Alison M Wheeler

 ethos 

I've sometimes been asked how I approach life. This is an attempt at a few pointers.

My basic starting point is that "There are always options"

I may be somewhat Daoist, in that I believe there is always one best way, but tempered by the certainty that many other options will produce an acceptable result. It is a task for each of us to learn the possible different solutions to each range of problems so that we can recognise a problem when we see it and have an approriate starting arsenal of options to resolve the issues and improve.

This follows into my management style: Never micro-manage!

When I was a programmer and analyst - starting out in the late 70's - I had some great managers. They asked me to solve a problem, gave me a budget (time and money) and left me to get on with the task but providing the security net of support from them and colleagues when it was needed. The greater the challenge to meet targets the greater the personal reward when you do. It worked for me and I believe it works for others. Of course, in some cases there will need to be more hand-holding, but give someone a lead and they'll do wonders, stand over them and demand hourly updates and their work rate and quality will usually (in my experience) suffer.

The more you learn the more you want to know

In some countries the title "Generalist" is an expression that this person can turn their hand to many things and be successful at each of them. For some reason in the UK it seems that it means someone can't do anything well. Robert A Heinlein put it best:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, co-operate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialisation is for Insects"
If you are only an 'expert' on one subject there is a danger that you will try to make that skill apply where it shouldn't, but by having abilities in many areas the right choices can be made. Having demonstrated 17 of the 20 skills listed here I am proud to call myself a 'Generalist'!

 © 2011 Alison M Wheeler @
 The Creative Organisation, London