pragmatic (præ'mætik) [=F. pragmatique, Ger. pragmatisch, etc. , ad. L. pragmaticus skilled in business, a. Gr pragmatikós active, business-like, versed in affairs, relating to matter of fact, focusing on the essentials]

Skills, habits and attitudes

Apparently, being pragmatic affects many sides of working. To be skilled within the particular industry is fundamental, be it on an expert or generalist level. But it's not enough; certain good habits should be acquired, and some bad habits must be eliminated.

Finally, being pragmatic is much about attitudes. So pragmatism is not a single trick, but a whole mosaic of small pieces (tips) that fit together. The simple pieces may even look banal, but they're never too stupid to be forgotten.

The benefits of being pragmatic.

You develop best practises and avoid the usual pitfalls. You increase your personal productivity, accuracy and job satisfaction.

Some examples of being pragmatic:

"If the landscape you see doesn't match your map, trust the landscape." (Swiss Officers Handbook)

Think about your work

You can't remember why you do this? Time to wake up and take control. Criticise and appraise your work.

Remember the big picture

Busy with trees? Take a look around and see what happens in the forest!

Be a catalyst for change

Don't force change upon people. Show them how a better future could look like and let them be part of creating it.

Impossible problem?

Try the following questions:

  • Is there an easier way?
  • Are we solving the right problems?
  • Why is this a problem?
  • What makes it hard?
  • Do we have to do it this way?
  • Does it have to be done at all?