My Personal Effectiveness

September 17th, 2019

Renée Oste, a friend of mine, is a specialist in personal effectiveness. While talking to her, there is this little voice in the back of my head: “Am I effective? What does she think?”

When Renée came to Rwanda, she offered to train the whole Three Mountains team, and we graciously accepted. She made us reflect on questions like, “What makes you happy in your work?”

My reply: “Good quality e-courses, lots of active happy people around me, creativity and focus.”

Her next question: “When do you lose focus? When do you feel unhappy at the end of a workday?  What would you like to change?”

We talked about why the days always seem too short. Every morning I have a task list, but I seldom complete it. We have this horrible list of ‘unfinished business’ in our team meeting minutes. This is a list of things we would like to do, but which are not urgent. It seems to grow longer and longer.

She also asked, “What would you do if you were the director of Three Mountains learning advisors?”

Being the director of Three Mountains learning advisors already, I could think of lots of things that I should do: find a bigger office, recruit a marketing director, and re-think the business model behind our e-courses. Changes which are not urgent, but which give direction to the future of our company. I decided to make more time for this kind of strategic thinking.  It is all there in my sub-conscious, but it needs time and attention to sprout out.

The training also helped me in a very practical way. I sort through all of my e-mails twice a day, and now have an empty in-box. No more endless scrolling through e-mails. I reply to the urgent ones immediately. I put things that need following up in a ‘pending’ file. The rest, I sort into files according to subject. It took two days to organise this, and I hated doing it, but now I see the fruits of my labour. It really saves time and I have a better overview of what to do.

Team members requested a team calendar. I was reluctant because I am very attached to my little red book. But team effectiveness is an issue and the whole team now plan work using the calendar. I do have to remind people on Monday mornings, but we are getting there. We use Teamup as a planning tool.

Renée loves her work, and she loves Africa. She hopes to drum up some personal effectiveness business in Rwanda, and she did a few teaser workshops about CiEP. We invited our friends, colleagues and acquaintances to participate, and around 30 people accepted the invitation. Renée gave them a taste of what personal effectiveness can be. Here are two titles from the CiEP workbooks:

  • Consciously chosen work habits: excellent results
  • Value-driven working: from “have to” to “want to”

Would you like to know more? Check the CiEP website or contact Renée at:

Gerry van der Hulst