I came across this article recently on LinkedIn, and thought it approached things from an interesting perspective – things that successful people do NOT do on a daily basis.
Basically, the article says that to be successful we should never:
1. Wait until we are sure to succeed
2. Multitask during a meeting
3. Check phones whilst in conversation
4. Think about people who don’t make a difference in your life
5. Become distracted by notifications
6. Let your past dictate your future
7. Talk behind someone’s back
8. Say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’
I think that this is all well and good, but would argue that sometimes this is not true and we should allow personality to show through. Especially on the ‘people who don’t make a difference’ factor, as in our office we will occasionally get quite involved with a show that is on television and will discuss it in the office and this is good and helps build relationships with our colleagues.
It will very rarely be something that relates to our industry, or will help our long-term career success, but in the here-and-now it makes work a bit more pleasant and I would argue can help boost productivity by creating a nicer environment. Of course, I don’t mean that we should all sit and chat every morning in depth about what we all saw on television the night before, but there is no harm in some friendly discussion to just make the work environment more personal.
The other points are all straight forward, and not necessarily just relevant to a work environment. I commute on the train and spend some of this time just ‘people watching’, and it is nothing unusual to see conversations going on across the table but through an electronic device of some sort. People having a conversation whilst writing a text message or checking Facebook or even just looking up the latest football scores.
Genuine conversation is diminishing, and this is something that needs to be considered, as I doubt a lot of people even realise they are doing it! Mid conversational flow and a phone beeps – how many people automatically reach just for a sneaky glance? It is something that I personally think is very rude, and by NOT doing this both professionally and personally I believe that better relationships can be built, because people notice when you aren’t paying them attention. By dedicating our full attention to the conversation and person in front of us, we demonstrate that we value their input and them as a person. This is something especially relevant to us in recruitment, as we need to build care and relationships with all our customers.
The same is true for a couple of the other points also, notifications should not run your life, and meetings are generally (although admittedly not always) for a specific reason that requires full mental attendance. Mistakes happen and, I think, are a vital part of any learning process and we should seize the opportunity to go for something. Do you think that Bradley Wiggins never fell off his bicycle as a child? No – and thank goodness that didn’t stop him from keeping going and becoming as successful as he has.
Possibly the most important two points on the list are saved to the end. Talking behind someone’s back is not nice in any situation and has no place in a productive office – it won’t build good relationships and certainly won’t earn you respect. The last point is probably the most difficult – saying no. It is something that I struggle with, but I understand that the repercussions of an unwise ‘yes’ can be more damaging than a reasoned ‘no’.
Personally, I think that the main thing to take from this article is just to think about things for a moment before you just rush in – think about whether your actions might affect someone else or how it will make them feel. Let your personality show so that strong relationships can develop as this positive atmosphere, I find, increases productivity and makes work pleasant as opposed to a chore.
Doing these eight things won’t automatically make you successful (if only there was a sure-fire way to guarantee success!) but they will help you build better relationships and can hone your focus which, in turn, makes you more attractive to those around you which could lead to promotions and opportunities.
Originally written by Liz Moore at MVP