Ready or Prepared? Which would you rather be?

This may sound like another corny, semantically twisted question. It’s not and I’ll show you why.

Before I do this, I need to justify the legitimacy of even posing this seemingly convoluted question.

The Power of Choice

Team building games aside, most people really do think ‘within the box’. Traditional education systems and work environments offer more frequent and obvious rewards to folks who solve problems as presented, rather than in a completely unrelated way. By this I mean that most tend to address open issues (note, “open”) with convergent problem solving skills so as to “close” the issue. We work within the information given/available to converge on the correct answer.

This fact is why people, when given a choice between a closed set of options, will almost always pick one. It’s the customary and obvious thing to do. Work with what you have, multiple choice, “I get it”. Sure, we all do.

When I pose the question, “Would you rather be ready, or prepared?”, most of the time people really do choose one or the other – corny as the question may sound.

Sidebar: If you’re a little bit devilish, you can test the power of {closed} choice yourself. On Halloween, offer one goblin, your “subject”, one of two unsavory options, e.g., a carrot or a stick of celery. With 90% certainty, I can guarantee the poor goblin will choose between the two. (Before their escort invites their self into your home, grab the candy bowl).

That’s what we do. We choose from what’s offered.

But there’s more….

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Psychology at Work: Who cares?

Psychology Tips for Work

We are social animals in a psychological world.

This is true — even if you know someone who is more than a little introverted, or think that psychology is only for crazy people. This simple fact is at the crux of just about all, if not everything, we do. From teamwork and individual advancement to differences in judgment, we all are influenced by both of these realities every day, every where.

Psychology.  As Descartes put it so clearly, Cogito ergo sum (translation: “I think, therefore I am”). We are a thinking being — and more. That’s why psychology types use the word “cognition” so much.  The point is if you’re reading this, ‘cogs’ are turning in your head and you’re using, and even beholden to, the ‘stuff’ of psychology.

Social Animals.  We all depend on, appreciate, or want to be with someone — even if it’s to start a fight. Absent people, you’re literally – and figuratively – casting a mere shadow of yourself. If you think you might be a vegetable, this post’s not for you.

Bottom line: Anyone who’s dealt with a few children will agree, people are animals. (And no, we don’t grow out of it).

Even if you agree that the first line of this post is true, you may still puff, “Who cares?”

You, especially, should.

The ability to manage these truths could be the difference between believing (deliberate use versus “being”) ‘wrong’ or ‘right,’ success or failure, and even life or death.

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Career limiting moves

Career derailers

Career limiting moves. Somewhat like “career derailers,” the term seems clear enough taken word for word, but it’s not as obvious as it sounds. A short reflection will help to get us on the same page.

I was introduced to this term rather abruptly. Well into a meeting with a business leader whom I considered critical to the success of an initiative I was leading, we were interrupted by my boss’ assistant who asked that I come to an ad hoc meeting. Reasoning that it was almost certainly about something I could justify as less urgent than my immediate situation, I said that I’d be up in a few minutes, and resumed with the other.

Less than a minute later the assistant came back, this time with a post-it note written by my boss: “You are making a career limiting move.” Get the idea?

Individual Development Plans (This apparent non sequitur is not without reason)

Typically the outcome of an assessment, Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are intended to provide guidance regarding what one can do to grow in their career. A near universal characteristic of IDPs is the tantalizing list of strengths and “development opportunities.” (aka, “weaknesses,” but this word can be alarming, so it’s frequently substituted with a term you might even appreciate, opportunities — “yay!”)

{For the 5 of you who’ve read my post “Flip it”, this is a less than admirable example of the art of redirecting attitudes.}

Although IDPs always start with strengths, we know what really matters. Right?

Maybe not.

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