As you might know, I’ve been sick and down in the dumps for about two weeks now. I am supposed to run a 5K this Saturday but I don’t know how that’s possible given my general overall suckiness. As you may also know, I’ve been trying to write here more, but it’s tough, given that I’m writing content for clients now and over here. But here are some things I’ve learned over the past week or so, some profound…some less so.
1. When you treat people right, they come back to you again and again. It’s so easy to become consumed in competition, especially when the economy heats up, but the more I realize when I don’t hold clients or speaking slots or articles or gigs so tightly, the more people come back. It seems really simple but in my experience, it’s a super easy thing to lose sight of. In layman’s terms, be a nice person.
2. STEM is like a really important thing. I wrote an article about it and realized at almost the exact same time (shopping for junior highs for my eldest son) that it impacts the next generation a great deal. The programs in place for kiddos now are completely different than what I experienced as a child. It’s something our nation needs to face. Here’s why.
3. My brain is really important to me. This sounds like a no-brainer (pun intended) but I never realized how much mental acuity plays into my ability to do my job quickly and efficiently. What I mean is, there are no “rote” tasks in what I do. When people hire a consultant, they expect answers and action quickly (see also: life is not a Dilbert cartoon). When my brain is clouded, it feels like I’m chopping through a thick jungle with a dull machete. If you find yourself in a place where your job seems simple, go ahead and get some crazy sinus superbug, see how simple it is then.
4. Trust is amazing. Never do I feel free-er to create then when someone trusts in the work I am doing on their behalf. Companies, keep this in mind. When you allow your employees, consultants, workers a little leeway, they will likely surprise you. If you hire someone to do a specific thing, let them at it! A little trust goes a long way. Consultants, employees, if you get this trust, don’t eff it up.
5. First impressions are sometimes wrong. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen that I spent last week looking for a housekeeper. I made some calls, followed some recommendations and met a lot of very competent cleaning companies. But I ended up hiring the person I hated on the phone and disliking intensely the guy who gave me the best first impression.
6. Assessments are good. I don’t mean to sound like some out of touch plutocrat (sorry I just really like that phrase and I wanted to apply it to someone besides Mitt Romney) but finally growing a pair and not hiring the first yahoo who applied to clean my house, is actually a good thing. See, right now I am getting a first time cleaning from a few companies in different areas of my house, whoever does the best will be my regular cleaning company. In all of our assessment talk, screening solutions and high-minded processes, we tend to lose sight of what we’re doing. What many of us facilitate is the exchange of a service for money. Employers want the very best service and are usually willing to pay for it. Employees want to showcase their best efforts in the hopes it will land them the gig.
7. I learned that I have a lot to learn. From being open to people’s perceptions of me, to learning how to pick my battles, to approaching those in a higher position than me with respect and humility.