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Strengths: Character Strengths and Signature Strengths

Strengths

StrengthsStrengths are the things we are naturally good at. Everyone knows that. And it has become something of a commonplace that:

We should play to our strengths

In fact, that seeming truism has been underpinned by a lot of academic research over the last 20 years or so, since Martin Seligman formally kicked-off the discipline of Positive Psychology.

So it is in the Positive Psychology sense that we shall examine what strengths are, and why they matter to us.

Continue reading Strengths: Character Strengths and Signature Strengths

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FISH! Philosophy

FISH! Philosophy
FISH! Philosophy
FISH! Philosophy

What if excellent customer service and great team working could be fun? How could that transform your workplace? Those are the questions behind the FISH! Philosophy. It’s a training programme designed around behaviours that came about spontaneously. And they did so in, of all places, a fish market.

The FISH! Philosophy is a trademarked training programme. So, in this article, we’ll tread lightly in describing its main ideas. If you want to know more, the place to visit is Charthouse Learning’s FISH! Philosophy website.

Continue reading FISH! Philosophy

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Career Development

The Management Pocketbooks Pocket Correspondence Course

This is part of an extended management course. You can dip into it, or follow the course from the start. If you do that, you may want a course notebook, for the exercises and any notes you want to make.


Do you have a career plan?  You should.  Even if you have not charted out the rest of your life, you should have a shrewd idea of how long you want to stay where you are now; doing what you are doing; and what next.

Here are some exercises that will help you to plan out this and the next stages of your career.

Exercise 1: Getting to Grips with a New Job

Answer these three questions:

  1. What is the true essence of your job?
  2. What is one thing you can achieve quickly to start to build a good reputation?
  3. Who are the people you most need to get to know and to influence?

Exercise 2: Getting Ahead in your Current Job

Set yourself three objectives:

  1. Three people to get to know during the next three months
  2. A substantial opportunity to be innovative, take the lead or make something happen
  3. Some training, development or learning that will position you for a step forward

Exercise 3: Refreshing your Attitude to your Current Job

In ‘Same Job: New Job’, we looked at how to spice up your attitude to your current job, if a move is not on the cards.  Read that blog and choose three petals of the Flower Model of Job Satisfaction.  For each one, decide on one action you will carry out, to boost the way you feel about your job.

Exercise 4: What Next?

You may not yet have a strategic vision of how you want your career to proceed and where you want to get to.  If this is the case, ask yourself the question: ‘what do I want from my career?’

Write this down as a heading in your notebook one evening.  The next day, get up early, make a cuppa, then sit and write anything that comes into your mind onto the page.  Don’t censor or try to organise it.  Just get the ideas down.

Repeat two or three times and then, when you have a quiet hour to spare, go through it all and see what is there that makes real sense to you.

Now you will have the basis for deciding what needs to come next.  Put together a plan for:

  • on-the-job learning
  • continuing professional development
  • taking on projects
  • looking for new opportunities

Exercise 5: Continuing Professional Development

If you are a member of a professional or trade body, this will almost certainly come with your chosen career.  Even so, there will be discretionary modules and units, so make choices based on what you want to prepare yourself for.  If you are not part of such a membership organisation, then look at the training your employer can offer, maybe your trade union has some training you can use, and also look at local FE colleges and the courses they can provide.  You may also want to look at independent training providers who run open programmes.

The trick is to build a logical case that will show your employer what they will gain by investing in putting you on that training.  Be clear about the facts and ask the provider for help in identifying the workplace benefits of their course.

Exercise 6: A Career Change?

There is an excellent set of resources for this at the Open University careers advisory service site.

Further Reading

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Same Job: New Job

Last week we looked at some tips if you want a new job.  But what if you want to stay in your current job, but want it to feel like a new job?

If only there were some way to revitalise your current job.  Well maybe there is.  And it all starts with the Flower Model of Job Satisfaction.

Flower Model

Lets take each petal at a time and see what you can do to boost your job satisfaction.  Effective action on two or three of these could transform the way you feel about your current job.

Motivation

What is it that really motivates you in your work?  David McClelland’s theory of ‘Motivational Needs’ can help you here: You may be motivated by:

The Need for Power: a desire to be in control – of yourself, yes, and others maybe. Certainly you will look for respect.

The Need for Affiliation:  a desire to be part of a team and to relate to other people, working together and being recognised for your contributions.

The Need for Achievement: a desire to do things, do them well, see results and sense progress.

Whatever you discover motivates you, look for ways to get more of it in the balance of your work.

Effectiveness

If getting things done and making a difference matters to you, then look for ways to take a more strategic perspective on your work.  What choices and decisions have you been pretending you can’t make?  It is time to be more precise in what you choose to do, and to seek more responsibility for making a difference.  So start with ‘what is the purpose of my job?’  and work towards focusing more on that and less on the trivia.

Creativity

Get involved in projects, take part in change, review how you do things or what else your organisation could do to serve your clients or customers.  Take time out to think, experiment and play.

Enjoyment

Start to look for the fun in the things you do day-to-day: maybe a robust argument about the next marketing campaign, perhaps a chance to design a new window display, possibly a decision to learn new techniques that will make you better at your job.  With the right attitude, discussion, design and learning are all fun – and so is just about anything.

Efficiency

Focus on one thing and look at how you can do it as well and efficiently as you possibly can.  Flow states are the optimum state of pleasure for humans. We reach them when we stretch ourselves to the limit of our capability, so transform a dull repetitive task to a striving for efficiency and not only will you free up time for creativity or relationships or enjoyment, but you will have more pleasure doing the task.

Relationships

The average worker spends more of their waking hours with work colleagues than they do with their family.  So make the most of it.  Look for new ways to enjoy the company of your colleagues – or look for new colleagues within your organisation whose company you can better enjoy.

Please Note:  This is in no way a recommendation to try out an inappropriate workplace relationship.  Far more often than not, it will end badly and make things a whole lot worse!

Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

The Positive Mental Attitude Pocketbook will give you a heap of hints how to transform your attitude to a job you are starting to tire of.

The Management Models Pocketbook has a chapter on David McClelland’s model of motivational needs.

The Improving Efficiency Pocketbook will give you a load of ideas for… improving efficiency.

The Working Relationships Pocketbook will..  well, you get the idea.

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