The Expedient Route Often Isn’t

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Things done under pressure often backfire. That person we urgently needed to hire, the deal we really needed to make, and the strategy we didn’t have time to test are classic examples of the pressure-filled decisions that go on to cause much more trouble than they were meant to prevent.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: But delaying decisions isn’t helpful either. Figure out what’s true now, what you want to be true, and why. Then decide and do the very next step and repeat until done.

One Wee Step

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Sometimes all we need is a teeny win. Committing to taking a step in the right direction–even a step that is not in the wrong direction–does the trick. We will either launch ourselves where we want to go or gain enough momentum to take another teeny step.

What’s your one wee step, now?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo courtesy of mintchipdesigns.

Dreams

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in What=Compelling Focus
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We can run our processes, push our products, and tell people what we think they should be doing. Or, we can connect our dreams to our team’s dreams and get out of the way.

The latter looks harder and longer but it’s not.

 

In your corner,

Mike

How Not To Lose Track of Takeaways

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
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In all the busyness, it’s easy to lose track of what we have agreed to do for each other, that is of our takeaways. Here is a 5-step process that works well.

Recap. End each live, text, or email conversation or meeting with a review of who is going to do what by when.

Confirm. As soon as possible after a conversation or meeting, write an email to the person or people confirming what you have committed to do by when. Note that each person with a takeaway will be sending an email. If appropriate, you can replace this email with a full set of meeting minutes.

Track. Keep a running list of what you’ve committed and what others have committed to you. Copy the commitments you’ve sent and received. If meeting minutes are available, copy from them the relevant tasks due from and to you. Tedious? Perhaps. But doing this makes it much more likely that you’ll  remember what’s been promised. Include “by when” on each item. You can use a notebook with a different page to track each person’s commitments (including yours to them). Or you can track things in an app (like Todoist) and tag those items with the relevant people’s name(s). 

Review. Scan your list every day and pick the items you’d like to get done today and now what you’re expecting from others. This should take about a 2 minutes.

Do. Then do those things you’ve committed to do and, should they forget, remind your teammates of what they still owe you.

And should you find that you can’t keep your commitment, reach out and renegotiate a new what by when.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo courtesy of TeroVesalainen

Turn Struggle into Flow

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
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Our worries about how something will get done are merely us focusing on what’s wrong. This, we’ve seen, is a great way to prevent progress. It feels bad and has us struggle through sub-optimal next steps.

Next time you catch yourself with worrying about how, stop. Focus for a bit on what end result you really want, why you want it, and how great it will feel when it happens. Then ask yourself what is the next best thing to do.

You’ll be delighted as struggle turns to flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: James Whitesmith The Strid via photopin (license)

How to Have Simple and Effective Processes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Systems
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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
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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
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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)