Give them a why (April 2015)

 

Hi

Its Friday again. Most people feel the year flies by but it’s particularly so at this time of the year in SA with all the public holidays. With a three day week at the end of the month I hear many bemoan how little work gets done. That is true in terms of working hours available but I encourage you to make the most of the long weekends for relaxation. And encourage people who work for you to do the same and even to take the three days leave so they get a lovely nine day break. There is plenty of research to show that we can all be much more productive and innovative in our working hours when we are healthy and refreshed.


Give them a why

What is the “why”? The “why” is the reason why we do something: why we do it at all, or why we do it at a particular time.

 

Two people interacted with me around the same time recently. They received very different responses from me. I found myself watching myself as though from the outside, intrigued by the difference in my responses.

 

A day before we were going camping for the Easter weekend I got a call from the supply chain department of a company I do work for. Let’s call him Jay. Jay introduced himself and asked if I would please send him my company profile. I replied that I was pretty sure I’d sent the profile when they first contracted with me a few years ago. He said yes but he thought it may have changed and they’d like an updated one. I agreed I would do so, took down his email address and continued with what I was doing which kept me busy for the rest of the day.

 

The next morning, before leaving for the weekend, we’d decided to go to one of the two pharmacies near us, where one can get the annual Vitality health screening done. At the first pharmacy we found a short but apparently slow moving queue. So my husband waited there and I went to see how it was going at the other pharmacy. I found the nursing sister had just arrived. On enquiring Sister B said she’d be about half an hour with the person before me and would then do my tests. I called my husband on his cell to see how it was going and he said he was next and things were moving quickly now. I returned to Sr B to say not to worry I’d go and join my husband as that would be quicker. She replied “Please don’t. I am behind this month and need to see more people. I won’t be long. Please wait for me.” I called my husband and said “I’m waiting here. The Sister has asked me so nicely. Join me when you are finished.”

 

After we returned from the weekend I got a reminder from Jay asking for the updated profile. I thanked him for the reminder and said I’d probably be doing it during that week. He replied, by email, “I’d hoped to have it this afternoon.” I just smiled to myself.

 

He wanted me to prioritise my day to suit his priorities. He didn’t want the profile in order to procure new work from me, he just wanted his records up to date. There was nothing in it for me right now: no reason for me to put checking, and possibly updating, the profile ahead of other tasks I had; tasks that were earning me income right now and in the following month. Neither had he connected with me in a way that might have appealed to my soft side to help him out in completing his task.

 

The Vitality health checks were something we wanted to do. The results are a confirmation to us of our health status and the Vitality points earned translate into significant cost savings during the year. And Sr B appealed to my considerate side to help her. There are three “whys” in that.

 

Jay eventually got the updated profile, when it fitted into my prioritised work tasks. I was pleased to have had a reason to update it in line with some pretty recent changes in my thinking. Its “why” had now become apparent and it had come into its appropriate timing.

 

Could Jay have influenced my response? Could he have encouraged me to get the profile to him sooner?

I think he could have. He could have given me a bigger “why”, a more urgent “why”.

 

Do you share the “why” when you ask for something? When you delegate work? It is essential.

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Story of the Day

We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’ – Author unknown


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In the zone (March 2015)

 

Hi

I often have lots of thoughts when I’m showering. This morning my mind jumped to things people complain about in SA and then onto the news reports that I see from elsewhere in the world. I thought about how there are problems everywhere – economic, social, political, wars, terrorism – only the details change.

I was reminded of that story about a group of people who all had pretty big problems in their lives. They were invited to swop their problem for someone else’s. Each person wrote their problem on a piece of paper and put it on a table. Then one-by-one they came to the table and picked up a piece of paper (and problem) to take home.

It turned out that all had chosen their own original problem! For the most part we learn how to live with our own problems, whether we resolve them or not.

 

We are enjoying lovely weather in Joburg at the moment and we have been invited to join friends in big 5 country for the weekend. My closing shower thought was, “there is a lot I’m prepared to put up with in exchange for our weather, wide open spaces, beautiful wildlife, natural scenery, colourful people and minimal incidence of natural disasters!”


In the zone

A few weeks ago I was watching a bit of the Cricket World Cup. AB de Villiers and Rossouw were batting against West Indies. At that moment de Villiers hit a six – slow, steady, watch, wait, hit, follow with eye. He hit the ball so smoothly, with quiet confidence, making it look effortless.

That was the day the score went from 146 for 3 to 408 for 5 with AB scoring his final 50 runs off just 12 balls.

I just love to watch any top class sportsman on a good day – it’s poetry in motion – awesome – so exciting to the maximizer in me.

And what a difference it makes to the score when a few players are in that space on the day.

 

What enables a player like AB de Villiers to play like that?

I haven’t interviewed him but from my understanding of human behaviour and performance I believe it is firstly because he is working with his talents. Then he has put in lots of practise to create the right pathways in the brain to turn his talents into strengths. He doesn’t mind putting in the practise because he is doing what he enjoys and feeling a sense of mastery. Then he feels well rewarded whether that is through money or recognition. And he has the support of a team that is collectively in the right space.

In sport it is sometimes referred to as being in the zone. The result of both physical and mental preparation.

 

Interestingly in an interview after the match de Villiers shared the role that Rossouw and the rest of the team had played in his achieving his great result.

The sheer range of shots he played on Friday was breathtaking but he admitted to feeling out of sorts when he came out to join Rilee Rossouw in the middle with his side becalmed at 146-3.

“Rilee played a big part in me getting off my feet today,” he said.

“I didn’t feel too well going out to the wicket, a bit flat. He had a lot energy about him, a lot of intensity, getting into a lot of good positions, making it look flat out there.

“We were getting a lot of momentum behind us at a really quick pace. We’re both really aggressive players, we ran a lot of twos, and all of that together helped in me having a go.”

“I really thought the guys were motivated today to play some good cricket,” he said.

“It’s great to see the team like that, hustling around. You could see their eyes were open, ready to fight. It’s a great turnaround after loss at the MCG.”

 

I am writing this just hours before the Proteas play Sri Lanka in the quarter finals. I hope the team is again in the right space and that there are enough key players in the zone.

 

Imagine if everyone working for you, or around you, was in the zone. Imagine the results (the score) that you could collectively achieve.

It can be done. If you create an environment which makes it easier for people to be self motivated, one in which they have a degree of autonomy, can experience a sense of mastery and see a purpose in what they do. If you collect people together with a variety of strengths and match those strengths appropriately to the roles needed. And if you reward fairly and show appreciation in the language (manner) in which each individual needs to receive it.

And then you help those individuals to collaborate as a team. To appreciate each other’s strengths, to accept the imperfections, to communicate, to trust and to respect each other.

 

How much more would you achieve each day? How much more profitable would you be? How much higher would the quality of goods or services be?

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“Excellence can be attained if you Care more than what others think is wise, Risk more than what others think is safe, Dream more than what others think is practical and Expect more than what others think is possible.” – Unknown


My Little Black Book

This is for those in Johannesburg who enjoy theatre. Have you been to Foxwood Theatre in Houghton? We discovered it a couple of years ago. The shows range from revues to comedy to the thought provoking – mostly in English but some in Afrikaans. And there is an excellent restaurant for pre show dinners. You can sign up to their newsletter and watch out for the next show that interests you. http://www.foxwood.co.za/


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Follow your passion, or be practical? (September 2014)

Hi

Last month I said a good sighting of a beautiful leopard would make up for the cooler weather moving into the Kruger Park. Many people asked if I got to see my leopard. Well we got to see two together!

 

It was through very thick bush and we think they were a bit miffed with us as we may have interrupted their mating, so they moved away quickly!

But it was very special. They are such beautiful creatures – apparently the only remaining large cats that can be found roaming free in the African wild.

mating leopard

leopard

 

Another great sighting was a tawny eagle with its kill, a very small baby buck. Sad for the buck and its mother but a big meal for the eagle. A reminder of the cycles of nature.  tawny eagle with kill


Follow your passion or be practical?

At the end of last month I walked past the radio in time to hear the radio presenter ask “Should children follow their passion or be practical?” He went onto say that over previous days some experts had commented that children need to be going into fields of study that qualify them in areas where SA is short of skills or where the money is. Rather than fighting for jobs where supply exceeds demand.

 

I picked up bits of the discussion as people called in. There were many views expressed, and personal experiences shared. And by the end it appeared there were as many pro practical as there were those pro passion. My leaning is towards following your passion but I also appreciate the practicalities.

 

What concerns me is the situation in the workplace where leader-managers often find themselves frustrated by people who don’t want to be there. People who for whatever reason haven’t followed their passion and now have little interest in their job.

 

As frustrating as that is for the manager, it must be a horrible place for the employee.

We spend a lot of hours at work. I think we are all entitled to find satisfaction and joy in being there.

 

If we are that employee what can we do? If we manage someone like that how can we help them?

 

1. Is it possible to change to another position that is better aligned to your strengths and interests?
This could mean a total career change or a change within the current industry or perhaps just a sideways move within the current business.

 

2. Or whilst keeping the current position could you swop some tasks with a colleague so you both get a change or take on an additional small project. I remember a PA with a passion for the environment who whilst remaining a PA got to be an advisor on a “green” project.

 

3. Try taking a step back from the work and review its value. If done well how does this work impact fellow workers, the company, the industry, the community, the country ….? Is there an alignment anywhere with your own values? Can you find meaning in what you do?

 

4. Are you good at what you do? Could you be better? It is much easier to feel motivated when we feel competent. What can you do to become better at your work – study, practise, accept coaching or mentorship?

 

5. If your real passion just can’t be brought into your work then look for a hobby, sport, volunteer activity that makes use of your strengths and brings you alive. If we feel fulfilled in our personal time the increased energy and enthusiasm spills over into the rest of our lives.

Think of the person who loves to teach but wanted a job that paid much better than the teaching profession. They can volunteer on Saturday mornings at a centre giving extra tutoring to struggling kids.

 

Whatever we do, if we do it to the best of our ability and with our best attitude, it can bring joy to us and those around us.

 

Regards

Alison

© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Harold Thurman Whitman

“The circumstances of your life have uniquely qualified you to make a contribution. And if you don’t make that contribution, nobody else can make it.” ~ Rabbi Harold S. Kushner


My Little Black Book

Two excellent facilitators, Julie and Chantal, are soon presenting a very valuable 2 day hands on workshop, ‘BOUNCE in the face of adversity’.

Julie says, “It creates an oasis … a respite … a space … for you to begin transforming immobilising fears and feelings – such as hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness (which often emerge through adversity, trouble, trauma and tragedy) – into feelings of worth, value and optimism.”

Does that sound like the break you need? If so book now for September, October or November.

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