We hear a lot about BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. Yet it strikes me that in twenty seven years of working I have had to bring far more in my own man-bag (yes, I was an early adopter) than just a device.
Other than a piece of glass covered in fingerprints, what else do we have to bring that we can’t rely on our organisations to provide?
- Inspiration: we talk about it a lot, we oft claim that our achievements were a result of it. Inspiration is a personal, experiential ghost in our machine. Lack of inspiration is often externalised, a handy deflection of personal responsibility. It’s not in the induction pack, or on the tea trolley. We need to actively seek the sources of our own inspiration – they are all around us.
- Network: we need people around us, too. In turn we are all in some way one of the people around others. We need their ideas, their inspiration, their contribution, and sometimes just the knowing that they are there. Yet there is another need – it was Anne Marie McEwan who last year made the excellent point that when an organisation hires someone, it hires their entire network. This stresses the importance of developing a diverse, informed and active diaspora. If you think you can do it on your own, you are missing your EQ. which brings me on to….
- Emotional intelligence: in an age of governance, tape of various colours and the need for a corporate stab-vest under your non-iron shirt, it is tempting to see all activity around us through a technical frame, forgetting that all that compliance – even brilliance – is almost useless without EQ and self-awareness. If you can recite Byron perfectly but are not moved or changed by it, did you really read it at all?
- Personal development: how many times, early in our careers, did we say we wished to join an organisation that would provide training and development? As it became apparent that this was a Careers Office deception, and with changes in our access to information, the ubiquity of the hyperlink (real and metaphorical), and the ability to selectively create networks that can inspire and stretch us, personal development rests ever more in our own hands.
- Patience: in a world of instant gratification and information on demand, it is a paradox that organisational change seems to take ever longer, and be harder fought for than at any time since the Romans came ashore to play football. No-one teaches you to be patient, yet it is expected and often demanded. It is – truly – a virtue.
- Open mind: think you’ve seen it all? The longer we serve in an organisation, and if we do not bring our own of the above, the narrower our field of vision becomes, and our mind closes like a sated flytrap. New day, new surprises. Don’t miss them.
- Flexibility: you know how you work best. You know the place, the times and the methods that suit you. You can behave as convention would have you do, or you can demonstrate how much more productive you can be if you determine your own patterns – and share your experience, to provide others with enough confidence to do so too.
- Deviance: not in the “naughty, 150 lines” sense, as some may interpret it, but as the will to consider alternatives, try different things and to do things differently – and talk about it all openly – that is, enough courage to beneficially break a habit or two. In community activity it is often called “positive deviance” – because every idea is claimed by someone – but I like to think of it simply as a spark.
- Donuts: well, you have to, don’t you?
And of course you can bring your own device too. If you want to.