Sunday, May 24, 2009

A greasy pole of a weekend

Saturday I was hungover. Sunday I ran 32K. Guess which day I preferred.

Ok, rhetorical question (you could tell that by the full-stop). If you know me, you'll know what I love doing. And while I may have the odd lapse into personal stuff in this blog - it aint my primary aim in this blog to wax lyrical about what I do outside work (cue collective reader relief).

I actually make this point to illustrate a issue relevant to work.

And that is this: workers in the western world spends much of our time interacting with our colleagues. This can be done inside and outside the 9-5 of working hours, but we generally need to do this (to greater or lesser degrees) to do successfully do our jobs. A research scientist has to ask someone to pass the test tube, but someone in PR really needs to socialise, interact and influence.

Anyway, I have the opinion (shared by many of my peers) that the one sole factor that differentiates a truly successful employee from a moderately successful one is the ability to do this 'interaction' stuff well. After all, technical skills mean you're the best at the job, but who's going to be selected for the management position - the person who's best technically, or the person who's relates well to people to get things done? Of course, there is such a thing as 'leading by example' but the structure of organisations is such that the further up you move, the less you need your technical skills and the more you need other, less tangible (though more valuable) abilities.

Invariably, it's this 'hidden' skill set that sees people go the furthest in their career.

And, with the hindsight that comes from looking at an empty blog screen and working out what to write, I realised that it's these skills I was using at the weekend. Because, on Friday I was drinking with work colleagues. And on Sunday, I was running with work colleagues. Interacting. Socialising. Climbing. The. Greasy. Pole.

When you write a blog, sometimes you start writing and you're not entirely sure what you're point was. Now it's starting to look like my point in all this is that I'm the Slick Rick the slimy charmer. But I guess the point is that I am genuniely pleased to hang around with colleagues both inside and outside work because they are in various ways interesting, entertaining, friendly and generous people.

So maybe I was using these skills: but I didn't mean it.

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