By Adrian Brown
Those of you who know me, know that I’m a great believer in doing things in the shortest, quickest, easiest way possible … ok, so I’m lazy!
I was teaching reframing recently on one of the NLP events and I often use the example of when I was working in finance and often sped their systems up. I can’t help but speed systems up, I just see all this unnecessary work and replace it with something simpler.
This is the thing, there’s always room for improvement. I was always astonished by the amount of wasted time in organisations due to poor systems.
My first experience of this truly shocked me. I was only 18 and didn’t know much about office life.
When I pointed out that photocopying a list would be far quicker than rewriting it, instead of being overwhelmed with praise for such a time saving idea, I was shouted down in no uncertain terms and told to keep quiet. I found that to be bizarre behaviour from people that complained there was never enough time.
People will defend their systems even when it’s obvious that they are out dated, slow or just plain don’t work. The question is, how many times in our own lives do we do that ourselves?
For me personally I can put my hands up and say in everyday life there’s so much stuff I do that could be done better. So how can we improve these things?
As Dr. Richard Bandler says, its all about attitude.
The attitude that you bring to your life can be one of constant improvement and the question “how can I make this better?”
Also it means change. And people don’t like change. Or do they? Let’s examine this one.
I once worked in a department that was pretty much up to date with their IT but just didn’t know about using their computers to full effect. They’d complain all day about how long it took to do particular jobs, but when I offered to show them an alternative way, already tried and tested at other places, I was looked at with resentment and contempt.
So on the monthly deadline day where we each had our tasks to complete, I was sitting completely finished in 1 hour when the rest took 5 hours.
How long do you think it took them before they wanted to know what I was doing differently from them? About 5 minutes.
After I’d finished I had a queue at my desk.
How long did it take to implement the change? About ten minutes. A quick demonstration of a software function that they’d seen but never bothered to find out about was all it took.
I once had the pleasure to work with a group of people who had this attitude and more. Whenever we hit a task that seemed like a lot of work we’d ask “does anyone have any idea how we can do this quicker?”. Guess what, someone would come up with an interesting approach or even ring someone they knew to find out.
Again, this is attitude, purely and simply.
Very often the words of wisdom would come from the most junior member of staff. Never underestimate the modern apprentice!
So, I invite you to have a look at your own personal systems and see if you can speed up the things you routinely do just by being curious about there possibly being a better way.
Where are you doing something in a particular way that has always been done that way?
Remember with advances in technology things can be done differently and more effectively. People find that they no longer need to see clients face to face when such things as skype are available.
1 Choose an area of your life that you want to optimise. Either speed it up or just do it better.
2 Look at how you “do” that side of things. What activities do you do, how do you do them, where do you do them?
3. Consider how other people do them? Who do you know that’s immensely good in this area? Google it.
4. Consider outsourcing all or part of it? Can someone else do it for you?
5. Make a list of all the potential ways it can be done, remember you don’t have to do any of them and some of the ideas will be unacceptable. Its just a list.
6 Notice that something on the list will appeal to you and try it out, you can always revert to the old way or come up with something even better.
If you take at least one thing from this article, I hope it’s the attitude to stand back and look at how you are doing things and ask “how can I do this more easily?”
All we’re doing is taking a few moments asking the unasked questions.
If you’re not sure if there is a better way, ask the laziest person you know how they’d do it. As a friend once told me “the laziest person always knows the shortcuts” … how true.
By Marc Innegraeve
Most of the people working in businesses think they’ve done a good job when they meet their KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Well, think again!
KPI’s might seem an objective way to evaluate your work, performance reviews often show something different. It’s really your boss who decides about your promotion, your salary raise and other advantages that come with good performance. Your bosses might claim and even believe they are demonstrating rational and objective behaviour when evaluating your work, they are probably not. The challenge is that they apply company rules and KPI’s to evaluate you, but their belief about your performance is driven by their personal preferences or meta-programs. But there’s hope .. two simple questions can give you the information you need to convince your boss beyond company KPI’s!
Q1: How will you know that I’m good at my job?
You might get a lot of corporate buzzwords in the answer, but that’s not what you are listening for. Your focus of attention needs to be the representation system that your boss is using when giving you his or her best MBA-slang. It will give you the channel to use to convince your boss. Some possible answers to listen for:
“I know a good job when I see it.” This boss needs to see you perform. If you are in a virtual team and your boss is residing in another continent … good luck!
“Customers will tell me if you’re good.” This boss needs to hear about your performance. You will need to get people to talk about you to your boss. And we all know that’s a lot more likely to happen when you do a bad job than when you’re performing well.
“I’ll experience it when working together.” This boss needs to feel and experience your quality of work. You will have to make your boss part of the action.
“I will see it in your sales figures.” This is a different way of seeing than the earlier one, and it’s good news! This boss has to read things to be convinced and might even belief in you just based upon your KPI’s.
Q2: How often do you need to see/hear/experience/read that to be convinced?
In this question, fill in whatever the answer of your boss was on the first question. It will give you the frequence or duration you will have to feed the convincer channel to convince your boss. Again listen for particular types of answers:
“3 times” This boss will need a number of times your feed before you can convince him or her.
“4 weeks” This boss will need to be fed information about your performance over a certain period of time.
“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt” This boss is easy to convince, because he or see will give you the benefit of the doubt. Your problem is that this can work both ways. One mess-up from you can be very expensive.
“For life” This boss is hard work. Time and again you will have to feed your boss convincing information about your performance.
So go ask your boss those two questions and listen. It may make all the difference in your carreer. And if you are a boss, ask yourself … how important are KPI’s to you?
(This article, written by Marc Innegraeve, originally appeared in the NLP-Newsletter of the Society of NLP.)