Posts Tagged “should”

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Early on in my career as an HR generalist, I realized that my favorite tasks had to do with recruitment and hiring—probably because my personality is more like a salesperson, and recruiting is the “sales” side of HR.

My career fantasies consisted of me getting to just focus on recruiting all day—finding and interviewing people, making offers, and convincing them this was the right opportunity for them. Eventually, I made my dreams happen and never looked back.

But is specialization always the right answer? Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it is, or if you should go the generalize route:

1. Who Are the People I Really Admire and Enjoy Working With?

Do you get excited when you talk with a specialist about what they do? What about their expertise gets you jazzed?
If you find your curiosity leads you down a rabbit hole of ever more detailed questions for them, then specialization could be a great fit for you. If you run out of questions or feel confused or bored, maybe you’re more of a “skim the surface” kind of person. There’s nothing wrong with that—business needs both kinds!

2. Would I Be Content Spending All Day Focused on One Thing?

If you’re in finance, you can take that in a lot of different directions. For those who like to dip their toes in all areas—from accounts receivable to treasury to budget management—specializing would be a downer.

But if you’ve seen all that and want to plumb the depths of one specific field, it may be just the right decision. Talk to a few people who work in those roles to make sure it’s what you think it is and you’ll enjoy it.

3. Will I Need More Education to Go Deep Into What I Really Want to Focus On?

Accountants and lawyers often face this dilemma early on. Tax accounting and tax law, for example, can be a fast path to high rewards, but they typically require advanced degrees and a lot of exposure to the specialty.

If you make that investment in yourself to go back to school, you’re making a long-term commitment to your craft. So be sure you really love it (and can afford it).

4. Will Specializing Increase or Decrease My Work-Life Balance?

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, according to Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success.

Are you ready to spend a lot of time working to become a topic expert? How will that affect your relationships with your friends and family? It may be smart to ask for their opinion and support first, and decide for yourself if specializing will take away from the things you value outside of work.

5. Will I Box Myself Out of Future Opportunities if I Become Too Narrowly Focused?

It’s key to figure out if becoming a specialist will ultimately limit your career path down the road. Use your networking efforts to get a sense of where specializing will take you—and whether that sounds interesting to you.

Also, consider whether you feel more comfortable in a large organization or a small one. Small companies typically (but not always!) need more “utility players” willing to play several roles and fill in for others, whereas large enterprises often “divide and conquer,” solving problems with teams of specialists.

6. What’s My End Game?

If, down the road, you want to manage others, you might want to keep one foot in the generalist world. As a boss, you’ll need to be able to have credibility beyond your specialty to lead others.

However, if you’re more excited about becoming an expert in your field, specializing might be the way to go.

You may or may not already know all the right people willing to invest in you and advise you as you decide between specializing and generalizing.

If you don’t, that’s okay—but it’s key to have a strong network when making this decision. Talk with colleagues at your current company who are a few years ahead of you. Or, get in touch with fellow alumni who graduated from your university. Or, consider hiring a career coach who specializes in your industry or desired field.

Just be sure not to rush your decision—and know that you can always change your mind. Read a lot of articles and blogs, take people to coffee, listen to podcasts. In short, take your time. After all, this is your career—it’s worth getting right!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/questions-ask-yourself-specialize-generalize?ref=recently-published-0

4 things leaders shouldnt say

When you’re a manager, your employees are constantly watching to see how you behave and what you say. As a result, it’s important to be intentional about your choice of words in any setting.

As the boss, there are certain things you probably shouldn’t say.

You’re probably aware of the more obvious statements, like:

“I’m only doing this because corporate is making me.”
“I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”
“I just need to vent to you about [Person]…”
However, in addition to these obviously-nots, there are a few others phrases that, although seemingly harmless, may end up hurting you and your team.

1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

Leaders often say this to their high performers—the low-maintenance team members they know they can count on to deliver. It’s intended to encourage them to keep it up by letting them know they’re doing a good job.

Still, as an executive coach, I’ve heard time and time again from high performers how frustrating this type of feedback is.

Why? Because they’re often ambitious. They want to advance in their careers, and they crave feedback that will help them grow. The absence of constructive criticism sometimes exasperates them so much that they’re inclined to seek out other opportunities where they’ll get the mentorship they need to continue moving up.

A Better Alternative
To maintain your high performers (and keep them growing), try: “You’re excelling with X. Let’s give you an opportunity to stretch by giving you more chances to do Y.” Or, “You’re doing really well! Let’s explore your career goals so that I can make sure I’m coaching you to get you ready for your next step.”

2. “Was That Clear?”

While this might seem like a reasonable thing to say, it might not always give you an accurate picture of whether or not your team understands your intended message.

For example, I’ve often seen really bright leaders provide so much information that it overwhelms their audience. In those cases, people might not even know where to begin to respond to the question. Further, if this is posed in a group setting, people are less likely to speak up for fear of looking like the only person who’s confused.

Even in those cases in which your audience thinks that everything’s clear, they still might not be on the same page (like when you’re talking with a peer and realize that you’ve each walked away from a meeting with different conclusions).

A Better Alternative
Instead, say: “Let’s do a quick review of the key takeaways to make sure I articulated it clearly.” (Then, you can review them, or better yet, you could have other people in the room review them for you.)

3. “Failure Isn’t an Option”

While this might be something that’s appropriate for life and death situations, for most leaders this isn’t the sort of phrase you should be using too frequently.

Although it seems like it sets the bar high, the reality is that it’ll likely encourage mediocrity.

Think about it: If people are afraid to make mistakes, do you think they’ll be willing to experiment to see if they can make something better, or do you think they’ll stay safely within the bounds of what they know?

A Better Alternative
You can tell your team, “To be innovative, we’ll probably have to take some calculated risks. I don’t want us to make mistakes on purpose, but they’ll inevitably happen. Let’s make sure to learn from them so we can continue to improve.”

4. “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”

This statement is usually meant to encourage problem-solving and proactivity. I’ve also seen it said by bosses who want to prevent employees from incessantly complaining about issues while doing absolutely nothing to solve them.

But according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it can prevent people from speaking up about important issues they simply don’t know how to solve. This can result in leaders being unaware of where their team stands.

It can also create a “culture of advocacy” where people come to discussions highly invested in their solutions. As a result, they’re more concerned about selling their ideas than engaging with the group to work collaboratively.

A Better Alternative
To encourage your employees to speak up when needed, try: “To make this place better, we need to be aware of all problems—whether or not you know how to solve them. I’m also open to hearing your proposed solutions, too, so we can collaboratively improve our environment.”

To excel as a manager, you’ve got to be a great communicator. When you’re speaking, keep your goals in mind, and think critically about the messages you’re sending. With that sort of intentional communication, odds are you’ll have a positive impact on your team.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-harmless-phrases-leaders-never-say-at-work?ref=recently-published-1

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Let’s be clear: It’s innovate or die out there.

Ideas are the currency that buys you a starring role in today’s workplace. But too many people prioritize ownership over adoption, and watch their ideas waste away as a result. Truth is, you’ll be more effective if you work collaboratively with a team to turn ideas into action.

Here’s why you should ditch the old ideation silo and give your best thoughts to the group.

 

Team Buy-In Makes Things Happen
Ideas are often the prelude to change, and change generally rubs people the wrong way. So, how to get around the very human—but avoidable—friction that comes from shaking things up? Go out of your way to gain your team’s buy-in on the things that may affect them.

Especially if you’re a manager, inclusive decision-making may not only get you a better outcome by melding more minds during the ideation and decision-making processes, it ensures that the team understands the motives and considerations behind new ways of working. Ultimately that means less pushback, a deeper awareness about what led to decisions in the first place, and a more evenly distributed stake in the outcome.

Whether or not you’re a manager, this is a good way to conquer any resistance to change.

 

Tap Into a More Diverse Range of Opinions
A team brainstorm may be no better than a private one if everyone in the group thinks the same way. You need to mix it up.

Study after study has shown that diverse groups—gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, age, etc.—produce better ideas and make better decisions. Cloverpop, a company that tracks companies’ decisions to help them manage the decision-making process, found in a two-year study that gender-mixed teams comprising a wide range of ages and geographic representations made better decisions than homogeneous teams 87 percent of the time.

Makes sense. People with different backgrounds have different outlooks, motivations and experiences that shape their contributions at work. Hearing their voices and ideas produces a more well-rounded exchange of thoughts vetted by a wider variety of perspectives.

You may have to do some work to get a good mix of people in the room, but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, don’t discount less obvious diversity factors, like years of experience and time at your company.

 

See How Ideas Hold Up Against Messy Human Stuff
We’re all human, and regardless of race or gender or any of the other factors above, we’re simply wired differently.

For example, think about Myers-Briggs psychological types. People have different ways of perceiving and interpreting information, different thought patterns and emotional reflexes. The idealists on your team will have different ideas than the cynics. The process-oriented people will see things differently from the gut-driven types.

Working through ideas with a mix of personalities will help you find middle ground and flesh out a plan of action that works for everyone.

 

Test Your Assumptions
Idea sharing can be a valuable vetting exercise if everyone’s encouraged to speak candidly. Ask people to poke holes in your logic, to prove why your proposal won’t work, and to name every single thing that could possibly go wrong. The harder to tear down, the better the idea. Use the feedback to reformulate your idea until you’ve patched the flaws.

If you’re a team lead, this is even more critical. Sometimes you have to design new ways of working but you’re not the best person to do so because you’re not the closest to the facts on the ground—the people who work for you are. They can probably see the peril that lurks in a new idea right off the bat, and they’ll respect you more for recognizing that and hearing what they have to say.

 

Turn Ideas Into Action
In some ways, the idea is the easy part. The real challenge is executing.

If you think of ideas not as inventions that come out of thin air but as innovative solutions to complex problems, you and your team will have a better foundation for brainstorming.

And in the end, you’ll have a much easier time activating ideas if they’re vetted by a diverse group willing to provide constructive criticism, even if it means swallowing some pride and surrendering credit for the outcome.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-your-next-big-idea-should-come-from-a-team?ref=recently-published-2

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Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has called for the the state’s new fleet of regional trains to be built in the Hunter.

On Monday Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced the replacement of the entire regional train fleet and the construction of a new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW.

Expression of Interest will soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the trains and the new maintenance facility, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred location.

It has prompted Ms Hornery  to call for a commitment from the government to build the trains locally.

“This government has a track record of kicking workers while they are down, after last year announcing that the $2.3 billion project to build the new fleet of intercity trains was being sent overseas,” she said.

“Now we see the government announce the replacement of the Regional Rail Fleet and there is no commitment to build these trains locally.

“We have that capability right here in the Wallsend electorate. Our local workers can build these contracts on time and on budget.

“The government should commit to build them here.”

A tender process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019. The announcement also mentioned the “use of private financing” for at least part of the project to replace 60 XPT passenger cars, 19 diesel locomotives, 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.

The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider. The new trains are expected to be completed in the early 2020s.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4858593/calls-to-build-new-train-fleet-here/?cs=305