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Arhivele lunare: Februarie 2013

4.  Influencing as a key skill

If there’s a conclusion from the previous 3 trends, it’s that the days when your job was secure, tightly locked into an org chart, with a clear and stable job description, well, those days are nearly over.

They’re not over if you’re a specialist of some kind, working in a 1,000+ people unit. In those cases, the environment is still reasonably predictable. But in most of the other cases, you’re more or less on your own. The wind of change is blowing harder. Companies are relocating entire production facilities 10,000 miles away. They’re outsourcing what used to be core functions, they’re selling what used to be core businesses. Some companies are splitting up and letting people go, others are merging using Jack Welch’s famous equation in mergers: 1+1 = 1 (which means one GM here, one GM there, one will stay and one will do something else). Some jobs are disappearing and people are offered an alternative that is not always very appealing.

Who will be your promoter, your lawyer, the one who makes sure you get a good deal or a good project or not the worst office? It has got to be you. This is if you’re an employee, at any level. If you’re an entrepreneur, a freelancer, then all this comes without saying.

Influencing skills have become very important and they will, most likely, only grow in importance. You need to know how to stand up for your rights, how to sell an idea to those who report to you so that they do it properly, how to convince the ones whose signature you need. By influencing I don’t mean playing dirty games, I mean purely knowing what to say, how to say it and who to say it to.

When something happens that you don’t like, you can’t just go hide your feelings inside yourself forever or, on the contrary, explode like a volcano. People can’t read your mind. Take your time, breathe, have some water and prepare your case.

The bad news is that everyone’s got to do it. The good news is everyone can do it, at least to a reasonable level. It’s a skill, which means you can learn it and even master it.

***

There are some other trends out there, of course. The key thing is to always be alert, to notice what’s going on and not ignore some signs just because they’re too small. To stay on top, we need to be open to change but clear with what is important to us.

Article written for DoingBusiness.

Anunțuri

3.  Multiple sources of income

Partly, this is a result of the previous trend. Partly, this is triggered by the same impatience that makes us switch TV channels one after the other or do five things in the same time.

More and more people move into freelance work, contract work, part time work, project work or all of the above. The result is that there is a little income from here, a little from there, an occasional income from somewhere else. Sometimes it’s a salary, from another project it can be a commission, from a small business it’s a profit. There might be some rent coming in from our first studio. This situation can become hectic in terms of how we work, but it can also allow time for jogging, for reading, for family, much more than what a normal job would allow. In a way, it’s less stable. But it’s also less risky, as not all the eggs are in the same basket.

Some people get to this situation by reducing the time they spend on their regular job, while young people might get into this situation because they simply can’t find a full time job, so they help here and there or they try out an idea.

If you’re a leader and you need to get some work done, don’t think that employing a few more people is the only way to go. Be innovative in your search for talent. Agree on a project result with someone and stick a reward to that project. Don’t promise employment and retirement packages. If there’s someone in your team that you don’t want there in the long run but whom you don’t want to just let go, set up a project based co-operation. It’s a nice way out, that allows them an income while they look for something else.

If you think about yourself, see how this trend sounds like to you. Can you picture yourself in the context described above? Do you feel it would give you wings? Can you afford not to have a stable source of income? Or does this scenario scare you?

Think about it. 10 or 20 years ago, making a decent living like this would not have been easy at all. Now, with the emergence of the service industries and with the explosion of the means to stay in touch, to promote yourself and to add value, it’s doable. But to succeed, you must really be good at something. Whether it’s  graphic design, social media, coaching others on public speaking, business restructuring or what have you, you need to have a strong pillar to be able to benefit from this trend. Contrary to what people are tempted to imagine, you don’t need to be good at 10 things to succeed with this trend, but you need to be unbelievably good at one. And passionate about it. Then projects will come. And with them, joy. And also money.

If you think this is not for you, don’t exclude it entirely from your mind. Your employer might surprise you one day.

2.   Fewer years with the same employer

This is one of the most obvious ones, illustrated by numerous studies and witnessed by most of us when we think about how our parents’ generation was working. Almost literally, their work life has been lived with the same employer. Now, the average number of years with an employer in the US, according to Fast Company, is 4.4 and the number is going down.

If you’re a leader, do your best to keep the great people. Don’t take their loyalty for granted. Don’t assume that they’re here to stay for a decade. Think of them as your most valuable customers, who can always get another offer. Identify what they want and give it to them. If it’s a title, be generous. If it’s a different kind of work, be creative. If it’s recognition or learning opportunities, be prompt. If it’s more money, be… well, it’s never only about the money. When they say they want more money, usually what they mean is that they want more money and also something else, just as important, if not more important. Find out what that is.

If you’re a leader, look for talent outside your company, outside your industry. If you know great people somewhere but think they won’t move away, reconsider. They just might do it. Look for great people in industries that have just had their peak and now they’re in decline or have lost the spark. The best people will most likely want out.

If you think about yourself, be open to change. Your employer is not the only employer out there. But in the same time, be aware that the grass is not greener somewhere else. So first, strive to get what you want where you are. Before you ask for something, make sure you have a track record of over delivery. Otherwise you might not be taken seriously. Show your value. Do what they ask of you, and then some. Streamline processes, be responsible and with initiative. Improve things. Don’t do the work of others but do more inside your work. As comedian and actor Steve Martin says, “be so good they can’t ignore you”. Then think deeply about what you want. And only then go ask for it. Insist, but not too much. You know the rest, from the last paragraph of the first trend.

It’s helpful to know what are the global trends in the way people work. If you’re a leader, or if you’re only responsible for yourself, you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Please find below 4 of the directions that can be felt already and that are likely to shape the lives of people and organizations in the years to come.

1.  Flexible work hours

The early stages are here already. More and more companies are allowing people to arrive at work between 7 and 10 and leave 8 hours later, for instance. But this is just the beginning. People are going to ask for larger lunch breaks, for the possibility of working from outside the office, for days off compensated by 2-3 hours extra in the other days and so on.

If you’re a leader, don’t oppose it. Yes, there may be corporate procedures and habits and paradigms that support the traditional way of working. But if you just defend these things without giving people a chance to try out the changes they suggest, you might find yourself losing the loyalty and energy of the people and, possibly, even the people themselves. And, as you’ve probably seen along the years, the first ones to leave are not the ones you’d like to get rid of but the ones you’d like to keep.

Give people the chance to have what they ask for. A simple way to do this without jeopardizing your business is to make people responsible for results, not for tasks. You won’t be next to them to see what they’re doing but they should report the results you expect. Monitor their results closely and see what happens. If it works out, it’s a win-win – you get the results, they get the schedule that fits them. If it doesn’t work out, you return to business as usual and you have an extra leverage on your people: you’re not the one who did not allow them to try something new, you’re the one who trusted them and whom they have failed.

If you’re thinking about yourself, think about the schedule that would really suit you. Avoid asking for a different schedule just because someone else is asking for it. Think about the life style you want, about the chores you have to do, about the things you’d like to spend more time on. Think twice. And when you’re sure this new schedule would not compromise your work performance, go and ask for it. Insist, but not too much.

If they give it to you, make sure you over deliver. You’ll be closely watched. Respect your commitments. Enjoy your other activities. If you see it doesn’t work, don’t wait until the boss tells you it doesn’t work. Take the initiative to change back. If it works, don’t brag about it to your colleagues, as you might not do them any good. Just enjoy it and make the best out of every day.

If they don’t give it to you, even though it’s important to you, still do your best, but be ready to leave.

 

Leadership inseamna sa obtii rezultate prin altii. Insa exista mai multe moduri in care se pot obtine aceste rezultate. Daca vrei, urmareste mai jos o enumerare a catorva calitati prost folosite ale liderilor si, dupa aceea, afla ce stil de conducere dintre cele 4 ai tu sau are seful tau.

In cadrul cursului TMI Practical Leadership detaliem aceste stiluri, ii ajutam pe participanti sa-si identifice propriul stil si apoi le oferim instrumente prin care pot obtine rezultate mai bune, intr-un mod durabil, impreuna cu echipa lor.

Cred că ni s-a întâmplat multora să fie nevoie să ne trezim dimineața devreme pentru a prinde un avion spre vacanță. Dacă avionul bucuriei mult așteptate pleacă la 7 și trebuie să te trezești la 4, te trezești entuziast imediat, te miști repede și nu-ți vine să bombănești că e prea devreme.

Trezitul cu noaptea în cap pentru serviciu, în schimb, adeseori nu urmează aceiași pași. Te miști cu încetinitorul, după ce în prealabil ai dat “Snooze” de câteva ori, respiri adânc și trist iar apoi ușor, ușor percepția asupra vieții revine în parametri mai buni.

Cu sau fără vacanță, întrebarea care merită adresată este: cam câte treziri zâmbitoare ai într-o lună obișnuită? Poate e nerealist să-ți propui să te trezești ca un arc în fiecare dimineață, aplaudând și strigând de bucurie. Dar dacă aproape toate zilele încep cu greu și cu întrebări existențiale în tonuri închise, atunci merită făcut ceva.

Soluția cea mai la îndemână e, evident, să te culci mai devreme ca să te trezești mai ușor. Dar știm că, de cele mai multe ori, nu despre asta e vorba. E vorba despre ce te-așteaptă după ce te trezești, ce loc de muncă, ce activități, ce oameni, ce semnificație are ceea ce faci.

Dacă vrei, analizează un pic entuziasmul dimineților tale. Iar dacă nu ești mulțumit, identifică problemele și fă ceva în privința lor imediat. E ușor de zis, dar mai greu de făcut. Motivația de a schimba lucrurile ar putea veni dintr-un refren al unei cunoscute melodii, refren ușor modificat: “E viața ta, ai grijă de ea!”.

Originalul e un pic altfel și il poți savura chiar aici:

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