Thursday 9 February 2012

Midweek update: TCP part 2, business plans, event planning

Greetings my lovely readers,

I hope you're not as busy as I am.  It's midterm season, so I'm staring down the barrel of a few big projects in the next little while.  I'm also starting to think about job hunting, given that I'll be winding up my degree in only two months.  Where did the time go?  Over the next few weeks I'll have to narrow down exactly what type of job I'm looking for, then start knocking on doors.  It's exciting!  A new adventure!

The Carnegie Project update

Previous Principles

1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain

So as you probably remember, last week I started reading through "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie.  I found this first principle difficult. I tend to be good at what I do, and I like to do a good job. I also expect a lot from others, which means it is easy to fall into criticism.

  • I do a lot of writing nowdays and a lot of work in teams and with other people, some I haven't even met. On one project in particular I felt the persons effort was sub-par. I was thinking about this principle, however, and managed to suggest constructive edits without criticism.  I count that as a win.
  • The closer you are with someone, the harder to refrain from criticism because you're more emotionally involved. There were a few times when Sherri called me on being critical and complaining with her this week.  
As I said last week, I was skeptical of this first principle, because I'm sure there's a time and a place for criticism. Sometimes things have to change, or people need a wake up call. Nevertheless I think I found this challenging because I still need to work on it.

This week's principle

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation

I'm giving honest and sincere appreciation
Good job!

These first three principles are general rules for dealing with people and this weeks I find a bit more natural. Carnegie breaks it down as follows:
  • The desire to be important is rooted deep in every person
  • This generally means a hunger for approval
  • Most people are quick to find fault and slow to show appreciation
  • Flattery doesn't count as appreciation, just like counterfeit money doesn't count as money.
The idea is that everyone has praiseworthy characteristics, and everyone longs for appreciation of these characteristics. In addition, Carnegie insists that criticism doesn't produce change in people, but praise will.

Personally (as before) I think Carnegie may be more right than wrong here, but I'm still not convinced that you can make the blanket statement that approval always produces the change you want.  Still, seems like the greater risk of error is in not giving enough appreciation rather than giving too much.

I like this principle more than the previous one probably because I already do it a fair bit. Again, it's easier when I'm not cross.  We'll see how I do with this principle in the coming week.

Business Plans

It was a busy week this week.  I attended my last workshop on entrepreneurship at the YES center where we went through the details of how to write a business plan. It's funny, I have written a strategic marketing plan before, I've written a hypothetical business plan for a class, and I still felt unsure about the one I was writing as part of my research paper.  Sometimes it just helps to talk to a professional who does it for a living, and hear him explain his approach to the different sections.

So now I'm equipped.  If anyone wants business plan help, you can make me an offer.

Event Planning

Finally, I just wanted to say that the communications seminar I helped organize on the weekend went amazingly well.  We had Ron Thiessen back teaching about his forte: Communication.  24 people showed up, and were engaged in the whole event.

What a great conference. Here's us all listening to Ron during an exercise
Here we are learning to listen
For me, this has been an iterative learning process. As a team we switched our focus slightly. Before we were trying to make the event amazingly enjoyable for the participants by supplying lunch, keeping it to half a day, not to mention the free conference material.  This time we put more emphasis on making it worthwhile for Ron, and let him and his amazing presentation be the benefit for the participants.

We took Ron to lunch so we'd get more time with him, tried to make him feel appreciated, and presented him with a little gift at the end. We also shifted the conference to an all-day conference instead of a half day.

The result was very positive reviews, fewer people leaving early, the participants said they'd be back for more, and Ron felt appreciated and glad to be part of the event.

We learn as we go.


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