Five small but valuable things I have learnt at work

Posted 16th May 2018
By Focus7
    • When writing a challenging email (read – trying to disagree with a colleague or client, or when you’re frustrated) remove the addressees while writing. There’s nothing more awkward to recover from than accidentally sending a half-written, mildly insulting, bad grammar email.


    • When starting a new job, it’s good to learn how to transfer calls to relevant people. Within your first two weeks there will be an incident when you have to awkwardly explain to a caller that the person they’re trying to reach isn’t there and you don’t know who you need to put them through to, or how to put them through and you complete the whole scenario by ending the call abruptly by messing up an attempted call transfer.


    • Some people are better at to-do lists than others, don’t be intimidated. Everyone has their own style. Your immaculate A4 hardcover notebook with urgent/important/delegate ordered quadrants may look better than my A5 scribbles with notes all the way around the margins, combined with Trello and a multitude of post-it notes. But it works for me.


    • Don’t be scared of the phone. It’s easy to hide behind emails, documents, other people…and occasionally large trees. 98% of the conversations I’ve dreaded having/avoided making have been much better than I thought they’d be, and more productive than 5 emails would have been. And the other 2%? It’s just a phone call, don’t sweat it.


“If you want to stuff a walrus, you need people who know their walruses and people who know their taxidermy”.

– Jim Caroll (Ex chair of BBH, and consultant) was speaking on dealing with Change and Complexity. He was referring to the Horniman collection walrus, which is famously overstuffed by a taxidermist who had never seen a walrus in real life before. The metaphor is not immediately clear but still struck a chord – you can’t expect to be able to deal with change and transformation in a resilient or sustainable way unless you have the right expertise on board. You wouldn’t ask a UX designer to build a website, but you would be foolish to not consider or involve UX in the process. In summary? Don’t try and hold the entire deck of cards in one hand. And in a nutshell?? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.


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