April 19, 2017

Starting New — Again

By Aldric

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I have to admit that these past few weeks were filled with frustration just as I thought I was taking control of the situation. I realised the cause comes down to the expectations that I have from myself.

In the last few days, I’m feeling as if I was drowning. Or worse: I felt like I am aboard the high speed train towards Burnout City.

I have to admit that I lack a lot of skills, experience, and knowledge:-

  • Project management implementation: I took a 4-day class on it. I have the theories and basics. Knowing and implementing are always two different things, right? This also includes creating a project timeline where there are so many moving parts and components to the programme.
  • Creative process management: As a copywriter, I used to be in the operational side of things. Even then my copywriting was very “dry”. How so? Real estate brochures, parliamentary speeches, event speeches, press releases, and proposal papers to name a few.
  • Client/account servicing: I enjoy meeting new people in a business setting. While in the past 14 months, I managed some accounts well, this one portfolio made me question my capabilities.
  • Corporate-style management: In the past, I managed an organisation of one. Three staff at most. My colleagues in other organisations were able to run independently as they have the experience and require little intervention. For this particular portfolio, I find myself executing more than managing. This includes managing the resources. That if you want something done right, do it yourself attitude kicked in. With so little time, I began to make fundamental mistakes.

I admit there are a lot to work on. My colleague shared the maxim made popular by Peter Drucker: you cannot manage what you cannot measure

Again, there is the issue of knowing and applying. I’ve heard it since I started listening to Brian Tracy’s audiobooks back in 2010.

What I learnt today – well, not exactly today – is to break down the problem to what it really is. If there are a list of problems, ensure that these items are mutually exclusive collectively exhaustive (MECE). Yes, I had to run a Google search to find ways to explain it. One website I stumbled suggested that I refer to a resource that is staring at me in the face: The Minto Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. MECE is used by management consultancies like McKinsey. (I’ve stumbled upon that name so often since February 2016. Once upon a time, all I knew were Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Primeworks Studios/Media Prima.)

The last few weeks also reminded me that I am on a journey to become a data-driven communications consultant. My decade in operations – whether copywriting or business networking – are fundamental skills that I have; but I need to expand my arsenal. 

I am often reminded that I no longer am an executive. Rather I play a managerial role. The fact that I skipped many tiers explains the gap. Me being me, I won’t be content by just knowing that there is a gap and not learn from it.

Is it frustrating? Yes.

Can something be done about it? Certainly!

Hence, I started this Something I learnt today… journal.

Learning without reflection does not cultivate wisdom. It merely creates the knowledge, but in isolation from other nodes and experiences. At the same time I do not want to lose any thought processes or gems.

If anything, it also conforms to the other ‘workout’ that I stopped: daily writing. According to Ann Handley, among many good writing is “a mirror of good, clear, thinking that’s an antidote to the complexity that can sometimes characterise our business world“. I want to return to the habit of daily writing. 

The road is still long for me. I’m learning a lot in such a short span of time. The rewards will be worthwhile.