My purpose and values
Not every person or company looking for technical help is looking for the same thing. Some want to outsource an area of complexity; some want to incorporate new technologies, skills, and ways of thinking. Others have become stuck with a seemingly never-ending project and are looking for a way out.
Regardless of what they are looking for, I've found that in most cases, they also want to know what drives me and what I believe in.
I believe in the power of purpose and values to shape an organisation, and I also apply that to my consulting work.
I believe in being purpose-led. I’ve found that when a company or an individual chooses a purpose and uses that as a guide for decision-making, it simplifies everything. Plenty of evidence supports this, and many successful business leaders, coaches and academics all agree.
A clear purpose helps to decide what projects to take on, what to say yes to and what to say no to. It makes communicating what you care for and what motivates you easier.
The purpose I have chosen for my work is to merge business and technology. That may be operationally or by introducing new knowledge or skills.
To merge business and technolgy
I've seen many businesses with technology-related limitations. These range from not having up-to-date skills with tools like spreadsheets, online research platforms, or team communication tools (something I call digital literacy) to not knowing how to buy and use either off-the-shelf or bespoke software to allow the business to take the next step.
I've also seen businesses with very strong technical skills, often founded by developers, that are limited by their lack of business knowledge.
I believe that only when technology and business knowledge and skills are truly integrated can a business thrive in the modern era.
Everything I do, from consulting to public talks to online content, is to help merge business and technology.
By values, I mean a set of choices I have made about how I want to behave. They are well defined and specific, and it should be clear if I am living up to them or not. I’m human, so like anyone else, there will be times that I don’t live up to my values. I invite you to help me by calling me out when you see me falling short of my chosen set of values.
I’m not a fan of having a list of nice sounding values, that almost everyone would agree are good things. There are so many things I could put in a list like that. Instead i have chosen a set of specific values that are the specific ones I choose to drive my behaviour.
Each of my values is a concept. An idea that has a particular meaning to me, and and associated set of specific behaviours. I try to summarise each value into a single word. Language can be vague and open to interpretation so I’m not just sharing the single words, but the concept that underpins that word for me, and a list of specific examples of how value shows up in behaviours.
My values are curiosity, sustainability, and integrity.
If we don't learn, our knowledge and skills become stale and outdated. More than that, there is joy in discovering new facts, ideas and ways of thinking. We can never know all there is to know, and our current best answer will never be the final best answer. The quest to learn never stops.
- Learning about new topics
- Being excited about new developments
- Experimenting with new techniques and ways of doing things
The marathon mentality is preferable to sprinting. We all have limited but replenishable mental, emotional, and physical energy reserves. When we use these at a faster rate than we can rebuild them, bad things happen. This is true of ourselves, our companies, our communities and our planet.
- Not putting off difficult tasks till the end of a project (where they tend to cluster and cause last-minute stresses)
- Setting workable timetables, for example, including ample breaks in workshop timetables
- Making sure everyone has what they need to work at their best
When we claim to be good at something, we should be. When we are in a position where others can reasonably expect us to be good at something, we should be. We should clearly understand what we are good at and what are not (yet) good at and be open and honest about these with the people we work with.
- Taking the time to learn and practice essential skills.
- Clearly communicating when trying to do something outside my current areas of expertise.
- Having open conversations about what capabilities and skill sets are expected in a given situation.