Recently, I noticed in various situations that people are very busy, especially this time of year coming up to Christmas when the pressure is on to meet client deadlines (which fascinates me but that is another separate post), but often they brush people off or give them what they requested at the last minute expecting a miracle that they can finish the work on time. We are all busy but, we all hate being left on the edge waiting for someone else to come through, so be have empathy and honest with the person and say I don’t have time or if you can’t get it to them when they asked then say I will be able to get it to you by X time or date. The same when dealing with clients don’t tell it is going to be delayed the day before or off the deadline, call them when you find out and explain the situation and how you are taking steps to deal with it. That is respecting their time and their situation and having empathy for the people, most people have someone they are reporting up to so the stress is amplified up from the bottom if each person is missing a deadline and that’s why everyone’s bosses are stressed 😉 but also learn to manage down but teach people how to manage up.
On making time for people, I try when possible to meet or talk with people and give them time, I would rather give someone 5-10 minutes of time that is well spent either providing feedback on their problem or listening to their idea and brainstorming to get them to closer to where they want or could be rather than feigning interest for couple minutes.
Over the last few years I have met and spoken to many designers whether landscape architects, architect, industrial or graphic designers and usually people fall into two categories – designers with empathy or designers with ego.
Designers with ego when you discuss or refer to any design (that isn’t theirs) whether it be my own work or someone else’s they are critical or dismissive and start discussing their own work or refer to the object or idea and that circulates around beauty of design or their theory of design.
Designers with empathy in the same situation talk about the design seem eem excited by the design and offer insights and questions about the design. They are also more passionate about process of design, generating ideas, understanding program, how people relate to the space or object and will give you designs with similar ideas or narrative.
I speak to both and find their difference in approaches an interesting problem to deal with and have worked with both in my career. The designer with ego is challenging to work with and pushes the design in terms of its beauty. The designer with empathy is good to work and is more collaborative. Their design design is better as an idea and in its execution, although it may not be the most beautiful design, it will most likely function and be more relatable to the user than the design from those with an ego.
Yesterday, I wrote ‘the world needs more thinkers’ today I though it would also look at actually doing something after the thinking. There is a need for more thinkers to attack the world’s problems but there is also the need for people to put things in motion by actually doing something. Doing is underestimated and often seen as too hard. Also doing has become easier but also lazier, merely tweeting about a cause to few hundred or thousand followers or facebook friends really doesn’t do much. We need people to be doing more of the ‘heavy-lifting’.
Easy Action – Build on others Energy
How many times have you attended a conference where everyone gets a great energy and buss from the event for it to just dissipate after the event finishes. This is true of many conferences or symposiums the energy is high we a learning a great deal from each other and then the event ends we go back to our everyday lives and the conference becomes a memory. Why not do something with that positive energy whether as a group or as an individual. Whether its merely placing some of your notes on an internal email or blog – curation is underrated do to vast amount of information we are exposed to per day, but at some point at some time someone will want to know or read that information.
Harder Action – Make something of the Energy
The bigger step is contact all the people you met at the event and try and get something more substantial out of all that energy whether as a group by creating new ideas and publishing them. The power of information is very powerful and the ability to disseminate information is easier than ever before with the internet and digital publishing.
Little Harder Action – Join the Energy
The other form of doing is the unselfish action of taking part without any benefit, why not clean up the local river with a couple of friends or join a local group – tell a few people but don’t paste it on facebook, twitter, google+. Get gratification from just doing something different for one day or more regularly if the mood takes you. Join a local or international group in your area of expertise and dedicate time regularly to achieving the groups goals.
Hardest Action – Creating Energy
Creating an organisation and dedicate some or all of your time to setting goals, promoting and doing those goals and thus making a difference in the world (aka making a dent in the world/universe)
At this time of year we make lots of plans and ‘to do’ lists why not add a few things you have been meaning to do for years and take action on them.