Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

The Organizing Principle


As a consultant, I find it tough to get organized. I am not shy about mentioning this, since I talk to other consultants all the time, and they usually have the same problem. Not that being super organized about my work has ever been a great strength! My tendency is to work in a more stream of consciousness way, which means that I stay open to opportunities that present themselves, which can be good except…when the day ends and I scratch my head and think “What did I do today?” This is not a great feeling.

So I’ve been working with a coach. Yes, a coach who is a project manager and clearly gets a lot done herself. With her help, I am disciplining myself to create some “chunky goals” during the week, and to write down the steps to getting there. And this has definitely improved my productivity. This of course is not rocket science. But it makes me feel better.

The truth is, some of us are better at idea generation and some at execution. And when you work on your own, you have to learn to do both. I’m a big fan of getting help when you need it–maybe that’s one of the reasons I became a career coach. So I encourage all my clients to figure out what they’re good at, and get support on the things that don’t come as easily. There is no shame in this; we can’t all be good at everything. And as Marcus Buckingham says, the more time we spend focusing on our strengths, the more impact we’ll ultimately have. If you’re in the market for a coach and you’d like some advice, email me and I’ll give you the names of some people I think are really good.