Do you control your environment or do you let it control you? How do you maximize what is at your disposal to get it done, make it happen, meet the deadline or just accomplish a simple task?
Recently I attended a unique experiential learning program. In this program, participants experience various circumstances designed to simulate actual working conditions. They are presented with real business situations with limited resources, time and information. The goal is to make your journey while overcoming various obstacles and complications in order to be considered victorious or successful. As this is aligned to mirror an actual work environment, you begin to feel the same pressures and anxieties you experience in a normal hectic work day. Teams must rely on the collective knowledge and efforts of team members. At the onset of the program teams must make an action plan. These decisions will most likely determine the outcome.
As you journey along, you face the fear of the unknown, fear of failure, peer pressure, deadlines and team dynamics. Personally, I was struck with one important but pivotal lesson,
Do not fear the unknown, find a way to make it known.
How many times are you placed in a situation where you do not know the answer or can not anticipate the outcome? You have probably stumbled though knowing the end is near and you can retreat back to your desk and recover. (Side note, if you do find yourself stumbling make sure it is a convincing stumble combined with a strong confident delivery.)
Find a way to make the unknown known. What do you fear? Failure, peer pressure, desire to achieve, competition, inexperienced team members or overload. Find the trigger and take action. Talk to colleagues, customers, leaders in the area of specialty, read reports or research the Internet. Value the knowledge you receive.
This translates so well in Human Resources. HR is no
t a known science; there is gray in what we do. So often our decisions are based on interpretation and judgment. Fear creeps in and we question if our decisions are sound. We are professionals; we know our business and we know how to appropriately leverage or channel that fear to yield strong persuasive arguments and be equally credible activists and advocates for our organizations.
In the end, you are measured by maximizing critical decision making skills, project management skills and ultimately the success of winning or achieving your given goal. My take aways can be summed in a few impactful statements:
- Decisions made up front most often have the greatest impact on overall productivity, so take the time necessary to make the best and wisest of choices.
- Gather as much information as possible; when your decisions are based on little or none, it will impact the desired result.
- Do you control your environment or does it control you? It is your choice.
- Value ALL your resources.
- Maximize but do not compromise, otherwise it will lead to a road of mediocrity.
In the end it was about collaboration, team dynamics, leveraging team member’s strengths and utilization of the allocated resources, time and information. The results were surprising and will influence the way I approach work.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
About the author: Michelle McLaren, PHR is a Human Resources Business Partner for Wincor Nixdorf, a Global IT organization and has over 18 years progressive human resources experience. She is the Chair for the Austin HR Management Association Certification Committee, blogs regularly for AHRMA on various HR topics and lends her talents to other HR projects and initiatives. You can connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.