Wanna know how you are doing?

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here

"OMG! It's going to hell in a hand basket, it's over... it's done! I will save you the trouble and throw myself under the bus... a complete failure!" Dramatic maybe, but have you ever taken this kind of perspective with something?  Wait before you answer...

You then look to another point of view, and although somewhat similar to yours, it tends to be different; more often than not doesn't involve a bus, you are on the right track, you are better off than you thought, and there's just more work ahead of you (granted, maybe a lot more).

If ever there was a truism, it is this - People will look at "situations" differently... and with that said, never assume the way you look at the situation is correct. "Situations" in this context can be anything... a problem, an opportunity, a team's performance, an individual (you)... name it. If you want to understand, improve, harness or deal with a situation effectively, you need to see it for what it is - To do this effectively, you need different points of view to get a true picture; increase your chances for success. It is at the heart of all effective planning and execution.

And there it is, the answer to "wanting to know how you are doing?" - Get other people's point of view regarding you and your situation... the more objective and tangible the point of view, the better. Expanding on this a little, here are some thoughts:

  • If you have a strong sense of worth (ego) and a strong need to be "right", you have to "check this at the door". It will impede your ability to listen, let alone understand another point of view. If you find yourself getting defensive or outright dismissive, that is a sure sign you have work to do.
  • Remember the question "how you are doing" has to be relative to something... ensure what that is has been clearly defined and there is context to the question.
  • Getting a point of view from someone that thinks like you isn't very helpful and is just an elaborate exercise in self-validation. You need a point of view from someone with different ways of thinking, life perspective, credibility and experience.
  • You need more than just one different point of view, which allows you to develop themes and ultimately a clearer picture of the situation. This creates a valid perspective of how you are doing.
  • Depending on the situation, this can be an emotional question; we are human after all. Knowing this, think of "a point of view" as a constructive, intellectual exercise that helps develop clarity and understanding. If you are being asked for your point of view, do it with respect and appreciation that it can be a "big deal".
  • If you are a people leader, you should be offering your constructive point of view before the question even gets asked.
  • It never hurts to get mentors and set up an informal advisory council.

Ultimately, we are trying to scratch at the reality of a situation so we can develop the appropriate understanding and a plan of action moving forward. There is no doubt that different points of view will help you understand a situation clearer. But I would suggest there is something even more important, and that is, "asking the question in the first place".

With that, "How am I doing?"