How to extend successful practices to other spheres

Arantza Ríos. Professor. IE Business School

1 June 2017

We are often successful in certain areas of our lives, and yet struggle with similar aspects, when it is just a question of applying the process used in the former to the latter in order to replicate successful practices.

Everyone has areas in life in which they enjoy great success and then others in which they are not as successful.

I had a coachee who was very organized at work, specifically in terms of computer files and folders, which they kept perfectly organized.  

And yet, this person said they were really disorganized where work papers where concerned, which were scattered all over their desk. In the course of a coaching session they told me that this lack of order bothered them and that they would like to change and have their desk as organized as their computer files.

So I asked the person to think about the process they used to organize their computer files, and they told me that what they did was that as soon as they received them, they saved them or filed them away immediately in the corresponding folder.

I also asked this coachee if there was any other sphere of their life in which they were really organized, and they told me that there was, namely clothes. So I asked them what procedure do you follow there? And the answer was that when they took their clothes off they decided whether they were clean or needed washing, and put the clean clothes away in the wardrobe and the dirty clothes into the laundry basket.

So my next question was “How can you apply the process you use for keeping your files and clothes organized to your work desk?  I know, the coachee said, I have to do the same, namely that as soon as a paper lands on my desk and I’ve taken a look at it, I have to file it, or if I use something like a pen or a stapler, as soon as I finish using it I have to put it back in its place. Right now, what I do is pick up whatever I need it, and when I’ve finished using it I just leave it lying around and everything just piles up.  

And that is how this particular person, by applying the process that had resulted in success in one area, managed to make the change and bring order to a desk full of work papers.

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