Posts Tagged ‘Skills’

Is “can’t do” BAD? Is “can do” GOOD?

Friday,1 August, 2008

Thoughts on an upside-down world . . . . . . . . .

Are you, and others, seeing the ‘real you’, or just a mere reflection?

Surely it’s obvious that being bad at something will hold us back?

Yes, well – walking past a building whose roof was being repaired, a colleague turned to me to complain about the behaviour of the scaffold workers. “It’s obvious that if they do that it will be dangerous. Can’t they just see that . . . . . . . ?”

“But” I replied, “you’re assuming that they are endowed with sufficient imagination to predict what might happen in the future. Do you think that anyone with that amount of imagination, would want to work at that sort of height?”

My colleague had to admit that having a well developed imagination could be a problem for some jobs – in other words, being bad at something could be a benefit!

In the world of business management, some people lack either the analytical skills or the temperament to manage quantities of detail. This trait can result in them concentrating on the over-view, and then being seen to be ‘strategic’. And senior managers need to be strategic. Another example of when being bad at something could be a benefit!

And surely it’s obvious that being good at something will help our careers to advance?

Yes well – in years past, many people who were really good at their jobs were rarely given the chance to advance: they were called ‘secretaries’. They were so good at doing their job, (including ‘propping up’ their bosses), that they were rarely encouraged to break free and progress.

In the world of business management, those people who are skilled at handling detail can be similarly disadvantaged. Their skills can be seen as so valuable that they are not encouraged to develop. And because they are good at detail, it may also be assumed that they are incapable of strategic thinking – without ever being given the chance to prove otherwise.

If you want to break out of this, it’s worth working hard on the fact that ‘what got you to where you are now, might not be enough to get you to where you want to be’.

It can be important to think these things through – make sure that you, and others, can see the ‘real you’, rather than a mere reflection!

Spaces between . . . . . . .

Tuesday,29 April, 2008

Places are made as much by spaces between buildings, as they are made by the buildings themselves.

And the world of buildings has a parallel with the world of organisations and work disciplines.

The focus used to be on organisations, or work disciplines.

But over time, and with the benefit of new technology, most advances possible within organisations or within disciplines have already been achieved.

The future now lies in the spaces between organisations or disciplines. For example:

  • nano-technology is where physics, biology and chemistry meet;
  • sustainable regeneration is only possible if social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues are all advanced.

No one organisation can achieve the complexity required to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

And therefore we must all become more adept at managing the spaces between, if we are to succeed.

This means, in practice:

  • enhanced partnership working within organisations, working between disciplines;

so as to build the skills and culture that will be needed:

  • to create the strong, lasting partnerships between organisations and ever more work disciplines, and across private, public and voluntary sectors.

[The photograph above is the space between two buildings in Nara, Japan. While only a few feet wide, the space is interesting and inviting in its own right – even though its ‘function’ is just to provide somewhere to wait while a table comes free in the adjacent Tea Room.]