Learn to Thrive in Ambiguity; a Career Skill and an Essential Life Skill

In today’s workplace the ability to manage ambiguity and operate effectively in a forever changing environment is critical. As a Head Hunter, this theme is discussed as a critical competency requirement in virtually every mandate that we take on.

Companies do not create change without good reason but so often the pursuit of the right strategy requires change, to the extent that it can feel like change is permanent.

There are many positives in the dimension of change for human and team performance. We only begin to reach our potential when we put ourselves in a position when we can really be tested. Change can do this, especially when we can set our minds to embrace the challenge and learn to thrive on it. Excess predictability will breed staleness and an overall lowering of pace. When that decline sets in, in any group or team, it can be hard to change. If it is recognised too late, it is game over.

As John F Kennedy said: “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

Building a business requires a pace and momentum alongside a need to stretch yourself and the people around you. In my opinion this is one of the central components of leadership.

The balance between pressure and creating an environment that can thrive in these dynamics is a fascinating one. My experience is that when good people are being pushed too far they will let you know. If nobody ever tells you that they are under pressure then arguably you should be worried. You are not pushing hard enough.

What is certain is that these are skills that we need to develop in today’s working environments. The sooner you develop them the better. The huge upside is that these skills contribute to our lives. A mindset that is based around challenging ourselves, learning about our boundaries and being able to thrive under pressure can only improve our ability to contribute and express ourselves.

The more that we can embrace this and incorporate this in to who we are, the more engaged we become. Through this, we can shift away from the dialogue of work-life balance and begin to see that work contributes and is a part of who we are.

The Essential Skills of Job Change

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Anita Hoffmann in May, discussing the concept of job-crafting. I was struck by the differentiation between ‘job change’ and ‘career change’ and how uncomfortable we can find these processes. In a job change, we have some familiarity with the direction and environment, whereas in a career change we do not. As Anita says, we want predictability but with any form of change, this is often not the case.

There is no doubt that job-crafting is an essential skill for career change. At the same time it is also very clear that we must not lose focus of how we are actively managing our current careers in anticipation of an unexpected job change.

In my opinion, the process of finding a new job at the senior level is actually getting more difficult. The natural tendency is to assume that increased visibility with search engines, networking sites, forums etc. will make it will more straightforward. Unfortunately, it is not the case.

It is therefore critical that we are building our networks, relationships and knowledge in an intentional way. This requires a level of clarity regarding the direction that you are looking to travel in and an understanding of the people around you who could play a part in your journey.

I am not suggesting that people need total clarity of their career road map. Things change and we have to be able to adapt. However, without a requisite level of clarity you will not be able to engage effectively and intentionally with the people who can shape and contribute to your growth and ultimately your career.

Getting clear on your own vision and being intentional about how you are working towards this are the integral components to owning your career.

Anita spoke brilliantly about the concept of job-crafting and what is required. The importance of building these skills and networks over time is integral to the success of the job-crafting process. In the same way, if we are not consciously taking some level of ongoing action then we are likely missing opportunities whilst potentially leaving ourselves exposed if we find ourselves in a situation of job change.

By engaging with your own vision and taking intentional action regularly, you can meaningfully impact your relationship with opportunity.

On Wednesday 11th July at 14:00 UK time, Anita will be joining us to discuss her new book – “Purpose and Impact: How Executives are Creating Meaningful Second Careers”. For more information and to join us please follow the link below.

https://www.miramar.global/news/webinar-executives-careers  

 

This Spirit of Adventure

This Spirit of AdventureWe learn more and more about psychology and neuroscience year on year which enriches out understanding about ourselves, how we can successfully interact with each other, our behaviours and so much more. However, some concepts about attitude, behaviour and character can stand the test of time. To that end, I wanted to share a letter which was written by my Great Grand Father to my Grand Father in 1923. The simplicity and power of the message is brilliant.

This Spirit of the Future 

I look upon each minute as precious and to be exchanged only for it’s full equivalent in progress.

To develop, continually, every faculty which helps to build greater judgement, energy, determination, imagination with a good cheer, for each is necessary to the happy individual. To look upon work during the working hours of the day as a privilege, as a game, as a requisite of the full & complete life.

To look upon idleness with disrespect, as a waste of time, the only commodity of which everyone has an equal amount.

To feel that the waking hours after the day’s work is over are best spent in study, in agreeable companionship, in recreation, in those acts which build happier, stronger character & better health.

To strive for higher standards and ideals. To look upon the bright side of things and be an optimist in the best meaning of the word. To act quickly and avoid procrastination. To think broad mindedly and to scorn meanness and jealousy.

To punish dishonesty with the utmost effort. To appreciate fully intelligence, originality, loyalty, recognising merit only as the door to advancement.

To acknowledge no obstacles as unsurmountable which stand in the way of splendid progress.

Ever your affectionate, Dad

1923

High Performance Habits

High Performance Habits:

I wanted to take the opportunity to share a great resource. Of all of the business, performance and psychology books that I have read in recent years, Brendon Burchard’s “High Performance Habits” has really resonated with me.

The most simple way for me to emphasise how good this is, is to say that if I could go back in time and meet my 18 year old self then this is the book that I would share. No surprise it has received such acclaim. So many brilliant books provide theory, concepts and great stories but sometimes they lack the granular detail and roadmap that enables an individual to shape their own “how”. This book provides the platform to begin to do this in an incredibly effective way.

Through my career to date, I feel that I have formed some good habits and understood how to define a vision, to plan, organise, prioritise and execute. However, I have long felt that there are more optimal habits that would enable greater focus and productivity. The focus on clarity of vision and the building of stronger essential habits to be able to deliver on that vision in a productive and sustainable manner is powerful.

Adapting and implementing new habits over the last 6 months has been a great learning journey. It has raised the question for me as to how the formation of these skills can be better integrated through earlier life education? I would love to understand more about the practice of this and any examples where this is really happening. I can see huge value for my own kids to be beginning to engage with these methods through their latter education, before they enter the professional world.

My only question is whether my 18 year old self would have been prepared to listen?!

Thank you Brendon. In my opinion this book is a great gift to anybody who wants to understand themselves better and generate habits that can provide a real edge. It requires a lot of study to get the most out of it but the questioning throughout is brilliant.

#highperformancehabits #reachyourpotential

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One amusing video, but reflective of what i love about working with this bunch..

 

I thought that i would take the opportunity to share a video that films the end of a mud run that a bunch of my team did in May this year. It is fair to say, we like to do these things so it is by no means a hardship and i would never describe this as an endurance event. Apart from it being quite funny, I love the humility of everybody to be prepared to make fools of themselves falling flat on their faces, then getting up and doing it again and again until they succeed!