Placeholder canvas

A time for reflection

As we fast approach the end of a year it's always a good time to reflect on the past 12 months and indeed give some thought as to what next year may have in store.

Life has a way of testing us all.  For some, this past year will have been full of challenge and/or adventure.  For others stress and anxiety will have taken their toll.  Some of us will have had reason to celebrate, while others will have dealt with loss.  Yet others will look back on achievement and success with a degree of satisfaction.

A question perhaps, 'Did we learn the lessons we were meant to have learned, or are we 'slow learners?'  Life has a way of twisting and turning that often leaves us having more questions than answers.

The work/life balance will have had a few knocks also, with families usually the ones who come out second best.  Health will have played a part also in the the lives of so many.

The younger among us will say there is plenty of time to learn, yet the older will wonder where it all went.

As we reflect back and look ahead towards next year:

We should make the most out of every opportunity

We should live life with no regrets

We should always take the time required for those closest to us

We should keep no enemies and guard our hearts from bitterness

We should find opportunity to help others along the way

We should smile as often as possible

We should not take things personally if at all possible

We should be thankful for the simple things of life

It's worth remembering if we have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in our wardrobe, two cars (in any condition), and live in our own home, we are in the top tier of the world’s wealthy.

Wishing you all a time of peace and rest this Christmas season with every blessing for 2018

Are you a procrastinator?

Years ago when I heard the term for the first time I didn't really know what it meant, but I thought it sounded serious.

According to my good friend Wikipedia, Procrastination (from latin's "procrastinare", translates into : the prefix pro-, 'forward', and suffix -crastinus, 'till next day' from cras, 'tomorrow') - simply put, it is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished.

We can all delay or postpone something for genuine reasons and that's fine, but the term procrastination is really pointing at 'avoidance'. In other words the art of stepping around something, or putting it off, and maybe putting it off again and again rather than dealing with it.

I remember a time during an interim assignment in a large organisation when I had discussed a poor department performance issue and its impact with the relevant manager. I'd asked that he bring together all the staff involved and outline where improvement was needed. We agreed that the meeting would take place at 2pm in the afternoon. I spoke to the manager after 4pm and asked how the meeting went. He explained that due to a crisis (that had arisen out of the blue), he hadn't been able to arrange it. Giving the benefit of the doubt we agreed that he have the meeting the next morning at 11am. After lunch the next day I again asked how he got on, only to hear that once more for a different reason he had not arranged the meeting.

In short, the manager had been continually putting something off that he simply didn't want to do. The management code for this is 'evasive rationalisation'.  The fact is 'What needs to be said, usually needs to be said. However, it's how it's said that causes the trouble.' Some managers get defensive, feel inadequate or take things personally when challenged, therefore they tend to shy away from confronting certain situations for that same reason.

Unfortunately, the manager in question was not suited to the role due to his continued reluctance to challenge poor and unacceptable behaviour.

When we think of management being all about the process of dealing with, or controlling things or people, procrastination can have a bigger impact on the bottom line that is often realised.

It's not the first time I've had to take a deep breath and deal with something I didn't particularly want to do.