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It’s Not a New Year
Written by Margaret Meloni
(If you keep doing the same old things)

You have probably heard or seen the expression, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This expression has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein and others.

For the purposes of our time together, it does not matter who said it or how many times you have heard it. What does matter is how you apply this to your life and to your professional relationships. It is a new year and you are probably assessing what you want to stay the same and what you want to improve. That’s great, what are you going to do about it? If you are saying “This is the year that others will recognize what a reliable and trustworthy team member they have in me”, then I hope you are going to exhibit behaviors that will lead others to see you as reliable and trustworthy.

I still remember my programming days. Sometimes I could test my code and find my errors right away. Other times, I would sit and stare for hours and not see the problem. When I got really frustrated I would keep executing the same test over and over again, hoping the results would be different OR that I would receive sudden inspiration and my problem would be solved. I hope this does not mean I was insane. I hope it means that I was (and still am) human. What I know now is that:

  • Sometimes I needed to just let go and take a break and approach the problem with a clear (and open) mind. In fact when I did relax and let go, a solution to the problem would usually present itself.
  • Sometimes I needed to do some research or learn something new in order to master my problem. It is hard for me to learn when I am stressed and frustrated, so taking a break was a definite requirement to prepare my mind for receiving new information.
  • Sometimes I needed to ASK SOMEONE for HELP! I find it easier to ask for help when I can discuss the problem calmly and concisely.
  • Repeating the same approach over and over again NEVER solved the problem. Doing the same thing over and over again was not advancing me toward a solution; it was just wasting time that could be used to open myself up to the right solution. AND repeating the same approach over and over again only made me more upset and frustrated, which in turn did not make my mind open and clear to find new possibilities.

Guess what? The same thing is true about your professional relationships. If you keep approaching them in exactly the same way, what do you think is going to change?

If you are a leader and you continue to expect your team to know what you want without giving them clear goals how exactly is that going to work? How is that working for you now?

So remember New Year plus the right new behaviors will equal new results.

Comments (3)
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1. 01-21-2009 11:33
Along those lines I feel this is the perfect opportunity to provide customer and co-worker surveys, as well as bring in external resources for project / contract work. 
Many times it is this feedback and fresh perspective of things that a provides the impetus for needed change. 
Ennui and complacency from the inside, can be very hard to 'see' and acknowledge. 
My .02 
2. 01-21-2009 22:54
Being open minded,pro-change and with learning desire, we may solve many problmes.
Shankar Gurkha
3. 01-21-2009 22:55
Being open minded,pro-change and with learning desire, we may solve many problmes.
Shankar Gurkha

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