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The big picture

We often get so involved in the day to day of our work that the “big picture” escapes us. It’s important to take a look at what is going on in your industry or profession. What are the trends? What are your competitors up to? What is Washington up to?

Biases at work

How do you see yourself in your career in terms of your skills and strengths? And how do others see you? What career track do you see yourself on? What do others see?

It’s important to know the gaps between your perception and that of others. The best way to find out is to ask for feedback from those you trust and who know you. Sometimes there are biases at work – yours and theirs, both for and against you.

Seeking feedback

Seek feedback from colleagues, peers, and others about how you are doing with tasks, projects, communication. This is because we often don’t see ourselves as others see us. And we tend to judge our performance more harshly than others might.

Actions and intentions

You can typically see someone’s actions, but not necessarily know their intentions. So if you are confused as to why someone is doing something, politely ask them what their intention is.

The importance of planning effective meetings

How you conduct meetings and yourself in them, can have a very big impact on your career. Your meetings may include your senior management, direct reports, colleagues and others, all of whom will react to your performance. So it is important to plan your meetings not only for success in the meeting itself, but to demonstrate your capabilities.

Coaching your staff

If you have direct reports at your work, consider coaching them to achieve their best. You will gain as much as they do.

Increase your mental flexibility

To increase your mental flexibility, Margaret Moore suggests reading from different sources: for example WSJ and NYT, and watching different programs: CNN and Fox. This is not about changing your political leanings – it’s about giving your brain different types of information to process, and that promotes flexibility.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of this type of strategy, make a column with the word “No” repeated 10 times. Then make a column with the word “Yes” repeated 10 times. Read each one and pay attention to your internal responses. Many people notice a difference.

Motivating others

How do you motivate others? By tapping into their natural motivations. Make sure you understand what matters to the people you coach and that they get specific relevant information about their performance. Framing your discussions with the people that report directly to you in this way can have major results and you can then watch them develop and grow!

The never-ending to-do list

Many of my clients tell me that they have trouble finishing their to-do lists at work. If this is true for you, instead of trying to complete your list, try adding this to it: “Do not finish this list.” Let me know if this helps you in your day-to-day work.