Analytic Vision

Posts Tagged ‘planning’

The Timeline

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 13/10/2017

 

Motto:

« [The Romanian] is wasteful with time, more so than people from the West. Time is anything for the Romanian but a currency. At the fair, he haggles for hours for whatnots. The same goes for parties, he loses days and nights»; «It is said that [the Romanian] is undisciplined working in the economic field. When at the same time people from the West keep a regular rhythm, like clockwork, the Romanian people knows disorderly work, more like play.The Romanian does not work methodically, but in leaps; he has long periods of rest, and if needed he will work double tides and do slave work »

Constantin Rădulescu Motru (1998)

  

 

The history of the concept

The concept of the timeline was introduced even since Ancient Greece, and William James, one of the parents of modern psychology, has affirmed over a century ago that our perceptions of the events of our lives span over « a string of time ». Therefore, for thousands of years, it has been acknowledged that people had an own representation of time, in themselves. In other words, each person has its own way of representing, storing, and keeping time in their own body.

It was said, at the beginnings of developing the timeline, that, in general, Europeans tend to represent their timeline as passing through them, facing the future, living in the present and with the past behind them. This is classical In Time position.

Americans, on the other hand, represent the timeline in front of them, with the past on the left, the present in front of them and the future on the right. It is the classical Meta Time (Through Time) position.

This generalization was later retracted because people can have very different perceptions in different contexts (e.g. In Time relaxing during the weekend, but “very” Meta Time during business hours). All of the other positions derive from these two basic ones, with little variation. According to the way someone perceives it, the timeline it is split into two big categories: In Time and Meta Time.

Some specialists also consider Between Time and/or Across Time, arguing that they cannot be classified as subtypes of one of the above.

Before anything else, it is important to keep in mind that there are no “In Time people” and “Meta Time people”, even though these attitudes are easier to approach concerning an (apparently) dichotomous meta type. The timeline offers important clues as to how a client will think and react in the context for which the timeline was elicited. Throughout one’s life, this perception may change in relation to a lot of factors. People often present both characteristics in different contexts.

  

 

The perception of time in different cultures

For example, in Spain, Italy, Portugal, there is a predominantly In Time perception. There is, in extremes, that ”dolce far niente”, that can be found in Romanians as well. Romanians have a strong inclination towards In Time, even when it comes to projects. Planning is not one of our strong suits, as a people. All this considered, a very interesting phenomenon is happening in Romania right now, from a generational change standpoint. Muşătoiu (2006) shows, in an article that was awarded in the science and technology section of the Young Journalist of 2007 contest, organized by Freedom House and Edipresse AS, how the psychology of the personality is being influenced by technology in Romania and labels the Y generation as multitasking and technological par excellence.

People with a Meta Time perspective are by excellence business people. There is no way that a business freelancer will ever accomplish anything if he or she does not have a Meta Time perspective.

You will rarely find people in leadership positions with an In Time perspective, and they will not remain there for long. Any job that requires that ability to work with more than one schedule, to plan and do more than one thing at a time demands a Meta Time perspective.

Japan, USA, Germany, China offer examples of Meta Time cultures. It is the subjective opinion of the author of this article that it is highly likely that in certain countries before they went under American economic influence, there was a clear and dominant In Time perception 60-90 years ago. With the loans from the American funds, the population started not only to change their mentality towards a new value system, but also their perception of time, from In Time to Meta Time.

By Philmore1q2w3e4r (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Example of complex representation of a timelime by Philmore1q2w3e4r (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

NLP and the certification system for the timeline

The timeline, though a self-standing domain, as an accredited form of psychotherapy, has been getting an extraordinary contribution from NLP through research, books, training and presentations for decades now. The timeline is a certification field recognized by the American Board of Psychotherapists. For this one needs forming and licensing, just like any other therapy field. Those that have this accreditation have the right to work as timeline psychotherapists if they have a previous qualification as a psychotherapist, or as HR consultants in organizations.

Some specialists prefer to take a certification offer that includes both neuro linguistic programming and timeline. Training lasts in total, an approximated cumulated 2 weeks and it includes 3 separate levels, after which the trainee gets the right to practice on an international level, and it is also recognized by the American Board of Psychotherapists.

This is a method to deepen the applicative field and in which the student needs to master the qualifications (s)he needs to train in light of his/her professional development:

• interpreting the personality according to the way the timeline is visualized;

• modifying the perception of the timeline;

• therapeutic interventions to resolve past trauma;

• planning the personal and professional future using the timeline;

• professional career counseling;

• personal and professional development and management;

• improvement of communication and planning skills.

Definitely useful for a career counselor.

  

 

References

Rădulescu Motru, Constantin (1998). Psihologia poporului român şi alte studii de psihologie socială, Bucureşti, Paideia, pages 24-25, acquired from http://www.scribd.com/doc/47379717/Psihologia-Poporului-Roman at 9.09.2017;

James, William (1890). Principles of Psychology: Volume I, Holt, New York, New York, USA, apud Howard, C. (2003) The NLP & Leadership Master Practitioner Audiotraining (Audio set), Manhattan Beach, California, USA;

Mitrică, Mihai; Nicolae, Crenguţa (26 iunie 2007) Încă un premiu, Business Magazin, acquired from http://www.businessmagazin.ro/actualitate/inca-un-premiu-2512903 at 9.09.2017;

Muşătoiu, Mihai (27 iunie 2006) Generaţia Multitasking, Business Magazin, acquired from http://www.businessmagazin.ro/cover-story/generatia-multitasking-1051639 at 9.09.2017;

Translation of the article ”Linia timpului” originally published in Romanian by Ștefan Alexandrescu at the 6th of August 2012 on Discerne. Translated by Ștefan Constantin Bădrăgan, 2017. Originally written in 2007. Updated by Ștefan Alexandrescu at 9.09.2017

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10 Useful Skills That Will Make You A Better Entrepreneur

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 31/07/2017

 

Working as a consultant for entrepreneurs is exciting and stressful in the same time. I know, because I’ve done it for years. So I decided to share some of my observations that might come as very useful for entrepreneurs and not only.

Not having these skills will not ruin you, but it would certainly slow you down. This is not an exhaustive list, just a “top of my mind” approach that I think would be very precious especially for those in the beginning of the road that make the leap from freelancing to entrepreneurship.

  1. Creating rules based on your principles. Any company is similar to the entrepreneur which creates it. In the beginning, especially if you don’t have a lot of employees, it will be easy to express how other people should behave, act or think concerning your business in order to respect what you want to create. Principles are like a lighthouse in the dark and in the night. In the beginning, they might be clear and easy. But the best way to share them is to express them as laying foundations for the rules: not too many, not too few, but clear for everybody. Once set, everyone must respect them. You must respect them the best. In the same time, it is important to train this skill, because your principles evolve and so do you.

  2. Express gratitude. Train yourself to use any anniversary, any opportunity in order to thank people which have made a contribution. Thank your clients after buying from you. Thank your collaborators for doing a good work. Thank your employees for reaching the goals. Thank your partners for supporting you. If you believe in God, keep this in mind: do not wish for God to give you how much you can take! You can take and have as much as you want as a burden in this life. Whatever you want, God can give you. But, in order to keep it, you must remember to be satisfied with less and with more, to take any success as a gift from God and not as a merit. The gratitude is a key skill for an entrepreneur.

  3. Recognize the teachable people. There are no real incompetents, only people who don’t manifest or have lost the capacity to learn. Therefore, choose wisely to work with only those people who can be taught. Do not hope that giving chances to seemingly talented people will make them fly and become stars. Most oftenly, the people you like the most are not those which necesarrily perform the best. Welcome the people who you choose to improve their careeer working with you!

  4. Train yourself to make distinctions between options, possibilities, opportunities and probabilities. All might sound similar, but they are very different. Anything is possible until you have to chose options. Those options must be at least probable. Between the options which are probable, you have to prioritize your opportunities and decide wether you want to choose them or create them. But remember, whatever you do, your options must not only be possible, but probable also! Many young professionals start their entrepreneurship career doing business plans like they did during faculty, but fail miserably. Know your territory and act upon that knowledge!

  5. Constantly develop yourself. What happens when the one thing that you are able to do for your clients is the thing that stops you the most from developing yourself? The competition will likely take over in a matter of time. You need to constantly be a source for re-invention. Working for your own development should not be in a competition with working for your customers or with your employees. Time for yourself to develop is also needed in order to enhance your business.

  6. How much do you allow yourself and others to act authentic in a relationship? Find and recognize the other people’s values, beliefs and convictions. Beliefs are convictions we believe to be true. Attitudes are collections of beliefs and values around a certain topic. There isn’t such a things as a “non-value” or “anti-value”, there are only different beliefs, values and attitudes. Erach person is motivated by different scopes and if you learn to discover those asking specific questions (such as some from LAB profile), it is worth to use them and to link them with each of the important actions that need to be taken for your business plans to work. Values lead to motivation. Motivation leads to vision. Vision leads to strategy. Why? Because where there’s a will, there’s a way. If the strategy does not take into consideration the values of the employees, it will be a difficult to implement strategy.

  7. Use the faults of the employees in the favor of the teams. Knowing that a certain person has a low performance in a certain area means that you know not to delegate to that person something (s)he might do which is wrong. Creating teams taking into consideration both their strong points and their weak points is a service that you can do creating the kind of complementarity that the collaborators could and should appreciate.

  8. Constantly shape in your mind the model of the best entrepreneur that you can be. How does that feel? What does this model do? How do you see him or her? Remember, it’s a model, it’s not Superman, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Practice in your mind what you would do in different types of situations: with your employees, with the clients, with the partners. Put yourself in the shoes of people who need to make difficult decisions. What’s worth doing to become such an entrepreneur? What is it important to giv up in order to become this model?

  9. How do you manage to diplomatically tell the truth and be convincing without lying? Practice rethorics and argumentation. What’s worth doing in oder to prove that you are right? Sometimes, it’s not enough top be right. It also depends how you say it. Having different reframing strategies in order to make each person think in his/her way is required, because not everybody will be convinced by the same arguments. In business, it doesn’t matter so much who is right, it matters what makes things profitable. Also, please keep in mynd, what others perceive as a message matters, not what we intend to transmit.

  10. Serve your clients, for their own good, don’t please them. Politicians, coaches and psychologists may oftenly be “punished” for actually serving those who chose them. Pleasing the clients is something which others can do very easily, but it takes some courage to educate your clients to recognize their own deep needs and to be glad they are actually served by what you are offering.

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About My Excessive Formalism & the So-Called “Lack of Empathy”

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 13/05/2013

I am processing the results from half a year ago’s 2012 360 degrees evaluation for personal branding & development. I have decided to approach the issue of the most visible and criticized weakness that I have: the formalism I use to screen people. First of all, I want to mention an important aspect. My mother gave me an Austrian education, which came from her grandfather, a man who lived and worked in USA and Austria for a long time of his life and got a lot of the Western spirit into his character. So there is an educational aspect to this history which cannot be un-done. I don not see in this such a big problem as most Romanians do, because this is part of who I am. I don’t have a latin character, but more of a German one – even if I don’t know German, I don’t have any German relatives or friends and I have never been to Austria.

I also have to declare empathy as one of my biggest successes and in the same time as one of my biggest failures for the past year. Why? Well, because, in 2012, empathy as a strength came on the 4th place in top positive aspects (from the 8th place, mind you!) and lack of empathy as a weakness has reached a new absolute record: the 1st place with the highest score for a weakness, in all the 7 years I have been doing this evaluation for (with almost twice the points from 2011).

As this article deals with the weakness and the previous one dealt with strengths, I will concentrate more on this aspect. So, people had quite a lot to say about me, as this seems to most people the most relevant weakness (and, not only by account of the Romanians, but also by the account of several Nordic people).

All of these impressions center around the way to relate with others. Over the past 7 years while I have been doing this 360 degrees evaluation, more than 100 different people noticed this among their top 4 observations about me. Their formulations ranged among these (I have marked what they said in 2012, too):

  1. insufficient empathy; no emotion recognition; lack of attention to other’s (non-)verbalreactions; not taking the pulse of the rapport; lack of presence; lack of attention to people and things around; artificial listening.

  2. insufficient sociability/interactivity/relating/interpersonal communication; communication problems with people; social distance; coldness; not building/sustaining a social environmentthrough relationships;

  3. (excessive) Impersonal formalism in clothing/appearance/talking/writing; lack of authenticity; falsity in networking; plastic smile; superficiality; lack of straight answers;

  4. not expressing/displaying/caring about thoughts/opinions/emotions/feelings; autism; poker face;

  5. lack of balance (or unappropriated mix) between personal and professional life/too preoccupied/focused with professional life & books/no time for self/no respect for my own time for self; not caring/thinking enough about self/soul; keeping relationships professional; too much professional (theory) in personal life;

  6. too much (scientific) calculation; “Scientific businessman”; equation vision over the world and people;

  7. too busy; too much (strict) schedule/planning; too stressed by the “to do list”; not allowing new experiences, not living the moment & having fun;

  8. lack of spontaneity/enthusiasm/humor/passion/energy/activity; too much/ excessive seriousness;

  9. excessive intelligence/reason/cerebrality;

  10. superficiality;

  11. excessive task orientation (even in networking); low team-spirit;

Let’s take them one by one.

1. insufficientempathy; no emotion recognition; lack of attention to other’s (non-)verbalreactions; not taking the pulse of the rapport; lack of presence; lack of attention to people and things around; artificial listening.

In NLP terms, I have a “New York style of pacing & leading”: lead, lead, lead, pace. In fact, I can be very attentive at other people’s reactions, but I don’t show it or I don’t care. Some people feel unheard. This is OK for me. Sometimes, I hear them, but I just don’t let them know.

2. insufficient sociability/interactivity/relating/interpersonal communication; communication problems with people; social distance; coldness; not building/sustaining a social environmentthrough relationships;

This is simply not true. I have lots of friends. Actually, each year I have more and more friends. But I can’t be friends with everybody. I don’t have time to maintain relationships with hundreds of people – and, believe me, I meet A LOT of people every month.

3. (excessive) Impersonal formalism in clothing/appearance/talking/writing; lack of authenticity; falsity in networking; plastic smile; superficiality; lack of straight answers;

That’s just great, it means I would be a very good politician/spokesman.

4. not expressing/displaying/caring about thoughts/opinions/emotions/feelings; autism; poker face;

Very true – I find it very useful in negotiation. When do I negotiate? Uhm… let’s see… almost all the time. Case closed.

5. lack of balance (or unappropriated mix) between personal and professional life/too preoccupied/focused with professional life & books/no time for self/no respect for my own time for self; not caring/thinking enough about self/soul; keeping relationships professional; too much professional (theory) in personal life; excessive task orientation (even in networking); low team-spirit;

This comes with being a freelancer working on my own 24/7 and not an employee working in a team from 9 till 5.

  1. too much (scientific) calculation; “Scientific businessman”; equation vision over the world and people;

It goes with the fact that I seriously studied psychometrics.

7. too busy; too much (strict) schedule/planning; too stressed by the “to do list”; not allowing new experiences, not living the moment & having fun;

This is true, it is because of my insufficient organisation, that I waste so much time that I end up being stressed by the “to do list”. This perception is not the result of doing too MUCH planning, but the result of doing inefficient planning – which, unfortunately, is my case.

8. lack of spontaneity/enthusiasm/humor/passion/energy/activity;

This is also not true. Since 2009, enthusiasm and proactivity has constantly been in my top 5 first positive attributes. As for spontaneity, I can be quite impredictable and create surprises, but that doesn’t necessarely mean people will like me for it. The people like the surprises they appreciate. The surprises they don’t appreciate are called “probems”. I take my passion and I use it in significant issues I need to solve with seriousness.

9. excessive intelligence/reason/cerebrality;

This is because my intellectual intelligence is higher than my emotional intelligence and it has always been one of my strongest points.

10. Superficiality.

Some people consider as a weak point of mine superficiality. That may be because I don’t like to insist on some details, but I concentrate more on other details. Generally, I have a good attention on details, but not on all details. In any communication, I must know what my target is. Sometimes, I don’t want to get in very deep in a certain subject, or I merely scratch the surface, but that is just because that is the level of depth I want to reach with that subject. I go in more depth with other subjects.

In conclusion, I accept this as a part of myself. I cannot make it disappear, I don’t want to make it disappear, I don’t want to change it, I don’t want to hide it. I want people around me to understand it. This is the reason why this is a very important article for me. I know that I’m not appropriate or easily adaptable in the Romanian society. I don’t plan on staying the rest of my life in Romania. My place is not here, it is somewhere in the Western Europe.

I hope this article explains a lot of things about me and answers some of the questions many people have (had) about me.

If you liked this article, please also read:

4 +, 4 – (14.01.2012)

Personal Development Goals in 2012 (08.03.2012)

Cine eşti tu şi cum te vezi în oglindă (15.05.2011)

My Personal Development Goals Evaluation For 2012 (30/03/2013)


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My Personal Development Goals Evaluation For 2012

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 30/03/2013

About a year ago, I have stated here[en, blog] that I will change/improve some things with me, overall, based on the 360 degrees annual evaluation[en, blog]. Last year, in the fall, I have done the 360 degrees evaluation for 2012, so I now have a pretty good overall picture on what I have accomplished in the 8 months which have passed from March 2012 till November 2012. Although I did my homework and I completed the little research, I haven’t made time to share with you the results in such an organized fashion as I had done it for the 2011 evaluation here [en, pdf].

I have written this article due to the transparency that I preach – do what I say and say what I do. Therefore, let’s take my accomplishments and failures in terms of the year 2012, in rapport to what I’ve assumed as a target in front of everyone. I have marked in red the failures and with green the successes. This is NOT the top of my strengths and weaknesses. This article follows the results of my goals in the order declared last year. This is part one – how I’ve developed my strengths.

The 10 abilities (strong points) planned to enforce were:

1. Seriousness & reliability

People said about me in 2012: Professionalism, Seriousness, Maturity, Reliability , Corectness, Emotional self-control, Never complaining, Decisiveness, Independence in taking decisions, openness, honesty, niche, lots of info, Good specialist, preoccupied with things not on first hand, built façade, Word-keeper, Able to help, Healthy habits (Church, self-incentive, hard working, supporting a cause).

The problem is that this this considered quality is not the 3rd in the people’s eyes, but the 6th thing they think about, when they think about me. This is totally opposite to what I intended to obtain. This was one of the most important things for me for 2012 and I haven’t accomplished it.

Personal self-critic. I have abandoned some of my professional goals in 2012. How have I let down people in general in 2012?

I concentrated so much on writing for Discerne, my Romanian blog, and for Filme-carti.ro, that I completely abandoned my English blogs: Analytic Vision and Debug Your Mind. From this focus, in the same time resulted my winning two awards with Discerne. But, to my shame, I have not notified my readers that I’m going to take a long break.

I have announced that I was going to publish two books on negotiation and I have published just one. Basically, in 2012 I have published the revised edition of the e-book “Guide for the efficient learning” [ro, blog] and my first professional printed book on business, “Persuasion’s Paths to Negotiation” [ro, blog]. So that’s 2 out of 3 editorial projects finished. In 2013, I plan to have published 3 publishing projects. March has ended and I haven’t finished any of them yet. We’ll see how I handle.

I took a (too) long professional break in consulting & training, first until April 2012 and from August to October 2012, while I’ve been working on the book.

I also talked to some people about my plans of continuing my post-graduate studies in EU, but I have decided to postpone that opportunity for the moment. Still, last year I took from the faculties the original documents for the masters I graduated in 2011: the diploma, the supplement, the analytic programme, the authenticity attestation. In 2013, I have translated all of them and apostillated with the Hague apostille. 2012 was the first year for a long period when I haven’t been a student anywhere anymore.

2. Detachment

My enthusiasm has dropped 1 place in the top of strong points, according to the average opinion of 26 people I have asked in 2012 to tell me 4+, 4- [en, blog]. I am generally overenthusiastic and I get involved in too many things and finish just some of them. Detachment is a quality which allows you to lean back and react in balanced fashion, considering the bigger picture. I have succeeded that by taking time to work with me, to change some of the issues I was having. Detachment from my own emotions, from others’ opinions. For example, now I am in a period when I get myself involved in a lot of things and I strive for a little period of break-time, to take things into perspective. I learned to take breaks a little bit easier, which is useful, especially since I don’t want to fall into burnout or depression.

3. Faith

This strong point became more visible during 2012, probably also because of the fact that I’ve been writing pro-orthodoxy articles [ro, blog]. Actually, my best and oldest friend recommended me that I should write a book on this topic, because he thinks I write good about it. The fact is, this strong point went up from the 15th position (2011) in the top to the 9th (2012).

I think people consider this a quality even if they don’t share the same beliefs. Someone practicing a Christian confession is believed to have morality, therefore (s)he is more trustworthy. I do consider myself that some of my principles and rigorousness comes from following and practising orthodoxy.

4. Creativity

2011

2012

11th place in strengths

11th place in strengths

3.5 points

4 points

2 dissertation papers

2 books published

200+ articles published

125 + articles published

So, as you can observe in the table, although I have been more prolific in 2012, my peers actually considered me almost as much creative than in 2011. This is a blow for me, because creativity is my life, it’s one thing which should define my activity as a marketer. More is not better, and this actually seems to be the case. Especially since 4 points is even lower than what I got for creativity in 2010, when it was on the 13th place as strength. I have to admit that I haven’t come with ground-breaking ideas or discoveries in 2011 or 2012.

In the same time, I think people associate generally creativity with innovation, and this is not necessarily the case. I have a more pronounced correlative intelligence, rather than an innovative one. Considering I have made it a goal in 2012 to be more creative and I failed to do that, in the feed-back of 32+ people, it’s certainly something to think about.

5. Organisation

I haven’t accomplished this goal – I will write about it more in the article about the weaknesses.

6. Expressiveness

The number of points received by this strength has more than doubled spectacularly, making expressiveness one of my top 3 strengths. People said about me in 2012: Assertiveness, negotiation, Efficient communication, excellent verbal expression, Diplomacy, Understanding, Offering good feed-back, Relaxed presenting style, Good education, common sense, respect, Good man, Manners, good will, Nice guy, Write a lot, Easy to talk to, Nice looking, Sympathetic, Ability to have a dialogue.

So, even if I’m considered less creative in 2012 compared to 2011, I’m considered almost twice as expressive, which shows that I have seriously improved my communication abilities. I have also enriched and diversified my styles of writing. This is one of the goals I really nailed in 2012. Nobody can tell me you can’t succeed in planning with precision to affect other people’s opinion.

7. Optimism

More people from those who gave me complete, relevant feed-back, viewed me as optimist in 2012, compared to 2011. Probably since I became more expressive, people could perceive me more coherently and one of my strengths is my optimism, even if its corresponding weakness is idealism, which is much more visible.

8. Concision

The attribute analysis, as a strength, fell from the 5th to the 7th position in 2012. The attribute overanalysishas also dropped its position (from 11 to 12) and points (from 6 to 5,5) in the top of weaknesses. I’ve been complimented for the results of my work with Persuasion’s Paths to Negotiation” [ro, blog]. I published the book in December 2012, so after completing the 360º evaluation. I’ve been commended for the fact it is a very concentrated book which synthesizes excellently thousands of pages of speciality books.

For me, to develop the ability to synthesize, next to my great analytic talent is very important. People expect me at my age to make some conclusions and not to keep analysing alternatives.

9. Balance, calm

Although some people appreciated at me in 2010-2011 the balance, the calm, the objectivity, I confess of seeming to lose all of it in 2012. Actually, I was perceived as more in a rush than in 2011. My patience with me and with others seems to have ran out in 2012. Unfortunately, people see me rather as agitated than peaceful.

10. Data & rights security

This is actually not so related to my personal branding or my personal development, but it is a declared interest. I have been continuing my activity in password-protecting all the documents I sent. I have kept on removing from all unwanted places my writings (e.g. materials written by me and published by others on Scribd without permission – including a draft of book), I have registered my copyrights for all of the articles published in 2012. I have shared my work with less people.

I have participated to one security workshop.

I have kept on changing passwords to all my accounts and none of them got hijacked. I have been using virtual keybord when accesing sensitive accounts from wireless connections. I have installed a protection software for wireless connection, I have disabled google tracking in Chrome. I have been using an encrypted partition for my work.

I haven’t had a file data loss since 2011. My maintenance of computers, both the central unit and the laptop, both software and hardware, have spared me of any problems. I had my laptop cleaned from dust and I replaced its charger and battery.

I have been raising attention to the internet-rights as human rights [en, php] related issues by publishing posts on this topic and sharing initiatives such as accessnow.org .

Other positive things I have accomplished in the area of my strengths, based solely on the 360º evaluation:

I was considered in 2012 50% more intelligent and 2 times more emotionally intelligent  than in 2011, which is a radical and consistent improvement in my image.

People said about me in 2012:

  • Intelligence, Evolution, Competitiveness with self (perfectionism), Reasoning capacity, Self-taught, reading a lot, (thirst for) knowledge, Smartness, good memory, passion for study,

  • EQ (empathy + showing emotions), attention to others’ needs, good listener & confident, knowledge of people & questions, good advice, helpful, innocence, constructivism, will to do good, caring, thesaurus of wisdom, offering, generosity, remembering the names of people, nice guy. Practically, this attribute has gone from the 8th position straight to the 4thposition in 2012.

I will continue with an article where I will share with you what I have accomplished in working with my weaknesses.So far, 70% success from what I proposed as a goal from 2012 for 2012.

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To Manipulate Or Not to Manipulate, That Is the Question

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 06/04/2012

I’m telling you this with hope in my heart and trust that by offering patience to the initiative I’m going to tell you about will create an important and a long-waited change. Before telling you what I’m going to tell you about, thank you for listening me, as I am sure you will consider my message important. As you think of it, with each word, my message becomes clearer to you and you can easily understand what I am saying. Let us find new ways of expressing ourselves… For, example, I…

 

Overcoming public speaking fright

It is said that the second greatest possible fright, except for the one of dying, is the fright of public speaking. Fortunately for me, I have not met many people which were afraid to speak in public. Maybe during grade school. Public speaking is familiar environment for me.

The best exercise I recommend, out of my own experience, is getting in front of all while saying to yourself: “In 30 seconds, my mouth will start speaking. It would better say something useful.”. So I did. So will you. Another exercise: if someone would have a gun to your head and would tell you: “speak well in public now or I kill you”, how do you think you’d perform? You’d certainly do a better job if you knew your life depends on the quality of your delivery. For some, that IS the case. May they be presenters, trainers, lobbyists, attorneys, diplomats, press releasers, politicians, the quality of their public speaking will determine how much money they will make. But this is not a study of what best public speakers do.

My intention is to familiarize you with the truth that everybody speaks in public. Better, worse. But if you think at it, all of us had to make a public presentation, or to address a public in a one-to-many communication instance. But what are the things to consider before doing public speaking in the HR world in an ethical fashion?

Public speaking is definitely a part of HR persons. Conferences. Board meetings. Employee meetings. Focus-groups. Evaluations. Fairs. Exhibitions. Workshops. Trainings. All these cannot be avoided.

 

How much of well planning makes for an ethical delivery?

First thing to consider is: “be themselves”. If you address a public, you must know that public. Who’s in it, what degree of information do they have on the topic you’re speaking, what is their interest in the topic, what kind of questions they will put, etc. It’s a sign of respect towards your message, to each of the participants in the public and to the organizers. And also consider these days anyone can video / audio record you with a simple phone or mp 3 player, not to mention the photos. Then, they can be placed on the internet, tagged with your name and accessed by anyone, for the rest of eternity. If you don’t have respect for all of these, you will be remembered. It’s not only the skills that you put to practice, but also your values.

Of course the better job you do on planning your speech, of taking care of the surroundings (light, height, noise, distance, temperature, technology settings, etc.), the better you will show respect for your public. These might seem as the organizers’ responsibility. But if you really care about your personal brand, your message and the public, make it your responsibility to triple-check.

Let’s assume you address a public well educated, well informed and interested in the subject matter you present. The audience has been pre-selected and you’ve put certain questions at the beginning to make sure you’re on the same page. Now you’ve got their attention. You have the formal authority in the room. From this moment, if you skillfully use your persuasiveness, you can imprint any ideas into their minds. You may masterfully conceive your speech so that they would understand and maybe agree to it, at least until a certain point. You may even manipulate them.

Beyond that, it lies the question: what is the line between influencing, persuasion and manipulation? When does it serve well and when does it not?

First of all, none of these have negative meaning by themselves. A mother may manipulate her children by saying: “Do you prefer to drink the [bad tasting] medicine from the white cup or from the blue cup?”, using a double bind to determinate an action. Some would not consider this as manipulation, because, some say, manipulation is always negative. In stead of ranting on the concepts: responsibility; accountability; life lessons; we’ll do some practice.

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Let’s come back to the fine distinction between influencing, persuading and manipulating someone. Although there are uncountable ways of doing any of these, let’s just say we want to send the message that using seat belts during driving for all the passengers saves lives. Noble idea, don’t you think? We’ll see.

 

Influence

When you’ll start to think about this, you will naturally find what I’m saying to you as more and more interesting. “Looking at the accidents statistics in USA, in 2004, more persons which did not use a seat belt died in accidents than those who who were wearing / although, according to the federal statistics, more than 80% of the drivers use belts. […] Apparently not wearing the seat belt during driving the car is about the same thing as having a dagger installed on the driving wheel.”. Before thinking further on the way this affects our lives, let us consider all the small differences seeming minor details like putting the seat belt on before driving to actually truly understand the real effect of those seemingly minor details. The difference between using and not using your seat belt might be the difference between life and death.

Persuasion

Close your eyes. [the light gets dimmer] Imagine yourself riding in a top notch car on a freeway. [appropriate music] You feel the wind and all the things around you. You get to an intersection. You slow down, but not in due time and a truck gets into your face from nowhere. You have no time to react. [the lights close] It all went dark. [silence for a few moments]. You just died because you didn’t wear a seat belt [lights open up brightly] Welcome back!

Manipulation.

The light gets dimmer. You present a video of a guy named David, with his wife, Molly and their son, Tommy. The are joyful, playing in the garden. Then you show some pictures with them getting in the family car. Then you put on the morgue pictures of David, Molly and Tommy. They didn’t use the seat belt. You rapidly shoot some statistics to the people, in big colorful graphic display. In the end, you take a moment in silence, honoring David, Molly, Tommy and the other thousands of people who lost their lives during X period in the Y zone and say a prayer. 

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What Are You Doing with the Rest of Your 8 Hours a Day?

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 05/03/2010

Although less than half of the people in my own phone agenda are hired (the most part are entrepreneurs or consultants), there is this main conception that 8 hours a day you work, 7 hours a day you sleep (the minimum necessary), one hour a day you have the lunch break. What do you do with the rest of your 8 hours? The 8 hours that should have to be active relaxation, as the expert Ovidiu Bujor ellaborates on this interview [ro, html]. I’m fascinated how people stress themselves doing task management so ineffectively.

Andy Szekely says that time management is actually self-management. I would say it more particular: time management depends on the quality of task management. Sandra Ghiţescu has written an excellent article on how to classify your activities based on weather they bring energy or they take energy.

Most people don’t actually realize that there’s the same period of time, say, between 4 AM to 9 AM like between 11 AM and 4 PM. The difference is, most people have a fragmented program, not allowing themselves to use the actual 8 available hours. How much of your time is really productive?

Actually, let’s consider what would a hired person do besides stay at work and have lunch break. Almost everyone does these things. They consume time. Wasted time, considering the impact on your life on a long term.

– wash, dress and pack. During this time you can listen to audiotrainings, audiobooks, self-hel programs, that you can find even on youtube, trilulilu, or Google Video. Or you can buy some or download from the internet. In Romania you have audiosfera. Back a few years you didn’t have the possibility to access so much free content from masters like Tony Robbins, Richard Bandler, etc.

– go to work & come from work – Bucharest, as any other great capital of the world, is the place where you can combine a lot of means of transport. It is preferable, if you can, to choose a means of transportation that also offers the possibility of reading. For most people going somewhere is dead time. It shouldn’t be. How would your life be if each time you would get out of home you would have a learning experience? If you drive to work, shut down the radio crap and put some audiobooks.

– waiting in lines. This is the most appropriate moment to have a book or to put some order between your personal things. Write in your agenda, plan stuff, or even get your laptop to work on something. Who knows, you might even have wireless access.

– throw away the TV on the window. Most people say they use the TV to get information. Your time is much too precious to listen to information spoken by other people, information that you haven’t filtered. If you want to be informed, and not advertised to, get on the subscriber list from the news sources you’re interested. I personally use comunicatedepresa.ro, gandeste.org (the most critical selection of all the daily papers), Twitter and subscription to Yahoo forums with people who generate and promote events I might be interested in. If you continue to use information that is not filtered on yur own criteria, get ready to be considered an illiterate in the following 5 years.

Other people say they use TV for entertainment. What are you, 60? Get real! Use internet. You don’t even have to download the movies you want anymore. Just google after “watch “XYZ” movie online” and you most likely will find what you want streamed online.

– Cut from your program the people which waste your time. Each time someone solicits time from you, think weateher there would be someone else that would deserve that time of yours more.

– If you’ve got more than 5 minutes to walk on foot, call a friend to have a talk. Most people think that it’s not appropriate to have such short calls and it’s preferable to see that friend face to face. But that often does not happen. Years pass and friends get forgotten. Before you know, months and years have passed and you haven’t contacted the people you care about the most. Sometimes, less is more.

– in stead of tormenting yourself, wasting time trying to sleep or staying late, make some tea of sunatoare (St. John’swort ) . Some people say they don’t like to take such stimulus, be they even natural. No. They prefer to waste their hours on poor quality sleep, kill their neurons and destroy their health each day. That’s a way to go!

– in stead of using coffee to get up every morning, use some cold water on the ears, do some jogging, have a walk in the morning or use some inspiring music that will wake you up immediately. I prefer American soundtracks. If you require inspiration, check the Music from Film subcategory on the blog. If you are really addicted to coffee, I recommend you soluble rice. It has the same taste and a better effect.

– Plan your activities. Don’t go out just for one thing. Solve more than one thing when going somewhere. Make lists of what you have to do, what you want to buy and respect them. The brain knows how to actively search for what’s  clear on a list.

– Stop wasting time on facebook, mesenger, funny videos on youtube. If you need a break, better watch a movie over the internet in small sequences (youtube is excellent for this).

– use the phone (or even better, skype) and not the messenger. It wastes a lot of time to type messages.

– learn how to look for information on google. Use ” ” for searching related words. See for example the difference after the query job satisfaction research and job satisfaction research .

– stop wasting time on social networking sites to find people to talk to. Come to networking events.

– plan you meetings in the same area, prefferably somewhere in the center of the city.  Consider fast foods, parks, etc. Meet your friends out, not at their places. It will take less time to prepare, clean, cook and other activities that might take you even more than the visit itself.

– if you’re in a relationship or if you’re married, don’t forget your friends. Your friends, not the couple’s friends. Don’t let your partner to have control over your whole time. The more diverse will your social field be, the more diversity you will have to balance the need for certainty thet you get from a stabile relationship.

– when travelling somewhere long distance, use a night route and sleep during it. Get some sleeping pills (I recommend valerian, it’s natural) , drink some calming tea and use that time smart! Or, if you really can’t sleep, get some books to read or some audiotraining to listen.

Keep in mind that if you haven’t planned your time, someone else will. Some say this takes the savor out of life. It’s the same people who don’t have enough time to connect with their friends (and I don’t mean online), hurry to ride in busy means of transport, have a hard time waking up or sleeping, complain don’t have time to read (but they waste all the time spent on the road). Most important, these people have time to worry. Because the internal dialogue already goes with a speed of 600-800 words per minute in your head. If the most part of your time spent in all these activities is busy getting strokes from the inside and not from the outside (like, for example, a book or an audiotraining), it is most likely that you will not get any other different ideas than your own.

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Skills Improvement Chart

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 22/02/2010

Make an evaluation on a sheet like this one. You may use colors to define the thing that you want to underline.

G5-I like doing-im good at

Consider these key questions:

How do you choose what things to put in the list with “what you like to do”?

What things helped you be here where you are? Objectively and subjectively.

What were the main people that came into your life and changed it into good?

What are the things you like to help others with?

Why are you unsatisfied?

What is the place you would like to go?

What would you like to do more?

What do you accept to do concerning this?

Which are the things you do not like in life?

Make a decision weather you will delegate, improve or eliminate the tasks that you do and don’t you don’t like. Or weather you may do them as a secondary task to something else (like listening to audiobooks, reading, or talking tot the friends over the phone in the mean time). From my experience, some things you might decide upon to start liking by doing them better, or in the same time with something else. Other, you can successfully delegate.

Give up the tasks you don’t like to do and don’t do. Delegate them or totally eliminate them. They don’t deserve to take up of your time.

Make a plan to learn the things you like but don’t do. Chances are, you might improve your skills in those areas by practicing these things you like. You might want to create personal development goals for some of them. For example, for me, it was shooting  video.

What is your level of competence in the thing you like?

How much time to you want to allocate for learning it and for practicing it?

What do you have to change in yourself to get that?

Make a list of your level of competence for each of your abilities. Rank the things  you wish to learn and create goals for each of them.

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Goal Evaluation

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 11/01/2010

Would you like to know how I’ve set the directions for my personal development in 2010?

I. Get clear on what really happened.

1. Did you have any goals?

2. What have you accomplished?

3. How much of what you accomplished was planned? How much of what you planned got accomplished? Procentually.

4. What have you built on that success? Get clear with what was great. Can you replicate it?

5. Measure how much did you invest this year in this year’s successes. How much did you invest in the last years for this year’s successes? You will realize what matters the most didn’t need so much effort as you might think. It doesn’t take much energy to be happy with your accomplishments.

II. Get clear with what’s about to happen

1. Did you set any goals for 2010? Which are those?

2. Do you have older goals which you wanted to reach? What else do you need for accomplishing them that you didn’t have before? What do you want to replicate from the previous year?

3. How much do you consider reachable from what you state?

4. Which would be the top 5 important personal things you would want for the new year?

5. What have you planned to achieve in 10 years, profesionally, personally, financially and spiritually? What will be you major accomplishments in 10 years? Write down a list of goals for your life and keep it. You will be surprised of what you will find by looking upon it years later. I have done this the first time in June 2004. By January 2010, I have accomplished or respected (at least partially) 17 out of 86 goals. Some of them, without even noticing. They just seemed so natural, I didn’t realiye that was a life goal. This is the sensation you might have when planning your goals.

III. Get clear with your limits.

1. What are the values that matter for you?

2. What will you never do?

3. Which moral principles will you never break?

4. Which professional principles will you respect?

5. What would be the message you would like to send to others and to yourself in this period?

IV. Get focus.

1. What will be the main advantages you will have by reaching your goals by December the 31st? The main 4 things. Write down what will you get for each of them. Commit to them.

2. What’s the first step you’d like to take? How can you measure it?

3. How can you improve your evaluation and planning right now by getting aware of this?

V. Get monitoring

Make a monitoring for each month of your year, at the end:

1. What were the main 3 positive aspects, what were the main negative aspects.?

2. What was their field and level of implication?

3. What motivated you to act that way?

4. What have you got to learn from that experience? In time, you will notice that the failures of yesterday are the learnings of today for the successes of tomorrow.

Keep these in mind while answering to these questions:

1. Be sure you believe that you are convinced you deserve it, that you are capable of it, that it’s clear what your plans must be in order to achieve it and that it’s worthwhile to achieve it.

2. Did you ever consider anything impossible and still, you have succeeded in accomplishing it? ideas that were once only dreams and now are reality. Get enthusiastic about your ability to reach such goals.

3. Consider what you “failed” as a learning experience and reevaluate to plan your time to learn. Allow yourself to acknowledge the mistakes you make. Nobody’s perfect. Not even the leaders of the business schools [en, blog]. Also, this way, you will remember the successes more than… the learnings. And they will take less time.

I also recommend you to read Cary Cooper‘s entry on this topic.

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The Better Me

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 30/12/2009

Like every year, I have an evaluation I make on accomplishments and areas to improve. After discussing with a few people about the conclusions I have come to a few conclusions I would like to share with you. Although there may be my conclusions, some of the might also help you too.Today I write a post sharing the conclusions I arrived to.

1. If you compare yourself with someone else, there will always be a loser. It’s lame to feel as a winner by comparing yourself to others, that will only satisfy your ego. But if you compare yourself to yourself, considering what’s better than last year, then you’ll always win without having someone to make lose just to feel better.

2. Make the evaluation considering what other objective enough people have said to you about your performance. Someone asked me if I feel more organized this year. I have answered that it’s irrelevant ho organized I feel, I can only judged if I truly am more organized by the results and the feed-back. There are a lot of people who like to think they got better. Self-delusion doesn’t help. I took a look at some personal development exercises I was making in 2005. The way in which I was formulating problems and resources was terrible. I had the so little experience on self-monitoring and coaching… I know that now because I know how NOT to formulate a goal.

3. A lot of people get scared of having failures. In the same time, making an analysis on weak points from 2003 to 2009, I noticed that in 1-2 years, those weak points turned into strong points or lead to accomplishments. Therefore, I look at the “disasters” from 2009 as points of future success in 2010-2011. I’m not afraid to declare what my failures were, because anyway people will figure those out, it doesn’t matter how hard I am trying to hide them. The failures are part of your experience. If there weren’t those obstacles there, you wouldn’t be where you are now. As I was writing here using the examples of CODECS and Emi Gal‘s success at Seed Camp,

4. Not anyone can be happy with my personality. That’s life. I read an article these days “if you want to be likeable…“. I don’t want to be likeable. I want to be memorable, remembered as who I want to communicate, to express about myself. To set a goal to be liked is like having your picture taken of you smiling without knowing where your picture is going to be hanged. Even more, every week, and I mean EVERY week, there’s someone saying “hi” on the street or at an event, or even aproaching me on the internet, saying they know me and I don’t have the slightest idea where I know them from. One day, it happened three times in one morning, in difference places.

So, the main point: what you prevent from expressing, ends up controlling you. Communicate who you are to who you care about, then the people who will be interested will come to you. Last week, somebody recognized my voice in a library. That’s what memorable means.

5. Know yourself. The sooner you get to know yourself, the better the quality of your life will be. For example, these year I took some radical decisions concerning organizing my life: moving from a rent to another made me realize I had a lot of stuff I didn’t need. I realized I was paying a lot of money just to keep a lot of stuff I didn’t use. I realised it was crazy to pay rent to have space for things that would be cheaper to buy them when I actually needed. I’ll write more about this tomorrow.

6. Personal things matter. While writing this post, I was having a conversation with someone over YM and she told me: welll, that’s all fine, but personal? I’d like to state that I do not believe in having professional succes without an equilibrated personal life. I am very happy to take joy in what I have. I have visited each of my parents this year, I have been to my sister’s wedding, I have spent some quality time with my friends and I have even made some new friends. Over 40 people personally wished me greetingsthis Christmas. It may not be much, but I’m happy with that. By the way, If you read this and I haven’t thanked you, I’m sorry – I didn’t have time to answer to everybody.

I wouldn’t take having success witheout having the magic moments I keep to myself. And there are some truly great moments I treasure.

7. I took a vacation this year. Not mentioning the conference and the HR fair I’ve visited at Barcelona in the spring, which gave me the opportunity to do some sightseeing, I’ve actually been to vacation in the Alps (France + Italy) and in Budapesta. It’s great to allow myself to have these kinds of moments.

8. I spent a lot of time learning. I would like to especially mention, besides the HR master programs, the entrepreneurship programs (VIP’s Good to Go, AIESEC Finance School and even the participation to NetCamp was a useful experience), Daniel Bichiş’s conferences and the mentorship certification from CENTRAS Constanţa, held by Roxana Diaconu. Also, practicing coaching at The Romanian Coaching Guild and at Noble Manhattan Coaching was a big help. I also listened to a lot of transactional analysis and NLP audiotrainings. I think alotting a significant part of time to learn doesn’t only bring new information, but helps the good habits stay in place.

9. The evaluations I have done, using some personality inventaries from Test Central, showed me some aspects I was already familiar with, and I have an accurate measurement of where I stand, therefore I know what to improve. But more, about my accomplishments and failures in 2009, and also, about my plans to make improvements, in further posts.

10. It would have been “perfect” to have a tenth point, right? One final key: don’t try to be perfect. Be natural. Be(tter) you.

Successful self-analysis! Please send me feed-back if you’ve liked the post and send it further.

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