Posts Tagged ‘Beginnings’

Welcome back. I got behind the proverbial eight-ball last week and was unable to finish this in a respectable time.Anyways we are back and ready to have a look at ‘Aptitude’..The second half of the equation.

Like before, let s begin with a basic definition: According to Wikipedia: Aptitude  is a component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level, which can also be considered “talent”. Aptitudes may be physical or mental. Aptitude is not knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired abilities (skills) or attitude. The innate nature of aptitude is in contrast to achievement, which represents knowledge or ability that is gained. Then look at how our friends at ‘Urban Dictionary’ sees Aptitude: Intuitive aptitude is the ability to understand the structure and operation of complex systems without special education or training. Interesting stuff! in short Aptitude has to do with a level of competency to perform at a certain task well, while having a natural understanding of the task without special education or training. I would almost stretch out and say Aptitude in a certain area could consider you a savant at some level….(any discussion?)

What does this have to do with the workplace or your life in general? To be considered one of the best in your line of work, or to be considered good at your job, and material for further promotions down the road; you have to be both consistent and almost automatic at what you do and how you personally operate. (Second Nature?) As an example anyone can do piece-work or assembly-line tasks- The question which will set them apart from others in their field is how to do the task faster, more industrious and save the company dollars by creating minor modifications to the task which will shorten the time required; allowing more to be done with less; and increasing the company bottom line in a positive fashion.

Not everyone is perfectly matched to just any job. Some of us are good at certain things; while others are simply stellar in different areas; both are needed to form a complete unit, however regardless of status the cream always finds away to reach the top and garner the attention of both power-brokers and management. How many jobs do we apply for because they could be considered ‘safe choices’? How many of us apply with hopes a certain lack of skill can be compensated with more education about the field? How many just apply and hope the chips ‘fall’ in their favour? All good questions, and ones we need to ask ourselves honestly when searching/ transitioning to a new position. Bear in mind that any position in a given company has been done by someone before; and that person has either moved up or moved out, depending on how they chose to complete a given task; and whether or not they could find some way to personalize the experience and shorten completion time to the satisfaction of management.

Here is where things get interesting- you have been brought in to continue making sure the job continues with no delay in production! This entails ‘hitting the ground running’ , being both trained to a new system (potentially) and expected to ‘make your mark’ sooner rather than later.  WELCOME TO THE BIG TIME!! Being thrust in the spotlight probably isn’t going to be new; expectations are not new; adapting and receiving training are not new; The crew you are now with is very new to you, possibly looking at you as a threat to their livelihood; at the very least, someone who needs to prove themselves and that they can function under pressure with little to no real training forthcoming.

How you handle this “pressure” will speak volumes about your tenure. Remember it is your Aptitude towards Success that got you to this point- so don’t spoil the moment with a round of bad ‘attitude’. Similarities and differences- next time as we mash the two concepts together and create a new creature crucial to how business should be done. With luck, (and a prayer to the gods of computers) it will be this week…… As a take-away; Microsoft is launching both its tablet and a new operating system this week, How many of you plan to be early adapters and how many think they will wait and see how others view the goodies? Leave a note below, I may look at Windows 8 within the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy the day (with alot to ‘Carpe Diem’)

Daniel

We can all be better with Social Media- How can I help you today? Follow Me and the Socially Unique at Twitter.com/thedanieljsmith

 

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To Be THE Best

Tuesday after a long weekend, and I hope today, all is well. One of the more interesting things about long weekends (besides the copious amounts of food!) is that it allows most of us to hit the cosmic “reset” button and re-focus the way we approach work. Simply having a couple of extra days to mentally work through your problems, especially now that we are moving into the Christmas period, allows for a re-dedication of both mind and body to simply…Being The BEST!!

You will notice at the top of the page there are two particular words- Response and Ability. Put together they make a third term- Responsibility; and that is something each of us swear by with each and every completed project. Has anyone ever looked at things in this light? Why not try for a few minutes- Think about your job, career or livelihood, and try to think of one reason why you are doing it (and presumably well) instead of someone else, or another team of like minded individuals?

Ability outlines what you possess to get both the job done; and done correctly. Your eye for detail is impeccable and your ability to deliver the goods seems natural. This is the part of your inner-self which is the most natural to train. How many seminars, books, videos or trade-shows have you attended to arrive where you are; with the talent to complete even the most difficult of  tasks with ease. You pay close attention to those working around you; you stay up on all the latest trends; you are not afraid to try something new or untested; and you settle for nothing short of the best results. To gain ability one must first admit that they have none. They are a blank slate to the employer. and with their instructions, demonstrations, giving you the ‘okay’ to apprentice under senior talent; slowly the skills come to the top. Most employers are happy to see that their diverse workforce “buy into” the blueprint of success, and are more than happy to reward such efforts. Easy to say, but not so easy to accomplish. You can have all the mentoring and training in the world; and read a vast library of ‘How-to’ books, but without anything to base the learning on, or base the new skills toward; then the effort will not truly be appreciated.

Ability is an invisible attribute. It is also something you either have, or you don’t. That is one of the reasons why there is such a vast workforce now, to try and accompany all the creators and innovators in our society. Not everyone will ever be good at all tasks; some will have to be given away, hopefully landing on the lap of another skilled professional who will simply take the ball; make a couple unique changes, then score the touchdown. This to me is an important aspect of teamwork: the humbling ability to realize that sometimes you need help; because you just cannot be all things for all clients.

You wish to follow the company culture and be able to accomplish what needs to be done. Should there be any question, ask someone!! Better to get two heads involved if one isn’t supplying the answer.

Response (or in this case Responsible) is the ability to make each task yours! Simply put, the blame or the credit for any task should go to the person with the most time spent on the job. Know when you should step-up and take credit. Equally important is being able to share the glory with the others involved in the job. Meet the criteria laid out for each and every task; try to give just that little bit extra (whether its finishing early; or adding something creative to the finished project that makes it yours). Whenever you think the job is outside your professional realm, look at it from all sides before turning it down, most employers like people who attempt new and exciting things, provided they also know when to hand over a badly-wound project.

Up top is a graphic which features four good codes of Responsibility. After reading them through a few times, I cannot find fault in any of them. Provide the best service you can, in a timely manner, with all the skills at your fingertips; and don’t be afraid to ever place your name to a project. Each one is as unique as you are; use that to your advantage.

This week for most is four days long. Ramp it up and reach for the brass ring repeatedly. Should you fall short- simply dust off and try again.

See you in Seven, Time to tune up the cow-bell….

We can all be better with Social Media- How can I help you today? Follow Me and the Socially Unique at Twitter.com/thedanieljsmith

What do you feel is an important facet of Success? Leave a comment below and lets talk it over? Do you thing the ability to study or possessing the skills are more important? Let me know; this could well be Something to Think About!

©thedanieljsmith

“Maybe….Could it be….Possibly those of us who worked hard to be denied most job/promotion understand things different from those who were handed everything? Life experience on occasion trumps book smarts….hmmm maybe my own little blog is in that seed….” May 2012

This is a long-overdue blog created by a conversation on Facebook I had with Rayanne Thorn discussing the shape of the new employment industry; and how various age-related groups fit in the new status quo. Over the past number of years, I have noticed a change in the way people operate in the workplace. Basic rules of politeness seem to have been replaced with a “I need it NOW” mentality- Meaning that ‘Please’ and ‘Thank-You’ and rules of courtesy are reduced to ‘Move, I need xxxx NOW, or the job won’t get done”

Panic (or a state thereof) never really accomplished much, neither did the fine art of ‘Doing Everything Yourself’. Sometimes we all need assistance; the smart people figure out how to get that accomplished, while making their volunteer think their service is for the ‘Greater Good’

I guess what I am trying to say is Take Ownership in everything you do. If the credit is good, you will see it- but be prepared and grown-up enough to politely accept the criticism for a job not done to your usual standards. Ownership allows you to step back, look at your work/project, and think of what the realistic expectations should be of the results.

Being of a different (yet still cool) generation; I can’t help but notice a lot of things get done with the bare appearance of effort; something I like to class as “I Don’t know about this, but it is my assignment, so I will do it my way and hopefully not be asked again…” Whereas individuals of my generation gather information needed on the job, look for every solution, choose one, and successfully have the job done.

What’s frightening even more, is that a lot of resumes go unread for key positions if they are not matched with a credited education. When I was a little younger, I remember hearing “Book Smarts will get you so far; it’s your life education/ learning that will carry you through,” Nice stuff to remember.

Then come “the age game”. Yes, any potential employer is not supposed to ask for age; however a good look at the resume will answer that question and show that, although you may have the qualifications which are being looked for, you won’t have potential tenure to enjoy a long career with this firm. Somewhat biased, but things are what they are, and as management gets more savvy and younger, all employees have to learn the new rules of survival; know when to ask questions, and when to sort the issue out themselves. Ownership, it’s the one thing you can be honest about regardless of the occupation. Take it and run, and maintain the pride of your project.

A sense of Ownership seems to still resonate in today’s workplace. People are ecstatic, and justifiably so, when a job gets done well, and their ‘bag of tricks’ have served them well once again. I notice that blame gets shares all to easy, or tasks get done with little research or forethought, leading to blame being given or shared with anyone who even looked at the project. Not necessarily fair, just the way of the new world!

Education is good. Continuing your education in your chosen profession is awesome. It takes time to become good at something; and it takes more time to excel- that’s the difference between ‘okay’ and ‘Wow’- Myself, I will take the ‘Wow’ moments to the back every day of the week- as it means that I did the job right, and my reputation has become that much better as a leader, or as a doer of great work.

Younger management doesn’t faze me; so long as they are prepared for a little advice from time-to-time on how to best handle an account, a job-list, or a project being fast-tracked on a tight deadline. Know when things are getting a little out of the wheel-house, and that you need to lean on someone who has been there before. Most workers know their place in the ‘Org Chart’; and try not to step on toes, or get involved in things ‘over the pay-grade’. To them I suggest: Never be afraid to share your knowledge! In the long run it will be appreciated and you should see some form of reward. Being the ‘New Kid’ can be cool for a short while; being ‘Dependable and authentic with your actions’ make you irreplaceable.

Follow this and like the destination

The Take-away from this blog would be that age is a number; and knowledge is ageless. Never accept being overlooked because of your physical appearance, especially if the job requires more brain that good looks. Nothing is given out for free these days; stay on top of your game, stay concerned with your actions and your reputation (which has taken you years to develop) and (sometimes) quietly be the leader by making the suggestions seem that they came from up the ladder. If it is good for you, probably it is good for the business.

Enjoy these thoughts on ‘Career Evaluation 101’

Daniel

We can all be better with Social Media- How can I help you today? danieljsmith@hotmail.ca

©2012 thedanieljsmith

So they say that there is a reason for every season and that all endings will herald new beginnings.  And because my community is such a lovely group of fine folks I thought I would update you all on my life going forward…and you know what, things are pretty good.  Here’s the bullet point version of what’s up with Geoff.

  • After an exhaustive selection process this previous Monday I officially rejoined the AON/Hewitt team.  Now some of you saw the announcement before it was officially official, my apologies, sometimes I just get stoked about things.   I will be working with a great group of Sourcers and an old friend from the Microsoft Days (Kim Race) and supporting the BMO account.  This will be the first time that I will have worked with the Canadian team and I’m looking forward to making an impact in the Canadian sourcing landscape.  It is actually going to be very much a reunion of some of the key players from the Microsoft days 🙂

  • I moved into my new place in Liberty Village.  I am enjoying the new place and the views of the city are fantastic.  I am using the Pool and the Gym almost every day which is a bit of a change for me but it feels pretty darn good.

  • I have had a chance to connect with some great friends and spend more time with some great peeps.  Including but not limited to Brian Cugelman (who does great Karaoke) and Jeff Wedge, of course Daniel J Smith when he can get into Toronto and the guys and girls in my Meeetup groups.  For those of you in Toronto I hope to see you this upcoming Friday night for my “Welcome to Liberty” bash at the Brazen Head pub.  For more details and to RSVP go here.  And yes there will be a special guest there but I promised I wouldn’t share her with the world quite yet 🙂
  • Finally I have been spending more time thinking up good and useful blog topics and started to write a book.  I will have excerpts out soon.

That about does it for me this week, look for our next three part series to happen next week and every second week after that and look for the new News Show on Youtube happening every Friday afternoon and do do do subscribe.

Yeah sorry…..