A common mistake I've seen people make, and I've made a lot myself --
Thinking others will give the same care to your affairs that you would to theirs. It doesn't happen.
There's a quote from the Talmud, it's one of my favorite quotes and I think one of the most important:
"We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are."
On the surface, it's a simple quote. The optimists see the opportunities and the pessimists see the barriers.
But it also applies to things like integrity, people keep their word, carefulness, diligence, etc.
I've seen a lot of talented and focused people, time and time again, be disappointed in the results they get from other people.
Other people are actually perfectly reliable, as long as you've got the correct expectations and you structure things correctly. It's only when you start to expect unrealistic things and structure things poorly, that things don't work out well for you.
So bear this in mind next time you're delegating something to an employee, staff member, or even a skilled professional like an attorney, accountant, or doctor -- don't project your values and work ethic onto them.
A few people -- very few -- will do better work for others than they do for themselves and in their own life. To some extent this is cultural: Japanese people are more likely to act this way. It also relates to pride in work: people who see themselves as master craftsmen and love their craft are more likely to act this way. And some people have a particular honor code about it.
These are fantastic people to work with, and ought to be looked for. But even then, the assumption should be that a person will handle your affairs as well as they handle their own at best, and oftentimes slightly worse. So bear that in mind -- if you're focused and diligent, make sure to bring realistic measured expectations to table, and then you'll never be disappointed.
My co-founder is a counter-example. He always put effort into managing others' affairs meticulously. The funny thing is that he's a bit of a douche, so it's not a charity thing. More of a perfectionist/pride thing.
His care of the affairs of others ranges from setting up great company networks for friends (VPNs, DMZ, firewall, etc) to UX/design/progamming work for our clients to preparing business meetings with every detail taken care of (looks up what the other party's favorite food is) to even cleaning my toilet once. It was the cleanest that bathroom had ever been.
Needless to say, this man is very well trusted by everyone and readily given responsibility. I am sometimes in awe to work with him, and that he deems me worthy to work with him :p
Today, I'm very pleased to bring to you Brian Sharp. A veteran, high level, and extraordinarily competent project manager in the video game industry, most recently with Bungie before becoming self-employed on his own projects. He was in the top 1% of well-paid project managers, but more importantly -- he was effective and empathetic, getting the best out of his people, helping them develop, and marching towards achievement after achievement while keeping his team healthy, happy, and engaged.
The following interview is in line with the launch of his GiveGetWin deal, Elite Management & Leadership Coaching for People In Creative Industries.
"Leadership. Highly Skillful Leadership." by Brian Sharp, as told to Sebastian Marshall
Buddhist philosophy has a lot in common with how I tend to think. I find professional work within organizations is one of the best forms of ethical practice.
It's one of the few environments where you're constantly juggling diametrically opposed goals (or at least, goals that can seem to be diametrically opposed).
"Kaizen" is a simple concept from the Japanese language, literally meaning 'Good Change'. That's it, nothing more. It can be big or small, quick or extremely time consuming, all it needs to be is a change for the better.
Japanese business leaders have adopted this term, and modified the concept slightly to being one of smaller steps, incremental change, over time, which leads to a much brighter outcome. It is this second usage that I'll talk about today.
I'm sure most of us know that Japanese culture is very . .. driven. Their ideals are high, their personal and societal expectations are high, and their demands on themselves and of others is high - its part of the reason why suicide rates are so elevated in that country. But there is another side to Japan, one that takes into account the betterment of a corporation, or society, as a whole. We can take this concept, and apply it at the personal level very effectively.
We as individuals can be very driven too - driven by our own personal desires, societal norms, parental expectations, job demands, internal voices that say you aren't good enough yet. We often are our own worst critics. I know myself I love photography, but I've often suffered from the fact that my pictures aren't good enough by my own standards, and that makes photography a self-defeating hobby for me. Well, at least it used to be, before I discovered the concept of Mindfulness.
Applying the concept of Kaizen to my life, it basically boils down to this - what small changes can I make in my life, that given sufficient time, will produce big rewards or positive changes? Its like applying the concept of compound interest to your personal life. Small steps, small changes, day after day, tend to build on each other. So lets look at some changes that I hope to make in my life, and how I expect them to compound over time