The September Review: increase self and team performance with these questions
We are at the end of September, and it's time to review what we had discussed and learned last month.
I believe in understanding the philosophy behind things. I usually try to find what are the philosophical foundations of models and methods. Most of the time, we are the consumers of personal development models. But to develop ourselves, I believe we need to have perspectives and thinking foundations.
Imagine the world is a location full of windows. From each window, you can see something special in the world. The philosophical foundation behind things is like consciously choosing windows and remain curious about other windows.
We can craft our questions and create our philosophical foundation, which leads our actions.
Now, let's see what was September about:
Thriving Lessons From The City of Yazd
In this article, I talked about:
Cities and our inner narratives. How do space and location shape our inner narratives?
Seeing the generative potential within the present. It means in every situation, there are opportunities to change.
The city of Yazd at the heart of the desert is a metaphor for generative change. Hundreds of years ago, people could manage their resources and living condition in a hot, water-limited location.
I mention appreciative intelligence as an ability to perceive the positive inherent generative potential within the present.
Practical takeaway from this article
At your work, you may experience complicated situations when things get tough, and a group of people may not see opportunities to move forward. Moral decreases, and people may become hopeless. In such circumstances changing questions can help. Ask:
What does our situation look like at its best?
What do we want more of?
What were our past successes? How did we do to make that success happen?
Despite all limitations we face now, what possibilities do we have?
You are the Most Valuable Instrument of Change
In this article, I reviewed the concept of self as an instrument for making change. It means our understandings and mindset or, in fact, our inner situation has a profound effect on external change.
In every social context, we have roles, and to fully perform the role, we need to understand the expectations from that role.
Every role redefines our identity. The answer to the "Who am I?" question depends on the roles we have. It means the way we see the world is based on the role we have.
To understand our performance, like drama actors, we need to activate our third eye to see ourselves from the outside. This means we need personal reflection after doing any work as well as need outside feedback.
Practical takeaway from this article
Part of our dissatisfaction at work or in life comes from the conflict between our personal values and expectations from the role we acquired. For a more satisfying life, we need to actively understand our personal values. Anticipate the expectations from our roles and see how we can take advantage of our values to perform that role.
These questions may help you:
Do you review your values from time to time?
How do they present in your life?
What patterns of actions or behaviors do you experience constantly?
How did your values evolve while you had different roles?
For example, if freedom is one of your values, how does it change in different roles you have, whether as a manager or parent, or spouse?
What is your perspective on yourself? (and even others)
Part of us is usually unknown because, in every new situation (roles), we have to act differently from our past experiences. Our self is not a constant object but an evolving phenomenon that changes in the journey of life.
If our philosophical foundation of seeing the world is as machine and object, we expect predictability, measurement of everything, and control events. But the world does not work like a machine. It's a complex system, and our performance does change in terms of the context we are living in. We are relational, and meaning is created through our relationships.
To improve yourself or team performance, ask these questions:
If you think someone's performance is not what it should be, you can choose to think about their abilities and give feedback, but you can also think about the context. Is there any process, policy, or structure that impacts performance?
Is there anything in the system that, if you change, will drive new behaviors? (See the person and system together, not separate entities)
To improve your personal performance at work, consider you are not separate from the system you are working at. Individual performance correlates with team performance. Ask yourself how you can contribute to the team's performance? What improvement opportunities can you discover to help team performance? (It can be personal help, relationship improvement, process improvement, etc.)
Have some fun
I was watching the Ted Lasso series. They sang Rick Astley's 1987 hit in an episode: "Never Gonna Give You Up." To Remember the old days, watch this video.
I enjoy riding while the weather is getting cool in Tehran. It's a time for disconnecting from the usual day-to-day activities. What’s yours?
Enjoy and have a fabulous October.