Career Tip: Building on Others’ Ideas

June 10th 2010

Career progress and performance is an important area in life and through my experience in striving to improve my performance I’ve learned to find many ways to perform well in my career.  It’s not been without its share of hard work though!  And as a manager, I also have insight and perspective from the other side of expectations and performance improvements and so these career tips come from that mix of experience and from my own study and practice in my career.  Please comment below if you have related experience or any stories where you have used this tip!

Building on Others’ Ideas

Ideas are an important aspect of change and change is what drives any organization closer and closer towards excellence.  If ideas are not used to feed the company’s progress, then growth will typically halt.  However, ideas need to be shared in a way that reinforces that ideas culture, not destroys it.  Ideas are often very personal and the reaction to an idea can easily have a lasting impact that influences future behavior quite strongly.

When an idea is presented some people criticize that idea and others ignore it and come up with another idea or change it. Saying something as simple as, “Here’s a better idea, blah blah blah” is very common but in actuality, it is harsh criticism about the original idea and a way to claim the new idea selfishly.  It is subtle but very destructive.  This tip is to change your working and approach when it comes to ideas and that is to always build on others’ ideas instead of criticizing or replacing them.  Changing your response to, “That is a great idea AND we could add this or do that also” is an easy way to build on others’ ideas.  Supporting people’s ideas instead of judging them is important to promote cooperation and collaboration to work together instead of against each other.

Replacing ideas or criticizing them builds competition and quickly has people learning that when they share their ideas, they are criticized, which leads quickly to people NOT sharing their ideas anymore.  This is the last thing you want for any organization and its especially not something you want for your own reputation either.  So, support others and their ideas and build on them, adding value and leaving them the credit instead of looking to take it or replace their idea with your own.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 4 Comments »

Maximum Productivity: Connections

November 25th 2008

This article is last in a series called, “Maximum Productivity ” in which I’ll explore the topic of connections.

See the rest of the series here:
Intro: Maximum Productivity: Series Introduction
Part 1: Maximum Productivity: Perspective
Part 2: Maximum Productivity: Attitude
Part 3: Maximum Productivity: Focus
Part 4: Maximum Productivity: Persistence
Part 5: Maximum Productivity: Adventure
Part 6: Maximum Productivity: Connections

After writing so much on specific areas to maximize productivity, I’ve found myself continually wanted to add points that belong in this last section.  Looking at productivity from the angles of perspective , attitude , focus , persistence and adventure leave me with a challenge to in some way connect all those together and to help you anchor in not only what it is that fits these puzzle pieces together, but also why?  I hope this article can portray that and show where that has become much more apparent to me in my life.

You Can’t Do It Alone

It seems obvious that you can’t reach your maximum productivity on your own.  You need to have resources, learning material, people to motivate you, give you feedback and to help you along your way.  Even though we all know this when we stop to look at things, we still have this weird natural tendency to do it by ourselves.  There is this strange force that is drilled into people (and I think even more so in North America) that you should learn to be independent and able to handle anything on your own.  We separate ourselves from others and then hope to achieve great things.  I’ve learned one thing, that doesn’t work!  You will not ever reach your maximum productivity or potential in other things on your own.  You must rely on others and build connections!

Of course there is some room for argument in this but I think those arguments only apply when looking at a small slice of time.  Yes, it is possible to be very productive on your own, for certain things but I’m thinking of productivity now on a much grander scale where it applies across some longer period of time; weeks, months and even years.  That definitely requires connections to make it last and to be able to sustain it.  Life has it’s cycles up and down and there is no easier way to get out of a slump than to have close relationships to rely on.  Stuff happens, bad stuff happens and close friends and relationships make it whole lot easier.  This enables us to move on with things in our lives and keep that productivity up.

Connections in Numbers

Human beings are social animals.  We always have been.  We always will be.  Having others in our lives gives us everything from security and confidence to trust and accountability.  Having more than ourselves is valuable for getting things down as well.  Momentum can build by involving others, you have access to more ideas, and creativity.  You can easily be more productive by getting help from others!

Now what about helping others? Wouldn’t taking precious time away from your productive tasks prevent you from getting your maximum productivity?   I’d say absolutely not.  At least not in a longer time scale.  What it does is bring on an even higher level of productivity, but with delay. It amazes me how inclined others are to help if you simply ask or offer it first yourself.  Building the numbers with connections enables more of this and gives you access to so many helpful resources it can make any task something much much easier to be productive at.  Having that strong network for help and support not only gives you access to more resources it enables you to utilize all the resources to be productive.  That is something I’ve learned about teamwork and productivity that has an absolutely massive payoff.  Take some time and think about whether you are really using ALL the resources available to accomplish what you want.  What about doing research and learning from others?  Isn’t that where having a large number of connections improves productivity?  I think so.

Depth of Connections

I personally know that even in blogging, these connections and number of relationships is a crucial component to be productive.  If you have a network of people who inspire, question and challenge you, support and help, you can much more easily research topics, come to conclusions, put down ideas and have discussions that take that even further.  That same principle applies in work, fun and relationships in life.  I think that allows people to understand things with more depth and coverage  and reach a higher level of productivity because of it.

While I certainly don’t want to contradict myself, I do want to mention that I feel that the depth of connections you build is MORE important than the number of connections. In the sense of productivity, relationships are key to getting things done. The accountability, rapport and collaboration that is available through others far outweighs any offsets of time lost by utilitizing these traits.  I wrote on technology already in the focus article in this series but I think it again needs to be carefully balanced here for building connections.  Technology makes it easy to quickly connect with many people.  However, it doesn’t inherintly enable us to make deeper connections.  That takes time, commitment, trust and LOTS of communication.  While things like website and blogs certainly help to find like minded individuals that allow you connect immediately at a more personal level, they don’t do much to ensure you take that deeper.  It’s up to you to do that with or without the technology.

By building deeper relationships I mean where you understand each others dreams, hopes, needs, fears and you really KNOW the person. You spend time together and you are genuinely interested, caring, compassionate and wanting to spend time with them.  It’s not another friend in facebook, another visitor to your site or a contact in your cellphone.  It’s someone you could rely on in the time of need or someone you’d help out without a second thought.  These type of deep connections enable all those characteristics of productivity through others to be at their highest level.  That brings on maximum productivity!

Feedback For Improvement

Productivity obviously doesn’t happen on it’s own and perhaps this series is a little overwhelming as to what it involves to really reach your maximum productivity.  However, I think the that feedback in that cycle of improvement is really the easiest way to progress.  This also relies on your connections so builds that area at the same time.  Feedback to and from others is as simple as asking or informing others of what they do well, don’t do well or could change by specific suggestions.  Feedback should address specific things a person does so that it isn’t taken personally and it should also be something you go looking for.  If you want to increase your productivity, start asking others around you how they think you could do that.

Connecting It All Together for Maximum Productivity

These topics have been a great way to explore productivity and I personally believe that they all tie together in this connections segment.  Without this area to explore things with others, I can’t put much value on productivity outside of selfish and short term thinking.  The connections that develop and enable us to be at maximum productivity are the things we will remember, value through our lives and have the most impact to others.  So that is what it’s all about for me.

As well, I think this series has led me to understanding the purpose of productivity better.  I think it is simple and explains why anyone would want to reach their maximum productivity:

To become the best person you can possibly be!

Special Thanks and Shout Outs from this Series!!

Talking about how connections are so important I can’t help but send some shout outs to all of you who helped me out with this series.  Many of you helped promote it on digg, stumble upon and even your own sites and I’ve tried to respond in return in those social arenas.  Thank you so much for this!  I’ve also had some great discussions in this series and so wanted to sent out a few shouts to those of you who’d been commenting.  I love the similarities you write about and I think that is why the discussions come so easily.  I urge people to check out some of the sites below as these people have all been a big part of this series for me and I definitely appreciate it!

Lance – Jungle of Life
Ross – Will It Change You
Avani – Avani-Mehta
Jennifer – Principles For Peace
Stephen – Balanced Existence
Viriya – Tedded
Robert – Reason 4 Smile
Armen – Timeless Information
Bryan – The B.Wilde Column
Jeff – Getting Better Television
Stella – How to Talk With Confidence
Laurel – Laurel Plum Online
Nathalie – Billionaire Woman
Nicolas – Time Management Master
Nick – Be Good Ventures
Juliet – Life Made Great
Rahul – Take 20
Daniel – Daniel Richard
Husain – Strength in Diversity
Karl – Work Happy Now
Simple Meditation – Optimum Self
Richard – Self Improve Blog
Ananga – Living By Design

And of course Sam and Ben!

Please take a minute yourself to create another connection by subscribing to my RSS feed or by email .  I’d love to hear from you and get to know you better and please don’t hesitate to ask for help as well!

Posted by Mike King under Life | 15 Comments »

How Can I Help Others?

October 3rd 2008

One of my favorite bloggers, Leo over at Zen Habits put out a great post recently called Helping Others Helps You In The Long Run . Basically, he is (as usual) offering everything he can to help out his community of readers and fellow bloggers and knows that it is along the concept that givers gain.  I absolutely agree and loved his idea so wanted to offer a similar thing here on LearnThis.  I truly enjoy getting comments and love working with fellow bloggers to promote their sites, but I don’t get many other types of requests for my help.  I would love to help in other ways so simply want to offer some suggestions as well as an open request to contact me privately (in the form on my about page) or as a comment so I can hopefully respond and do my part in whatever way I can!

Here are just 10 ideas I believe I can help others with and I’d love to see comments not only for requests but even just for more ideas.  Here goes…

#1

An article idea that you would like me to research and write about.  I have a long list of topics I have in mind but love to see ideas from others bloggers and my readers.

#2

Promotion for your own site or blog .  Include your favorite article and I can provide a link to it!

#3

Mention of your service/product .  Send me a note about what you’d like me to help you promote and I’ll put together an outline of those items to help promote it!

#4

Life Coaching in related areas to this site.

#5

Career Coaching to help you steer, excel and achieve in your career.

#6

Ideas for your own articles, blogs.

#7

Introductions to other bloggers / social media connections.

#8

Blogging questions , site setup, help with starting a blog and how to get it moving forward.

#9

Encouragement and positive help with any topic.

#10

Site review / suggestions for improvement.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 4 Comments »

The Best Way to Learn is to Teach

March 1st 2008

learn-by-teaching.jpgIf it’s not already obvious by the new site title here at Learn This, I hope this site will be a resource for people to learn from. While I plan to publish a lot of articles on many topics (the planned queue is getting larger every day), I do this primarily to help others learn some of the things I’ve learned myself. Now some I’ve learned by watching others, some by trial and error, some I’ve learned by talking with or reading articles from others, and some I’ve learned just by practice and observation. In doing this over the years, I’ve learned that the best way to really learn something is to teach that same thing to someone else. Anytime you have to teach something, you are forced to plan, think and act on what you learned which really drives it home.

There is a LOT of other personal learning benefits to teaching and sharing what you know. Here are some of the advantages in teaching for the purpose of learning:

  • When teaching you review content which refreshes your memory of the content
  • You get asked questions so need to understand it in order to respond
  • Teaching it often makes you ask questions and research or study things in more depth
  • Its wonderful to have others appreciate your help and to see them learn
  • Makes you feel great to share with others
  • Teaching and learning exercise you memory which keeps the brain healthy longer in life
  • Commit things to your long term memory to increase your knowledge
  • Helps you give advice or information in various situations (depends what you teach)
  • Provides great conversation starters talking about things you teach
  • Most people are more interested in a person who can teach them something

Take this site for example, while it does take a lot of time to publish a site like this and I’d love to have people think it is simply generous to do so, its not all for the benefit of others, as you can tell from the list above. What are some other things you get out of teaching?

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 4 Comments »

10 Gifts that Mean More Than a Gift

February 13th 2008

The world we live in unfortunately runs by a continual and destructive competition to acquire, have and get the best and most of what this material world has to offer. Usually all those things are temporary and never truly add much meaning to one’s life. Unfortunately, those are the things that are usually on the gift list. Well, here are 10 gifts that you can give in life that are much more meaningful than the usual material gifts. Next time you need a gift to give, pick one from this list.

913944_tiny_presents_3.jpg

  1. Teach something to someone else.
  2. Coach someone else to accomplish more than they can on their own.
  3. Share your stuff with others instead of just giving more of the same.
  4. Be a caring listener for someone who needs you.
  5. Mentor someone to be of guidance and help.
  6. Tell stories to others.
  7. Give your time and service instead of material items.
  8. Encourage someone.
  9. Show love and caring to another person.
  10. Experience things, events or activities together.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 1 Comment »

Book Review: Never Eat Alone

December 17th 2007

Never Each Alone

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Author: Keith Ferrazzi

The tagline of the book is “One relationship at a time” and it is so true. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and finally have. Its everything I expected it to be and it really reinforced what I believe about relationships. And that is the fact that everything you do and all your experiences in life that have any lasting impact for you and to others, is all because of and about the relationships you have with people. So knowing that, I was looking for ways to continue to grow my relationships with others and this book was a perfect fit to help answer some of the questions about how to do this.

219021_4195-160x120.jpg Ferrazzi has crafted a guide book to master the art of developing relationships. He writes to close the misconception of the term networking and uses his own definition as connecting. The idea is that you are creating a personal connection to each and every person you develop a relationship with. This is a much deeper and more personal level, which Ferrazzi delivers the message that having these meaningful connections is the key to a person’s success.

He reveals many of his own relationship blunders and realizations from his own life experience as examples of how not to ignore connections and where making connections can have an incredible benefit both in helping others and in getting help when the time comes where you need it yourself. He tells stories of the relationships that shaped his life as a young boy right through to his recent business success as CEO in several companies.

A theme through the entire book is about a mindset or attitude towards building relationships. He recommends to focus on what you can do for someone else and never to look at the benefit you can get from any relationship. The value in giving to others will generally not be returned directly, but indirectly. People you have helped will often respond by connecting you to others who can help you in return. I wrote about this earlier to not keep score in your relationships which is reinforced throughout the book.

The later chapters of the book cover a whole realm of other recommendations to managing your life and success. These include a great deal of ideas and tips for getting the most out of a conference and how you can establish more meaningful connections in a short amount of time. Also covered are mentoring, conversation starters and vulnerable story telling as well as tips to staying in touch, the notion of never eating alone. Its a timeless book with great personal stories and a strong message delivered as the recipe for success, which is to help make everyone around you successful.

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 1 Comment »

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