Archive for category Skills and methods
A paper recently published in the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance explains an approach to narrative-based careers counselling originating from a systems theory framework through ‘three levels of story crafting questions’.
I have just finished reading A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freeman. I have a feeling that this is a marmite book. Some people (like me) will love it and others will hate it. I can even predict who will hate it; the people whom the book refers to as the ‘neat police’ — the people who insist on clean desk policies and colour-coded filing systems.
This book pleads the case for the potential benefits of disorder. It also highlights the hidden costs of an over-emphasis on neatness, from the expense of maintaining rigid categorisation systems to the dangers to health of obsessive cleanliness. It provides much needed support for those of us who are ‘differently-organised’ as we attempt to fend off those who seem intent on decluttering our lives.
The topics range (in a predictably messy way) from office desks to transport systems, from business to science, from education to politics.
Following on from Jim Bright’s post about applying the Chaos Theory of Careers to work with clients, I wanted to pick up on the thought that goal-setting is not always the right thing to do.
Being of more ‘spontaneous and unstructured’ nature, I find it quite oppressive when coaches and trainers bang on about the need to set SMART objectives. You all know the acronym:
- Specific (or is it Significant? Simple?)
- Measurable (or perhaps Manageable? Motivational?)
- Attainable (or is it Achievable? Acceptable? Appropriate? Agreed? Ambitious?)
- Relevant (or is it Realistic? Resourced?)
- Time-limited (maybe Timely?)
All this hyper-focused-ness makes me want to scream sometimes.
These conditions seem to assume that nothing is going to change; that the goal is somehow separate from the context in which it has been defined. They assume that life is not complex, that you can plot a course and just follow it.
But life isn’t like that. It’s messy. Things change. Unexpected things happen.
Perhaps it’s time for a different type of SMART objective.
These questions have arisen in my work with clients. Quite often they are the questions the client should have been asking themselves. Sometimes, finding the right question for a particular client will stop them in their tracks. You can see their perspective changing as they start to think in new ways about their situation.
Most of the questions relate to career decision making, but some of them are broader and could apply to many aspects of life.
Because Twitter has long-term memory problems, I thought it might be useful to keep a list of the questions here on the blog.
I was going to try to link these questions to career theory in some way but Bill Law has saved me the effort by using some of them in a new article on Career Learning Theory (PDF).
I will add to the list as I tweet new questions.
Some of these questions have been suggested by other people or have arisen from discussions with thought-provoking individuals. Where this is the case, I’ve tried to give due credit.
I’m happy to take suggestions for other questions here or via Twitter.
‘… One cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths… These strengths are the true opportunities’ (Drucker, 1967)
In preparing to facilitate a recent Guidance Forum on using a strengths-based approach in careers guidance, I revisited some of the positive psychology and strengths-based literature. Because of this, I have been reflecting further on how I can incorporate some of the ideas, theories and approaches into my careers work.
The positive psychology and strengths-based movement has been gaining momentum over recent years with a growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of positive emotion and focusing on our strengths for our life and our work. In emphasising strengths rather than weaknesses, positive psychology moves us away from the Negativity Bias whereby we find it easier to pay attention to what’s wrong or areas requiring development. The concept of strengths appeared in business literature with Peter Drucker (1967) and subsequently through the vision of Donald Clifton of The Gallup Organisation and the work of Martin Seligman in the field of positive psychology.