20 lessons from 20 years: Part 4
 
 

20 lessons from 20 years: Part 4

 

 

We’ve made it to the final five, the fourth part of my 20 musings over 20 years (feel free to browse through Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you missed any). Work … the foundation of what we do and what we learn from an early age … homeWORK, houseWORK, yardWORK … where we start developing our work ethic and mindset. This topic is especially relevant in our current world of sheltering in place, pivoting our processes, adjusting our routines, reinventing our products and services, and navigating change gracefully.

 

So, without further ado, here are my top lessons learned over the last 20 years regarding work:

 

Lesson 16: Be nimble

This word "nimble" can get overused these days, along with "agile" and "pivot," but I still like it and believe that we need to be able to quickly adjust for our clients and each other. We are best able to deliver high-quality solutions by staying on our toes, accommodating for new ideas, shifting our work styles to align with each new client, and nimbly flowing between teams and discussions. Resilient nimbleness will echo in my mind when I think about the year 2020. "There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor." (George Santayana)

 

Lesson 17: Cultivate a strong work ethic.

I developed a rigorous work ethic at a young age and attribute that to my upbringing, education, culture, and mindset. My advice for any new consultant is to roll up your sleeves, dive in, join the team, be proactive, and do what it takes to solve the problem. As you advance in your career, remember to set a good example and do the heavy lifting before delegating to others. Have you seen "Undercover Boss?" It’s a "reality series that follows high-level executives as they slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own organizations," and many gain a new respect for the work, processes, and people in their companies. We should all practice that at times ... and develop a strong “can do” attitude for our teams and clients.

 

Lesson 18: Nurture your entrepreneurial spirit.

Stay playful, tell stories, keep inventing — maintain that entrepreneurial spirit and you’ll bring more innovation to your clients and projects. I can understand why so many corporations and teams are bringing games into the boardroom — solving puzzles and working with business Legos, for example. I was recently talking to my good friend Melissa about how we all have to reinvent our models in this evolving virtual work world, and she shared that creativity and improv is even more vital now and so much of what she does (check out her creative sandbox). I love hearing stories like including a goat in a zoom meeting, teaming up with other musicians around the world to play online together, shifting from preparing restaurant meals to pantry boxes for pick up — nimble resilience again. In consulting, we need to be entrepreneurial and innovative, and really, all of us can embrace that spirit, especially now.

 

Lesson 19: Be "always evolving."

In that same vein of being nimble, diving into work, and creating, we should always evolve, embrace change, and continue to grow. I encourage my teams to try new things and not be afraid to fail. It’s often in the failures that we have our greatest lessons, so gracefully navigate your way out and learn from them. I believe that developing a growth mindset leads to better consulting and problem solving. For those who haven’t heard or read Carol Dweck’s theories on developing a growth mindset yet, this quick 9-minute talk from her is helpful, as well as these short 2-minute and 6-minute summaries. Stay curious!

 

Lesson 20: Enjoy the journey!

One of my favorite sayings, which also hangs above my door, is "the joy is in the journey." Have you ever traveled with someone who only focused on the destination, nose in book about all the places to see in the next town, while missing the unfolding scenery and stories throughout the drive? Or what about the person who hikes quickly to the top of the mountain without noticing the wildflower meadows, icy waterfalls, fern forests, and animals along the way? Seek out those pebbles along the way — stop to learn, to chat, to savor. These past 20 years have been an adventure with fun milestones, great clients, interesting work, awesome colleagues, challenging problems, and endless learnings. The path stretches on … and I will continue to be curious and take “the one less traveled” (from a favorite poem).

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey of memories, of nuggets, of learnings, and I hope some will help you on your own path. Play with them, tweak them, evolve them and pass them forward. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Lao Tzu)

 

 

 

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Managing Director Anisha Weber has over 25 years of digital transformation experience in technology and consulting, leading tactical and strategic initiatives.

 

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