Two years ago I started working for a company in which, even though my colleagues didn’t speak my mother tongue, we had in common other critical things: the values, the attitude and, more importantly, the willingness to improve, to add value with our work every day, to learn from each other, from our clients and from the rest of the world, and to grow not only professionally but also personally.
Now, after two years and with countless moments, experiences and learnings recorded in my mind, it is time to go for personal reasons. But before I leave, I would like to share with you three key things I’ve learnt as part of this amazing experience of being part of the BRS team.
The importance of the why:
How often do we do things at work just because they have always been done like that or because someone has told us to do so? Are these reasons enough? Well, it can be enough to achieve some quick wins, but in the medium to long term, companies that don’t question the why of their actions can easily start being busy but not productive, not focused on what they need to be focused on.
Do you see the link between what you are doing and the impact that that task/ project/ conversation/ meeting, etc. will have in achieving the project objectives or your company’s goals or strategic objectives? If you don’t see that link and you don’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, perhaps you are spending time and energy on pleasing someone else, on keeping your boss happy.
If we extrapolate this to the personal aspect of your life, it’s a bit the same: Why do you work? Why do you get up every morning at 6 a.m.? Why do you want to live here or there? Unlike most of the population, the people reading this article have a high degree of freedom to decide. Yes, to decide: to decide where to work, where to live, if you want to study an MBA or not, if you want to go on holidays this year or the next one, etc. Because we have that amazing power, I believe that we need to live a life with purpose. And that starts with figuring out the why.
Find your intrinsic motivation:
So what? Let’s start by finding your intrinsic motivation. We are all a result of our circumstances: our childhood, our parents, our partner, our teachers, our city, etc. They all have a huge influence on us: on the way we do things, on the way we see others, on our preferences, on our career decisions. Although it’s absolutely natural to be influenced by all these things, our opinion needs to be our opinion, the opinion that we create by ourselves. Create your own subculture; create your own standards and criteria. Spend your time (limited) and energy (limited) having an impact on what you want to have an impact on.
In addition to this, and to understand what those influences that I was talking about before are, spend time understanding yourself, being aware of why you act the way you act, where your fears may be coming from. Because it’s only once you are aware that you can act to change some things that you may want to change, face your insecurities and act out of your comfort zone.
Also try to understand the people in front of you, the people that you are dealing with: Is she/he an introvert or an extrovert? Does she/he like the detail and the analytics or is she/he a bigger picture person? If you know your colleagues better, you will have the ability not only to understand their behaviours better but also to communicate with them easier and to apply teamwork in a way that everyone can play to their strengths. For example, if you are dealing with a person that is more detail oriented, that person will probably be outstanding at reviewing data. And they will not only be outstanding but they will probably enjoy much more doing that than designing a new logo for your business.
In the last couple of years I have discovered some great tools that we use internally and with our clients in BRS for this: Human Synergistics, MBTI, HBDI, Facet5. All of them teach you something different about yourself and about your colleagues.
Be open to change:
In BRS, very often we include the following quote in our presentations:
‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’. – Charles Darwin
BRS was set up three years ago. Since then, a lot of things have changed. We have a great combination of skills and personalities in our team, amazing systems and processes in place that allow us to be more efficient, good measures to track how we are doing not only from a financial perspective but also from a branding, client satisfaction, efficiency and capability perspective. Does this mean that it’s all perfect and that it will all remain the same? No! Because the team may (and will) find ways of doing things better, of becoming a little bit more efficient and effective every day. That may involve small changes (what we call the one percents) but also big changes: it may change the business model, the people, the services….and having the ability to adapt to the change and to believe in the opportunities that the specific change brings to the table is one of the things that makes the BRS team so special. I say BRS team because everyone in the team can propose, lead and implement change. Leadership without title is a big thing for us! And it makes you feel good; feeling that you can do it, that it doesn’t matter what your role in the business is or for how long you’ve been working in the company….you are a leader in your workplace, empowered to do what you believed in.
I want to finish this article with a profound THANK YOU to all and every one that I have worked with in the last couple of years. Because you all have taught me something. And a special thank you to Kym: for your motivation, your energy and your passion in developing others to unlock their full potential.