14: It is not possible to know what you need to learn.

This seems to be true if one takes a long-term view. Experience is what exposes gaps in our knowledge; as things happen it is important to recognize them as opportunities for growth and improvement. Of course, it is possible, and immensely beneficial, to try and forecast results, and to build up a knowledge base centered around where you believe gaps may be. Ultimately though, a certain amount of adaptability, agility, and a willingness to admit shortcomings are required in order to overcome unexpected obstacles.

There are terms which are almost ubiquitous at work that have so many meanings to so many people that they lose all definition. Risk is one of those words. So, when we talk about risk management and risk-based thinking, what do we actually mean? According to the ISO standard created…

13. People don’t do for a living what they learned in college.

I think that there is a lot of merit to this. I started off studying political science and then psychology in my first go around at school, right before I realized that I had no idea what I…

12: The most valuable manager is one who can first create, then implement.

I think this gets at the difference between management and leadership. Leadership must have an element of creativity. This does not mean that in order to be a leader one has to be on the forefront of designing new products or service offerings; creativity can be demonstrated by crafting strategies, policies and company support infrastructure that enable growth and development of their companies and their teams.

One of the key strengths of a good leader is knowing where their own strengths, and those of their teams lie. Leveraging those strengths is the key to unlocking creativity, both their own and their team’s.

11: The most important aspect of creativity for management style is not getting into the habit of stating your lack of creative ability.

Say that you can, or say that you can’t, either way you will be correct. It is cliché, but for many things it is true, particularly this. Everyone is creative, everybody has the ability to articulate new ideas and propose solutions. It is incumbent on individuals to find their own best way to introduce and discuss them, and it is imperative that management makes the effort to cultivate those discussions and support the development of creative ideas and solutions throughout their organizations.

10: You can create solutions to complicated problems by being the only one to break those complicated problems down to their basic causes.

Maybe it just means that I work in the right field, but there are no activities at work quite as cathartic as process mapping and root cause…

9: In the world of management, you can learn to be creative.

Not only can you learn, you must. I was told once that the best suggestions a new manager can offer will come in the first 6 months of their being hired, because after that point that will settle into the organization’s routine. I believe that this is a sign of an unhealthy organization, one which does not encourage introspection and active review of practices and policies. A healthy organization should nurture creativity among its leadership, and as part of that nurturing it should promote the healthy exchange of ideas at all levels. Innovation within organizations requires two things: creativity and a deep understanding of the organization, including its goals and how it goes about achieving them. Only by investing in both can real, sustainable growth be achieved.

8. Being understood is hard work.

It is tempting to simply allow this reflection to stand on its own. I believe it is a universal experience; unless you are willing to invest time and effort into ensuring that your meaning comes across as you intend, odds are it will be lost at some point. It is also remarkably applicable to the events of this week. A system that is based solely on competition, where the only objectives are winning and power rather than presenting alternative visions and finding compromise, puts us in a position where minimal work is being put into being understood, and even less into understanding. It is time to commit to putting in the work of understanding and being understood.

7: Cooperation does not mean that you have to abandon personal standards.

We have all been told at some time or another to go along to get along. This is good advice, to a certain extent. However, being a person of integrity means being able to draw lines in the…

6: Being part of a team is not a natural human function, it is learned.

This observation took me by surprise. It is well-known that humans are a social species, we’re drawn to being around others, and working with others naturally stems from that, or so one would think. It…

Corey Hannan

Mr. Hannan is a quality professional focused on the design and implementation of quality management systems in small businesses in a variety of industries.

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