September 19, 2007

Some quotes from the late, great Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams was a true genius who brought great pleasure to many. Here are a few of my favorite quotes and phrases from his works.

He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.

He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear.

Life... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast.

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

Even he, to whom most things that most people would think were pretty smart were pretty dumb, thought it was pretty smart.

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

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September 17, 2007

Check your balance of skills - Part 2: Mapping Out Your Skills

Mapping Out Your Skills

Ok, grab a piece of paper, A3 would be ideal, no smaller than A4. Now find a nice pen, or three that you enjoy writing with. Lots of color not only looks great but can help the mind organise and categorise things better.

Now list the positive experiences and achievements in your career to date. Think too about experiences that you may have had in any part-time or casual work, any voluntary work that you may have undertaken, e.g for clubs, community groups and social organisations.

Step two requires you to look at each of those achievements and for each one think of what it was that you did that made it a success. Did you communicate more with people? Did you take the lead? Did you involve more people than normal? Did you 'just do it'?

And finally for this stage, for each achievement list what you learned. For instance, 'I learned that sometimes less than 100% is OK', or 'I learned the importance of giving clear guidance and instruction', or 'I learned that its important to be 100% committed to something', whatever.

In the next post I'll show you what to do with this information! :)

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September 16, 2007

Check your balance of skills - Part 1


The following exercise encourages you to think about your key skills and attributes. It will boost your awareness of your strengths and areas for development so that you can:

  • Improve your chances of getting that ideal job, promotion, contract.
  • Promote yourself more effectively.
  • Assess ways of increasing your employability.
We'll look at three areas over the next week. They are 'Mapping Out Your Skills', 'Collecting The Evidence' and 'Reviewing Your Skills'.

As always, any questions, issues, thoughts and views, please contact me.

'Mapping Out Your Skills' to follow.

September 14, 2007

Survey Results!

Thanks to all of you, sorry both of you, for taking the seconds out required to click on my survey!! So non fiction books it is then!!

Wow, earth shattering news.

New survey later today when I've thought of a subject irrelevant enough.

In the meantime, please enjoy the popular moving picture item as recommended by an avid reader.


September 12, 2007

The 'If You're Gonna Do One Thing ...' bit.

Ok, this is the last post on 'Trust' and you've read the previous three posts, yes? Good, if not, why? Go back, read them, it'll take you five minutes.

And now I'm gonna pass on the secret of building trust as it was passed on to me by Eddie Obeng (what do you mean, you don't know Eddie??!! Google him and his books the moment you've finished this!).

And the secret is ....

Tell clients what you are going to do.

Do it.

Tell them what you've done.


Simple eh? You think? Hmmm.

In fact, it’s said that if you actually do this four times, that you’ve then built a solid foundation of trust to build all future activity.

This is only one long term tactic to ensure that your reliability and credibility levels are always maintained, you still need to practice your listening skills. How do I know? We all do!! We'll look at that in a future post.

“Do or do not... there is no try.”

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September 10, 2007

Trust - Part 3

So, client focus and intimacy can both be developed very early on.

Reliability and credibility are slightly different though, but we can look at them both at the same time.

Reliability is really all about doing what you say you are going to do.
Its about responding to emails promptly, returning answer machine messages, attending meetings on time and being prepared, delivering against expectations, and more.

Credibility is about knowing your stuff. If you are providing a specialist service to a client, they have probably called you in for your expertise, your skills and your knowledge. So don’t let them down by not keeping up to date with latest thinking, not researching in advance, and coming across like you’ve just read an ‘Idiots Guide’ on the journey to the client!
But how can address reliability and credibility if this is one of your first appointments with a client?

Well one easy way is through recommendations or referral. Hopefully, there are either internal or external people who can vouch for the work that you have done in the past. You’d want people to have spoken to the client about the quality of your output, your flexible approach, your excellent stakeholder management, etc. Whilst your client will no doubt want to build up their own opinion of you, having a positive ‘fan club’ can really go a very long way to giving you strong foundations to build open.

Occasionally you may need to inform the client yourself of your experience related to their issue or challenge. One way to do this is to at the start of the meeting and during your introduction, refer to some of your most recent work or past successes. Of course, be careful not to spend to long on your roll of honour, or sounding like you’re giving your ego a healthy massage, this is just an opportunity to say to the client ‘don’t worry, you’re in safe hands’.

Another tested method that works is to drop your experiences in to the conversation. So when your client is talking about a specific issues affecting their business, drop in to to the conversation how you dealt with something similar with abc Ltd., and how you helped them deal with it.

Be careful not to over do it though, or you can sound like you’re trying to turn each stage of the conversation back on to you.

The 'If You're Gonna Do One Thing ...' to follow

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September 06, 2007

Trust - Part 1

Do you trust me?

Trust is the cornerstone not only of business, but in our day to day interactions with people. Without an element of trust, we wouldn’t make the purchases we make, read the papers we read, watch the news on the channel we do, go to the dentist we’ve gone to the past x years, the doctor for the past z years, or the hairdresser that we’ve been to for even longer!

It’s all a matter of trust.

But what is trust? One dictionary definition is that trust is ‘the firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing’.

Trust can be narrowed down to f
our components: Reliability, Credibility, Intimacy, Client Focus.

To build up trust, especially in that client/service provider relationshi
p, these four components must be satisfied. This is rarely achieved instantly, although an impact can be made very quickly. Also note that the level of each of these can vary from appointment to appointment.

One way to consider these components would be like bars on a flow chart. These bars will slide depending on how the relationship with the client is progressing.

Part 2 to follow
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