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8 Points of light

1 January 2017
Maya Fleisher

The year is nearing to an end and Hanukkah is right around the corner. This coincidental timing got me thinking about this past year as well as the insights I acquired and the challenges I had faced during it. In the spirit of this festival of lights I chose to share this year in review in 8 short points since I believe any learning experience, any discovery made or challenge conquered is a candle in itself.

I hope you enjoy.

  1. Wait, why? In many cases, we are immersed in a task/project/routine yet its objectives are either unclear or undefined. In some cases, each team member might have their own (totally different) goals. Coordinating expectations is vital. Objectives should be written down: what are our goals? In what terms is success measured?What result can be defined as a desired outcome? It is also important to review this document once in a while.

  2. Recalculating route? A year goes by surprisingly quickly. It includes an endless number of plans, tasks, aspirations, obstacles and above all: a schedule and clock. That said, in order to ensure that we are on the correct route for the organization it is necessary to periodically pause and examine whether the current goals are indeed still relevant. If so, are we even acting towards attaining these objectives or have we strayed from this path due to different constraints. My experience has taught me that reviewing goals makes them clearer to all.

  3. What is happening in the hallway? We are so deeply involved in our work and routine that we occasionally don't have any knowledge of what our colleagues do in their day to day. Since our routine consists of many dilemmas, decision making, difficulties and successes, sharing can be beneficial; it can refresh the thinking process, contribute to its creativity and save the time spent in some cases on reinventing the wheel. This doesn't have to be an official process and doesn't necessary require scheduling. A casual talk during the lunch break or a conversing while making a cup of coffee is a sufficient way to discover new fields and acquire ideas.

  4. In one word: surveys. In three words: my 'challenge of the year'. Asking users is interesting and enriching yet can occasionally lead to the emotional equivalent of being punched in the stomach. I have learned that in order to make the most of surveys we must allocate time for the process (this is especially true regarding quality surveys), ask the questions (even if the answer is seemingly obvious) that provide us with sufficient material to work with. We must then put our massive egos aside, since we might be indirect criticism regarding our work. Results are highly valuable; we can learn so much from these responses and receive ideas that can substantially promote us.

  5. What else is out there? Another great way to receive feedback is to examine what other similar parties in your field are doing. Find the benchmark in your field in order to better understand our current status, which aspects require improvement, which can we take pride in and what new ideas seem beneficial.

  6. You either personalize the text or punish the user. During this past year I have been introduced to the magical world of micro copying. Most of us deal with content on a daily basis, whether it's writing procedures, processes, forms website content or even emails. Must we always stay formal? And if so, can't this at least be done with a smile? After all, this content is consumed by an actual person on the other side. If we can turn this process into an emotional experience, why not? These are exactly the elements that will get the other side to remember your message and wish to return.

  7. Do we really need to move the cheese? I've written about routine, tasks and overload. Yet, exiting your comfort zone, accepting new challenges, experiencing different things takes us out of our fixation and view routine aspects of our work process differently. This usually leads to a fertile experience. Worst comes to worst, you learn to appreciate your habits.

  8. The small, seemingly meaningless victories. This is an example of knowledge acquired while making coffee (with my dear manager). Usually, attaining goals takes time yet the process includes achievements. Stop for a second and enjoy these moments. After all, these small victories are part of a greater puzzle and are a quick form of satisfaction.

In conclusion, I wish us all a successful, fulfilling, challenging and enlightening year.

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