For the past couple of years we, at Praesta, have posted a methodology for thinking through and planning a new year (ref Creating 2018) and in contemplating this for myself, I am drawn to Clayton Christensen’s article in the July 2010 edition of the Harvard Business Review entitled: “How will you measure your life?” Christensen is a teacher at Harvard’s Business School and author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.
The three fundamental questions he poses are:
1. How can I be happy in my career?
2. How can I ensure my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness?
3. How can I live my life with integrity?
He suggests that to find happiness in our careers we must have the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognised for achievements. These foundation stones of motivation (not money) will lead to long-term career fulfilment and success. Business is all about people and relationships and the key management role is to build the self-esteem of the people you work with; this has a profound impact on the person themselves and all with whom they interact, thereby creating a positive domino effect. He concludes that “Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognised for achievement and contribute to the success of a team.”
His theory for ensuring strong sustainable relationships with your family centres around creating the space and time to develop a strategy for your life - an overarching purpose – and to be conscious of how you allocate your time and energy to its achievement. He reminds us of our tendency to allocate most time where tangible outcomes are obvious, which often means under investing in our families even though this is the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.
His suggestion for living life with integrity is to be clear on your principles and to stick to them, his theory being “it is easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time… you have to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”
So plenty of food for thought at the start of 2018.