Photo credit: Miguel Bruna
Amaaazing! You got the gig! It’s the dream job at the company you wanted to work at since forever. Everyone is congratulating you! Such a fantastic moment. Even your parents are getting kudos out of it, just for having produced you. No pressure though. Its not like you could flub it up, right? Right? Ack!
For those who want to make a good impression, pass probation and make an impact, read on!
1. Identify your success metrics
In order to be successful in your new role you need to be clear about the metrics you want to be judged against. Are you there to raise standards, raise profile (yours or the teams), improve processes or save money? It’s critical to be clear on how your progress will be evaluated and by whom. Don’t leave yourself in the dark here.
2. How aligned are you with your formal goals?
If you are there to save money and streamline the business, are you 100% behind that vision? Or, are you secretly hoping to persuade the powers that be to take another view.
3. Whats the organisational/departmental view on meeting objectives?
All organisations have their unique tolerances for performance, and some can be surprisingly harsh or gentle. It pays to do some digging and get the lie of the land where you are.
4. Whose feathers will your success ruffle?
Who is going to welcome those improvements and who is going to be less than impressed? This is where the politics lives. Become a great detective to see what matters to who.
5. Make your presence known
Get out and meet as many people as you can. Ask everyone if there is someone else you need to meet. Take notes. My experience is that everyone tells you everything you need to succeed in the first few weeks. You are just too overwhelmed to take it in. Keep reviewing your notes. It’s all in there.
6. Listen as if your life depended on it
People blossom when they feel heard. Listen to everyone and acknowledge their truth, even if it doesn’t resonate or make sense to you. Ask them what they would do if they were you. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.
7. Set goals and hold yourself to account
What do you want to achieve in your first 30, 60, 90 days? And after that? What happens if you don’t? If you can’t trust yourself to deliver, how can your team, peers and stakeholders depend on you?
8. Ask for help
It’s easy to assume that asking for help exposes your weaknesses publicly. And it might do, but whats the alternative? If you don’t ask for help and don’t achieve your goals, you run the risk of falling flat on your face and that is never a winning look. So swallow your pride and get help when you need it. Too tip: make sure you acknowledge all your sources so they are even more inclined to help in the future.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to “great leaders” and feel too aware of how we fall short. But being a leader depends so much more on staying calm and being your best self than it does on specific skills (that you can hone throughout your career) such as public speaking. Do your homework (follow these 8 tips) and keep your nerve and you have every chance of being the great leader you know you can be.
Photo credit: Ryoji Iwata
A topic that has come up a lot with clients recently is about how poorly matched they feel with the career market. Sometimes this is easily addressed by a closer examination of the market, acknowledging all the variables such as organisational size, agency vs in-house working style, digital maturity level, public, private, not-for-profit, etc because, honestly there are pockets in that landscape that are nothing like each other in any dimension.
But sometimes it’s about roles and seniority and the expectations that weigh them down. Is it possible to be a senior and not line manage and even if it is, what is the career progression beyond that for someone who doesn’t want to “be in charge of” other people?
I gently nudge the conversation towards getting clearer about strengths and weaknesses, needs and desires until we have a fuller picture: they have a much better idea of the puzzle piece shaper they really are and are then able to scour the market to see where they fit.
Inside all of us is a very unique being and life tends to try to make us forget that. Once you get back in touch with the “real” you, you will find any attempts to downplay it start to backfire on you and the only way is to move forward and honour yourself. It’s the route to your happy path. Best get started now!
Photo by Sven Mieke
We all understand the concept of physical fitness and have a sense of where we are with that. We know that good physical fitness can help us avoid risk of heart disease, strokes and other chronic illnesses, improve strength and flexibility, help us maintain a lower body weight and lower blood pressure, depression and even dementia.
What we understand less well is the concept of mental fitness. It is a measure of our ability to deal with life’s challenges in a way that allows us to bounce back rather than be knocked over when things don’t go to plan. Unlike physical fitness which relates to muscular strength, mental fitness is about building strong positive, constructive neural pathways that allow us to view the world more objectively and in a more positive light. Mental fitness gives you the ability to silence the negative thoughts and access the bounty of your higher mind, the place where your best thinking and emotional intelligence lives. Like a swimmer who is more powerful in the water than they are on land, we may be mentally strong in some circumstances and less capable in others.
There are three steps to mental fitness:
Sounds easy but it turns out to be very hard to do in the moment because our survival impulses are very powerful and can happen before we have time to really process whats going on.
Positive Intelligence©, a 6-week intensive mental fitness program that came out of Stanford University and is firmly built on neuroscience, cognitive and positive psychology, and performance science offers a simple toolkit that gives you:
The program has been used by hundreds of thousands of people already and has yielded significant measurable results for a number of organisations including*:
Want to know more? Find out about your saboteurs here and then book a call with me and we can talk about your results - in a complimentary session, of course!
* Figures from https://www.positiveintelligence.com/program/
Photo by vitamina poleznova
Time management is so easy to talk about and so hard to do well. There are lots of tools around to help with this. Pebbles in a jar and the Eisenhower Box are two that I use a lot, to help people recognise that they need to make sure they make time for whats important to them and then get clear on what action they need to be taking versus delegating to other people.
The key starting point for time management is to get very clear on your priorities. Our lives are the sum of what we prioritise and sometimes we inadvertently focus on life’s squeaky wheels. Bronnie Ware’s The Top Five Regrets of the Dying is a sobering reminder that life marches on and its up to us to use the time we have as well as we can. According to the book, these are the top 5:
Pebbles in a Jar
With that in mind, using the Pebbles in a Jar approach, we would look at your life (the jar) and what needs to fit into it. If you fillet with sand and pebbles, the rock cannot be squeezed in.
The Eisenhower box
Once we know what is truly important, we can apply an approach like the Eisenhower Box, invented by the 34th president of the USA. He’s famous for saying “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” And his matrix helped him separate the important from the unimportant and the urgent from the not urgent. As you can see, if its not important and its not urgent, you just get rid of it!
Want to live a life with no regrets? You’ll need to make sure you are prioritising whats most important to you and just let go of the unimportant things. Simple but not always so easy!
25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.