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June 2018

Six Ways to Boost Your Career

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Last month, we looked at the Six Problems with Success Syndrome, highlighting the dangers of complacent thinking in businesses and possible ways to counteract them. Today, we’ll be looking at six positive ways you can make an impact on your career

 

In running training sessions and going into companies, I frequently find myself in conversation with staff and management. At some point, the issue turns from the specific training to more personal matters – their professional development. Unsurprisingly, this topic never fails to interest. How do we develop professionally?

 

This is a big question. Briefly, let me give you six thoughts that can seriously help you accelerate your career.

 

First, seek more training. Training is the key. Do we have the knowledge, the skills, the motivations to cope with the accelerating rate of change? Moreover, are you in the top 10% of people doing what you do? This should be your ambition. Ongoing training is one vehicle to drive you there. Remember, the person who is in the top 10% never lacks opportunities for work! This is so much better, incidentally, than desperately trying to be number 1 at everything – being number 1 is an exhausting, arduous and perilous process – you can never quite be sure. Being in the top 10% is certain – if you put in the effort and sustain it, you will arrive. Of course, make sure to begin with that you are on the right career path!

 

Second, review your commitment to your job every month. It’s strange how nearly everyone has 100% commitment when they first get a job. Suddenly, four years or four months later, somebody notices that Eddy or Angie only has 40% commitment or less. But it didn’t suddenly drop from 100 to 40 in one fell swoop – it happened gradually. If you find yourself regularly thinking your commitment is below 80%, then it might be time to consider your options. Don’t wait till everyone else knows your heart’s not in it.

 

Third, update your CV every 6 months. It’s surprising how easily we forget what we’ve done and learnt. This is preparedness. It also feels good – we establish, visually, a record of what we’ve done, and we feel ready to fly. This increases our sense of control – which boosts our self-esteem, which – in turn – boosts our actual performance levels.

 

Fourth, start a diary. If that sounds too much hassle, then at least log daily what you’ve achieved. It’s estimated that some 75% of our self-talk is negative. Concentrate on your achievements. Make a point of listing at least three major achievements a day. And if you are saying, ‘I don’t have three major achievements a day – on any day’, then you seriously need to review what your life is about. Remember, every time you satisfy a human need, then you are engaged in a major activity. We need to see the world with the eyes of a child to appreciate how miraculous it is – and how much we can be contributing to other people’s lives.

 

Fifthly, and this takes some swallowing, but … actively request new tasks from your boss! Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t, in fact, be passive – like most people. Many people think that bosses want highly intelligent and highly qualified people around them. Perhaps. But faced with an interesting debate with Jones, with all the qualifications: PHD, MBA, BA (Hons) Oxon, and Smith, whose motto is: ‘I get things done immediately’, they usually prefer Smith.

 

Which leads nicely to my final point, six.

 

Imagine you are the boss. Put yourself in his or her shoes. They have problems to solve – who can solve these problems for them – can you solve them now? Ask yourself these questions: what does your organisation need now? What steps need to be taken now? And you, following point 5, take those steps! Remember, the whole reason to be at work (and life for that matter) is to solve problems. The more problems you solve for your boss, the more they like, recommend, depend on, and are likely to advance and reward you. It’s obvious – but how many people do you think actively follow this through?

 

If you take these six points on board, watch your career develop! And watch the flood of inspiration you will undoubtedly feel.

 


EXTRACT FROM “MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR COACHING” PART 3

Coaching cover

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting extracts from my new book Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-written with Bevis Moynan, to celebrate it being published by Routledge. To recap for those who don’t know, this text is a complete guide to mapping for coaching and an invaluable resource for coaches worldwide. You can find the extract from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 via the provided links. Currently, Routledge are offering (until July 31st) a 30% discount on the book when you buy it from their site and use the code MMJS230, so now’s the time to get your copy! You can find the link to it on Routledge’s site here. If you want to read reviews on Amazon, then you can click here.

 

Today I’ll be sharing my third and final extract from the book. This extract is from Chapter 3: “Pareto, Performance and Motivational Maps”

We are happy when we are in harmony; according to the Tao Te Chingi, in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is the Way - essentially, the natural flow of the universe and how it operates. It is an impersonal force according to the Tao Te Ching, but there is no problem in calling this 'God' if one wishes to. The point is that the universe conforms and complies with certain rules and principles and when we violate these we suffer. A simple and obvious example would be committing murder: all human societies have condemned the practice since the beginning of recorded time; and that murderers suffer is not only because if they get caught they are punished, but even if they are not caught history and literature provide ample testimony to the torments of the mind that they become prey toii. With this in mind, then, are there any natural laws of the universe that we inadvertently fail to respect or act upon? Laws whose existence we do not acknowledge or ignore, or whose tenets we flatly contradict or believe the opposite of?

 

There may be severaliii but there is certainly one which has huge ramifications on our everyday life, and on coaching practice in particular. One of the major issues affecting nearly everybody as a negative subconscious belief is that the universe works in a 50-50 way. Put another way, this means that all causes and inputs are more or less equal in terms of their symptoms and outputs. Again, a simple example illustrates the point: say, we get 100 (or 1000!) emails in our inbox and we wade through them as though they were all equally important, each one gets more or less the same amount of our time and attention. If that happens, then we are working on a 50/50 assumption about the nature of reality! We say IF it happens but in truth that is exactly what is happening all the time, since most of the time we are unless we are incredibly disciplined on some sort of automatic pilot or habitual mode of working whereby we deal with things as they turn up. In short, we may have heard of the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule as it is sometimes called, but very few people (surely less than 20%?) do anything about it. Some emails are much more important than others, and often that some is about 20% of the total. So the universe works in an asymmetrical or 80/20 way, not a 50/50, all-things-equal way. Things are not equally important. If we wish to be effective, we have to identify the 20% of activities that cause or create 80% of our overall results; and if we go further and 80/20 the 80/20 we realise that 4% of inputs will generate 64%iv of outputs. If we are going to coach effectively this is an astonishing statistic to get our head round for the client.

 

Chapter 3_Diagram_Fig.01

 

 

But from a performance, and so from a coaching perspective, this principle, like Motivational Maps, is a key pillar of effective coaching. Because we cannot do everything, there is an ongoing necessity to prioritise, and this prioritisation requires that we think; and particularly that, as Richard Kochv puts it, we think 80/20.

 

To be clear about this now: 80/20 is not an exact figure. The percentage of inputs may vary, and indeed it is a primary purpose of coaches to skew this ratio. (And they do this by the intervention of coaching). But the starting point might be not 80/20 but 70/30 or 60/40 or 90/10 or 95/5, but whatever it is, it is not 50/50. It also needs to be said that whilst the Pareto Principle holds true in most life and business situations, there can be exceptions. So it is generally true, for example, that for most businesses 20% of the customers generate 80% of the revenues; but that probably doesnt work in, say, the supermarket modelvi where 20% of customers probably do not account for 80% of revenues. But so far as coaching, consultancy, training and other service industries are concerned, it is uncannily accurate, as it will be for most sectors and most non-commodity businesses.

 

REFERENCES

i. Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu, Richard Wilhelm Edition, Penguin, (1985)

ii. ‘O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!’– Macbeth, William Shakespeare

iii. For an overview take a look at Richard Koch’s The 80/20 Principle and 92 Other Powerful Laws of Nature, Nicolas Brealey, (2014), a worthy sequel to his original book on Pareto and which explains ‘92’ other laws that operate in life.

iv. 80/20 Sales and Marketing, Perry Marshall, Entrepreneur Press, (2013)

v. The 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch, Nicolas Brealey Publishing, (1997)

vi. Pareto’s Principle, Antoine Delers, Lemaitre Publishing, 2015

 

Want to find out more, why not grab the book at a 30% discount. Remember to use the code MMJS230 at checkout. Enjoy!


EXTRACT FROM “MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR COACHING” - PART 2

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Last week, I posted an extract from Chapter 1 of my new book Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-written with Bevis Moynan, to celebrate it being published by Routledge. To recap for those who don’t know, this text is a complete guide to mapping for coaching and an invaluable resource for coaches worldwide. Currently, Routledge are offering (until July 31st) a 30% discount on the book when you buy it from their site and use the code MMJS230, so now’s the time to get your copy! You can find the link to it on Routledge’s site here. If you want to read reviews on Amazon, then you can click here.

 

Today I’ll be sharing more insights with you from the book. This extract is from Chapter 2: “Coaching for Higher Performance”

 

Coaching starts with considering the issue of self-awareness for the simple reason that the person who is not self-aware has – by definition – no awareness, or consciousness, that there is anything on which to work within one self. This applies as much to self-development as it does to coaching a client. If a cat scratches its fur going through a barbed wire fence, we know it has become ‘aware’ of the injury because it will start to lick the wound relentlessly in its efforts to heal the scratch. So even animals become highly self-aware of the issues that concern them; although in human beings, with their powerful intellects and advanced emotional apparatus, this is a far more complex activity.

 

Coaching, then, in simplistic terms might be said to be a 3-step process:


1. Enabling the client to become more self-aware

2. Facilitating their decision to change

3. Helping the client generate actions to support and achieve the change – new rituals and habits

 

But what, we may ask, is it that humans become self-aware about? As a starting point we might say, the Self. The Self is the modern psychological term used to describe what in the past we called the soul. What this Self or soul is lies beyond the scope of this book, but one does not need to be specifically religious to resonate with the idea, common all over the world, “that there is some part of us which should not be sold, betrayed or lost at any cost”i. It is who we are at a root level; and one only needs to reflect that everybody – yes, everybody – at some point in their life talks to themselves; indeed, many people do it all the time. But who are we speaking to when we talk to ourselves? It is as if there are two people present in this self-dialogue. The intellect or the mind or the ego, perhaps talking to the deeper Self, the soul, and if it waits long enough, getting answers back.

 

This is a fascinating topic: the human person is one, but already we find ‘two’ dialoguing within. If we take this a stage further, one clear model that is useful from a coaching perspective is to see a human being as having four interrelated, yet distinct, strands, rather like four strands in a rope that weave around each other to form one cable, which as a result of the interweaving is immeasurably stronger.

 

Chapter 2_Diagram_Fig.04

 

 

These four strandsii are: the body (physical - doing), the mind (mental - thinking), the emotions (emotional - feeling) and the spirit (spiritual – knowing/being). Well-being is critical in all four areas, and a prolonged or sustained problem in one area will inevitably spill over and contaminate another. For example, there is now a well-known medical discipline called Psycho-immunology, which is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. In other words, ‘mere’ emotional stress can cause life threatening illnesses in the body. And so it is with all four areas interacting; and for the sake of clarity, the spiritual strand is not necessarily about religion or being religious. It is about man’s search for meaningiii; and to show how this can affect the whole person we need only to contemplate that there have been many examples of people who, regrettably, have lost all meaning in their lives, and this has led to negative thoughts, leading to emotional depressions, and in some instance to suicide, the death of the body.”

 

REFERENCES

 

i. A Complete Guide to the Soul, Patrick Harpur, Rider: Ebury Publishing, (2010).

ii. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey, Simon and Schuster, (1989).

iii. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, (1946).

 

Want to find out more, why not grab the book at a 30% discount. Remember to use the code MMJS230 at checkout. Enjoy!