Things that shouldn’t work and do

There are a number of things I’ve seen work quite well at work, despite the fact that they really shouldn’t. For some reason, this really amuses me. The list below is not exhaustive but provides a few common examples.

  1. Checking in.

It’s amazing how simply checking in on the status of a project or priority can help ensure it stays on track. Checking in can be simple: it can be a quick text note via Teams/Slack/Email. It can be a 10 minute weekly sync. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or energy intensive… and yet, it works.

  1. Sending a status update.

Regularly sending a concise and clear status update can dramatically enhance the perception of how on top of a project you are. It shouldn’t because it’s actually just added admin work. But it does.

Starting a new job? Send a weekly update to your new boss with a summary of what you’ve accomplished and what you’re focused on next. I guarantee it will be very well received.

  1. Asking for what you want.

So often, we presume a “no” or negative response and decide, accordingly, not to ask for something we want.

Do you need extra resources? Do you need a vacation? Do you need more assistance completing a project? Do you want to try out a new strategy that’s different than the plan you originally prepared? Do you want to move into a different role at your company?

These are all totally understandable and legitimate questions. There’s a clear connection between asking for something and getting it, and yet, I’m certain people self-select out from asking by presuming a negative answer. Ask for what you want… it’s simple and it works.

  1. Making it easy for others to give you feedback.

Providing feedback is the manager’s job. In theory, if it’s their job, it shouldn’t really matter whether you make it easy or not. In practice, of course, managers have varying degrees of comfort, maturity, experience, and skill when it comes to delivering feedback. So if you make it really easy for them to provide feedback by seeking it out, expressing gratitude when it’s received, and actioning it, you will inevitably receive more and better quality feedback.

It works, even when it shouldn’t.

  1. Interviewing in the morning.

As both an interviewee and interviewer, it’s in your best interest to interview in the morning. In the morning, you’re more likely to have a more focused conversation before the inevitable distractions of the day get in the way.

It really shouldn’t matter when you interview, but it does. Try to do it in the morning.