As I look at my own professional development and my ability to implement the things I'm "learning" all the time, it occurs to me how often I learn about some new skill or idea and then end up doing nothing with it. This is a problem for the learners I work with, too. It's that pesky transfer of training that we all struggle with.
With that in mind, I've begun thinking about ways to run 30-day experiments with myself, where I try on a new behavior to see how it fits into my life. What impact does it have on whatever goals I'm setting for myself around it? How does this one change cause a shift in my thinking or work success? As Matt Cutts points out in the video above, we are more likely to find success when we look for ways to make small sustainable changes that we can maintain over a period of time. It's the difference between having healthy eating habits and being a yo-yo dieter.
Since I'm deep into exploring appreciative inquiry and creating an environment of positive professional development, I've decided that I want to experiment with an idea I saw in the Harvard Business Review on The Happiness Dividend. The article maintains that happiness at work pays off in greater productivity, creativity and teamwork. One of the ideas it suggests to increase your sense of happiness is to write one quick email first thing in the morning praising a teammate or colleague.
This appeals because I know that I can be very "task-oriented" and aware of the problems with people and situations. I'm trying to see how my approach to work changes when I take the more positive approach of identifying and appreciating the strengths in others in a very deliberate way.
So for the next 30 days I'll be sending out an email each morning, thanking someone for something. Since I work for myself, I'm planning to broaden my idea of who to thank to my larger network of contacts. I want to see for myself what happens if I send out unsolicited appreciative notes. How does it impact my relationships wtih people, my thinking about work and the quality of my work?
Stay tuned. . . .