Data point: Brazil’s expanding shopping basket…

Data point: Brazil’s expanding shopping basket http://bit.ly/1bKEgfI

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Uncertainty

A few weeks ago I was meeting one of the most senior people in an organization.

We were talking about corporate developments and what the near future might bring. Of course we talked about macro factors and we talked about competitive and market pressures.

But the thing he dwelled the most on was talent.

He said: “We do not need more engineers, better marketers or more outstanding people in operations and finance. What we need; is more people who can handle uncertainty – in all our functions.”

The point I took away was that while technical skills can be found and hired (and upgraded) relatively easily, finding people who emotionally can manage not knowing what’s going to happen in 6 months or even within the next 3 months is going to be a key point of differentiation.

Why? Because those people don’t panic (and make bad decisions), they don’t leave if the path is not clear, and they are wired in a way that allows them to quickly adapt and perform.

Finding these people and testing that ability in a conclusive way is obviously the challenge.

I’ve found that people with small company experience or better yet more than a couple of years of true start-up experience have that emotional component – convincing them to come work at a big corporate though…

Precision

In an ever faster moving world precision has (at least for me) risen in importance.

Precision in communications for example. The clearer and complete (not long…) the information is in the email, the voicemail or text the easier it is to keep up with the pace.

I’m not talking about short. Many people make the mistake thinking that fast and short is better than a bit slower and complete. It is not. That only leads to follow-up questions or worse; misunderstandings.

By communicating precisely you allow the next person in the chain of events to communicate better – either back to you or to the next person.

Perhaps it is the indoctrination of the Toyota Production System that has me thinking this way. The idea is your colleague on the assembly line is really the customer of your work. If you consider your colleagues the customer you are more likely to do a complete job. In your documents, emails, voicemails and the like.

Precision in transportation is another. I recently moved to London and commute on an overground train. It runs like clockwork. That precision allows me to worry about one thing less and focus on the day ahead.

That is needed in a world where everything around you is moving faster and becoming more unpredictable.

Getting off track (pun intended). In your communications today – think about completeness in what you do. Not long. Just complete.

Making a plan and sticking to it

Making plans is something we are good at. Sticking to them is another story.

Most of us make plans to better ourselves typically around New Years. We plan to loose weight, read more books, call our parents more often, etc. come February we are back to our old ways.

Those however are not the plans I’m thinking of here. I’m considering the ‘simpler’ plans. To hang that curtain rod on Saturday, to pay the bills after work, to tackle the hardest job first tomorrow at work.

We breeze through (past) those ‘plans’ as well.

And we’ve been doing so for as long as we have been on the face of this planet.

But the one ‘plan’ that is really being blown and blown because of technology. Is the ‘meet a friend’ plan.

Why? Because of the cellphone and our ability to text saying sorry not going to make it at the last minute. And it is not because we do not want to see the friend, it is probably because we are ‘tired’, ‘stressed’, etc. from using technology all day.

That’s a shame. Technology is supposed to bring us closer together and this is yet another example of it doing the opposite.

Try this. Next time you think of cancelling on a friend last minute. Don’t. Lean in and make the catch-up even more personal. Tell them straight up how much they matter in your life – you will make their day. And you will feel great.

Second guessing

Second guessing what you write is terribly easy. I’ve set out to try and write every day or close to it. But even when I do, I find that I leave long drafts unpublished. Why? Because I feel they are not good enough or interesting enough for my (very limited) audience.

What is good enough or what is interesting enough anyway?

Some of the most prolific writers that are business people first say that you should just hit publish when you are done, over time you will get better, more confident, or in fact just realize that you are not trying to win a Nobel. You are just sharing thoughts.

So that is what I will start doing, worry less about it being perfect and use this medium for what it should be. My outlet, my exercise and not something that requires perfection.

After all none of you (all two of you) are forced to read this….

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