What we can change as managers vs what we can’t change

What causes a person to try their best? What causes a person to exceed their goals?

Internal factors: Good work ethic, cares about the company, enjoys the work…

External factors: Clear goals, conducive work environment, company culture, good fit for the role…

The internal factors can change, but usually only with a significant life event–a birth, death, serious illness, or a huge personal success. As managers, our job is to control the external factors (we don’t want to attempt to cause an event that could change the internal).

(Thanks to Jill Podolsky for this lesson last night in “Effective Employee Relations” class at UCSC Extension.)

You can do ANYTHING for 30 days

Today I bring you two pieces I’ve come across lately on the effects of temporary change. How many things in your life or in your job have you been wanting to try, to do, or to become?

Are you interested in the latest management technique but wary of its “fad-ness”?

Peter Bregman, strategic advisor to CEOs, writes in the Harvard Business Review:

“Process re-engineering? The one-minute manager? Management by objective? Guerrilla marketing? It’s easy to dismiss them all, and so many other ideas, as fads. Here one day, gone the next. Better not to get sucked into them in the first place. But, instead, consider how each “fad” might have been useful, perhaps in your organization, for a period of time. And that might be just fine. For something to be a great success, it doesn’t have to last forever. The challenge? Not thinking of any solution as a cure-all in the first place. Because when we think of something as a panacea, we ignore its weaknesses and negative side effects. And then, eventually, when the inevitable flaws are exposed, we lose faith in the solution completely. We discount any value it provided. Because it never lived up to our expectations, it never fully worked.”

Or maybe you have always wanted to bike to work, to go vegan, or to write a novel.

Matt Cutts, Google engineer and TED talker, urges us to: Why not try something new just for the next 30 days? 

What are you going to try for the next 30 days?