How to Have Simple and Effective Processes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Systems
Reading time: 1 min.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

–Albert Einstein

Our companies thrive when we have the simplest possible systems, processes, and policies. Anything too simple would be incomplete and cause confusion and waste. Anything too cumbersome will slow us down.

How, then, would we put Einstein’s advice into practice? It’s simple, of course! For any system, process, or policy,

  • Work back from the desired results. Start at the end and ask, “What do we need to have this outcome?” Then repeat the question until we get to the beginning. Whatever we build will be as simple as possible. Desired results describe what we want to happen for how much investment of time, energy, and money.
  • Add safeguards to address only those potential errors with unacceptably high expected costs (probability of it occurring times cost in relationship currency, dollars, and time).
  • Agree to revisit/redesign the systems, process, or policy whenever the desired results (outcomes and/or investment needed to get those outcomes) start slipping.

Simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: photosteve101 Pencil’s nib / pencil close up / macro / with with cross-section paper via photopin (license)

Hafta Versus Gonna

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

There’s a fundamental flaw that makes all time (or task) management awful. When we think about time management, we make the unwitting assumption that we “hafta” do, dump, delegate, or do later all the tasks that come our way. “I hafta answer that email. I gotta give Margie that feedback. I need to lose 5 pounds. I hafta reduce my environmental footprint.” Since there is no way we can ever get to all the things, the tasks just pile up. And we spend energy feeling bad about or trying to ignore it all.

Here’s a better way to think of it: let’s consider all the tasks that come to us as things we might do. From this perspective, we can happily let things pile up. “I might answer that email. I could complete the TPS report. I might book a ride in a helicopter. I could launch a line of parakeet clothing.”

Next, let’s get clear on what we really want to accomplish. We can do this by answering the question, “How will I know I’ve done a good job here?”

Then we step into a productive flow by asking ourselves, “What feels best? From all the things in the pile, what am I gonna do? What do I choose to do now?”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Flow much better, ya?

 

Today’s photo credit: davdenic Colors via photopin (license)

Why We Don’t Fight

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Fighting what we don’t want (at home, work, or in the world-at-large) only pushes people to fight back. Our energy gets drained and our effectiveness is muted. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. But let’s not.

Let’s instead redirect the energy we would have spent fighting to building what we do want. People will then jump in and help. This way our energy multiplies and our effectiveness soars.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Yes, this works everywhere, always.

 

Today’s photo credit: Peder Sterll Boxing gloves via photopin (license)

We Needn’t

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Assuming we know the outcomes we want to see, there are two ways we can approach any given situation. We can worry about how it will happen. Or we can watch with excited expectation as it unfolds.

Whichever we choose will determine how effective our planning and actions will be.

We take the heavy, former approach when we think we can and should control things. We take the lighter, latter approach when we realize we can’t and needn’t control anything.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Or, rather, we can’t and needn’t control anything besides our own thoughts and reactions.

 

Today’s photo credit: doranyiro Kuma waiting for a loving home (at the NHSPCA shelter) via photopin (license)

This Is Big

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

How we (deep down) feel about ourselves determines much (almost all) of our effectiveness at work and in life.

We can see this easily. If we doubt ourselves or have something to prove, we will be strongly driven to perform but also easily discouraged. If we see ourselves as connected and worthy, we will be calm, resilient, and creative. We don’t need to wonder which is better. We need only ask ourselves, “Which type of person would we rather have as a boss, friend, or partner?”

See?

This insight points to our greatest source of leverage as leaders and live-rs of life. By cultivating our sense of ourselves–seeing ourselves more naturally connected, valuable, and deserving–we’re tapping within us a huge source of inspiration and effectiveness.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This is big.

 

Today’s photo credit: P. Marioné landscape via photopin (license)

Selecting What NOT To Get Done

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 1 min.

It’s not about getting it all done. We can’t even get most of it done. There’s just too much we could do and more is always coming.

The trick is to get good at selecting only the best things to get done. And to actively NOT do the rest.

To do this, we first give ourselves and our teams permission not to get everything done. Otherwise, the stress and guilt will derail us. Next we set aside time daily and weekly to choose those best things to get done. Otherwise, we’ll be too reactive. Then we dedicate time monthly and quarterly for reflection and planning. Otherwise, our strategy will get stale, we’ll clash with each other over what we should be doing, and the reactive fire-fighting will creep back in.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: What’s the most important thing to get done today? (See, you knew the answer right away.)

 

Today’s photo credit: Tim Pierce accomplished (344/365) via photopin (license)

Seeing the Good

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Listen to conversations on the street, through the media, at work, and even at home. Much of what we hear is complaint. And too much complaint is bad for our health. Just being around it, our buzz drops and we become less vibrant, healthy, and effective.

We need a little complaint (from ourselves and others) so we can know what focus on next. But we’d do very well to limit exposure and spend more time plugged in, seeing the good, and offering people an antidote to all the complaint.

That’s what we need from you most, good leader.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nicolas Raymond cc

How To Say No To Emails, Meetings, Etc.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1 min.

It’s hard to say no to all the emails, meetings, interruptions, and other demands on our time. It is hard, that is, until we commit to something bigger, better, and more important to say yes to.

Yes. It’s that simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Easy? Nope. Simple? Yes. Doable? By you!? Of course.

PPS: How to find that something? Look for something compelling. It will use your talents, engage your passions, involve you in problems and opportunities you care about, and leave you well cared for including being well paid. In short, it will feel terrific to imagine and exciting (and perhaps challenging) to pursue.

 

Today’s photo credit: John&Fish cc

Getting Unpleasant Stuff Done

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 1 min.

What’s the best way to get something unpleasant done? We can use various techniques to push ourselves to do it. Or we can find ways to avoid it until it goes away or becomes unbearable. But both of these approaches drain us.

A better way is to ask ourselves,  “What end result do I desire here? Why is that result important to me? What’s the very next step (perhaps even a minute one) I can take to move things along? Do I have the time and energy to do this now or should I defer or delegate it? What do I choose?”

It may seem that pushing or avoiding is easier or faster. Nope. This better way gets us into a very productive flow with a small investment in thought.

Flow, good leader, flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Dave McLear cc