Getting Rewarded For Your Skills

February 24, 2015


The topic of getting suitably rewarded for your skills is one that crops up regularly in discussions with colleagues. There often seems a conflict between doing what you really want to do and making that financially viable and sustainable.

There’s an interesting post on this at ‘The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness’ from which the diagrams above and below are taken. Although they are obviously a bit simplistic, they do make a key point very clearly.

The only change I’d make is that the top picture illustrates how we like to think reward works even if we know that the picture below is far more more realistic, and probably a lot more uncomfortable. The question then arises as to where an acceptable compromise point is, which is where personal values and circumstances come in.

However it’s a step forward to be aware that a decision on this matter is always being made, either knowingly or by default. So it’s helpful to regularly question this compromise point, preferably with others (to get a spread of views and experiences).

A slight change of direction may yield a delightful improvement!


Images: from the site above.

A Corporate Sense Of Humour

February 19, 2015


On a lighter note, I was quite surprised to read that my local train operator, South West Trains, modified the standard messages on the digital info signs to fit in with Valentine’s Day – quite a creative move!

An example is given above.

From GetHampshire:

Love was in the air for South West Trains passengers this weekend after the rail company romanced them by renaming station on electronic platform signs.

Those travelling on Valentine’s Day (Saturday February 14) were treated to a range of loved-up plays on station names across Hampshire and Surrey.

The London Waterloo to Salisbury service was changed to “London Waterlove” to “When Harry met Salisbury”, while Liphook became “Lips-Hooked” and Petersfield “Passionfield”.
Fleet was changed to “Fleet-ing Romance”, Ash Vale to “Ash Valentine”, Hook to “Hook, Line and Sinker” and Farnborough to “Four Weddings and Farnborough”.

It’s not without risk of course:

However, the puns may have backfired slightly after some commuters claimed it left them confused and even led to some missing trains.

The sight of the pun names next to notices informing passengers of delays or cancellations also killed the romance for others.

Anyway, it’s good to know that some companies are brave enough to try a corporate sense of humour!

Introducing Yourself

February 16, 2015

I often meet new people at various business events. Sometimes I’m introduced to them through colleagues or else they’re just bumped into at random. The situation then crops up as to how you can communicate ‘who you are and what you do’ in an interesting and concise manner. You don’t want it to be too specific as that could cut down possibilities but being too general can result in vagueness. Also, you often have just a few minutes to get the main points over. Tricky!

I’ve tried various techniques and not found any of them particularly satisfying.

One common approach is to define yourself through your profession and role e.g. I’m a senior project manager with company X. This is useful information but it’s not likely to spark an interesting conversation.

What could be better?

There are a couple of suggestions I’ve come across recently that sound promising (see here and here):

1. Tell a mini-story (Present-Past-Future):

So, first you start with the present – where you are right now. Then, segue into the past – a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future – why you are really excited about this particular opportunity.

This sounds fairly natural to me and has the opportunity of revealing a theme, which is probably far more interesting and memorable than any specifics. The listener can then respond to any of the hooks – present, past or future. It just needs to be done succinctly and not develop into a rambling life story!

2. Focus on your customers rather than yourself:

Instead of leading with what you do, lead with who you help. As in, “Hi, my name is Bernard, and I help companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and big data.”

Done. You know who I am, what I do, and more importantly, whether or not I can help you or someone you know.

This sounds a bit rigid to me although, admittedly, it could be very useful if time is tight.

Both allow you to get out of the confining box of profession and role, as, in my experience, nearly everyone is far more interesting than that!