All the instruction in the world can’t create action. There are a lot of people around you telling you what to do and how to do it, but it’s up to you to actually do it. Perhaps you’ve done enough learning and it’s time to start doing. Stop just looking at the ball and go kick it. Thanks Lando for the life lesson!
Do you have the right kind of grit? Working hard for working hard sake won’t get you very far. In fact, the kind of grit you have will determine the kind of outcomes you will see. What drives your grit? Is it money? Is it status? Is it ambition? All these will fail you in the end. Grit that comes from gratitude is the only kind of grit that will fulfill your soul. You won’t get burned out when you are fueled by gratitude. Gratitude is the fuel for grit.
I think we’ve lost the dignity and significance in being disciplined in the ordinary. No one gets excited about the artist who puts in the countless hours in perfecting their art before they have a breakthrough. Or pop culture doesn’t shine a light on the thousands of repetitions that an athlete does over years of practice. But that’s ok because you know the work you’re putting into your craft. Be proud because the unrecognized work is extraordinary.
When I used to teach tennis lessons to adults, their main motivation for taking lessons was to simply “hit the ball better”. It was achieving the feeling of hitting a clean ball in the direction they were intending. This was very puzzling to me. This was puzzling because the last I checked, the point of playing a match in tennis was to win. I have played countless tennis matches where I certainly hit the ball better than my opponent, but they ended up beating me. Hitting to ball to actually win a point is very much different than hitting a ball to hit it clean.
Management in our workplaces today does just the same. The concern is all too often on becoming more efficient or eliminating waste. It’s about how to get more productivity or getting people to adhere to optimal processes and procedures. But step back for a moment and ask, what is the point? If you say that the point of what you’re doing is to make money, then you either need to find a new company to work for or take a hard look in the mirror.
The point of management is about delivering results. It is about helping customers. It is about making a difference in customer’s lives as well as those you work with. Sure, something may not be the most efficient way of doing things, but if it makes a genuine difference, then it’s worth doing. Quit putting up with companies that suck the life out of you. That kind of organizational experience isn’t worth it.
The process is a key part of the joy, but a process that doesn’t produce the meaningful results is demoralizing . Manage people so that they can deliver on the real point, not to just “hit the ball better”. In the end, the person focused on the right results will end up winning.
In 1959, Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” which referred to an emerging form of work for the next generation workforce. Knowledge workers is a broad term, but it basically characterized by a worker’s deep knowledge in focused topics and their ability to utilize that knowledge to provide services. The rise of the knowledge worker produced massive consulting companies, legions of financial analysis, and further segmentation of professional medicine, law, and sciences. While knowledge workers are certainly here to stay, I believe another form of work is on the rise. I call it the “Agile Worker”. With the advancement of web technology and the continuing expansion of the internet, knowledge is becoming more of a commodity. You can see the rise of cost effective or free online education, such as the Khan Academy, edX, Lynda, and Codecademy, as a foreshadow of the widespread accessibility of deep knowledge. In the future, knowledge will not be used as leverage to drive demand. Rather, the commoditization of knowledge will empower the Agile Worker .
Some of the idea of the Agile Worker adopts key concepts from the Agile Software Development, such as the ability to quickly adapt to changes, but further applied beyond software development.
The Agile Worker is characterized by their ability to:
- quickly adapt to change
- sufficiently acquire new knowledge or skills
- harmonize diverse knowledge and people
An Agile Worker is a person who is able to quickly adapt to change by sufficiently acquiring new knowledge and harmonizing it with other information and people.
An Agile Worker is able to:
- be resourceful and learn to the level required to meet the current demand.
- effective worth with groups of people and skillfully combine shared knowledge.
- apply a high technical aptitude with unrelated creativity and expression.
- quickly learn new skills to a sufficient of proficiency (such as languages, programming, finance, and design).
- acquire a breadth of diverse knowledge enough to be able to effectively teach others.
Who else would you consider an Agile Worker?