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3 Things I Learned about People from People in 2017

02 Jan 15:00 by Brianna Paton

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People are absolutely fascinating creatures, and during 2017 I met roughly 520 (give or take) individuals all with their own unique personalities, aspirations, and skills.

One of the best pieces of advice my director gave me was about unconscious bias: see quiz to test yours here https://www.iknowho.com.au/blog/2017/06/unconsciousbias. Essentially how NOT to make up your mind about someone in the first 30 seconds and also (and this did not come naturally to me at first) how to listen. This was a professional breakthrough for me but also a personal one. Coming from an advertising background my ability to talk at people was the money maker, and yes it still comes in handy but the power to really listen to someone is where the real value lies and trust can be gained.

I am proud to say I have wonderful relationships with my candidates who trust me enough to put their professional future in my hands, and that is something I take very seriously. This honour has come from getting to know every candidate individually, hearing their experiences, learning about their personality and also their professional dreams and aspirations.

Although every individual is unique, I did seem to notice trends in their experiences and hopes for the future that it made me realise in essence we are all connected in some way:

Positive re-enforcement creates happiness.

I love to ask the question what have you most enjoyed or are proud of in their career? 99% of the time their face will light up and immediately return to a place where they felt happy and a strong sense of achievement. It isn’t always about what the project was – it was how it made them feel. Give your staff or peers positive reinforcement for their achievements – you just don’t know the milestone memories you might be creating for them.

Career progression isn’t just a title change, it’s being publicly given more responsibility and trust within the company.

People need to feel they are growing in their role and lives, the most dangerous thing to a business is bored staff (but that’s a whole other article). Funnily enough, whacking the word senior in front of someone’s existing title doesn’t do very little to inspire. People want to feel they are stepping up and being given more responsibility and trust within the company, if you have a flat structured business you will still need to create paths of progression for each member of your team. Make it personal to them – not everyone wants the same thing or in the same amount of time. Use incentives to motivate, tangible achievements can also be a way to show progression.

People won’t always remember what happened, but they will always remember how it made them feel.

Interacting with so many people on a daily basis, unfortunately, it can become difficult to remember each individual (because I’m not a robot). What I do remember very vividly though is their energy. Interactions with people who have a great vibe give me energy and it's infectious! You physically feel better coming out of a meeting with someone motivated – it’s so refreshing and it’s contagious. If you can bring your best self to work each day (and some days will be better than others) you will start to feel the environment around you change as your positive vibe spreads. NB if it doesn’t spread get out of there the place is a morgue. As a rule of thumb though creating a positive energy in our daily routine will have a profound effect on your work and personal life. It might take a conscious effort at first and I encourage personal breaks, but soon enough it will be second nature and people will literally gravitate towards you (great for business).  

I hope those insights left you with a few ideas that will help with planning the best 2018 ahead!

Have a safe and happy Christmas break.