In my life I have been through many exams and tests. I remember those crowded rooms, the tension, the relief once it was over, … And I found interesting making the comparision between exams and meetings/team’s behavior.
- In an exam: You cared more about the typo errors than you cared about your answers being right. Workplace: You care more about noticing others’ mistakes than completing the tasks you were assigned.
- Exam: you didn’t read the whole test so you made obvious questions to the professor. Workplace: You don’t process what is being explained and you are just waiting for the slot where to ask your “smart” question (which is not).
- Exam: You cheat in a test. Or you just made up a story that sounded like a brilliant answer to you. Workplace: You “enlight” the rest of the team on a subject on which you are no expert or that you just heard from someone else without checking if the information was right.
- Exam: It always made me nervous that after finishing an exam everyone would gather to compare answers. It happened after all the process: you had gone into the room (Almost always) focused, read the questions, structured your answers, hesitated and by applying what you learned, some common sense and maybe some magic, you wrote down on a piece of paper the solution to the problem. Workplace: for sure you have been in meetings where no one was paying much attention, or they did but each one got a different conclusion. If you compare answers, it’s possible that you will find yourself with a completely different conclusion than the rest of the team. It doesn’t mean you are wrong.
So, why don’t we stick to the exam’s basics principles while we are at work?: be focused on your role, what you have been asked to do, don’t pay too much attention to what other’s are doing or to what they did wrong. And, finally, you can stay to compare the answers, but just make sure you are confortable with your understanding of the questions and the solution you gave (you had plenty of time during the meeting to double check). This last one, it’s even more valid in uncertains environments.