Unfolding plans 18 – All purchases needed to be approved by Neil

My Christmas gift was a very generous book token.  It came with a caveat however.  All purchases needed to be approved by Neil, one of my team. The note said that to avoid disappointment it is unlikely that he would approve any non-fictional text in the area of management.  The message was clear.  I needed to lighten up and not read so many books on management theory.  Thanks to the team I’ve bought some fiction books and am trying to maintain a better balance.

It hasn’t stopped me reading theory though.  There is so much out there and people keep recommending stuff to me.  I guess I just can’t help myself.

One of my mentees (what a horrible word that is, it sounds like a maritime mammal) suggested that I read ‘The Mythical Man Month and other Essays on Software Engineering’ a book that surely should grace any coffee table.  James from Newcastle University proposed ‘A more Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas’ as part of the self-organised work proposal.

Mike, as part of my preparation for the next time we meet, has asked me to read ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’ by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.  It promises the complete guide to psychological and spiritual growth for the nine personality types.  I read through a description of the different types (note the use of the word the in the title which implies that there is no doubt).   I recognised myself in eight of the nine and so did the test which declared an accuracy of seventy per cent. You are asked to read two groups of three statements and select which pair most represent the way you feel.  Three times three equals nine.  Apparently I’m an ‘Enthusiast’, I’m upbeat, accomplished and impulsive.

I always struggle with those who attempt to compartmentalise humans. To me Myers Briggs and horoscopes are part of the same stick.  Everyone I have ever met has had similarities to others and differences.  I am convinced that there are as many personality types as there are people.  I said that I would read it though and so we will see.

I’ve been out and about recently.  One of the advantages of travelling with colleagues, as someone who works in ICT, is that you can get to chat to them about how they can get the most out of the phone or the laptop that has been provided to them for their work.  It’s odd how many of the simple tips and tricks that I take for granted are a mystery to others.  Short cuts that help you navigate around your device are a blur.

I find that people are reluctant to engage in an open discussion that might point out their lack of knowledge but chatting side by side is a different proposition.  Perhaps they feel less threatened and less likely to be shown up.  A trip in the back seat of a car or on a train can be a great opportunity for some one-to-one tuition.  I may be an expensive resource and such situations aren’t always easy to engineer but the most effective opportunities for me to pass on my understanding can take place in those quiet times when we can chat as colleagues and friends.

Everyone these days plays with their phone when conversation runs dry.  I’m going to take these as opportunities for development.

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