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A Reinvention Revolution; 3 Sacred Cows to Start With

A Reinvention Revolution; 3 Sacred Cows to Start With
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Reinvention is one of my favorite words these days. It actually started doing this rumba in my brain over a year ago, but back then I was pretty good at tuning out the music and ignoring it.

Not anymore.

I’ve become increasingly bothered by business people in my corner of the world settling for good enough that definitely is not good enough. It’s particularly annoying in regard to workforce discussions, with wannabe entrepreneurs and business owners complaining about labor and talent shortages, aging boomers and other workforce demographics making things tough on them and their prospects. The “oh woe is me” whining is driving me crazy.

Yes, I know the problems are real. However I have no patience for those who refuse to see that they must make some pretty revolutionary changes in their own business models and operational m.o.’s if they are ever to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

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The workplace labor and talent shortages we’re all experiencing in business aren’t going to miraculously get filled up if those “shortages” don’t start to look and feel much different. Our math in the “lose one, replace one” equation no longer computes; many of our old jobs have to be redesigned or reinvented for anyone to want them.

If you find you’re nodding your head right now, I’ve got a Reinvention Challenge for you. Are you feeling restless, rebellious, and perhaps even revolutionary? Great!

You can rid your workplace of the status quo, and lead the way with an organizational revolution which will turbo-boost your company with engaging, new-lease-on-life work at the same time, if you are willing to put some old standbys out to pasture. Here are the 3 sacred cows on my hit list:

Organizational Charts

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Organizational Charts proliferate hierarchies, and hierarchies mean there is too much protocol getting in the way of more productive relationships. The organizations which will thrive today must be more fluid and flexible, where people have the freedom to enlarge their circles of influence when they are willing and able to. People must feel they can readily team up in partnerships up, down, and all around them without worrying about delineated reporting structures. You needn’t fit your square peg in the right square box if there aren’t any boxes to pigeon-hole you in the first place.

Annual Performance Appraisals

I’ve ranted before about how poorly annual performance appraisals are done by most managers and won’t repeat those arguments now (although they still exist and are far too rampant). There are two specific ways annual performance appraisals sabotage business today by inhibiting reinvention; a) “annual” is way too slow, and we are all moving must faster than that, and b) nine times out of ten appraisals are somehow connected to compensation structures, and hence those aren’t being reinvented either. Capped out at a 3% increase in your annual review? So do you stop performing well after that? Or perhaps your window of opportunity isn’t included in this next one on my list…

Job Descriptions

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Job Descriptions give us low ceilings when the sky should be the limit. Look around you. With few exceptions, you’ll probably notice that most people at work are not fully engaged in their jobs 100% of the time. The world has changed all around us at an amazing pace, yet the vast majority of our jobs have not changed, and we’re bored with them. The job descriptions which map out recruitment efforts in most companies are still structured around sets of qualifications which are old and unexciting, and frankly, they don’t matter any more. Experience in old qualifications don’t necessarily equate to the capacity-stretching performance needed today, and they certainly don’t light our fire any longer.

So what do you say? Brave enough to put these on your hit list too?

Be a revolutionary and do some reinvention with me. Turn up the music and let’s rumba.

Article References:
The 3 New R’s: Restlessness, Revolution, and Reinvention
Everyday Performance Reviews
Adding Value to Performance Reviews
5 Questions for your Performance Appraisals
No Room for Mediocrity

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Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Learn to Love Projects.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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