I value the time I spent at school, but the truth is that I’m consistently reminded that there are some things that my teachers didn’t tell me that I wish I’d learned earlier. Now, I’m finding myself learning some difficult lessons, but you shouldn’t have to so today I have a number of the lessons that I’ve learned after leaving school.
Jargon doesn’t help anyone
Using the latest jargon may make you ‘sound’ clever and will fool some people, but it won’t fool everyone and eventually you will get called out and made to look the fool. Recently I went over some comments a team member made and there were a few things that stood out in a report that weren’t explained. I tend to avoid jargon as much as I can but I asked him about a few words in particular that he was unable to explain.
It’s a lesson in understanding your limitations and seeking to understand what you don’t know because life is a continuous journey and if we want to get where we want to be in the future, we need to keep learning and truly understand what we’re doing and what we’re talking about in our business.
Understanding people helps
I have believed for a long while that psychology should be made into a mandatory subject across the globe because simply understanding people and how to handle particular situations such as board meetings and other professional situations would be incredibly helpful. The truth is that social psychology is helpful in all walks of life, not just business. One thing that you will find about some of the most successful business people is that they’re not necessarily always the most intelligent people in the world, but they understand people, they understand how the ‘big picture’ fits together and what makes the cogs turn.
There is a time and a place for most things
Sometimes you really need to stop and think about what you’re doing because despite what people tell you, people’s opinions of you may not be a huge thing to you right now but when those opinions become negative, you’ll notice it – quick! So remember your manners and think about what you should and shouldn’t say, a good example is ranting on social networks.
A lot of companies these days have social media policies to prohibit employee’s spouting off about companies or revealing something they shouldn’t. Which is understandable; people can get into a lot of trouble like that and get their employers into a nasty PR mess that way.
The thing that can get you into even more trouble is ranting about co-workers and your employer or revealing something that you shouldn’t. There was a case a few years ago where a Tesco employee called in sick and then revealed on Facebook the next day that he had been out all night drinking. This obviously wasn’t very clever because he just so happened to be friends with his manager on Facebook, he later had a meeting and was soon fired. There’s a time and a place, but in the majority of situations, social media isn’t the place and there isn’t a time for it, well not if you want to keep your job.
Understand your limitations
There is an unfortunate truth that I have had to come to terms with recently and that truth is that I need to understand my limitations and that I physically can’t do everything. If I had enough time then I could because I truly believe anyone can do anything that they put their mind to. The problem that I have is I take on too much and try to do things that I don’t:
Have time for
Have the resources for
Have the understanding to complete
This is a strange example, but bear with me here:
I was brought up to always tidy up after myself and throughout my life I have always had the same idea, but it’s apparent that not everyone else is the same and when I first started working in offices I quickly understood that it’s not always enough to tidy up after yourself or ask others to tidy up after themselves. I understand this isn’t necessarily a limitation but you can’t run around after everyone and you can’t do everything yourself. Sometimes you just need to let go and let someone else take care of it and outsource our cleaning to them, so if you have any time consuming tasks and you have the budget – get them outsourced. That way you can make sure they’re done and you don’t have to go to the trouble of hiring another member of staff which you then have to retrain and dedicate budget for particular supplies etc.
It seems that more often than not, I’m finding that I have to retrain anyone I hire because the truth is that particular things just aren’t taught right in schools. The same can even be said for higher education, colleges and universities – I spent weeks and weeks of my time working out insane calculations, only do find out that nobody outside of the education system even uses them. Sure, it’s a brain training thing but wouldn’t you rather free yourself up to be doing something else that would help make your business more profitable?