Connecting with others: Ask them what they know

For the past month I have been collecting survey data in relation to how successful portfolio, project and programme management has been implemented into the organisation (but don’t worry I am not talking about that).

connectingwithothers

Last week the survey closed and to my surprise after doing all the donkey work of collecting the data I thought it would be passed onto the analytic team to try and establish what the survey data ‘says’.

To my surprise, the manager (and I mean the main manager) asked me to do it.  I was up for it – this was a chance to impress and I wanted to do a good job.

I have analysed data before as part of my time at University, but I was feeling a bit rusty and I wanted to do the best job possible.

So on a late into the evening I begun working and as I struggled to make sense of the data I had an idea.

There is a guy in our office who is intelligent on a completely different level.  Just listening to him astounds you and he does a job that is beneath his skills.  It is his obvious lack of motivation that stops him being in a higher position.

I knew he used to work in analytics so he was the guy I had to speak to.

As I approached I noticed he had the office communicator on and his e-mail open with a conversation that was obviously not work related.  He greeted me in a friendly manner and as I asked for his help, he said sure and sat down.

I explained my task and instantly I saw something different in him – his eyes lit up and he started going over my rather uninspiring looking graphs.  Next he pulled a pen out and started circling sections – he began explaining his workings and talking about various things

“Do you know what a bell curve is?” he said in a manner that did not patronise and made me feel like I was intellectually on his level.

“I vaguely remember, but could you just be clear for me?”

Patiently he continued to explain his logic and answer any questions I had.  I explained what I had been doing and he complemented me when I did things correctly and pointed me in the right direction if I had not.

Just as I went back to my desk to act on his advice he said

“When you’re done, come back and we’ll go over it”

Thanks I said, suddenly feeling a lot more confident and optimistic about the task.

The Lesson

From this experience I realised the importance of making people feel needed.  We all like to share what we know and I even gave him a break from his regular daily tasks.

Because we sit at other ends of the office we don’t always get time to chat, so it was good to establish a connection through some work I was doing.

Next time I need help with something I will think – who is passionate about subject?

 

Until next time

James

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