Posted by: kerrywills | April 19, 2019

Sense of accomplishment

I like feeling that I have accomplished things at work. This could be helping to resolve an issue or risk, closing an action item or helping to progress work towards a milestone. On many days where I just sit in meetings I do not feel like much has been accomplished and it feels like the day was wasted.

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Many people focus on their calendars and what meetings they have during the day but I believe we should focus on what work needs to be done and how best to move it along. This is where meetings should be an enabler of progress but not the sole focus. So, when we are sitting in meetings we should ask ourselves what are we trying to accomplish and how can we best do that.

Making progress is the measure of a good day and allows us to have that sense of accomplishment and purpose. Otherwise the only thing we have accomplished is to have completed another day.

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Posted by: kerrywills | April 12, 2019

Walkabouts

I was in Australia a few years back and the local people have a concept of a “walkabout” which is a journey on foot undertaken by an Aboriginal in order to live in the traditional manner. A walkabout can also be defined as “an informal stroll among a crowd conducted by a visitor.” I like to take informal strolls in the office to catch up with my professional network.

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Taking Walkabouts in the office provides many benefits. For one, it invests time in professional relationships and builds strength in the coalition of people that you work with. It also provides a valuable means of sharing and collecting information on projects, organizational updates and key initiatives. Lastly it gets you out of the office and moving, which helps to break up a long workday and is good for health.

So we don’t have to travel to The Outback to take a Walkabout….just get up from your seat and “walk about” the office.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 5, 2019

Goals and Dreams

Lots of people have dreams – they may include traveling the world, making a lot of money, or retiring early. But these are not goals. The difference between a dream and a goal is that goals have a plan. In order for a dream to be realized, a person must think through how they plan to realize it, what the steps are and what specific actions will be needed.

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As professionals who work on projects, we are used to plans, actions and milestones. We should take this same structured to approach to our work (and our personal) goals. This includes deciding what our goals should be and then having a deliberate approach to reaching them. The plans will likely change but at least it provides a structure from which to work towards making the goals. Otherwise we will just continue to daydream

Posted by: kerrywills | March 29, 2019

Planning to see the Turtles

Later this summer, I will be going with my son on a trip to Ecuador to visit Quito and the Galapagos islands. Since I am a planner by nature, of course I needed to create a plan that covered all aspects of the trip. This includes…

  • Travel logistics such as flights and hotels
  • Getting the right shots and medical preparation
  • Making a list of what to pack – clothes, proper gear, cameras, etc
  • Preparing other logistics such as having my phone work, downloading movies to the iPad, and notifying the credit card companies

 

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Giant Turtle in Galapagos

All of these items are important to ensure that the trip goes well, that we maximize our experience there and that we are prepared for many different scenarios. These types of trips are supposed to be “vacations” from work but can often cause more work. Like on our work projects, I do believe that planning is an investment in time that will yield many benefits. In this case it will be a trip to remember for the rest of our lives!

Posted by: kerrywills | March 22, 2019

Politics matter

I am somewhat of an idealist. I believe that doing good work should be enough to be recognized, get rewarded and move up in your career. I wish that were the case. Politics does play a big role in all of these things as evident by several scenarios which I have seen over and over.

  • A person gets a promotion over someone clearly more qualified
  • A person may get better opportunities than another person
  • A person takes credit for another person’s work
  • A person treats their team or colleagues poorly but still gets rewardedbusiness-commerce-political_career-career_change-politician-office_politics-office_workers-sbln609_low.jpg

Politics matter because of human nature. People naturally want to help “their” people, they see others through their own filters and biases and they hold grudges. All of these things have impacts and create the scenarios listed above.

I am definitely not an expert in office politics but I do follow a few guidelines in a deliberate attempt to be better at it.

  • Form coalitions – Have a set of peers and colleagues who will support you. Run things by them and get their views before anything too significant
  • Don’t be tied to anyone – Coalitions are important but you don’t want to be seen as “riding someone’s coattails” especially if things go south and that person is no longer there
  • Be aware – Pay attention to who says what, what partnerships exists and who is favored or not
  • Find the Mayors – These are the information leaders of the organization who really run the place (the Mayor) and make sure to have them as allies
  • Focus on the Facts – By being prepared and focusing on facts things seem less personal

Just a few things I can think of – and, again, I am not great at this but we do need to recognize that politics exist and do our best to “play the game.”

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