Month: January 2011

You care = I care

Wow!   I just looked at my site stats and my readership was up in December.  It’s great positive reinforcement – makes me excited to write more.  Don’t you find that you are more motivated to do more when you know people around you are interested in your work, care about it, even rely on it?  What a difference it makes — knowing someone is paying attention.  

My ‘revelation’ is nothing new, of course.   There have been studies over the years showing that the mere presence of an observer affects the way we work, typically by making us more productive.  This is commonly called the Hawthorne effect, so named based on studies of worker productivity in the 1920’s at a factory called Hawthorne Works.  They were actually studying the effect of different types of lighting, but ended up finding that even without changing the variable (light), workers were more productive simply because they were being observed. 

Why?  I think it is because we are inherently social creatures, and when we believe someone cares, it makes us care more.  Think about this in your worklife.  Want more out of your team?  Pay attention to them!  Now, I’m sure there is an upper limit on this.  I don’t know of any studies on how too much attention dampens productivity but I’m sure they exist.  We’ve all heard the term “micromanager” and it doesn’t have a good connotation.  As long as you don’t take it too far, “show up” for your team, and show them you care.  It’ll be good for both of you.

Career resolutions 2011

As promised, I am making some career resolutions this year.  To be honest, I reassess and make new goals throughout each year, and usually ignore the January 1 milestone.  This year, though, it provides a needed opportunity to reflect and plan.  So, here are my resolutions for 2011:

  • To consciously connect – it’s essential in my work to stay connected with a wide variety of people, from business leaders to job seekers to thought partners and mentors; I will consciously guide my outreach during the year to ensure I connect with those that I should
  • To write more – because it’s something I love, a skill I want to keep building, and it allows me to connect with people more, which, besides providing enjoyment, provides more work opportunity
  • To give myself a pay raise – yes, that’s right, only not in the way you think.  I’m not on salary, but I can influence my pay in a number of ways.  Though I will work to increase my overall revenue this year, my primary focus here is on what I make per unit of time.  So, I can do a number of things including: raise my rates, schedule more efficiently so that I have less “downtime” in between paid work, work faster on fee-based projects, and focus on higher rate work.  I will actually employ all of these to some degree
  • To maintain balance – I know, “balance” has almost become a dirty word it’s so cliche’, but one of the reasons I love what I do is that it provides an opportunity for balance that was almost impossible in my former life.  Looking back over last year, I did pretty well.  I need to keep it on my radar and I know I can do it again this year.  My key tools are: aggressive prioritization and the willingness to say “no” at the right times

Sounds like a pretty heavy load, huh?  Not really.  All these are essential to my continued career and personal well-being, so I need to be doing them anyway. 

Now, to be really effective, resolutions must have some detail or they lose their bite.  Though I haven’t laid out the details here, I am doing this for myself.  I hope you are too, and I wish you the very best in achieving all that you resolve to this year!