Who is your rigger?
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
Can you tell me how to do my job? I felt like that was the question I was asking every day when I went to work at my first job after graduating.
I was a Design Engineer in an Electrical Design Department, and although I had graduated in Electrical Engineering, and had spent many months training, now I was going to have to do some “real work”.
“It’s not what you’re going to do, but it’s what you are doing right now that counts.”
~ Napoleon Hill
I recently just arrived at a Power Station having completed the design and manufacture of a control system to automate the “Sootblowers”. These are a set of lances that were introduced into the furnace of the main boiler from time to time to blow traces of soot left from burning the pulverised coal dust off the walls of the furnace. (I know, what an exciting life I’ve lived!)
On returning from lunch I was met with the question: “Who is your rigger?”. Well, for me that was quite a tricky question. I had never even heard the term “Rigger” before and was not entirely sure whether it was simply a mispronunciation of my first name. The reason for the question was that the control cubicle had now arrived on a truck, which was parked at the bottom of the “Lifting Well”, and the cubicle that had arrived with the truck was now suspended some 20 feet in the air.
As it happens the process of offloading the cubicle and installing it into position had been subcontracted to a regular supplier who was very experienced at this kind of work, and when we located the driver the question was soon resolved when he produced his “Riggers Certificate”. This was a certificate that showed he was qualified and certified to shackle the cubicle to the hoist in the lifting well and to have it hoisted up with the lift taking it to the 100-foot level where it was going to be installed.
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
~ Donald Rumsfeld
This was yet another example of a time when I learned something I felt that I ought to have known already. The problem is that until you know that you don’t know, you can’t do anything about it.
It was rather like that in my career as a Project Manager. I was appointed to the position quite early on in my career and discovered that I thoroughly enjoyed it, spending the first half of my career managing engineering projects. My initial training consisted of being given a photocopy of the training manual that a colleague had used in a training course he had attended. No expense spared with that company!
However, I wanted to develop and improve my skills, so I went on to find some training courses I could attend. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we didn’t have the wealth of resources available online as we have now, in fact, there was no “online”, or at least not in the way we have come to understand it with today’s internet. I located and took an Open University course that dealt with the subject, and subsequently discovered the Association for Project Management had a professional qualification in the subject, so I eagerly signed up for that too.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
~ Isaac Newton
One of the main things I realised when pursuing this quest for training was that it is much easier and quicker to learn from someone else’s mistakes. Of course, if we are trying to grow and develop we will all find some mistakes of our own to explore and learn from, but it is really helpful to be able to learn from other people that have gone before.
John Maxwell, the Leadership author and speaker said: “My capacity to grow has determined my capacity to lead.” To develop the leader within you and become all you were meant to be, you need to develop the learner with you first. He gives some great steps for developing a growth strategy in his book entitled “Developing the Leader within you 2.0”
- Big Picture: Where do I need to focus my growth?
- Measurement: How can I measure and affect my growth?
- Consistency: How can I grow daily?
- Application: Can I act on it?
The key to effectiveness is found in consistent attention to personal growth. Today there are so many opportunities available for growth, from blog posts like this, listening to podcasts or videos, or finding a Mastermind Group of like-minded people who are also committed to growth too. The biggest problem isn’t finding material, but rather finding the most helpful and meaningful material for me. The most important thing is to follow these four steps and develop ways to grow regularly.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.