Choose it, don’t let it choose you.
Engage in the process of engaging.
Don’t just say yes to what is thrown at you from team mates, bosses, customers, random approaches from the web and social media.
Be discriminating or become a generalist. Be focused or fail, as in Warren Buffet’s 5/25 Rule
Arrogant you might think but being a slave to whim serves nobody well.
Work is everywhere but you need to hire the right work.
To become a master of your work, you need to turn things around, you need to reverse roles in the working relationship.
You do not need work that does not serve your specialism, help you grow or that will detract from you achieving your outcomes or helping others achieve theirs.
You are happy to help those that know what they want and are interested in becoming a beneficiary of your talents according to your rules of engagement.
You are the specialist, if even to just the people who are less experienced than you. They are currently unable to get to their desired destination by themselves; otherwise, they would already be there.
If you’re going to responsibly take care of them and the job to be done, you need to be in control.
This happens through a conversation, which has several parts:
Help them to articulate the pain.
What problem needs solving, what outcome needs achieving. Get to the root of the challenge. Every time they lay out a problem or goal, ask yourself why. What’s the heart of the situation? Don’t rule out emotion, it’s not all logic and they aren’t logical until it comes time to justify a close.
Determine your ability to solve the pain.
You cannot just look at this in terms of your capability to provide a solution, you need to look at this in terms of productivity. Do you have the time, would you do a good job compared to other options, what influence do the strategic and growth drivers bring, etc. Add any criteria you want but prioritise. If the answer is no, respectfully decline. If yes, move on.
Inspire them with alternative realities.
How good can this possibly be? In your experience, what should this look like? Paint that picture for them, the one that replaces their pain with a better situation. By asking yourself what could be at the heart of their issue, you’re able to address that here as well.
Recommend the problems which should be addressed as part of the bigger picture.
Note, I did not say to solve their problems. That is part of an execution effort you and they will have to invest time, effort and possibly money into. It is to be determined at a later stage. Articulate which points need to be fixed in order to provide the solution and bring their alternate reality to life.
Encourage them with past stories.
Everyone feels like their problem is big and unique until they hear about others you’ve worked with who are on the journey with your solutions making progress. People need social validation through peers. Connect people on reference calls. This requires you to build customer advocates with activities and programs.
Get to a mutual close.
A simple question creates a fork in the road. “Would you like help with this approach I’ve suggested?” Ask it, and then wait for the answer. A non answer or a no is perfectly acceptable and allows all concerned to move forward. An unequivocal yes requires more work. That is for another post.