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25 January 2016

TheLongSentance – A little self-publication can go a long way…

Following the lead from my friend Josh Feldmuth with his “Thursday Thought” posts on LinkedIn, I thought I would take a break from the world of Enterprise Data Management and financial markets to put down a few musings on people and management at work. I hope that 20 years of managing a software company has taught me a few things, however much I still have to learn.

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Anyway, on with my first attempt, the importance of publicizing the work you do to your colleagues. For all you hard working folks out there who think working hard and delivering is enough, a.k.a. “Why do I need to tell anyone what I am doing? Isn’t it obvious?” then please bear with me below because no it is not obvious. Excellence and hard work needs a little more “self-publication” than maybe you are currently comfortable with. A bit more marketing of your own work internally can really maximize what you can do for the business, and on a more individual note, what you can do for your own career.

I am lucky enough to have some great people to work with, people who are real characters, fantastic at what they do and very hard working. But working hard and being great at what you do isn’t enough. Or rather there are ways to deliver more value for you, your colleagues and the business as a whole without the necessity for a great deal more effort on your part. Simply providing small (really small!) incremental updates out on what you doing as you progress through your day can be enormously beneficial.

Why beneficial?

  1. Building trust - humans are fickle creatures. In the absence of information, in general people assume the worst, despite how good-natured the vast majority of your colleagues are. So don’t allow that to happen, let people know what you are doing, build trust and reduce the need for anyone to interrupt you to ask “Where are you on this?”
  2. Sharing knowledge – from large to small organizations, enabling other people to know what you are up to, even (and maybe especially) others that are not directly involved in your project/activity can have lots of benefits such as reduced effort duplication, creating new ideas and building up a corporate body of knowledge of “how did we deal with this problem last time?”.
  3. Feeling part of something – a less obvious/less direct benefit but an important one. Publicizing what everyone is up to can build up a great sense of context and direction for the work of individuals, teams and the business as a whole. Let’s put that man on the moon. Together.

So whilst for many people more self-publication can be a little unnerving at first, the benefits are demonstrable and significant in my view. Work is not all about you, how hard you work and how good you are at delivering. It’s also about enabling others to easily find out what you are doing. So try it. Push the information out. Let’s see what everyone else can do with it. You will be surprised.

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