Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't be a Sissy Puss

Sisyphus was cursed to continuously roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down for eternity.
Many students talk about the hardships for project work by using the metaphor - 'I feel as if I am pushing a boulder up a hill' or worse as in ' I am flogging a dead horse'. The credit crunch has given many organizations the opportunity to weed out the less productive members of staff and 'reward' those remaining with more work or 'stretch' projects as some like to call them. Now we are starting to see some green shoots finally emerging and volumes and other measures of work are increasing. The only thing not increasing seems to be the staffing numbers. If your project is heading uphill or you feel like any of the above metaphors then the first thing that you have to do is stop pushing (or if it is a hole that you are doing then stop digging!). You need to:

  1. Clarify the exact benefit of the project with the sponsor (how and when will they get your invested time/money back) and get them to sign off on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life is a shortcut - don't take it

Every day we seem to read more about mental shortcuts that we make to enable us to make sense of the diversity and frantic pace of life around us.

For many years we have been used to physical shortcuts (navigational or directional) as being perceived as a good thing. Local knowledge enables you to get somewhere quicker, via an alleyway in london, an air-conditioned building atrium in HK or a side street in Mumbai.

We are also used to healthcare shortcuts (vitamin boosts, fast food, pain killers, yoga, jogging) as a way to keep sickness at bay and maintain productivity at the same time. Until we burn-out and realize that sometimes these shortcuts don't work.

We can also try career shortcuts (night classes, on-line learning, 1 year - MBA's, unpaid overtime) - in an attempt to reduce or obliterate the 10,000 hours that our brains need to gain a new skill. We simply don't have the time or patience to devote to the deep practice needed to gain unconscious competence but struggle on with nervous incompetence and rising stress.

Londoners - who are you?

Do your parents come from different countries? and were you born in another one? Did you grow up in 4th country altogether and now where do you live?

It seems from a limited survey that I have carried out with students from the banking world that many of the worlds unsettled adults are ending up in London.

Maybe it is the tolerance for cultures and languages. Or maybe it is the variety of foods and entertainment that attract you. Maybe it is the central location and hub Heathrow that allows easy connections back to past associations. Or perhaps the streets really are lined with gold - you see it all the time - the fast cars, the fancy shops, the high end fashion. Who knows for sure?