Importance of questions (better questions to be more precise) remains understated and misunderstood for most of us. It is more meaningful to have the right questions then the incorrect or irrelevant answers in our war chest.
Spend 5 minutes going through this wonderful strip on “Questions and Answers”.
How is the culture of your team? Do you want to improve it or transform it all together? What would you do?
Let’s start with definition of “culture”. What is a definition of culture?
One definition that I like is ” A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.”
If you are not happy with the culture around you and want to re-define it, start with defining your own culture and transforming yourself. Each thing that you do and perform should be a reflection of that culture. Culture both good and bad are infectious. Create a culture that infectious that it propagates at the pace of fire without you having to tell people in your organisation that you are trying to change it! Be passionate about it. Immerse, live and breathe the culture you want to spread in your house, your team or your whole organisation.
Culture is a very personal thing and should not be copied from other teams or organisations just for the sake of it. Like many things copy and paste strategy will not work. Things that work well elsewhere will not necessarily work at your organisation because the people and the story is different.
Stories and actions stick. Long agendas and meetings don’t neither do empty promises. Also “You” define the culture not just fancy Power Point decks or beautifully decorated posters.
Have more people around you who ask better questions. Train your staff to ask better questions.
Answers [I mean the right answers] will automagically appear sooner than later.
When we make promises to others, there is an expectation and pressure from the other parties and from us that they are kept. It is out in the open, and hence accountability comes into picture too.
Whereas when we make promises to ourselves, although in the moment there is an internal expectation and a desire to fulfil it, often times we cloud our mind with excuses for why we can’t keep up the promises. No one knows about it hence there is little shame or guilt in breaking the promise. Accountability can be less to none.
In school we are taught to keep promises made to others but hardly do we talk about importance of keeping the promises made to ourselves. Keeping promises to yourself is as important if not more than keeping promises made to others. It will improve your self respect and self trust. It will make you more disciplined and more accountable. It will make you more focused.
Keeping promises to yourself will help you to be on the same page as you mind.
Some ways to make it easy for you to keep your promises are:
- Only promise things to yourself that are extremely important
- Write down your promise (this becomes your goal)
- Be specific and design ways to measure the progress
- Make it your number one priority
- Start small – achieve it and promise some more
- Reward yourself on achieving the promise
We all complain. Some do little, some do too much of it. Some about everything and some about specific aspects that they dislike.
When you complain’s constantly just because you can (and one thinks that it is their God given right) , it can get annoying for others and frustrating for you as they never seem to go anywhere. Don’t blame if others start completely ignoring you and your complains!
But complaints get more attention when they are meant to lead to improvement, both for you and other parties involved. What I call win-win situation! Part of your complain should also include message on how resolving it will benefit the other party and many other people like you and provide a long lasting effect.
Curious minds like to ask questions such as “How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson?“. The names of the people change but the intention remains to learn the strategies that make the now “great” people great. Curiosity gets to me as I read what those secrets are to such questions. My “first” take on this is:
- Be Yourself – don’t try to be someone. You cannot be one of them as there is only one of those great people you mentioned. They all carved their niche.
- Have your set of principles and live by them
- Reduce – the feedback loop. Constantly give yourself and get feedback from others, learn, update and get the feedback again.
- Stop wondering about such questions too much and focus on your “work” that matters. Don’t obsess on other people’s greatness. Nobody became great by coping others.
- You need to obsess about your selected subject and be the greatest at that.
I like what Justine Musk writes
Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ‘success’, so know that you don’t have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle. Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way. They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage. They don’t think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.
Act Now – Don’t Delay
Do I know a lot about George Canning? No, but I agree to this quote of his. What I do know is that indecisions do have a cost associated with it and sometimes it can be super expensive just not to make decisions, let alone not making them at the right time.
So take action now, come to a decision – right or wrong but make a decision and move forward with your life.
Are you listening to the heartbeat of needs and wants?
In today’s fast paced world, what do you do to get a person’s attention? A wise man once explained me that people pump out heartbeats of needs and wants. A simple yet effective way to connect to the other person and hold their attention is to hear those heartbeat of needs and wants. Those needs and wants will represent their interest. Capture that interest and you have their attention. Fail to do that and you have nothing in common. Wrap those needs and wants as part of your product or service and you got business. Simple! Yes, but how many of us put other people’s interest ahead of ours?
I come across a Reddit AMA conversation with Elon Musk and this question did interest me:
How do you learn so much so fast? Lots of people read books and talk to other smart people, but you’ve taken it to a whole new level.
It seems you have an extremely proficient understanding of aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, all various subdisciplines (avionics, power electronics, structural engineering, propulsion, energy storage, AI) ETC ETC nearly all things technical.
I know you’ve read a lot of books and you hire a lot of smart people and soak up what they know, but you have to acknowledge you seem to have found a way to pack more knowledge into your head than nearly anyone else alive. Do you have any advice on learning? How are you so good at it?
Elon’s Answer to this question is:
I do kinda feel like my head is full! My context switching penalty is high and my process isolation is not what it used to be.
Frankly, though, I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.
One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
A colleague shared this image today – many thanks to her (ok, ok i remade the image for quality sake). The message is simple yet a powerful one. No one but at the end we should decide on how we feel about anything going on in our life and our day. Keep on improving quality of your day and bit by bit you are going to move the mountains.