Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
Do you ever find it hard to make decisions? Do you ever feel like there are too many decisions to make? Do you worry about making the 'right' decision? When it comes to decisions, sometimes we need to step back and accept that there isn't always a 'right' or 'wrong' decision to be made.
Decisions play an important role in shaping the direction of our journey and the life we live. Making decisions, whether big or small, can sometimes feel like a burdening, daunting task, especially when it feels like there are infinite options to consider. Both our personal and professional lives are filled with countless choices, from accepting job offers to speaking up in meetings, which we must decipher. The choices we accept and those we decline will guide the path we go down, ultimately reflecting the butterfly effect
The choices we make are shaped by a blend of conscious and subconscious factors, with external influences from our peers, family (whanau), social media, and societal expectations impacting our decisions. We are surrounded by many internal and external pressures which can sometimes make decision-making feel overwhelming.
Decisions provide an opportunity to step forward and embrace risks. Despite this, it is also important to acknowledge that not every decision will create the outcomes that we had hoped for. However, rather than perceiving such instances as failures, we can consider them to provide us with the chance for improvement and growth. Setbacks can open up new opportunities while directing our path and guiding future choices.
While decisions can feel intimidating considering the butterfly effect of our choices, we can ensure that we make decisions mindfully and with intent. Cultivating self-awareness and acting purposefully are elements that can aid us in unlocking our potential and creating a fulfilling career and life. Therefore, acting with intentionality is powerful and one of the few things we have direct control over. Our life is like our canvas, and each decision we make is a brushstroke that contributes to the beautiful journey we’re creating.
Coincidently, Tim Ferriss, an American entrepreneur, touched on decisions a few weeks back in a Facebook post. He gave some valuable advice in suggesting that we should “learn to make nonfatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible.” While decisions fabricate our journey, sometimes the best decisions are the ones we make on a gut feeling or whim before allowing ourselves the chance to consider the limitless options or scenarios of that given choice. So, live, laugh, love and be intentional in the way you make your decisions (but not too intentional!).
In the current era of social and mass media, we are surrounded by representations of how almost everything should look. From the glorified ideals of what a productive day should look like, how our movement routine should be structured, through to what our physique should look like - the media cover it all. Among all of these representations and expectations of what we should be doing, it is no wonder that defining what we truly value is a challenge - and this extends to the concept of success.
Mainstream success perpetuated by social and mass media often appears in an idealised form from landing the perfect job and creating wealth, to finding love and buying a house. In this way, mainstream success encapsulates highlight reels from our career and personal lives - creating pressures and us leaving limited space to reconsider how success may appear for us personally. Married to the love of your life, working your dream job being paid a tonne of coin, with two point-five perfect children, rocking three-inch heels and toned calves, while walking some kind of doodle dog right? We’ve all seen that. And we’re not about it.
The truth is that success is not always visible externally. Sometimes success can occur beneath the surface. A positive mindset change, getting up earlier, or doing some mindful movement can still be forms of success, which all have value. Therefore, it's vital to reevaluate success as a multifaceted concept, extending beyond material, externally visible achievements.
True success encompasses all achievements, whether big or small, from personal growth, meaningful relationships, a sense of purpose, and a commitment to the greater good. Success is a dynamic, personal journey, that emphasises the process, lessons learned, and growth, rather than a predetermined destination or societal expectations of what we should be achieving. After all, as sung by Miley Cyrus, it really is “all about the climb”. It is the journey of The Climb that is important, which is a result of our wins and losses, not about “what’s waiting on the other side."
We have the ability to set our own goals and define what success personally means to us. It is vital to keep these goals flexible, as contexts will evolve and change throughout our journeys, which should not be feared or considered to be ‘off track’. Ultimately, who knows where we will end up, and what if it is somewhere better than we had initially imagined?
All of this leads us to why you should redefine your own version of success. Here’s the thing, there is always going to be someone doing more than you, just like there will always be someone out there doing less.
It is easy to fall into a trap of comparison in such situations, leading us to question why we are not like someone else or why we are not living our dream life yet. Comparison, as said by Theodore Roosevelt, is indeed the "thief of joy". When we constantly measure our success against others and the highlight reels of the media, we are sabotaging our own potential for happiness and self-fulfilment.
Each one of us is on a unique journey, surrounded by a distinct context of experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. Just as we cannot expect our failures to mirror those of others, we cannot expect our successes to be identical. Success is inherently personal, subjective, and intimately connected to one’s context and values. It can evolve from day to day, reflecting the changing priorities and aspirations we hold.
We need to embrace this individuality and our smaller, everyday successes - as it is in these moments that we truly add value to our lives, contributing to our sense of happiness. It is time to define success as a reflection of our personal contexts, happiness, and contributions to the world.
Success is not limited to what a well-lived, happy, fulfilled life looks like through the media - it is much bigger than that.
We are well and truly in times of technology, which means connections and networking are all the more important. This applies to both our personal lives and our professional working lives. Within a business context, connections are the threads of the organisation that make it what it is. The links people have together, the people we know, and the people our coworkers and bosses know, all come back to make the organisation what it is. Therefore, it is important that whether we are stepping into our career, or advancing through it, we are creating, and sustaining, relationships and building rapports with people.
Connections are important in our careers because they encapsulate what an organisation is. An organisation could not occur without people, and people could not establish, operate, or do business in an organisation without connections with other people. Therefore, in this way, business is connections, and connections are business. These two elements intersect with each other. This means that within our professional lives, we need to ensure we have positive and meaningful relationships with others.
Although such connections can form in real-life situations, they can also be established through online networking. One of the most widely used platforms for business connections is LinkedIn. This platform allows us to create our own professional profiles, outline our experiences, and connect with other people. The visibility of these connections to other users provides us with the opportunity to harness our networks, as well as the groups and brands we align with, to advance our careers. For example, a graduate student on the job hunt might have a connection within their desired industry. This connection could provide them with guidance, advice, and potentially open doors for opportunities.
However, making connections, and sustaining them, can seem like a daunting task. The apprehension that often accompanies socializing at events, coupled with navigating the waters and norms of LinkedIn, can be intimidating. There are several approaches below that we can incorporate to overcome these challenges, establishing positive, enduring connections.
1) Attend Networking Events:
Going to events can provide opportunities to make in-person connections (yes - we are encouraging you to get out there and have some cheeky work drinks!). This can allow you to step out of your comfort zone and talk to someone new. You could begin doing this by asking them some questions about who they are, what they like to do, and where they are in their career. #Tip: prepare a couple of questions in advance so you are comfortable breaking the ice. Eg: Hi, I’m Lucy from XYZ …. What was it about this event that prompted you to come along?”
2) Use LinkedIn:
Your knowledge and ability to use LinkedIn can improve with practice. The first step is simply crafting an account, designing it around your personal brand and experience, and connecting with some people you know. Practice makes perfect! #Tip: there are a tonne of resources on how to create a great LinkedIn profile and plan content so commit to a date when you want yours cranking, prep your content, share it, then connect and comment on other’s related posts.
3) Reach Out:
Ask someone out for a chat over coffee, or Zoom, to build a rapport with them. You could try to discover some common interests or shared goals, which can help establish and strengthen the relationship. It is important to create a mutually beneficial relationship, you could do this by offering your support or assistance, as reciprocity can also contribute to sustaining and strengthening the relationship. #Tip: set aside one ‘coffee spot’ each month to reach out to new people or follow up with the person you met at the networking event. If you find this challenging, having a plan can help you stay on track and not use the old ‘I don’t have time’ excuse
4) Follow Up:
After meeting new people or making online connections, remember to follow up. You could send a thank-you message or express your interest in staying in touch. Taking care of your connections can aid them to remain active and meaningful. #Tip: if you say in the meeting you will do something, your credibility is resting on that so be sure to do what you say you will.
5) Maintain Consistency:
Sustaining connections involves more than just initial contact. You should continue engaging with your connections by regularly checking in, offering assistance, or expressing your interest in their work and life. #Tip: like #3 above, plan time in your week for relationship building or networking, or set a goal to have 10 catch ups every 6 months, “what gets measured gets managed” is true!
Overall, making and maintaining connections is a skill that improves with practice. After all, it really is about "not what you know, but who you know" - in personal and professional environments, connections can make all the difference!
Check out one of our other posts if you're interested in reading more about the ins and outs of networking!
Xenophobia: It refers to a fear or hatred of people who are perceived as strangers or foreigners. In a professional context, xenophobia can manifest itself as a reluctance to work with people from different cultures, which can impede collaboration and hinder career growth.
Picture this: You're at a party, and you see someone you don't know. You walk up to them, and instead of saying "Hi, nice to meet you," you say, "Oh no, a stranger! Quick, everyone, hide your passports and lock up your culture! We don't want any foreign ideas contaminating our pure, untainted minds!"
Now, that might sound like a ridiculous scenario, but unfortunately, it's not too far from the truth when it comes to xenophobia. Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of people who are different from us, whether that's because of their nationality, race, religion, or any other characteristic that sets them apart.
And while it might be tempting to think that xenophobia is just a personal preference, the truth is that it can have a real impact on our careers and our communities. When we're afraid of people who are different from us, we're less likely to collaborate with them, learn from them, or do business with them. And that can lead to missed opportunities, lost revenue, and a less diverse and vibrant workforce.
So, if you want to succeed in your career, and help build a better world for everyone, it's important to care about xenophobia. Because when we embrace diversity and inclusivity, we open ourselves up to new ideas, new perspectives, and new opportunities. And that's something worth celebrating, not fearing.
This one was courtesy of ChatGPT – and also begs the question how bias is included or excluded from this awesome AI tool? There's a lot of work done to say how inherent biases are coded into AI, so this is one worth critiquing.
We asked "How does OpenAI ensure ChatGPT is not xenophobic?"
OpenAI takes great care to ensure that ChatGPT is not xenophobic or biased in any other way. ChatGPT was trained on a large dataset of diverse text from the internet, which includes a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives. Additionally, OpenAI uses a variety of techniques to detect and correct biases in the model, including monitoring the training data for bias, using debiasing algorithms, and testing the model's outputs for fairness.
OpenAI is committed to creating AI that is ethical and responsible, and the organization has published numerous papers and articles outlining its approach to mitigating bias and ensuring fairness in its models. OpenAI also engages with the broader AI community to share best practices and collaborate on developing tools and techniques for creating AI that is unbiased and fair.
That being said, ChatGPT is a machine learning model, and like any other AI system, it may still exhibit biases or unintended behaviors. OpenAI encourages users to report any instances of bias or offensive content they encounter while interacting with ChatGPT, so that the organization can continue to refine and improve the model over time.
That last paragraph is one we could all cut and paste as we build our knowledge about how we might be acting in ways to exclude or discriminate against others - let's own that we're learning and trying to do better, we invite feedback and ways of improving so our collective knowledge increases and the dial does shift. YTG!
PS- the photostock community need take note also, when you look for 'female avatars' 99% have light skin. Eye roll. Side eye. All the shady facial expressions. Not cool.
Reading an article this morning, it had an extract from Ravi Gupta's blog, so here's a blog about a blog.
Well, not the whole blog but the key point of it – which is summarised beautifully here:
"Most people think of demanding and supportive as opposite ends of a spectrum. You can either be tough or you can be nice. But the best leaders don’t choose. They are both highly demanding and highly supportive. They push you to new heights and they also have your back."
As a leader, we’ve all seen the stats and heard the rhetoric that there’s a gender bais where women have to been seen as ‘warm’ and ‘credible’ to be perceived as capable, but for men it’s all about the ‘credibility’. They can be aggressive and pushy and that’s seen as okay by all genders.
So how do women lean into being both demanding and supportive? No easy answer here, style and timing will play a role of course, but it’s more so about choosing to be. You can choose to be liked, popular, ‘warm’, and be a leader who endlessly gives to others, or you can lean into the moment, adjust your style to suit the context and that means at times the way you give to others will be hard, gritty and results focused – basically, whatever is effective in helping them lift performance in the best way.
That means your style will flex – for the times when there’s a helluva road ahead and everyone needs to step up, or you’re aligned in achieving something great, that’s often the time for a different leadership style than when it’s plain sailing and you’re achieving, and it seems Ravi (and he credits Adam Grant for this concept) has nailed it with being both demanding and supportive.
Ravi’s blog talks about his experiences building InstaCart where they were burning a stupid amount of money each month and needed to really turn things around. He then sums this concept up further as:
What I’ve come to realize over time is that, far from being contradictory, being demanding and supportive are inextricably linked. It’s the way you are when you believe in someone more than they believe in themselves.
Read the full article: https://rkg.blog/demanding.php
As social platforms evolve and change, many of the OG users are rallying against the change, yet the platforms are loving the shift as it’s often bringing new growth, new users, more engagement – all good things if you’re a tech giant. We all know Insta has become a TikTok copycat, and that Facebook is a hard-to-win game for businesses and nothing more than an ad-roll for users, then there’s LinkedIn.
In a recent NY Times post it was reported that LinkedIn "has more than 830 million users who generate about 8 million posts and comments every day". That’s a big beast.
LinkedIn reps also comment on how the pandemic accelerated its growth, and that this was also the conduit for the content shift to more personal stories. Almost as people sought connection while working from home, LinkedIn was the place for it as it felt like a 'work' space.
No doubt there's also credit for the personal narrative playing a bigger role at work and in work spaces thanks to the social shift lead by Brené Brown et al, with the very encouraging view that effective leaders showcase character, strength, vulnerability and authenticity.
While we’re champions of strong personal branding and sharing what’s at the intersection of what you value and can bring, and what your audience is interested in (relevance is key for any business or personal brand), we’re certainly a little fatigued by the inauthentic LinkedIn posts and the carefully scripted ones that are designed to garner likes and clicks.
Having a clear brand for yourself and/or your business, with some consistent, relevant content arcs or themes is great and helps your audience build trust as they know what to expect from you. As to whether you should share on LinkedIn that your cat is unwell, or create dance videos on TikTok, that's for you to decide - our recommendation is to share what is authentic to you and relevant for your audience. And what you're comfortable sharing, trust your instincts on that one - if it feels like an overshare, it likely is.
Have a listen to the half hour podcast episode here to hear more about defining or refining your personal brand and a few comments on the ‘Facebook-ification of LinkedIn’ and decide for yourself what role LinkedIn or other platforms can play in your career.
There’s a well-known saying that we join organisations, but we leave managers.
Research conducted by Gallup, Inc. supports the statistics from Kenexa and Forbes. They go on to quantify the qualities employees want in a manager. The top four are:
If you’re not getting these things, does this make your manager a bad manager?
Unfortunately it’s not as clear cut. There’s a spectrum and it can be quite obvious at each end of this spectrum as to what a good manager looks like and what a complete a-hole is like, but there’s a murky middle and a wide range of styles and actions that can impact you and your performance.
That means it’s up to you to decide where the line is for you to thrive, whether you can shape it to get what you need, or when you need to bail.
This is a little tongue-in-cheek but JA Culture writes about bad bosses and the six toxic personas you might know.
1. Hawk-Eye (Micromanagement en mass)
2. Dictator of Expectations (Always searching for proof)
3. The Scream-ER (Reckless & retrospective)
4. Culture Undertaker (Careless about culture)
5. Manic Manipulator (Agent of passive aggression)
6. Captain Titanic (Living in the past)
It’s scary how quickly one or two people will jump to mind as you read that list. It seems so many business focus on developing technical skills yet it’s how someone manages a project or others, and ideally, their leadership style (firm believer that leading and managing are two different things), that ultimately determined sustained performance. Anyone can be an a-hole and push a team to deliver once, but that crew will hit eject as soon as they can, and those that are unable to, will drop in performance too. So it seems crazy how the average $1000 learning and development spend doesn’t go on helping people be great managers and leaders. I’ll save that soapbox session for another day, but will just give you an elbow in the ribs to ask for this kind of training when you’re in the space to do so, it’s invaluable and even if you’re ace at it, there will always be a new tidbit to take in and develop.
As this post has been forming, I’ve had several conversations with people in my world where they’ve been on the receiving end of really bad behaviour. One was in event management, the other in health. In both situations, the person with power, the manager, has behaved poorly. I would say in the event space they were a mix of 2,3,4 and 5 and in health it sounded like a lot of number seven which I’ll add to that list = the General of Goal Post Shifting.
Actually the event ones did that two. This General sets expectations and continues to change them and add to them so at some stage you’re over loaded and it’s muddy AF as to what the priorities are, all the time you feel like you’re failing as you never quite get it right and the days seem to short to get it all done.
If I had to distil it down, there were some commonalities with the managers making a lot of ‘you’ statements, not allowing time for discussion (assuming their view is correct), giving directives, and seemingly being focused on their own interests and perspectives.
Needless to say, both of these very capable women are considering new roles, one has actually been offered an awesome new role with a tech start-up where the early indicators are the founders behave like respectful, competent adults – the bare minimum of what’s required. Thankfully they also have a reputation for being good leaders too.
To help break down whether there’s a chance to work better with this person or whether it’s time to look elsewhere, here’s a couple of red and green flags to consider:
In 2019, Stuff shared a summary of the four worst habits of New Zealand managers Ralph Bathurst, a senior lecturer at Massey University’s book “The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly Side of New Zealand Business”, these need to be added to the watchlist above! They are:
There’s gems here too for each of us as we develop into management roles, to ensure we also develop the competencies that allow us to be good managers and lead engaged teams.
If you’re in a position where you’re dealing with those kinds of things, it’s up to you to make a call to stay and manage your manager so you’re able to work how you wish, address it directly by speak to them and asking for what you need or asking to understand why they’re taking that approach.
If they’re really toxic, get the hell outta there. Sadly, being treated like that will likely erode confidence and you’ll shrink under that kind of boss, where was work should atleast be tolerable, ideally enjoyable. Share your work experiences with people you trust to calibrate it, it’s often surprising how what you start tolerating as ‘normal’ is actually really toxic, and often those around us can reflect that back to us and help us see it’s not okay. It’s amazing when you have a manager who’s draped in green flags, your work and things outside of work are so much more manageable and enjoyable when you have that kind of support.
You’re worth it. If you need permission here it is - quit if you have to and keep quitting until you have a manager that manages well and you feel valued, engaged and supported to do great work.