Digging yourself out

The UK has slowly emerged from a week of snow and ice and as I sip on some hot chocolate and contemplate a Christmas task list, which is not getting any shorter, I’m thinking about the motivational effects of bad weather when it comes to work.

My colleague and I embraced the challenge of the commute. Checking in with each other from 6am onwards, agreeing the rendezvous point and our travel options and then embarking on the journey. The desire to get there and get on powerful motivators – some of my colleagues never made it but their efforts were even more extreme.

This all leads nicely into the December issue of Harvard Business Review and a great article by Dr Edward Hallowell a psychiatrist who gives a “prescription for peak performance” in the work place.

He bases his arguments on what brain science tells us about how to excel. At the core of this is what he calls the “Cycle of Excellence”;

SELECT – find the right job.

CONNECT – tap into the power of other people.

PLAY – imaginatively engage with work.

GRAPPLE & GROW – conquer difficult challenges.

SHINE – ensured that you are recognised.
Hallowell goes into detail on each of these five, crucial elements.

He also lists 15 helpful questions to gauge if you are in the right organisation or role:

1 What are you best at doing ?

2 What do you like to do the most ?

3 What do you wish you were better at ?

4 What talents do you have that you haven’t developed ?

5 Which of your skills are you most proud of ?

6 What do others most often say are your greatest strengths ?

7 What have you gotten better at ?

8 What can you just not get better at no matter how hard you try ?

9 What do you most dislike doing ?

10 Which skills do you need to develop in order to perform your job ?

11 What sort of people do your work best / worst with ?

12 What sort of organisational culture brings out the best in you ?

13 What were you doing when you were happiest in your work life ?

14 What are your most cherished hopes for your future work life ?

15 How could your time be better used in your current job to add value to the organisation ?

It’s a comprehensive list and worth working through when considering your own future.

His final point..”If the culture of your group chronically withholds praise, consider finding another place to work. Recognition completes the Cycle of Excellence, encouraging you to work even harder to achieve your best.”


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