Cross-training at work

Even if you are not a fitness expert, you may have heard the term “leg day.”

Cross-training is the idea that you’re going to exercise in a variety of ways in order to improve performance. To that end, one day you’ll focus on legs, another on arms. Maybe another on core.

How can this metaphor relate to work? Who hasn’t emerged from a performance review with a skill to refine? “Speak more often in meetings.” “Improve your estimating skills.” “Polish your written communication.”

If you want to be truly impressive at work, you’ve got to broaden and cross-train your skills. You need a leg day AND an arm day if your whole work body is going to improve.

With all this in mind, I made you something. This week I invite you to do a week of cross-training… and each day you’ll focus on a different skill at work. Here’s the plan:

Monday: Communications

Today, be specific in your comms, whether it’s via email, Slack, meetings or in-person. Say what you mean. Take an extra second to edit your written language. Drop all non-critical sentences!

Tuesday: Appreciation

People are WAY more likely to collaborate with you if you are not a cold brick wall. Today, share appreciation with at least 3 teammates. Do this without expectation that you’re getting anything in return. 

Wednesday: Creativity

Today you’re going to make something out of nothing. Ask questions, suggest wild ideas, brainstorm a new initiative, bring creative mojo to a project. Hell, spend your lunch break drawing if that’s your thing.

Thursday: Leadership

Examine*all* decisions with regard to the medium and long term. Avoid being in the weeds so that you can drive a bigger picture. Make difficult decisions and have the hard conversations. Lead.

Friday: Efficiency

The week is nearly over. Be efficient and discerning. Postpone what will not happen today and communicate that to the stakeholders. No surprises! Today, done is better than perfect.

I know you’re all very talented — AND I know that you can’t do everything well every day. Focusing on one skill at a time builds your strength in multiple dimensions.

At the beginning of a cold February when everyone is losing steam, a tangible plan is what I can offer. We’ll do it together.