I find myself in a new job, in a new city and studying at a new University for a new degree. I have now been in Sydney since mid-December and started my new role at about the same time. I am four weeks into my University degree having started a couple of weeks late.
I have been strongly focused on what I need to learn about the organisation I am in and the people who make it up. I have been identifying the characteristics of these people, and trying to isolate the shared values that have created the organisation. I have been learning about their approaches to their own work and the work of the organisation. And I have spent a long time listening.
It has been brought to my attention in a few ways recently, that a missing element in what I have been doing is changing myself. In focusing on others, I have missed adapting to the new circumstances I find myself in as I take the next steps of my life.
Okay, so I’ve started swimming as regularly as I can, but I am still very much in “take away food” mode because of my lack of comfort in my surroundings and the time I am spending elsewhere, so that comes out as a nil-all draw (though in reality my ever-expanding waistline may be suggesting the result isn’t that positive!). And my hair is now cut exceptionally short.
But there are many things that we need to think about when we take on major changes in our lives. In my case, a couple of recent events have highlighted some changes I’ve missed.
I attended a meeting of a number of representatives of organisations similar to mine. These representatives are working on a project that is unified across our organisations. The meeting was immensely enjoyable to me, and I was surprised by the level of care and attention, the ability to consider and analyse the viewpoints expressed, and the ability to make appropriate decisions, even identifying when decisions should not be made.
It was only later that another participant pointed out to me that I was sitting in a room with a lot of very quick and intelligent people whose jobs entail the use of those abilities on a daily basis. The organisation I have become a part of has 600 members, all of whom work in extremely demanding areas of medical practice requiring extensive academic and clinical experience and qualifications. I work in an office with people who have a great deal of experience in their fields. Working predominately by myself the last couple of years, and prior to that in situations where much of the work was process orientated rather than creative, has left me ill-prepared to adapt my own actions and thought processes to this environment.
In addition, I have re-entered an academic environment, this time as a student rather than as a teacher. My first assignment came back last week and I recognised the feedback immediately … strong opinions without appropriate grounding, poor application of academic writing … words I have written myself to students over the years (well maybe not the second bit – I rarely taught those types of subjects). When I re-read my assignment, I was able to identify each of the gaps the marker highlighted. I had failed to change my thought processes to suit that environment also (for those interested, the mark was a credit, so not exactly high quality work).
There are many aspects to our evolutionary journey through our lives. We often see and expect development and change from those around us. Before we lead, we need to identify the gaps in our approaches and examine our objectives, so we can make the required adjustments to create the environment for success.