Friday, 4 October 2013

Newsletter Issue 241, October 2013

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 241, October 2013

Hi guys,

If our roles have run out of challenge, how do we keep them fresh, and keep ourselves engaged? An HBR blogger has some good ideas. Check out Herminia Ibarra's Six Ways to Grow Your Job below.

How good are Test Instruments? Read on below for some views on MBTI. 

Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Herminia Ibarra's Six Ways to Grow Your Job

Herminia Ibarra, author of Working Identity, has recently posted six tips detailing how we can get more out of our current roles on HBR's blog. However, that advice equally applies to career practitioners in guiding our clients. 

Herminia's tips were the result of discussions she had with Exec MBA students at Insead, where she lectures. 

However, as the HBR blog entries often require a membership sign in, so I decided to summarise what Herminia said so that you can all enjoy.

  1. "Stay alert and attuned to your environment". Analyse and understand the external environment as much as the internal. For example, you could use the management models PESTELID (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, environmental, legal, informational and demographic), SWOT (ie strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) and Porters Five Forces so you understand your organisation and yourself. 
  2. "Make strategy your day job, no matter what your title is". Think strategically about your job, so you are considering where you go from here, what you might want to do. Follow opinion leaders, gurus, do some reading, join some groups, get a mentor. 
  3. "Create slack in your schedule". This allow you time to plan where to, for you, from where you are now. Allow yourself time to think and learn. One of Herminia's students summed this up perfectly: “We all managed to make time for our executive MBAs, while still doing our day jobs. When the program ends, don’t let the day job reabsorb the learning time. Keep the time to evolve your work”. 
  4. "Sign up for a project outside your main area". Understanding the larger picture of your organisation will help you build broader internal networks, develop deeper understanding of your organisation, and of yourself and your talents. 
  5. "Expand your contribution from the outside in". If you can't find something within your organisation, look outside to professional organisations, volunteer or board roles for something that will benefit both yourself and your organisation. Attend some conferences, write a paper; network and expand your area of influence. 
  6. "Learn to delegate once and for all". Don't go through the budget line by line looking for efficiencies; delegate it to the people who are working with the budget items and ask them. This empowers those doing the work and means we move from micro-managing to leading.

When we start to get off track, we can always go back and ask ourselves four very simple but key questions which are still emblazoned on my brain long after completing my management degree (and I will tentatively attribute this to Robbins, 1991):

Where are we now 
Where do we want to go 
How are we going to get there 
How will we stay on course 

So this takes us right back to self-leadership, and our own acts of leadership.


Test Instruments

When I take my students through a broad range of aptitude, personality, thinking, interests and values tests, I tell them that each test informs them of 1 degree of themselves as a 360 degree person. 

Their final assessment is a reflection, looking at themselves and their fit with the material we have explored in the course, as well as their own personal discoveries and a personal development plan. 

Hopefully that teaches them that no one test will give you insight into who they are, and we talk a lot about everything - including the mood in which you take each test - being situational. This means that some test results might not be the same the next time you take each test. 

Professor Adam Grant of the Wharton School in the US recently blogged an article critiquing MBTI. This has become a bit infamous quite quickly, as it was published on the LinkedIn network. Adam feels that MBTI is as useful as a horoscope at predicting work performance; and I personally think that Adam's criticisms are valid. 

However, I also still feel that MBTI has value, particularly in teaching students to understand and accept difference. Additionally, I don't think MBTI should be used as a sorting or selection device, because the design of the test was not to judge, but to provide insight

That didn't stop two government departments in New Zealand (The Department of Conservation and Ministry of Business & Innovation) doing just that recently!


Go Home on Time Day

Did you know that Australia has a "Go Home on Time" day? A LinkedIn compadré, Jessica Davidson, posted the Australian Institute's link on the HRINZ LinkedIn group today. She said "Ongoing research into workplace stress in Australia has promoted The Australian Institute and beyondblue to push what we think is a great national initiative: the 'Go Home on Time Day", taking place on November 20th. Organisations sign-up and push the initiative in their own workplaces. We think this is a great way to recognise challenges facing workers such as, balancing work and home life, overworking and switching off from work in down time.

What is fascinating is that I think this is an awesome idea, when you think that going home on time should happen nearly every day! Not going home on time should be the exception, not the rule. 

So what does this say about our world when this type of thing is necessary? Sounds like we need a few more acts of leadership and deciding this is bad for us :-) 

  • Reference: The Australia Institute (n.d.). Go Home on Time Day 20 November 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013 from!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • SIG, Special Interest Group. Usually an online group, but can be a cluster from any community which comes together as a sub-set of the main group for projects, education or discussion.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

In this newsletter, we look at all you can do around printing:

  • PowerPoint "Print a presentation or the current Help topic or redisplay hidden pointer and/or change the pointer to a pen" Ctrl & P 
  • Publisher "Print a Help topic" Alt & O, Then P 
  • Publisher "Print part or all of a publication" Ctrl & P 
  • Windows "Display the Print dialog box (You also can choose the Print command from the File menu)" Ctrl & P 
  • Word "Display nonprinting characters" Ctrl & Shift & * (Asterisk) 
  • Word "Display Print dialog box" Ctrl & Shift & F12 
  • Word "Display the Print dialog box or print the active Help topic" Ctrl & P 
  • Word "Display the Print Preview dialog box" Ctrl & F2 Word "Go to end of Document or end of a list of Comments when reviewing Comments or move to the last preview page when zoomed out while working in Print Preview mode" Ctrl & End 
  • Word "Move between options in a selected drop-down menu or dialog box or between some options in a group of options; add ENTER to select an option or move around a document while in Print Preview and zoomed in" Arrow Keys 
  • Word "Move up one screen or toward the beginning of a Help topic in larger increments or In Print Preview, move back by one preview page when zoomed out" Page Up 
  • Word "Print a mail merge document" Alt & Shift & M 
  • Word "Scroll down one screen or toward the end of a Help topic in larger increments or In Print Preview, move forward by one preview page when zoomed out" Page Down 
  • Word "Start of Document or go to the beginning of a comment when working in Comments field or go to the first preview page when zoomed out in Print Preview mode" Ctrl & Home 
  • Word "Switch to Print Preview; use when working" Alt & Ctrl & I

Hot Linx

Cesar Kuriyama, an artist and advertising graduate, was inspired by Stephan Sagmeister on TED, and created his "One second every day" life recordings at  

LinkedIn is the place to be, according to JobVite’s just out survey. Check out the rankings and the results at!

How many firms would be interested in providing instead of cash for employees to take courses? Check out US Uni MOOCs - like Coursera & EdX - at!

When you do a presentation, do you know how to deliberately create learner engagement and make the learning ‘sticky’? Check out Faculty Focus’ list of tips at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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