Are all the things going as expected? Is your strategy under control? Are you able to apply the plan-B that you carefully designed? If the answer to all these questions is “no”, then probably you have a very bad period. The result is that you feel frustrated and that you have not anymore the control of what’s happening! Moreover you feel that you are not in control of your life and the direction that is taking.
So what to do? Well the answer is not easy, or better, there is not an answer or a solution. But there are some suggestions on the process. And the best way to manage the process is very simple like the title of this post: “ACT don’t react”. When the things don’t go as expected we start thinking on a counter move, on a way to oppose to the problem, basically we are reacting. We are just trying to counter balance someone else behavior or someone else decisions. Our space for options is limited and is basically reduced to a “reaction” to what is happening. Moreover there are serious and deep implications on the timing. We are not more deciding and keeping the pace of what we are doing but the pace is dictated by the external events. Frustration is natural, energy goes down, the number of possibilities and available options is reduced and the feeling sooner or later became of impotence and ineffectiveness.
The way forward is to change perspective. It is time to ACT. Action has a different approach. The next move is not dictated by an external event but is your decision. So don’t wait for something to happen. Just do it, make your next step. Keep going, adapt your strategy to the coming events, but don’t let the events to block the actions. Should be the opposite – your actions are the one influencing events. You, your knowledge, your willingness is the asset that allows you to plan your future, to plan the events. Use your positive energy and your positive approach to make the things happen. You are the protagonist of your future and your are the only one who should take control of it. Be focused, be committed, be persistent and will see that you will enjoy the process of creating your own future and sooner or later things will happen exactly as you have planned them to be, because you ACT not because you react!
When I ask to give me a summary report to the people who works for me I always ask to have their opinion on the subject. The reason is simple: I give you this task because I believe you are competent for the task assigned and I expect from you a professional result. And if you have to give me back a professional result, then you have to be professional in a complete and competent way – basically in this moment you are a consultant who is paid for giving back a service. When you pay a consultant, you are not paying him only for the service, you are paying him for his reputation, for his capabilities, for his history of achievements and so on. When I ask you a report I’m asking you the same. I want you to be my consultant.
When you are offering your service to someone, you have to try to give your best and you have to put on the table all your capabilities and all your experience in order to demonstrate that you are competent and to maximize the return that you can get from the service offered. And one the most important assets that you have is your experience, your capabilities and your reputation. And according to that you have all the rights to express your opinion. Moreover, because your opinion is the synthesis of your past experience, of your knowledge and your expertise, your opinion is very valuable and probably is the most valuable asset that you have because it represents the sinthesis of your knowledge. So you have to use that asset.
This is valid at all level of the organizations. For managers, for employees and also for manual and repetitive jobs. The opinion of the worker in the assembly line is very valuable because he’s the most involved in the manufacturing process and could see things that a lot of managers are not even able to guess.
So remember, your opinion is very important and very valuable, it is the expression of your brand and it is a very important asset that requires investments (improvement and knowledge development) but that must used in order to create profits and maximize your return on investments that in this case is your unique life experience.
The title of this post is not new, is something that is bouncing in my head from some weeks ago. I remember that I read an article about that (“Do your people trust you?“) and what I clearly remember is the most important question that every manager should ask themselves: “Are you trustable?” The answer could seem easy or maybe silly, but probably could be not so easy if made like this: “Do your employees define you as a trustable person?” The answer probably in this case is not so easy and could sound like “I don’t know” or even worst “I don’t care”.
But let’s start from the beginning. What do I mean when I say trust? Well, trust for me is a very deep and important form of relationship. Trust means that you “believe” in someone else’s words, in its motivations and that despite a possible disagreement his words have a great value and impact on your behavior (in the positive sense). When you trust someone you are going to do things that you normally don’t do by yourself. That you are going to consider way of thinkings, aspect of your life and so on in a different way, only because you trust him! When you trust someone is because you believe that he owns your respect. Been trustable for me it means that I put something of myself, thoughts, expectations, williness, energy, professionalism, in your hands because I think that this is an investment. And this investment is paying back for the “trust” that I have invested on you. So “trust” is kind of investment, probably the most important and risky investment that we have at our disposal.
Coming back to the first question “Do your employees define you as a trustable person?” Because if the answer is not, then how could you pretend they believe in you and that they do what has been told them to do? And if the answer is “I don’t know” then I think you have to hurry up and start to “know”. It is not something that you could analyze later. It is absolutely fundamental for yourself, for your career and for the relationship with the others. Sometimes we are too much focused in our own improvement that we do not realize that the key point of our improvement is the relationships that we have with our colleagues, with our employees, with our customers.
If you want to have the maximum from the people working for you, you have to give them the maximum of yourself. And that maximum is to be trustable! Is something that you have to be, despite the difficulties, despite the changed situations, despite any kind of challenge that you are facing or obstacles to overcome. Been trustable is the most important investment that you could make in your life.
A friend of mine some days ago asked me: “Why logaritms are important?” My answer was that they are the basics for describing all the exponential relations like in the RF communications and in the sound pressure that are generally expressed in dB (decibell), but this was just the first thing that comes to my mind. So then my friend asked me something about literature and so on. Eventually the real question came in: “why is it so important to study?” and I add something more that a lot of people says often to me: “Don’t tell me that this subject that we have studied have been useful for you in your professional carrer or in your life…”
My answer, always, is that not only has been useful but I would have needed even more knowledge on that subject. The truth is that in my professional life I have used all the things that I have studied; starting from the most important and most used things till the last insignificant things that first or later you realize has an importance too.
The thing that makes some people excel in life is the real ability to connect things together. And in order to do it you need to pick up things from different subjects, from different competences, from different points of view and so on.
When I thing about myself I realize that also the most silly things, which at the time I believed they weren’t so important, if you make the right connections could help you to add a small piece of knowledge to the analysis of the problem. And the more small pieces you put together the more you could make the difference.
Working as an engineer also the Italian literature of the enlighment period has been useful. Sometimes just to share some common thoughts with customers or colleagues.
Of course it is clear that some things are fundamental and some others are (I do not say less important) less correlated with what is your professional life, but you will never know what will be your future carrer or where your passions could drive you for the rest of your life.
So the message is, don’t underevaluate what you studied but cultivate all your passions and be proud of all the time you spent improving yourself because this is what makes you unique and valuable for the others.