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It is a couple of days before Christmas, 2019. My then 12-year old son has just moved to secondary school and completed his first series of real exams. We are standing in the school playground, where we just received his results from his class teacher. To be honest: they are more than decent. And yet, as we are on the way back to the car, I can tell from the look on his face that he is not entirely happy.
Back home after a 15 minute drive, we sit down and I ask him about that look. It quickly turns into one of our first real conversations about motivation, ambitions, emotions and many more things that were all hidden underneath.
My son very openly told us that he had expected a better result. He also told us that he was sincerely convinced that he could and wanted to do better.
As I am actively coaching people and teams at work too, I spotted a great opportunity. If people spontaneously tell you they are not entirely happy with something and add that they want to improve, that is something that calls for action. It is the time to start exploring what they would like to change, find out what is holding them back, dreaming the dream with them and laying out the steps to get as close as possible to reach it.
That very conversation was the start of a challenging journey. It was - and still is - a journey with ups and downs: good and bad results have come and gone. Like any normal teenager, my son tends to struggle with lack of focus every now and then. School is not cool most of the time. There is plenty of distraction from games and other activities that are much more interesting than studying. The impact of covid, where school suddenly became a remote experience, proved an unprecedented complication on top of all that.
I discovered that many of the techniques we use at work to improve teamwork were extremely helpful along that journey. We tried - and still try - many things. Sometimes we had great success, just as many times we brilliantly failed. But most importantly, we are still on that journey, trying to improve a little every day.
After a couple of really interesting talks with @Christine P_ Dela Rosa, I realised I want to share this journey with you through a series of articles over the coming months. Expect stories about setting goals, planning and tracking work, celebrating success and dealing with mishaps. There's plenty to tell about communication and feedback, about ownership and responsibility, or about the dynamics between members of your family or your team at work.
Apart from sharing my experience, I am looking forward to some interesting discussions and exchange of tips and tricks for both home and the workplace.