I was sent this image by Tim Scott as part of a #blimage challenge on Twitter. The idea is to use an image to provoke a blog related to learning/HR/management.
I’ve mulled it over for a few days, and my initial thoughts were to remember that like it or not, we are all being seen and judged by someone at all times. As a result, we need to make sure we are doing the right things right, even when we think no-one’s looking. But this isn’t L&D/Management enough for me. There’s no real message there – surely we all know that we should do our best at all times?
But then the message hit me in the face: It’s about constant surveillance in terms of keeping one eye on the broader picture; seeing what’s around you; looking out for things that might affect you.
I’ve been running my own business for nine years now (hard to believe). My main driver then (and even more so now) is flexibility. Although I pretty much do ‘full time’ hours, I need to be able to fit these in in a random pattern over a 7 day period. In August I reduce my hours: I spend less time ‘in’ my business, but I still spend time ‘on’ my business. I check my emails every day, I respond to voice messages, I browse my social media sites, I work on those ‘important but not urgent’ tasks that need to done. Yes, I have done a little client work, but this has been kept to a minimum.
Because I have continued to look at the big picture, I have been able to secure two small pieces of work for September/October, scope out a new offering, take advantage of a personal development opportunity and support my associates. This bodes well for the long term health of my business, even though I have done less actual work this month.
It’s a key theme in the Management Development programmes that I write and help to run too: many first time managers are so focussed on doing the tasks, they forget to take a look at the CCTV… until something goes wrong. They are unaware of the impact that constantly working ‘in’ their organisation has. They fail to look ahead, to put things into context, consider their place in the internal chain, or to prepare for what’s on the horizon.
I also see it in some trainers: They are brilliant in the training room – great facilitation skills (far better than my own) and totally dedicated to delivering a useful session for their delegates. Just occasionally though, what they deliver isn’t in line with wider organisational priorities/approaches. For whatever reason, they’ve got too focussed on their preferred topic/approach or on making delegates happy which (whilst delivering great short term results and a favourable ‘Happy Sheet’) doesn’t always help in the long term.
It’s not a new message. We’ve long been told about the importance of setting aside time for ‘big picture’ planning. I tried to set aside one a day week for this a few years ago, and it didn’t work. I have since found that a small amount of time each day (which may range from 30 minutes to 4 hours) works better for me. Taking a daily look around me helps me to consider what I’m doing in terms of fit and congruence with my own business, and with my clients.
This picture really make me focus on the fact doing things right isn’t always enough…we need to do the right things and find the right balance between dealing with the here and now; the short/medium term future; balancing my priorities with my clients’. And that’s true whether you’re an internal HR practitioner, trainer, manager or if like me, you run your own business.
And if you like the idea of being ‘provoked’ into a blog of your own, try this image…