Following on from last week’s blog post, “Insights of all Insights” I wanted to tell you about someone who I have learnt a lot from, not only personally, but professionally.
Let’s look at this from a professional perspective. Sometimes in our daily working life we hit a hurdle, this could be wondering what the best way is to think through an Excel or SQL problem, or even how to handle a difficult conversation with a colleague, or even make life changing career decisions. Often in these situations, we find ourselves spinning lots of thoughts in our heads and we can easily get tangled up in our thoughts.
Many people speak to a professional mentor for advice and guidance in these situations. I am also lucky enough to have someone I can call on and I have known him for nearly 20 years. Luckily, he is now retired, so he is usually on the golf course, watching Antiques Roadshow or out playing some card game with his retired friends. If I am presented with a situation that I have many different thoughts on, I ask myself “what would ‘he’ do”?
Sometimes, I would even pick up the phone and ask him directly for his opinion and advice.
Often, he didn’t really tell me the answer to the questions I asked. I already knew the answer, but I didn’t know I knew it. Only by talking it through with him, did I realise I already knew the answer. If presented with a hurdle I try and look it from his perspective and think to myself, ‘What would he do?”
Sometimes this proves useful and quite effective. I then follow two steps;
Several years ago, he told me two things too always remember.
1. Talk through the problem
2. Break things down into smaller chunks
Last week, myself and a colleague were involved in a conversation with a client. Together we were working through some of the clients complicated logic. There were many different angles to consider, with many different datasets. The variables started to get really confusing, admittedly by the client. They were the first to admit their datasets and logic were by their very nature difficult to decipher and work with. Incidentally, that’s why we are helping them, but that is beside the point here. So, in my head, I thought to myself, “What would he do in this situation?”, so I took a step back, broke everything down into small chunks and worked them out slowly and logically. This allowed me to present my thoughts clearly and articulate to the meeting the logic and requirements needed. This resulted in the 3 of us all being able to understand the task and objectives. Now the project is nicely underway, and the logic is understood.
So, next time your find yourself stuck with a piece of SQL code, or want to find a better way of presenting data, or are struggling with a particular problem, break things down into smaller chunks, have a conversation, talk through the analysis or the problem and even ask yourself, “what would Ralph do?” I know I will.