Developing your career around what you like doing most

Right, you know pretty well what you like doing most and doing it makes you feel good. Be it writing, or making new acquaintances, or researching, or something else, you have to take it further to make a career out of it.

To keep doing those interesting things (well enough) you need some skills. In order to do counseling you need skills like active listening, emotional skills, verbal skills etc. In order to do troubleshooting you need to be good at making observations, analytical thinking, and out-of-box thinking. In order order to do programming you need to do definition of purpose, conceptual thinking on methods for fulfilling the purpose, and actual programming well. The list of skills mentioned above may not be complete, but I hope you get the idea.

You need to decide which skills you are going to need and how good you are in those skills. You will to need to set benchmarks and make learning plans to meet them.

Developing your career around what you quite like doing, is a challenge. We shall look into which other things you need to do, in future blog posts.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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No clue about what you like doing most?

There are some of us, who find it difficult to come up with an answer to the above question. If you are one of them, here are some tips. Keep a note pad or your phone with a note app handy.

Don’t reject what comes first in your mind.

“I just like to laze around” if that’s your answer, you aren’t the only one. Write it down. Of course you are not going to be paid by anyone for doing this, unless you are a Hollywood or a Bollywood celebrity. In that case, you can charge for an appearance fee.

Think more.

” I like to find faults and criticize” your chances of getting paid are getting brighter. One day you can become an influential film critic or a tech reviewer and get paid in some ways.

“I love solving puzzles” How you might get paid for solving puzzles may not be obvious, but it is possible. So don’t reject.

“I like to do sums” If you are great with numbers, it is good gift. Make a note.

“I like chatting with people” If you can strike an easy conversation even with strangers, make a note of it too.

I am sure anyone can come up with at least one answer, if not more. The trick is not to reject any ‘doing’ . The trick is to make sure it is always about ‘doing’ (an activity) something.

Making such a list will give you more ideas and clues. Do follow them up. You might well be on the verge of an interesting career.

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Are you lucky in your career?

By luck, I don’t mean just a lot of money being earned or many ego trips are there. By lucky, I mean to ask, “Are you getting to do what you like doing most and getting paid for it?”

It is hard enough to find where your heart lies. It seems  harder to make money out of it for most folks. They have chosen their careers based on money earning potential of various options or simply by following the crowds.

Even if it is so, all is not lost. One can do interesting things on the sides of an ongoing paying career -like teaching, writing…. Or one can simply add an element of work which one likes in an the present career -like taking on the role of chief troubleshooter or of a mentor… The idea is to do more of what one likes to do or start liking what one is doing a bit more.

Having done the above, you need some luck. The question is, “Are you lucky?”

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Doing what you like most

If you ask a child what she likes doing most, pat come will her answer -”I like to draw” or “I like to dance” or ”I like to ride a bicycle” or ” I like to mimic my friends”. If she is little shy, you won’t get an answer but it’ll be easy to figure out what she enjoys most. Another kid might say “I like to play football”, or “I like to solve puzzles” or “I a like to tell jokes”

Ask this question to a room full of seasoned executives and you will get an uncomfortable silence. Burdened that we are with not just earning a livelihood but also with the never ending tasks of acquiring assets, commanding respect, and satisfying our ego we have more or less forgotten what we like to be doing most.  The kids surely do what they like doing most and as grown ups we have to think hard about it.

Yet really the most enduring successes are built on activities people enjoy doing most. This should really be our quest at all times -to find out what we we like doing most and then being at it.

 

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Career: things to do while waiting for ‘luck’

Are you ready?You work hard at your job. You spend late hours on working days and you and work on weekends. You ignore family and friends. You develop early signs of health issues -loss of concentration, bouts of irritability, mood swings, and a general wariness. You have received occasional bonuses and recognition, yet your career doesn’t seem to be all right.

If you are like many others, in prime years of their careers, you are living on hope, waiting for a stroke of luck. While luck is always welcome and even essential, it is not a great strategy. Best course of action is do what is in your hands while you are ‘waiting’.

Consider improving some widely needed skills like leadership. Leadership is not just charisma and having many people reporting to you. Leadership is bringing change for better. It is not just a behavioral skill, it is a thinking skill and it also involves mastering work areas. In modern businesses, it means extending your influence (for change ) far beyond your area of ‘control’.

People should see you to be ready for higher level of responsibility.

Read this to get idea about what you need to do while you are ‘waiting’ for your next break.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Other than being ‘young and foolish’ or ‘old and wise’

You are adventurous. Or, you are a very cautious person. No matter what, there are times when you consider career jumping. Doing things which are very different as compared what you have been doing. It is thrilling to think that you will not be tethered to your desk and that you will roaming the streets capturing events and sharing them with the world. Or to think that instead of churning code and filling time logs, you will be writing a book.

Talking to people close to you doesn’t pan out as you expect. Either you get ‘think of plan B and of your family’ kind of wise counsel or you get ‘follow your heart, leap’ kind of stuff. Nothing else.

So what does one do?

Make a list of activities which make you feel good and you feel they are worth your while -no matter how good the results are or are not.  Think in terms of verbs (doing things, instead owning things or achieving milestones or rewards). You will then need to start doing them by allocating some of your time and resources. Invest in learning them better. Invest in meeting people who might be of help. Invest in helping others in doing them.

Read more about career jumping

You may also undergo a self learning program in the book Lead to Regenerate for a systematic discovery of your (life) leadership skills and improvement practice.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Leaving it to your boss? 5 reasons why it’s not a bright idea

If you are like lots of knowledge workers, chances are that you leave your career in the hands of your boss and bosses. By career, I mean not just your next raise or a promotion. Your career will hopefully outlast your boss. You will want to be doing different things in future. If so, it is not a wise to leave your career in the hands of your boss. To understand what can happen, read this story of Reema

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t take things as they come:

1. Your boss may leave: you will then have to establish a good working relation with your new boss and hope she or he will take care of you.

2. Your boss doesn’t recognize your need for new skills for next career step.

3. Everybody, your boss and your other bosses, are busy in delivering results all the time

4. You have done well so far without much need for a new skills. Your talent has seen you through. This may not be always realistic.

5. You may yet get promotion due to circumstances and because your are doing well in your current job. If this happens you may get into hot water. You may continue doing your old job and will get exposed for lack of skills needed to handle a new responsibility.

The trend is that more and more alert knowledge workers are taking control of their careers. They identify what additional technical or domain skills they will need for their progress. Some of them go one step further and they invest in learning some generic skills like leadership. They rightly think that leadership skills will become more and more critical to have even when they plan to advance in specialist roles.

What are your thoughts? Did you already invest in yourself?

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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What if teamwork is going for a toss?

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your people quibble, argue, and back bite over petty issues. May be you have tried pep talks, outdoor and indoor team games etc.

So work it must be. The cause of lack of teamwork. The other cause might be the values. Run these checks:

1. Do you have your project goals well defined? Are there any formal project plans. If yes, task the team to improve the plans for risk mitigation.

2. If your team is running processes (repetitive work cycles), check if they work according a defined work flow. Task the team to improve process performance. Caution: this may involve process redesign. Be ready.

3. Check if people, their tasks, skills and attitudes all match. Act to close gaps if any. It may involve training, job rotation, counseling etc.

4. Check your reward systems. Are they fair? Are they skewed more towards individual performances at the cost of others?

5. Check if straight talk is encouraged. Best way to check it is to find out how many times people come to you and disagree with you or criticize you.

Try the above. Throw good work at your people. Lead. You will be surprised.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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From a clerk to a musical instrument specialist

Source: wikipedia.org

Source: wikipedia.org

You won’t give him a second look, dressed that he is in a very ordinary way. He has a diminutive frame and a sunken face with stubble that comes with someone working quite hard and not having time for anything else.

His name is Pradeep, and when he came home to make adjustments to my drum kit, I chatted with him as he set about his work without any fuss. I asked him, “How long have you been setting up drum kits?” He said, “Over forty years and not just drum kits”. It didn’t look that way. He didn’t look young but he didn’t look someone who would be over fifty at least. There are people like him who look to be in thirties or forties forever.

“How did you start doing this?”, I was curious. He said “I was a clerk in a private company and our boss’s son had a drum kit. He had some problems with the kit. So I tried my hand, since I was good with screws, nuts and spanners and things” That put his age well into sixties.  He continued, “and I realized that I could discern the musical notes and could tune the kit in a very natural way. So started handling other instruments like guitar and later even pianos”

His age of over sixty didn’t tally with his quickness and dexterity. But before I could ask him about his age, he got up and said,” Please call me, whenever if you need anything”. He couldn’t find the door  and sheepishly asked me the way out.

Pradeep found what he got to be doing happily for over decades and without any thought of retirement. He found it accidentally. But he found it because he tried and he noticed something about himself and he took some more steps. He saved himself from a drudgery of work which he wouldn’t enjoy. He saved himself from a life of forever looking forward to holidays and retirement.

I think everyone has some special talent, just like Pradeep has.

A very systematic program for developing your own talent of leadership and recognizing talent in your people is in the book ‘Lead to Regenerate

Interactive coaching based programs are available via our web site at www.learning-leaership.com

 About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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A primer and programs: recognizing talent

Recognizing talent does take some efforts

Recognizing talent does take some efforts

We have been figuring out ways of recognizing talent inside and outside organizations through several stories in this series. Recognition of talent is crucial to hiring and development of people. It isn’t always straightforward because some talents like the one we saw in Salil’s case aren’t obvious during interviews. People themselves may not be aware of their talents and may have ended up in their jobs by accident or may have been swayed by some other considerations.

Here is a primer

1. Shun nouns and adjectives:

Figure out what you really mean by ‘talent’. Shun ‘catch all’ skills or traits like ‘communication skills,  hard working, resourceful, networker’. These are nouns or adjectives. Consider verbs like “planning a project”, “improving a process”, ‘writing a story”, “evaluating people”, “framing a problem”, “framing actions” It is easier to ask for examples of these and evaluate the answers to compare with what you need. Also consider what the candidate might need to be doing after one or two years on the job.  Read the post

2.  Look deeper into your needs:

There are two kinds of skills. There are basic skills like coding, selling, writing, planning….. Then their applied skills like using computers, using Photoshop or SAP. The latter type of skills are about specific tools or being used to working on a specific platform. Avoid the mistake of looking only at the latter of the above two types of skills. You may know how to use MSWord well, but that doesn’t mean that you can write well. Read the post

3. Observe:

Talented people are passionate about doing things which utilize their talents. They forget everything else when they get going. They don’t waste time. They don’t wait for formal instructions. They simply start doing things. Observe them. Read the post

4. Ask & listen:

He was excited  and proud as he talked. He was passionate.  He had no experience. But he clearly had taken on a challenge. He had gone into details. He had identified root causes and solution to at least one of them by talking to his colleagues. He also got the solution implemented.  Talented people put their soul in their work and they take on challenges. So ask and listen to them. Read the post

5.  Be ready:

Talented people are restless and they try to improve their knowledge and skills all the time. They put in extra efforts for this. They do it on their own. It may seem abnormal and paranoid of them.  Read the post

6. Draw them out (you will need someone as talented)

Talented people love appreciation of finer aspects of their work. They also love informed criticism. These are their rewards. They thrive on such rewards. Read the post

7. Waste their time and observe (you don’t need any talent to waste their time, but you do need talent to observe)

Talented people hate wasting their time in doing things that are not or can’t be done well. Waste their time and sense their frustration. Read the post

8. Ask them & listen

Talented people seek help in order to do a much better job. Ask them about their teachers, trainers, instructors, coaches, mentors. You will learn plenty. Read the post

9. Look at who gather around them

Talented people recognize talent in others even if the talent is unrelated to their own area. Yes, they have a knack of knowing and and a yen for sticking around with talented people. But you need some talent to recognize all this yourself :-) Read the post

So we need to look for certain behaviors, we need to ask pertinent questions, we need to shut up, we need to listen & observe, and we need to have some talent ourselves for us to recognize talent.

Does your hiring process and your development process incorporate the above?

A very systematic program for developing your own talent of leadership and recognizing talent in your people is in the book ‘Lead to Regenerate

Interactive coaching based programs are available via our web site at www.learning-leaership.com

 About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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