Sometimes I feel slightly overwhelmed by the knowledge and experiences the mentors share with me. Having been to several sessions now though I realise you can’t absorb it all but can take nuggets and gems from each. If I can take just one thing away from each meeting then it is time very well spent. Here are my top nuggets and gems so far, in no particular order.
– Decide what motivates you, don’t be afraid to admit it and share it.
Mine is fear, mostly of failure, I’m terrified most of the time and will do anything I can for failure not to become real. It means personally I focus on mistakes instead of celebrating success, although it is not how I act with the team. However I also understand that this fear means I work really hard, do my best and am very competitive with myself. But rewards follow effort, so it’s just a matter of channelling it.
– Work with people you like
Most people I meet through the academy say you should understand your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with people who compliment you and fill the gaps. One mentor I met recently said yes, that’s great, but work with people you like because you’ll create better work with them, enjoy yourself, want to do more for them and trust them. Very refreshing advice and something I previously felt bad for thinking.
– Ask for help and be proud that smart people want to help you
Don’t pretend you know it all and can do everything, ask for help and advice and shout about it. It’s a good thing.
– Listen, watch, understand…then lead
Learn from everyone, understand deeply what people are talking about then make quick, smart decisions that are impactful.
– Understand everything
Don’t leave it to the experts, strive to understand everything. This will enable you to ask the right questions and will give you credibility.
– Be unreasonable and don’t engage in problems
Occasional use of this can be powerful. I tried it recently to great success. I don’t it will win me any popularity contests though.
– Tell stories
It will make what you’re saying memorable and give you credibility by highlighting your experience.
– Be yourself
Identify your strengths and weaknesses and spend your time improving your strengths not trying to lessen the impact of your weaknesses. It’s a waste of time and a gap other people can fill, whereas getting better at the stuff you’re already good at it a brilliant use of time and will have greater impact.
– Create a stable but restless culture
Create an environment in which people feel safe and looked after in which they can restlessly and tirelessly try new things and strive to be the best.
– Climb a mountain
Gather together your most important stakeholders, climb to the top of a mountain, part the clouds and decide what you see as a group. This is your shared, common vision and goal. It doesn’t matter about personalities and methods as long as you are all pointing in the same direction and have a clear shared goal.