Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Being better professionals by being more amateur

Next session is from Ed Smith, a journalist, broadcaster and cricketer, and is entitled how we can become better professionals by being a bit more amateur.

We could all just be lucky, but that's not under our control. So, we need to maximise the serendipity around us.

Seven simple, counterintuitive ways to do that.

1 Evolution is smarter than all of us.
1968 Olympics. Fosbry, wanted to go over high jump backwards. Coaches thought he was mad. He had an intuitive feeling. Broke world record, gold medal.
Sport not about following right answers, it's about problem solving. Good athletes recast the question.
Left field question is always the one to answer. Why shouldn't I do it this way? Don't resist innovation. Allow intuitive original answers to emerge to old questions.

2 Send people home to work, or at least to the nearest cafe. Open plan offices work against the two things we need to do our job well. Solitude, and social interaction. People retreat into solitude, eg with headphones. We should apologise not for leaving the office, but for coming in. Google gives all employees 20% time to do what they want. That's where Gmail came from. Is 20% enough?

3 Bump into people. Innovation and creativity come from being close to interesting people. Renaissance happened in the most urbanised place in the world. Need to read newspapers in print, not following links, it's the article next to the one you're reading that might change the way you think. Put yourself in the way of serendipity

4 Move forward by going around a block rather than hammering at it. Do something else. Free your mind from it.

5 Embrace uncertainty rather than deny it. On the day, trust yourself to make the right decisions rather than always sticking to the plan. Respond to the real world rather than what you think should be happening.

6 Stop being so busy. It's not how long we work, but how much of the time we are fully concentrating. High performance is about self education. Time is crucial. We need time to be high performers. Time comes from not committing to the wrong things. Trusting yourself to allow time. Takes deep confidence to do. Small amount of high intensity work is better than long periods of low intensity. Busyness is not the solution. If you're always saying you're too busy, reassess your strategy.

7 Back love, not money. Doing things for love, rather than the outcomes, will help us to be better. We don't need to be incentivised to do things we enjoy. Especially true for creative work. We don't need to be bribed to do things better, but given the autonomy to find our own way.

Take naps in the afternoon, talk to strangers, don't be busy, do things for love. Be more amateur!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I read this this article this morning: and point 1 definitely rang a bell with me. Rarely do I come up with good solutions to problems at my desk... they usually come to me in one of two places, on my motorbike or somewhere that's probably best left unmentioned.

Either way... rarely from my desk.