Sunday, 30 December 2012

Energy and Sustainability in the Workplace

In this period of festive celebrations many of us, hopefully, may have been experiencing a renewal of positive energy, feeling and strength.

How about having such amount of positive energy every day when we work, on a constant and sustainable basis?

This post is about an article 'Manage your energy, not your time' which was written by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy in 2007 and published within the 'Harvard Business Review Guide to Getting the Right Work Done'. I found some concepts and ideas within the article inspiring, valuable and helpful.

Below are the marginalia I extracted from the article. While as always I encourage you to enjoy the original source, at the same time I hope that you can benefit from my notes. Perhaps you may find useful to bring some of them into your working life and help increase energy in your workplace.

The authors begin the article by explaining that while time is a finite resource, energy is a different story. Defined as the 'capacity to work' by physics, energy comes from: the body, emotions, mind and spirit.

Differing by time, energy can be expanded and regularly renewedby establishing specific rituals—behaviours that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible”.

The article suggests that to effectively reenergize workforces, organizations and individuals need “to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing”.

In fact, many organisations invest in employees’ skills, knowledge and competence but very few help build and sustain their energy—which is often taken for granted. However, the authors write, “greater capacity, makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability”.

The authors continue by citing the story of Wachovia Bank and their ability to build on an energy management programme which resulted in greater achievements, improvements and engagement in their workplace. The programme was run in 2006 (106 employees at 12 regional banks in southern New Jersey took part in it) and went through the four dimensions of energy mentioned above

1. The Body: Physical Energy

After taking and energy audit, participants began to explore ways to increase their physical energy and identify rituals for building and renewing it. An example of a key ritual identified by one participant was to take brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday (e.g. getting up to talk to a colleague about something other than work, taking a brief walk, etc.).

Intermittent breaks for renewal, result in higher and more sustainable performance. The length of renewal is less important than the quality. While breaks are countercultural in most organizations and counterintuitive for many high achievers, their value is multifaceted.”


2. The Emotions: Quality of Energy

When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they’re facing”.

The authors suggest us to become more aware of how we feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on our effectiveness. When feeling positive people perform best. However, “confronted with relentless demands and unexpected challenges, people tend to slip into negative emotions—the fight-or-flight mode—often multiple times in a day. They become irritable and impatient, or anxious and insecure. Such states of mind drain people’s energy and cause friction in their relationships”.

One of the rituals the authors present in order to fuel positive emotions is to learn to change the stories we tell ourselves about the events in our lives. “Often, people in conflict cast themselves in the role of victim, blaming others or external circumstances for their problems. Becoming aware of the difference between the facts in a given situation and the way we interpret those facts can be powerful in itself. It’s been a rev- elation for many people to discover they have a choice about how to view a given event and to recognize how powerfully the story they tell influences the emotions they feel.

The article suggests that an effective way people can change a story is to view it through any of 'three new lenses'. Each of these lenses can help people intentionally cultivate more positive emotions:

  • Reverse lens - for example, people ask themselves: “What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?”
  • Long lens - they ask themselves: “How will I most likely view this situation in six months?”
  • Wide lens - they ask themselves: “Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?”


3. The Mind: Focus of Energy
Many view multitasking as a necessity in the face of all the demands they juggle, but it actually undermines productivity. Distractions are costly.

The article reports that a temporary shift in attention from one task to another (for example, stopping to answer an e-mail), increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%, a phenomenon known as 'switching time'.
It’s far more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity ('ultradian sprints').”

In order to cope with the struggle people see to concentrate themselves in their work, they can create rituals to reduce the relentless interruptions (for instance, by creating a ritual of checking emails just twice a day at specific intervals rather than answering email constantly throughout the day).

Finally, another suggestion given by the authors for mobilizing mental energy is to “focus systematically on activities that have the most long-term leverage”. That means intentionally scheduling time for more challenging work, rather than rushing through it at the last minute or tending not to get to it at all. For example, as the article presents,“one of the most effective focus ritual executives adopted was to identify each night the most important challenge for the next day and make it their very first priority when they arrive in the morning.


4. The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose
People tap into the energy of the human spirit when their everyday work and activities are consistent with what they value most and with what gives them a sense of meaning and purpose”.

The authors report that regrettably, “the high demands and fast pace of corporate life don’t leave much time to pay attention to these issues, and many people don’t even recognize meaning and purpose as potential sources of energy.
However, by being attentive to our own deeper needs we can dramatically influence our effectiveness and satisfaction at work.

The article reports that in order to access the energy of the human spirit people should clarify priorities and establish accompanying rituals in three categories:
  • doing what they do best and enjoy most at work;
  • consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of their life they deem most important (work, family, health, service to others);
  • living their core values in their daily behaviors

According to the authors' words, “addressing these three categories helps people go a long way toward achieving a greater sense of alignment, satisfaction, and well-being in their lives on and off the job. Those feelings are a source of positive energy in their own right and reinforce people’s desire to persist at rituals in other energy dimensions as well”.

The article ends by reporting that at present not all companies are prepared to embrace the notion that personal renewal for employees will lead to better and more sustainable performance. “The implicit contract between organizations and their employees today is that each will try to get as much from the other as they can, as quickly as possible, and then move on without looking back. We believe that is mutually self-defeating. Both individuals and the organizations they work for end up depleted rather than enriched”.

However, the authors suggest adopting “a new and explicit contract that benefits all parties: organizations invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives to help them build and sustain their value. Individuals respond by bringing all their multidimensional energy wholeheartedly to work every day. Both grow in value as a result”.


As I wrote above I found the article very interesting and its concepts valid and valuable. You may also have found something true in these marginalia for yourself and your workplace.

I would like to conclude this post by wishing you and your organisation a New Year 2013 full of positive energy, a renewal perhaps, that will lead you and your organisation to better sustainability and performance!

Friday, 21 December 2012

EQ: Creating Positive Changes by harnessing the Power of Emotions

EQ as a specialist skill appears to be much more valued and appreciated in today business world than it was in the past. This seems to be true especially in relation to the focus on the people-side of performance that leaders and managers at any organisation implement. Empathy, for example, seem to be a core feature of engaging managers who, through an empathic behaviour, are better able to understand and support their teams.

In relation to this topic I recall a recorded webinar run by Six Seconds which I saw a couple of days ago. Six Seconds are a non-for-profit organisation that work with businesses to improve leadership and build positive organisational climates.

Within the whole webinar - titled “EQ Coach Cards”- some powerful questions were presented to the audience. I found these questions to be powerful and I would like to write some marginalia in that respect. I hope you can benefit from them and perhaps decide to use some of those with your people inside your organisations in order to forge solid relationships.

The presenters talked about EQ in action as divided in three main broad areas, with each one of them having some core competencies. Below are the notes I wrote down during the webinar:

1. KNOW YOURSELF: What am I feeling?
2. CHOOSE YOURSELF: What options do I have?
3. GIVE YOURSELF: What do I truly want?


1. KNOW YOURSELF. Competencies:


a. ENHANCE EMOTIONAL LITERACY
Emotions signal us to pay attention.

What are your emotions asking you to notice right now? Are your emotions signalling you about risks? Opportunities? As you feel the feeling, how does it change your thinking? If this feeling were an email from you to you, what might the message be?

Each feeling is a mixture of different emotions. When you go to identify and understand your feeling, it can be helpful to consider the mix of basic emotions present.
The eight basic emotions are: TRUST or ACCEPTANCE (pull closer), JOY (energise), ANTICIPATION (look ahead), DISGUST (reject), ANGER (push through), SORROW (loss of love), FEAR (risk), SURPRISE (unexpected).
As you someone enhance emotional literacy they become more skilled at noticing these signal and decoding them.

b. RECOGNISING PATTERNS
We all follow pattern of reactions – an autopilot that we use to handle those recurring situations in our day-to-day.

Do you notice your own reactions? What might push you to withdraw, attack, get quiet, get loud?

Was your reaction verbal or physical or was it just inside yourself? Are there other time you have done this? Why do you think you did that? How did you feel next?

How are your thoughts, feelings and actions interacting? Are these three working together or at adds? Are you giving too much power to one of these three pillars? What happen when you accurately sort out your current thoughts in one 'box' and feelings in another, and possible actions in a third?

What thoughts and emotions drive your actions?
Does your reaction make you feel better? If yes, how? If not, what might you have to give up if were to change this reaction? What do you have to avoid?


2. CHOOSE YOURSELF. Competencies:


a. APPLY CONSEQUENTIAL THINKING
It is about stopping to think of your choices for how to react.
Every reaction has costs and benefits. This competency is about taking the pause to evaluate and make sure you are heading down the right path.
Where is this going? Are you reacting automatically or responding carefully?

What are some effects of your current reaction? And, what is your ideal outcome? What is the optimal resolution to this situation – for you an other involved? If this issue was completely resolved, what would you see/hear experience so you know this is completed?
What actions might you take to help you see that 'light at the end of the tunnel'?

b. ENGAGE INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
When we engage intrinsic motivation we tap into the core drivers that makes us unique and strong. Rather than reacting and guessing about others, intrinsic motivation is internal, reliable and full of integrity.

What is important to people you care about?
In what circumstances do you feel most alive and wonderful?

When you are strong and powerful, what quality do you show?

c. NAVIGATE EMOTIONS
Sometimes we escalate our own feelings based on an untested assumption. Are we thinking that something is true without having actually checked the facts completely?

Perhaps something has happened in the past and you are expecting it to happen in the future?
How could you test your assumptions?

Sometimes we just get the some reactions over and over and over again. Check what is behind your emotions. We have a choice in our emotions!

Is there an assumption that is fueling some feelings?
If you could, what emotions would you choose to feel now?

d. EXERCISE OPTIMISM
Outside your challenge what is going well?
What opportunities are you pursuing? What are some positive contributions you have made?
How have you helped, taught or empowered others?
What is exciting and positive for you?
What can you feel grateful for or joyful about?
How can you draw strength from those positive areas and bring that to help you with the challenge?

Will the problem last forever? What haven't you tried?
If you couldn't fail, what would you do or change?


3. GIVE YOURSELF. Competencies:


a. INCREASE EMPATHY
There are two areas of empathy: Understanding and Connecting

Increasing empathy begins by seeing others as worthy of true respect, as fellow humans and then opening your mind and heart to them.

What else is going on to this person?
Perhaps they see a situation differently from you – what value or gift does their view provide?
What is the unique contribution or strength they are bringing to this situation?
What have they done well in the past that can help this situation?

What is the need that is underneath the other person's feeling?
What empathy can you give yourself?

b. PURSUE NOBLE GOALS
A noble goal is an overarching sense of purpose that you put into action in the day-to-day moments of your life.

What do you want to add to the world, and how can you do that just a little bit each day?

When have you been 'your best self'?
How does pursuing your noble goal affect others?
If you were to put your own purpose into action a little more each day, what would be the consequences and impact on others?
How would they feel about it? What would they think?
How would you feel about this impact?
How can you make the mundane more meaningful?


As I mentioned at the beginning of these marginalia, I found some of those questions very meaningful. Perhaps, with the new year coming soon, this might be the right time to ask ourselves and others some of these questions. That might help us to hope for a new engaging year, and make some positive changes in our organisations and workplace relationships!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Managing Conflict Situations Effectively

You are not here to fix the blame; you are here to fix the problem”
(Paul MacGee)

Recently I have read 'Self-Confidence. The Remarkable Truth of Why a Small Change Can Make a Big Difference' by Paul McGee. Paul McGee is a UK speaker and writer on the area of change, confidence, workplace relationships and motivation. I enjoyed reading the book and its concepts, many of which can be applied to various workplace situations.

In particular, I would like to relate this post to one of the chapters titled 'How to Handle Conflict Confidently'.
In fact, how many of us sometimes have found or find managing conflict situations within the organisation as difficult (for instance within the team and perhaps particularly when there are extremes of personalities)?
Therefore, today I would like to focus on this topic and I do hope you may find it useful.

These are the marginalia extracted from that chapter:

Communication between people can be a minefield. Emotions, egos and differing personalities can create an explosive cocktail. Yet communication is at the heart of all we do...And the quality of our communication can have a profound impact on the quality of our relationships...
Most people I come across don't enjoy or welcome conflict... Perhaps those people who do seem to enjoy it have both the confidence and the competence to handle it effectively...But whether or not we enjoy it, the reality is it's difficult to avoid.”

After this preamble, Paul Macgee presents four insights to be aware of with regards to conflict situations:


1. RECOGNISE IT IS OK

Conflicts, disagreements and misunderstanding are not wrong. They are an inevitable consequence of living in a fast-paced, ever-changing and ever-expanding world...In fact, disagreements can be the crucible out of which creative and new ides are born...
It is not the conflict itself that is wrong but when it is handled badly things invariably do go wrong...The truth is: conflict is inevitable. However, fighting is optional.”


2. RECOGNISE REALITY RULES

People have different agendas, priorities, beliefs, expectations, tolerances to stress, self-awareness issues...In the game of life, conflict comes with the territory.


3. RECOGNISE YOUR RIGHTS

You have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval. It is impossible to please everyone all of the time. When that is your goal you will do all you can to avoid conflict or disagreement with others. Wanting to please other people is fine but if it done only in order to achieve acceptance and approval, then you have a problem (not disconnected with this right the author also cites: You have the right to say “no” to requests without feeling guilty or selfish).

You have the right to have your ideas and opinions listened to and accepted as valid and important for you. People might not agree with your opinions and sometimes your ideas might not always be well thought through – but you still have the right to express them.

You have the right to set clear boundaries. Don't fall into the trap of expecting people to be mind readers and then resent them for when they are not. Clearly set out what you can and cannot do for someone.

You have the right to ask for time to think things over. Don't always give in to the demands people make to give them an instant answer. When appropriate take your time.

You have the right to decline feeling responsible for other people's problems. If you are happy to help someone remember to set clear boundaries. Avoid being taken on a guilt trip. If you are not careful people will be dumping their problems on you.

You have the right to be treated with respect. Whatever your job title, status or background you are a human being and are entitled to be treated so.”


4. RECOGNISE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

At this stage the author explains that recognising our rights is only one side of the bargain. In fact, if we would like to handle conflict situations confidently we also need to be aware of our responsibilities.

You have the responsibility to accept that other people have their own opinions, feelings, views and ideas, which may be different from your own. And these may never change. Sometimes you have to accept you will need to agree to disagree. And that is OK.

You have the responsibility to talk in a clear way to others so they understand your needs. Perhaps the breakdown in communication is not down to the other person but due to us being vague and unclear in how we have put across our views.

You have the responsibility to accept the consequences of your actions and decisions, particularly when you choose to assert yourself. It cab be easy to see ourselves as put upon and to play the role of victims. Accept that this may be the price you pay for a passive response. It didn't automatically happen – your response contributed to the outcome.

You have the responsibility to recognise that other people may choose not to be involved in resolving your problems. Clearly communicate your needs and express your expectations of others but recognise that people have their own reasons for not getting involved. Remember they also have rights.

You have the responsibility to ensure you do not make unreasonable demands of others in order to alleviate your own stress. That is an important point to be aware of. Is there someone close to you who you are placing unreasonable demands on?”


In any conflict situations we all have both our rights and our responsibilities. As the author suggests, being aware of this is a prerequisite for managing a potential conflict more effectively. Not just being focused either on our rights or on our responsibilities, but on both and consciously.

Finally, I would like to include within these marginalia one of the four approaches that Paul MacGee suggests for dealing with a conflict situation:


1. BE SOLUTION FOCUSED

Your goal in resolving conflict is not to make the other person squirm and to heap guilt and condemnation on the them...Our goal is to see a solution – not carry out a crucifixion. So what is the best way to achieve that?”

The author advices asking questions such us: 'How can we best resolve this?'; 'How can we prevent that happening again?'
By asking questions you are including the other person in the solution. This in itself is a great way to help them avoid losing face. It's also moving the conversation from what might, however unintentionally, be seen as the territory of 'blame and shame' to 'back in the game'. It is helping move the conflict on to resolution....And people are more likely to buy into a solution that they have been part of.”

Although - as the author cites - there is no a right way to deal with conflict, the above approach can increase the chances of dealing with it successfully. It implies involving the other person to help resolve an issue, focusing on solving the solution rather than on blame and remembering that relationships are never straightforward: as human being we do all have some basic rights and responsibilities. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Achieving Organisational Clarity

Today's post relates to one of the books written by Patrick Lencioni – if you have already followed me you may know that he is one of my favorite writers. The book is titled 'The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family. A Leadership Fable'. The concept of the book is that any family is a small organisation and that, as any organisation, should and can achieve organisational clarity.

The marginalia below which are extracted from the book, relate to achieving organisational clarity within a business context (if you were keen on knowing more about how to transfer those concepts into the family I would strongly recommend reading this book since the author makes the analogy easy to follow).

In one of the chapters titled 'Business School' the character – a business consultant - explains that the executive team of any company should focus on answering some fundamental questions in order to get organisational clarity:

  1. Core Purpose: What is the ultimate reason you are in business?

    Companies need to remember why they exist so they don't lose their way and start getting into markets and business that are not consistent with what they're all about. And they need to give their employees a sense of purpose.”

  1. Core Values: What are the essential characteristic that are inherent in your organisation and that you could never knowingly violate?

    Core values...those are the traits or qualities that are fundamental parts of an organisation's culture...You don't make them up, you just look around and describe what's already true...what you are at your core.(The author gives a clear explanation about the difference between 'core values' and 'aspirational values'. “Aspirational values' are the ones you wish you had because it would make your organisation better...it is not a reality by definition, which is why an organisation would aspire to adopt it”).

  1. Business definition: What specifically does your company do, and for whom?

    That is a description of what a company does...Some companies don't really agree on whether they are a product or a service company. Others have quite disagreements about what line of business they should be in...It is important to get the definition right before moving on.”

  1. Strategy: How do you go about doing what you do in a way that differentiates you from your competitors and gives you an advantage?

    Only after you have figured out what your company does, why it does it, and what it stands for...then you have to figure out how you are going to go about doing it...that way everything the company does, every decision it makes, is done for a reason...The most common problem in companies is that they do not have a strategy...they make decisions without anything to guide them and so they end up with a collection of actions that do not fit together. Before they know what's going on, the company has no direction and is just being reactive and opportunistic, chasing down every new idea without knowing why”. (The author then explains the usefulness for companies to determine three strategic anchors, three big areas of strategic focus”... “You have to focus on what is most important . Also he explains the difference between a core value and a strategic anchor: “core values do not change over time, strategies do”).

  1. Goals: What is your biggest priority, and what do you need to accomplish to achieve it?

    If everything is important, nothing is”...The character in the book explains this saying as “that's what having a top priority is all about. Making something most important so that nothing distracts the organisation from achieving it. It's about rallying people around one big thing at a time...Companies need to have a clear overall priority which gives them context, and then the basic building blocks of that priority (The author explains that after having decided about one top goal called the 'Rallying Cry' – which should have a time frame no shorter than two months and no longer than one year – companies would need to identify its 'Defining objectives' and 'Standard Objectives'. 'Defining objectives' describe basic categories of things you have to do to achieve the rallying cry while 'Standard objectives' identify the regular, ongoing things to do and to pay attention to in order to achieve it).

  1. Roles and responsibilities: Who has to do what to achieve your goals?
...everyone on the executive team knowing what they have to do when the meeting is over to accomplish whatever it is that they have agreed to do”.



Finally, one more important thing highlighted in the book relates to the role of communication and the relevance of conducting effective and quality discussion for keeping organisational clarity alive. Meetings for example, would be essential to assess progress against the achievements of the rallying cry, its defining and standard objectives and discussing those areas that are in more need of attention.

While I do hope these marginalia have been useful to you in some way, at the same time as always, I do encourage you to fully enjoy the original source! 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Understanding through Conversation

Today's post is about the importance of having conversations in the workplace. The inspiration of these marginalia comes from Bill Quirke's book titled “Making the Connections. Using Internal Communications to Turn Strategy into Action” and in particular, the sixth chapter of the book, “Engaging Employees Face-to-Face”.

The author's words send powerful messages about the remarkable importance of conversing.

The below marginalia are extracted from the chapter mentioned above:

Conversation is important not simply because it creates understanding, but also because it creates value...People prompt each other to think, build on each other's ideas and, together, discover new ways of doing things which alone they would have missed.

The moment of truth for communication is in conversation...What organisations want from their communication is an unbroken chain of shared meaning.

While the classic cascade passes information from level to level, what organisations actually need are much stronger links between information and its implications...
Information makes sense in context. Without the same context, it does't make the same sense.

Because words take their meaning from the context in which they are used, and because the context is created by each one of us making our own interpretation, there is always the possibility of misunderstanding.

People expect us to make sense of what they say even when they do not say it clearly or precisely. They assume we already have enough background knowledge to understand much more than they actually say. Nor do people expect to be asked what they mean, even if those who hear them do not precisely understand. When we ask people to be more precise about what they are saying, they can become annoyed and defensive, partly because the request implies that they are not expressing themselves clearly. Questions can be perceived as reflecting badly on the speaker.

However, we cannot use one-way communication to tell people what to do or what we think and want, and expect them to understand. One-way communication does not allow us to discover whether there is a shared context for understanding. Unless there is opportunity for conversation, we have no way of checking.

Conversation and shared context make understanding each other possible. Conversation turn information into understanding.
And when clear communication is important, we cannot afford to assume that we share a context.

So, questions are necessary to check understanding and any situation in which we are discouraged from asking questions risks create misunderstanding.

...In business, we are routinely discouraged from asking questions or limited by the organisation's culture as to the questions we can comfortably ask. Coupled with that, there is a cultural reluctance to speak up.

...More insidious is the fact that asking questions can be difficult simply because people think language is basically clear and unambiguous and expect us to understand them the first time. We also believe that asking questions exposes some failing in the speaker or the listener...if we ask questions, it is our fault for not listening properly or, worse, we are implying that the speaker was not clear.

Misunderstanding between people is normal and highly likely because talk is routinely vague and ambiguous, and you cannot eliminate that inbuilt ambiguity of language. You reduce the problem of misunderstanding through conversation and checking on feedback.

I believe it is important to pose and reflect on the author's words.
In many organisations, there seem to be not enough time or appreciation for internal dialogue. However, as Bill Quirke suggests, it is very likely that this tendency will create opportunities for misunderstanding.

Therefore, in our workplace, it should be given more focus on encouraging quality conversation, engaging in dialogue and removing the barriers to interaction for a better chance of turning information into meaning, creating understanding and value for people.

What employees say engages them is a chance to talk, feeling safe to speak, feeling that you are being listened to and the exchange of ideas. (Bill Quirke)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Tips from the Top

For nearly two years, when I first joint the CIPR body - due to my interest in the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement qualifications that they provide - I have been receiving the PRWeek magazine by post on every Friday (including today Friday 7th December). Being myself interested in the subject of leadership I like reading the section 'Profile' which is included in the paper. 

'Profile' is a section dedicated to leaders of the industry, people that have been able to succeed and climb to the top of the career ladder (there is one profile every week).
These leaders share their experiences and describe what made them become successful (their ambitions, their vision, their goals, their overcome challenges, their achievements). What I do most like about the article, is the short column at the bottom of it. It is titled 'Tips from the Top'.

In particular, I like going through two questions (and indeed, their answers) that are asked the leaders:
  1. Have you had a notable mentor?
  2. What advice would you give to people climbing the career ladder?

It is interesting to see what these leaders perceive as having been the qualities of their mentors, those people who contributed in some way or other to help them develop and succeed.
Equally, it is of interest to see what they suggest the next generation of potential leaders to do in order to become successful (lessons that they have learnt during their career journey).

Today I did a little bit of research from the latest magazines (from October 2012 to present) and gathered all the answers to those two questions together.

Below is a summary:

Answers to question 1: Have you had a notable mentor?
(Among the 'mentors' category' there are previous bosses, managers, colleagues and even relatives)

A notable mentor:

I have had different mentors...I have been lucky enough to work with some brilliant people along the way”;

The energy and passion he had for what he did inspired me, as did his loyalty and his vision”;

They have given me huge amounts of time, as well as support and loyalty, even when things went wrong”;

He always gave solid commercial advice... His explanation about what makes clients happy”;

When I first began working with him, I thought he was a genius. He encouraged me and mentored me throughout”;

A really inspiring man who was great fun to work for...it was a formative time for me”;

She has shared the highs and lows, and has been involved in every major business decision I have taken”;

Unflappable, dedicated to clients and the best man to have in your corner when I crisis hit


Answers to question 2: What advice would you give to people climbing the career ladder? 


Don't focus too much on trying to climb the ladder – focus instead on doing the best work you are capable of, being creative and thinking differently, and the ladder will follow”;

Be true to yourself, learn from any mistakes that you make, and always make sure you understand the context within which you are working – never let go of the bigger picture”;

Choose who you work for and stick up for what you believe in. Do that and you won't go far wrong”;

Don't understimate the importance of being a good listener; work hard; be enthusiastic about the success of clients”;

Learn something new from each person you meet. It's about having a wider view”;

Be really good at what you do and take some risks. The best people will succeed”;

Question everything. Listen more than you speak. Never assume”;

Have opinions

I like reading these pieces of advice. I find some of them very inspirational and useful.

Why not using some of them in our own career journey (the more suitable to ourselves and the place where we work)?

Also, have we ever thought about having a mentor in order to be supported during the career journey (if we don't have one already)? Can we think on someone who can be a mentor for us (a manager, a more experienced colleague, a professional outside the organisation...)?

Or instead, if we were to be managers, have we ever thought about the possibility of being great mentors for our reports and really help them achieve their potential? 

Would not that be the best for ourselves, the other and the organisation as a whole?