Be A Shortcut
It's become a family tradition over the last 20+ years to host a friends and family 4th of July picnic celebration (hurrah, independence!). Over the years, I've picked up a lot of practical ways to make sure my time at the party is easier and more fun.
- Marinate the chicken breasts in salad dressing rather than making my own marinade. (open, pour, cover, refrigerate---quick and easy)
- Do the grocery and beverage shopping with my cousin Monica
- Graciously accept offers from guests to help set up and take down the tables, chairs and games (I never have, and, probably never will, get the badminton nets up properly).
Never, ever would I have thought these were "shortcuts." Somehow, from age 5, I had it in my brain that taking a shortcut was somehow "the lazy way out." A path I would never take. That said, over the years, I'd learned that getting help from others made the party more fun for all--- me included.
And, now I can say with great comfort, having read Scott Halford's great book Be A ShortCut: The Secret Fast Track to Business Success, that I was both being--- and receiving ---the benefits of shortcuts. As Halford describes them, shortcuts are people who think, act, and work in a way that makes them indispensable. They function like lifelines to the people and organizations that most depend on them, are masters of some very specific skills and find ways to be available when needed without killing themselves in the process.
It didn't take long for me to connect the dots between how he describes business shortcuts and the realities of how I "enrolled" shortcuts for the family party. In today's world, there's far too much to get done and far too few people to do it. People who graciously offer us what we need and/or want, with less pressure and more value than we could do it ourselves, demonstrate high mastery and high emotional intelligence. As shortcuts, they make our jobs easier and create a better experience for all.
Realizing it would do me good to check out Halford's SQI (you got it, Shortcut Quotient Inventory), I'm encouraging you to do the same. I got some powerful insights about the intersections of expertise, initiative, responsibility and emotional intelligence. And, from a practical perspective, I got a great tip on how to shortcut some of my own conversations... get ready for some shorter emails!
In addition to offering opportunities for self reflection and food for team-building motivation, this book now stands as a major influencer as we build our company's 3-5 year growth strategy. Because if everyone in your company is a shortcut, AND invites and uses shortcuts, your company will grow faster. So, ready to try it yourself? Halford offers three quick tips to being a shortcut:
- Be an expert. Learn your real passions and skills. Ask those closest to you what they think they are. Once you have found your expertise, grow it. Read at least one article or chapter a day in that area, for at least 100 days. Find a mentor (online or in person) and keep the learning going.
- It's not all about what you know. It's also about how well you know yourself. Learn more about emotional intelligence; get yours measured and then work at getting better at it. This never stops.
- Get outside yourself. If you're really going to be (and use) shortcuts, you've got to do at least one thing, everyday, that makes someone else successful, and, let that be done for you as well.
Let us know your shortcuts.