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Tag: Rooi

Selling organizational acumen: my how-to has a gap

Not a popular profession

I’ve always been a ‘managerialist’- a dirty word, I know.

But I’ve been a managerialist because I am fascinated by good management.

Bad management is just annoying, if not disgusting, in the way we always find cultural incompetence dispiriting – dirtying. Yuck.

So I don’t necessarily love managers. In the way, I don’t necessarily love cricketers but I appreciate a well played game that entertains us.

I just like watching managers.  I like figuring out what they do. And I like it when we can spot how to simplify operations.

  • It’s fun to figure out some back-room system that makes life for people on the front line a lot easier.
  • It’s fun to figure out a set of shelves that cut out 15 minutes of daily rummaging in filing cabinets and operate simultaneously as a kanban system, alerting us to when we need to reorder.
  • It’s fun to automate a clerical system so something repetitive can be dispensed in with 1% of the work.
  • It’s fun to throw out a computer system and use a simple diary to record what we do because that is easier.

But our fun should always result in ways that let people do their jobs more easily and more effectively.

An indecipherable profession

Of course, people don’t always say thank you. They might not have a strong sense of how a little order in the background cuts down a lot of day to day irritation.

Yet, it is fun to watch them perform more smoothly and more elegantly as a result.

Who has written on the selling of management consultancy?

I don’t recall reading anything about the relationship between people who sell management ideas and the people they sell them too.

Anyone?  Or is this just one particular case of selling services?

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Virgin, Martyr, Saint, Witch?

Boys can play too!

Who was it who said that there are no new stories in life, just stories retold in new circumstances?

Yet for each of us, our story is completely unique.  It is still unfolding and perpetually fascinating!

The circumstances of our busy lives of 2008 are different from the lives of our great-grand parents 100 years ago.  Our lives are less scripted.  We can shape them much as we please.

In large part, we write our stories, or at least our treatment of the circumstances that we can come across along the way.

Archetypes

The common stories of the central characters of a story, that is you and I, are called archetypes, I understand.

Woman often rail about the common stories in which we are cast.

One of my pleasures of the last year was discovering the works of Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian writer.   Last week I read The Witch of Portobello.  One of the supporting characters introduces her acquaintance with Athena, the main character, with these words.

We women, when we’re searching for a meaning to our lives or for the path of knowledge, always identify with one of four classic archetypes.

The Virgin (and I’m not speaking here of a sexual virgin) is the one whose search springs from her complete independence, and everything she learns is the fruit of her ability to face challenges alone.

The Martyr finds her way to self-knowledge through pain, surrender and suffering.

The Saint finds her true reason for living in unconditional love and in her ability to give without asking anything in return.

Finally, the Witch justifies her existence by going in search of complete and limitless pleasure.

Normally, a woman has to choose from one of these traditional feminine archetypes, but Athena was all four at once.

Which storyline resonates with you?

Are you torn between two story lines?  Which makes you feel relaxed?  Does knowing the four common story lines help resolve choices?

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Singing hearts 2009

It begins

Earlier today, I asked a professional services provider why I was unable to book for Monday.   She inquired of her superiors and that is how she found out that she had been made redundant.

Shortfly afterwards,  I completed a planned trip to Woolworth’s, and stocked up on stationery in their closing down sale.  It really felt rotten paying.  I got brilliant service by-the-way.  If you are looking for good talented  people in the Milton Keynes area, pop into the Newton Pagnell branch.

We stutter

@Pistachio, who is an astonishingly interesting tweeter given to pithy phrases, asked today:  what is the one thing you would change if you could?

This is what I would change: the lack of a coordinated collective, community response to redundanciesPeople should not be left on their own.

But do we fall?

Yesterday, I started persuading my village to join Twitter.  If we are all on Twitter, traders will be able to communicate with us more easily, and we will benefit.   For example, yesterday the Coop had carrots at 50p.  Had you known that before you left home, you would have arrived with ideas on how to make carrot-based dishes.

When I heard my provider had been made redundant, I undertook to find out rents and to investigate whether we cannot hire her independently.

And what help would I value  from you?

I do appreciate people who pop by this blog and make a comment.  I am very appreciative of people who’ve helped me settle well in the UK.

I want you to answer @Pistachio‘s question, but slightly differently.  I want you to think what you want for 2009.  Not what you commit to do as a type of New Year’s Resolution, but what you want.  I want to know what would make your heart sing and your spirits soar?

And then, flick Ian Jeanes a message.  Ian is organizing people with like dreams, and I will help him.

What is your dream for 2009?

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4 hour work week?

Time management & goal setting from the masters

On Sunday night, Barack Obama put some numbers to Harold Macmillan‘s pithy saying: Events, dear boy, events. Obama’s numbers are 10% agenda and 90% circumstances.

What if we combine Obama’s numbers with Thomas Edison’s: genius is 1% inspiration and 90% perspiration?

90%
Circumstances
0,9% 89,1%
10% Agenda 0,1% 9,9%

 

 

1%
Inspiration
99%
Perspiration

Obama x Edison


4 hour work week

I’m a great believer in Kurt Lewin‘s adage: that there is nothing as practical as a good theory.  Principles, values and strategies established prior to action help me, at any rate,  keep perspective, and rapidly re-evaluate my tactics as events unfold.  In the army, they say, a plan never survives meeting the enemyThe value of the plan is in the planning, when we front-load the facts, issues and principles that will help us react quickly.

So at 9.9% of a 7 hour day, maybe 40 minutes will be spent on thoughtful and assiduous planning at the beginning of the day, and doing work that we actually planned! A 4 hour work week?

In the past, we’ve always been advised to plan only for only 60% of time.  That is about 4.5 hours per day!  The remaind 40% of the day, or 3.5 hours is used for unfolding events!

How much has your working life changed in the last few years towards a 4 hour work week – 4 hours of planned work?

What is true for politicians is true for professors, writers and musicians too!

Interestingly, work on high performing academics and violin players produce similar figures.  Violin players spend the whole day on music but about 1 hour on thoughtful and deliberate practice.

High performing academics, who typically produce 7x what their peers produce, write daily, but in approximately 15 minute snatches, and rarely for more than 1.5 hours.  Typically, they write early in the morning, before their households or departements get noisy.  They spend the rest of the day reacting to emails, student enquiries, going to the gym, and taking walks and sometimes even naps!

You have 45 minutes a day that you can spend on programmed work?   How should you spend this time?

As I write this, I am considering what to spend my 40 minutes on.  Having launched Rooi a few months back, I am moving into a project management phase.  So, I suppose, my 40 minutes should be spent on a review of projects and their priorities.   That feels right!

Out comes the calendar: time to do a ‘don’t break the chain exercise’.  What time of day will I spend reviewing projects and priorities?  Where will I do this work?   How will I get in the habit?  Can I put a small card in my purse and cross off each day and ‘never break the chain’?

How do you distribute your time?

What is the essential task that you do before all else, everyday?

Check out Ned’s comment below.  Do what has to be done first thing in the morning. Then if the rest of day turns to anarchy, who cares!

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Work psychology: 2008 AD

Do you know what work psychologists do?

Thirty-one years ago, I decided to study psychology.  And for 28 years, I have practiced as a work psychologist.  Can you imagine my surprise when some readers said this blog was their first encounter with my esteemed trade?  So what do we do?

What do we do all day?

I love being a work psychologist and I think it is important for you to know I go to my ‘office’ every day with a spring in my step, looking forward to the people I will meet during the course of the day.   Most of our lives are spent ‘on the road’.  We usually work at our clients’ factories and offices, and we need strong arms to carry around briefcases laden with confidential papers.  When you see us, we are likely to be taking part in some HR exercise – recruitment, selection, or team-building, say.  When you don’t see us, we will be reconciling paperwork, doing computer work, or talking to senior managers about the direction of the company, and ways to organize, lead, up skill, confront challenges, and look after each other.

Why do clients hire us?

We deal with the pulse of the organization.  Ideally, we want everyone to enjoy their work as much as we do.  There is fascination in what we do, but little mystery.  Our understanding of how organizations work has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 100 years.  The last ten years have been particularly interesting as the limits of old ‘mechanical’ organizations have been reached and we’ve begun to embrace the fluidity and flexibility of the internet.

The psychologist’s role is to bring to the party up-to-date information about the way work practices are changing around the world, hands-on experience of changes in other companies, and deep commitment to supporting you as you think through changes in the immediate and foreseeable future.

What is special about what we do?

Just looking at us work is not sufficient to see the value we add.  You can see us talking to people – lots of people do that!  You see the briefcases – a prop?

The key to what psychologists do is deep training and ongoing exposure to work situations around the world.  When we talk with you, we are not asking whether we like you.  Nor, are we are asking about things we want.

Our interest is in accurately understanding your motivation and your circumstances, reflecting them against the changing world of business and work, and helping you work through the mix of emotions you feel as you cast your story in terms of today’s economic conditions – globalization, credit crunch, and new technologies.

This is a complicated process.  Even in the simplest business, we have on the one hand the things we want, and one the other, ‘what’s out there’.  And that gap in knowledge is not all we cope with.  When we really want something, we feel fear and trepidation.  Our job is to stay with you while you work through your anxiety and take the first step towards what will ultimately be success and very deep satisfaction.

Psychologists understand this process, see it is normal, and are there to help steer you through all three questions: you, your opportunities, your emotions.

When we work in most modern businesses, 5, 10, 15, 10 000, 100 000 of us are going through the same process.  When I decide, for example, to pursue my story in certain ways, my actions change your circumstances.   The key to good organization is that the give-and-take between us as we follow our own dreams strengthens us individuals and as a group.  Therein, the discussions we hold with senior managers.

Some case studies next?  Do let me know if I have made it any clearer what we do for a living!

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Will you join us in our Contribution to the Recovery?

I am pleased to announce the formation of

ROOI LIMITED

Psychologists working with Social Media

Our mission is to put social media at the service of businesses, colleges and communities to help focus on “the good and the true, the better and the possible”.

We have a clear goal.  As the clock strikes twelve on the 1 January 2010, we will will be looking forward to a year of work and study that is more vital and connected than we had ever thought possible.  I hope you will be there with us!

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