirkpatrick Model of measuring development impact. We know and educate our clients to pay as much (or even more) attention to application of skills, as they pay to „traditional“ training of employees. Because even the best training has limited influence on behavioural change and results. To act is necessary.

Achievements Should Be Celebrated

I finished my first half-marathon today. I’m proud and happy.

Strange, how unnatural it feels to write about achievement. Most of the time I write about overcoming obstacles. Very little I celebrate the victories here.

Today it’s time to do so.

I started running couple of months ago. Actually it was in May 2012 when I got back to Slovakia. First run was 1.88 km. I almost fainted after it. I did my first 10 km run in July 2012. It took me total of 11 months to get to finish half-marathon.

When I signed up for Bratislava marathon, I set a goal to finish it (and if all goes well, get there in 2h 30min). I finished in 2:08:15, which I didn’t even dream of.

What I also loved about the experience is that I enjoyed it. Yes, there were couple of moments when I thought I will lay down and cry. But most of the time, I was having fun, jumping, changing pace, trying longer and shorter stride. It was real fun!

There are 4 things that helped me to get at the end of my first half-marathon:

  • clear goal
  • enjoying the way
  • not stopping
  • support from friends

If you want to achieve something, set a goal, make sure to find joy in the process, don’t stop and find friends to support you. Than just go and do it. Enjoy your achievement.

Client Is The Boss – In Practice

It’s 10 PM and I just finished working. Why? Two reasons – a bit bad time management and the fact that the client is the boss.

I haven’t written about my work too much yet. When I was coming to work for DEVELOR one of the first things I asked my managing director – Martin – was: „Who’s gonna be my boss here?“ Coming from position where I didn’t have to face customers it was natural for me to know who do I report to, who’s there to „check on me“. Martin’s reply:

Client is the boss.

And it’s not empty words here. It is like that. One and only thing I need to do is to make sure the client is happy. Whether it’s in the „business hours“ or out of them.

Sometimes it’s not that nice (like today, when I have to catch up on the work and my client needs that offer tomorrow morning in her email). But it also means that nobody is going to check your schedule, give you bad looks when you work out of a coffee place, home, coworking office, or when you take some hours off because you can’t do your best right now. You know you will have to get the work done. It also makes prioritising simple. First client work, then the rest.

I know my role. I’m not here to work, but to deliver. Deliver happy clients. And I get the freedom to do it. 

That’s something I like about DEVELOR.

Six Questions To Help You Close The Chapter

Whether it’s the end of the day, end of the week, closing of the month, finishing current job or finish of a life phase; it’s important to close the chapter.

In the beginning of 2013 I wrote about my experience with year-end review. And I also started doing regular weekly and monthly reviews. I consider it important, because this moments offer me the chance to actually learn from the past.

People don’t learn from experience. They learn from reflecting on their experience.

When you revisit and think through what happened, you have the chance to learn and apply the findings in the future. And you can start the next chapter fresh.

Today I was studying some of our company training material on how to debrief the group after situational exercise. I found steps which you could use to guide your closings.

IT’S SIX SIMPLE QUESTIONS:

How do you feel?

An important opening question. It gives the chance to express emotion connected with the experience. It opens you for more factual analysis further on.

What happened?

What are the facts? What did you do? What did others do? No conclusions, just plain facts. Start broad, then go into more details. Stay factual.

What did you learn?

Draw conclusions. What do you learn from particular events and actions? What do they mean?

How does it relate to „actual world“?

This question is specific for training situations. When you debrief your real-life experience, I would just skip it.

What if?

Go and speculate. Question yourself on what would you do differently. What if you would act in another way? To what areas can you transfer the learning?

What next?

Time to follow-up. What will you do in the future? How will you change the behaviour based on your learning? Plan clear actions.

(originally published here)

I hope this will help you close your chapters properly. If you don’t debrief your experiences, start doing so. Give yourself the the chance to learn and start fresh. And let me know, how you’re doing 😉