Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
In business, it is more standard to rely on analysis than intuition.
Intuition is a skill that can be built. You can learn to adjust your behavior to a set of cues in a manner that is more successful. As a matter of fact, there is even a term for it: Recognition Primed Decision.
A situation generates clues. You recognize a pattern in those clues and activate action scripts that affect the situation.
In order to build your intuition at work. You can improve your intuition by learning this process:
1. Identify the decisions that are part of your job.
· What makes those decisions difficult
· What are common errors
· How does someone with more experience than you make decisions
2. Practice making decisions in context
· Think back to a situation you were in—what were the cues you picked up on and what did you miss?
3. Practice with a co-worker who was in the situation with you to see what they picked up on that you didn’t
4. Analyze your decision steps to identify what you would do differently next time
There are several types of presentations, and the best practices for each type are different, so it is important to understand the type of presentation you are creating. In this episode, we are going to specifically focus on how to create a presentation for a meeting.
First, you need to determine if you are putting together a presentation or a reference document.
True or False:
1. Does your presentation regurgitate information that is already available in another type of document, such as Excel or Word?
2. Are you tempted to say ‘I know this slide is an eye chart’?
If you answered true to both of the above, you are creating a reference document. A reference document is not intended to be engaging—it is intended to be available for reference.
But, if what you have is not reference material, then you can start planning for your presentation. First, you need to determine the objective you are trying to accomplish. What is the objective from your perspective? What is the objective from the participant’s perspective? Why are you having the meeting and why did you invite the people that you did?
Thinking through this will help you with defining the objective of your meeting.
Next, you should start to think about the Content of the meeting. What is the content that needs to be covered in the meeting? Are you introducing a problem that needs to be solved? A new product or idea? A new initiative?
Thinking through this will help you with defining what material needs to be covered in your meeting. You can think of this as a meeting agenda if it helps.
Now that you are clear on your objective and agenda, you can start working on the presentation.
Follow these guidelines for an engaging presentation:
1. Less is more—everything you are going to say in the meeting does not need to be on the slide. This isn’t a reference document – you will be presenting the information verbally – which is more engaging.
2. Connect the dots for your audience – use pictures, a flow chart, a graph
3. Stories always help
4. Don’t rely on the slides only—demonstrate in the system, show reference material, etc
Spending a little time on your presentation will help set you apart.
At some point in every career, we reach a point where we are good at what we do, and it doesn’t really challenge us anymore. And, at different points in your career, you may be good at certain things and still learning others.
A lot of people fall into the trap of not actively managing this process. It is important to be conscientious of where you have mastered your role and where you still have room to grow.
Understanding where you are in your overall career growth will help you plan a way forward. You can start by understanding what Todd Henry calls the aspiration gap.
Aspiration Gap: The difference between the work that you want to create and the work that you are capable of creating at this moment.
Look for an area where, if you learned a new skill, you could take your career to the next level. This will help you focus in on objectives that make sense for your career at your particular point in your career.
By thinking about where your skills, interests, and strengths can be improved to take your career to the next level, you are giving your career its own unique flavor. Nobody else is going to do your job exactly the same way you do.
Take stock of your current job and where you want to be. What can you do to move yourself toward your goal?
Our worksheet for this week contains a list of questions to help you think through this. If you’d like to receive, it, sign up for our newsletter.
It is a natural cycle to want to improve yourself. The question is—when do you reach the point where you’ve stopped learning and you need to become a freshman again?
When you are an expert—you don’t get a day off.
When you are a freshman:
· You can ask questions that an expert wouldn’t ask for fear of looking stupid
· You can take risks that would look like career suicide for an expert
· You can try things and not worry about failure— because for a freshman, it is about learning
· Use the phrase “I’m no expert here...”
· Use the phrase “Let’s try this and see if it works...”
For your current job or area of expertise:
How can you look at it with a fresh set of eyes?
What experiment can you do to see if it improves your job?
Outside of your current job:
What is something you don’t know much about that you could learn more about?
We’ve all had a failure at work. It is inevitable, so the most productive thing you can do is to have a set of tools to draw from when you are faced with the fall-out, which we will outline here:
Look at the failure as a learning opportunity
Although it doesn’t take the failure away, if you can reframe it in your mind, you can more easily move past it.
What did you learn from this failure that you can benefit from in the future?
Look at what behaviors DID succeed
Identifying what behaviors worked within the failure can help point you to areas of strength.
Understanding the areas where you are strong will help reinforce those behaviors in the future.
Don’t feel like you have to be good at everything
Failure may be an indication that you need to move on to something else. Is this area something you really need to succeed at?
Put the failure into perspective
Think about failures from the past. With hindsight, are they as bad as you thought they were at the time?
Rank the failure from 0 to 100 where 100 is nuclear holocaust.
Remember that other people are caught up in their own lives
Worrying about what others think about your failure is usually a waste of time because other people probably don’t even notice what you’ve done.
Those that do are likely close to you. In that case, project the failure onto them. What you your reaction be if they had been the one who failed?
What can you do to create a positive outcome?
Recognizing the type of worrying you are doing can help you get out of the worry loop by understanding what steps you can take. In this episode, we cover some common types of worry and how you can tackle them:
When you find yourself worried about what someone else is thinking, you are mind reading. To fight this worry, you need to find the thing that you can control.
For example, you think Henry doesn’t like you. You don’t know this for sure because you can’t read Henry’s mind. So, what can you do? You can ask Henry if he doesn’t like you. If you aren’t willing to do that, you can decide that there is nothing you can do to change Henry’s mind and move on with your life.
Focus on what you can control.
When you are worried about what the future might bring, you are fortune telling. There is no way that you can know what the future might bring because you aren’t a fortune teller.
For example, you might worry that your company is going to have layoffs and you are going to lose your job and end up homeless.
Not only do we worry about the future, we usually expect the future to bring the worst possible outcome.
Cognitive Distortion— people have a tendency to worry about a future that is bleak.
Ask yourself how probable the outcome is. Think about the chain of events that would have to be true for the outcome to occur. In our example, first, your company would have to have layoffs. Next, you would have to be on the list of people who are being let go. That means that you have to either be a poor performer, or in a role that is no longer necessary. Then, you’d have to be unable to get another job. And you’d have to run out of money. And you’d have to have nobody else to go to. And, and, and.
Once you see that the probability is a tiny fraction, you can stop worrying about it.
Worry about all of the things that you should have done. This means that you aren’t accepting the present as it currently is.
For example, maybe you catch yourself worrying that you should have been promoted by now.
Recognize reality as the place you have to start from. Then, determine what changes you need to make to get where you want to be.
What action can you take to move yourself toward promotion?
Worrying about ‘What If’ scenarios that will never have a satisfactory answer.
What if I have cancer? You can get tested and still not trust the results.
Identify the best possible, most likely, and worst possible outcomes. Then answer each one. What would be the next steps for each?
For more types of worry, sign up for our newsletter.
Also, learn about productive worry in this episode of People Move Organizations.
Being out of balance causes a situation where you are over-emphasizing the pros and cons of one behavior and under-emphasizing the pros and cons of another behavior.
Analytical vs. Intuitive
If you are too reliant on analysis to make decision, you can get into a state of paralysis where you don’t make decisions or move forward because you will always want more data before making a decision.
If you are too reliant on your gut to make decisions, you might make quick decisions without any facts and find that you fail more often than necessary.
Being analytical isn’t bad and being intuitive isn’t bad—as long as you have balance. The important thing is to understand what your tendency is and to learn techniques to help you balance your tendency. If you are over-analytical, learn to recognize when you’ve gotten to a point of paralysis and force yourself to make a decision. If you tend to go with your gut, set some parameters about a minimum amount of analysis that you’ll accept for yourself before making a decision.
How balanced are you? Rate yourself along these spectrums. Are there any that you need to become more balanced in?
Goals are a unique combination of:
Tactics—what do I need to do to accomplish this goal?
Aspiration— what can I accomplish if I put my mind to it?
Faith— I believe that I can accomplish this goal.
Commitment - I’m going to dedicate part of my resources to making this goal happen.
Setting goals require an ability to balance the need to be realistic while also reaching for something you aren’t quite sure how to get to – something that isn’t within your current comfort zone.
Then, once you’ve set that goal – you need to stop focusing on it. Focusing on the goal – on the end state will not propel you from here to there. Instead, you need to start to identify the steps that you are going to take to get you there. What is the next step you can take to move you toward your goal?
There are also some tools that you can use to help you keep on track:
Collaboration: To work with others toward a shared goal.
Every one of us is reliant on others in order to get our jobs done. That means that collaboration is a core skill that we must develop in order to be successful.
So, what are the core skills you need in order to be a better collaborator?
Build relationships before you need them
When you need to collaborate with someone, you will be more successful if you already have an established relationship with them. To do this, you need to ensure that you:
Balance the task with the relationship
By definition, you are working with someone else to accomplish a goal or task. So, it is easy to get so focused on the task that you forget about the relationship.
Use these tips to stay in balance:
Collaborate just for the sake of Collaboration
There are a lot of things that you can do by yourself. But, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone. Create an opportunity to work with someone else so that you can build that relationships. An easy way to do this is to ask someone to ‘poke holes’ in your plan.
The premise of this episode is that we are all interviewing for our job every day. The problem is that most of us don’t think about that after we get through the honeymoon period. We start off a new job and we are on our best behavior, but over time, we get comfortable in our role and don’t give much thought to the fact that every day counts.
My philosophy is that every day is an interview. This may sound like a pessimistic viewpoint, but it isn’t. I’m not coming at it from a victim’s point of view. I’m coming at it from the take-your-fate-into-your-own-hands point of view. I’m doing what is within my control to ensure that, if I lose my job, I have set myself up to be as successful as possible finding the next job.
My philosophy is made up of 4 parts:
Interviewing for my current job – adding value and establishing relationships across my company so that, when management is deciding about which people to cut, my name shows up at the bottom of the list.
Interviewing for my next job – Every person that you work with at your current job is likely to either move to a new job at another company or move to a new job within your company at some point. You want to make the kind of impression on them that, when they do make the move, they recommend you. That kind of impression happens day-by-day, week-by-week.
Keep your resume up to date – Again, if you lose your job unexpectedly, you are probably not going to be in the best frame of mind. Putting together a resume in that frame of mind is not ideal. It is also difficult to remember all of the things that you’ve accomplished that should be reflected on your resume when you haven’t updated it in a long time. Keep your resume up to date so that it is ready for you as soon as you need it.
For resources about how to do this effectively, check out these 2 episodes:
Episode 9 – Preparing for Your Annual Review
Episode 2 – Time Bound Activities
Network every day – Most jobs are found through acquaintances. By staying active with your network, you will be top of mind when someone knows about a job that needs to be filled, and they think you might be a good fit. If you get laid off unexpectedly, you don’t want to spend time warming up your network. Stay active on linked in. Make a practice of reaching out to people within your network regularly. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just say hi. You just want to remind the person that you are part of their network.
I teach people how to thrive at work. Let's connect on LinkedIn
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