As you will know, I’m not very good at ‘just’ relaxing and chilling out, and soon after leaving the UK in December 2012, I was looking for a way of bringing together my new interest in writing with my ‘old’ interests of psychology, management, people and development. Always interested in learning a new skill, I realised I could do this by creating a blog-style website with articles, posts, and tips on managing yourself and managing others, keeping my hand in with the world I’ve invested over 15 years of education, training and work in whilst continuing my personal development in another area.
As you do…
To this end, I’ve (I say I, in fact, I dragged my Mum into being my Partner, so it’s a joint project), created a new website, called ManageDevelopInspire.com. The tagline is ‘innovative ideas to make your life at work better’. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most in my career has been coaching, managing and mentoring those I worked with – both clients and my own team (I loved my team and miss them all – everyone who’s ever been lucky enough (or not!) to be managed by me throughout my career! I was always reading a new journal or paper and trying out a new idea on them, long suffering as they were). My mum, Mary, has a special interest in creativity, and during her career in business-to-business research facilitated many problem solving and creative idea generation workshops for clients.
What’s the website about?
As you can imagine, I have a grand vision for the website, but to start off there will be:
- ‘Opinion’ posts from us, centred around anything to do with Managing – managing yourself, managing others or managing projects (I’m a Prince2 qualified project manager, and generally hypercontrolling & detail conscious as well as the rest). Topics we have in the pipeline include ‘good’ management mistakes, action planning, mentoring, meetings, creativity, and we start off today with a post on whether people can really develop and change.
- Posts with ‘top tips’ about topics like doing well in psychometric tests, getting to know new employees, using icebreakers, preparing for promotion, and getting difficult things done.
- Resource Roundups, with reviews and suggestions on useful kit to help you flourish in the workplace – we’re starting later this week with ‘Resources to help you develop as a human being’ so relevant for everyone, not just those in the workplace!
- And then lastly, we’ve flung our net out more widely, and asked others who have an interest and expertise to share their thoughts in a Guest Post category. These are either ‘Expert’ posts, with a viewpoint from a management specialist of some sort, or a ‘View from the Field’, with those who are experts in a more practical sense, managers on the front lines and the kind of challenges they face. We’re really grateful to those who’ve written posts for us already, and have some really interesting content coming up. If you might be interested in writing a post for us, then let us know!
My steep learning curve
This has been the toughest, yet the most interesting, the most exasperating yet the most rewarding, and the most frustrating yet developmental activity I have worked on for a while. Working through The Artist’s Way was sometimes all of those things, but it was gentle, and at the end of the day, was all about me, asking me to look more deeply into myself – sometimes difficult, but within my reach. This project has had a large technical component to it that at one point had me stepping back altogether in frustration for a couple of months. I have had some help with the design piece, but not as much as I had originally thought, and my own impatience to get things done, and need to be in control, has meant that I have spent a lot of time looking things up and working out how to do something that would no doubt take an experienced web designer minutes, but might have taken me hours (or even days).
The content, on the other hand, has been good fun to write. I’ve loved especially writing top tips (which are in a section called ‘Seven plus or minus two – Expert Top Tips’ – the incredibly geeky name taken from a famous (well, if you’re a psychologist, anyway) paper which says humans can hold a maximum of 7 ± 2 items in working memory. So the number of tips each time is exactly 7…plus or minus 2! Well, I thought it was hilarious, and I think that’s one where Mum thought it would be easier to go with it than argue…!).
Of course, my own anal retentiveness has hamstrung me in several ways. Where my (extrovert, more impulsive) partner would have just had us up and running after we had a few posts written, I wanted a good solid cushion of three months worth of content before I was prepared to launch. That’s taken a while…and been an interesting test of mine and Mum’s relationship as both of us (each used to being in charge) worked out the best way of working together. This has been especially interesting as Mum’s currently visiting Thailand, and I’ve made her spend a couple of hours each day of her ‘holiday’ working on the website. Mum’s learnt that I can go hours sitting in front of my laptop focused intently – working on multiple problems, but laser-beam like in my attention, and I’ve learned I need to break up the day into different activities and blocks as Mum’s more stimulated by variety. I also like silence or music, whereas Mum likes to narrate her activities – just one extrovert/introvert difference which encouraged me to read ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain, and has inspired at least one post on the new website!
Working on this personal blog (which just hit a total of 15,300 views last week) has been a great base from which to work, as I am using similar software (this blog uses the free ‘Wordpress.com’, whereas the new project is using the paid for, very customisable ‘Wordpress.org’) so that has helped with some of the basics, as well as getting me into the idea of professional blogging. I think it will be a while before we make any money from the site (although who knows!) but ‘monetisation’ is definitely a hope at some point. But it’s a longer term aim – at the moment I’m enjoying learning new skills, and excited to share with you the content we’ve put together which you will see go up over the coming months.
And one last thing – today is indeed an auspicious day to launch. It’s my website Partner (and Mum ;-))’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mum – and well done for all the work you’ve done on holiday!
Call to action…I’m asking for your help 🙂
As you know, I often ask questions at the end of my blogs, or ask for your thoughts and input. I really enjoy the interaction – it’s always nice to think there’s someone out there reading what I’ve written! Today though, I have some very specific requests of you all. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I would really appreciate it if you would take any or indeed, all, of the below actions! And get everyone you know to as well 😉
1. Visit our new website ManageDevelopInspire.com
2. Follow us on twitter (you can do this by visiting the website link above, then the twitter feed box is on the right hand side, bottom of page, or just follow us through twitter @ManDevInspire)
3. ‘Like’ us on Facebook (again, you can do this through the link above or find us at www.facebook.com/managedevelopinspire ) – I have a personal target of getting to 100 ‘Likes’ in the first month, but will definitely need all my friends, family, colleagues, and indeed, anyone I’ve ever met’s help on this!
4. Subscribe to the website’s posts (there will usually be two a week, a few more in the first couple of weeks) by putting your name and email address into the ‘Sign Up’ box on the right hand side of the www.managedevelopinspire.com website.
5. Share the first post, already up, and share the website generally, with as many of your friends and colleagues as possible
6. Send us any feedback, comments, thoughts, ideas for posts and tips etc: firstname.lastname@example.org Note that there will be more content coming out over the next few weeks – it’s a bit bare at the moment, but it won’t be long before it’s brimming with great stuff – be in at the start so you don’t miss any!
Thank you for reading my personal travel blog whereverthewindtakesme.com – which I intend to continue as long as I am travelling and can think of interesting things to share – and thank you in advance for reading my new project, ManageDevelopInspire.com.
I’m really excited about it – can you tell?!