Thursday, 25 April 2013

“That which we persist in doing, becomes easier to do” ~ R.W. Emerson*

The focus of this month's meeting was on continually developing the skills and abilities needed to maintain our productivity, so that we can stay sharp, and up-to-date with industry trends. 

One way of doing this could be to attend relevant workshops, and to interact with colleagues from other departments to understand the wider processes and to see the bigger picture of the company within the industry as a whole. 

Work Smart - newsletter, April 2013

For April's meeting, LD had asked members to write a thank you card to a colleague. Some members felt this was unnecessary, as a culture of thanking colleagues already exists in many companies. However, it was noted that cards from managers at Christmas were appreciated and often kept as mementos. One colleague sent a thank you card for being warned about a traffic diversion affecting the commute to work during snowy weather.

“Sharpening the Saw”:
Members spoke about strategies to stay on top of work and industry trends, including learning new skills and mastering the technology. LD referred to the 7th Habit, in Stephen Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"**, which is “sharpening the saw” -  taking 5 minutes to keep up-to-date and aware of Best Practice, so we can complete our work effectively. Often we get so busy sawing, we forget that our saws can become blunt. We get used to doing things the way we did them when we started in our role, but there are always new developments and trends.

Staying sharp would equate to the 5% of development time as part of our objectives. Members spoke about the benefits of workshops, in particular internal workshops, as an example for learning:
  • Internal workshops facilitate greater understanding of the Big Picture and where we fit into the wider process
  • Improve presentation skills and share knowledge
  • Meet colleagues in other departments, and step away from the routine. Seeing things from a new perspective can spark collaboration between departments.
  • Workshops must be relevant, and well-presented, and need line manager support, as attendance is actually part of our jobs.
  • Ideally material would be centrally available to refer back to afterwards
  • Ask the Learning and Development department to develop courses that are relevant.
Brian Tracy's book "Eat That Frog"*** compares tasks we may approach last because they are hardest or we are not skilled at, as “frogs”. He encourages us to tackle them sooner to increase our abilities and grow. Assigning a reward to such a task can be helpful to focus on achievement. LD handed out small chocolates to each member to assign as a reward to completion of a task of their choosing before the next meeting. 

Blog of the month:

For the next meeting, please share one example of Best Practice in your work. 
              Effective. Efficient. Organised. Professional

            *“That which we persist in doing, becomes easier to do. Not that the task becomes easier, but our ability to do increases” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
              **"Eat That Frog", Brian Tracy, Hodder Paperbacks (13 Sep 2004)
                ***"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey, Simon & Schuster Ltd; 1989

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