Archive for July, 2021

Taking vacations and holidays are the most productive things you can do.

It’s not a vacation unless you forget about work.

It’s not a holiday unless you leave your phone at home.

If you must check-in at work, you’re not on vacation.

If you feel guilty that you did not check-in at work, you’re not on holiday.

If you long for work while you’re on vacation, do something more interesting on vacation.

If you wish you were at work, you get no credit for taking a holiday.

If people know you won’t return their calls, they know you are on vacation.

If people would rather make a decision than call you, they know you’re on holiday.

If you check your voicemail, you’re not on vacation.

If you check your email, you’re not on holiday.

If your company asks you to check-in, they don’t understand vacation.

If people at your company invite you to a meeting, they don’t understand holiday.

Vacation is productive in that you return to work and you are more productive.

Holiday is not wasteful because when you return to work you don’t waste time.

Vacation is profitable because when you return you make fewer mistakes.

Holiday is skillful because when you return your skills are dialed in.

Vacation is useful because when you return you are useful.

Holiday is fun because when you return you bring fun to your work.

If you skip your vacation, you cannot give your best to your company and to yourself.

If neglect your holiday, you neglect your responsibility to do your best work.

Don’t skip your vacation and don’t neglect your holiday.  Both are bad for business and for you.

“CatchingButterflies on Vacation” by OakleyOriginals is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Your truth will set you free, but only if you tell it.

Every day, tell your truth.

Even if unpopular, tell your truth.

Especially if unpopular, tell your truth.

It’s not your obligation to convince others of your truth, but it is your obligation to share it.

Your truth is yours, and that’s enough. Tell it.

If someone doesn’t share your truth, you’ve done your part.

Your truth is birthed from your experiences, and that’s why your truth is unique and valid.

Your truth can be sharpened by listening to others’ truths, but you’ve got to listen.

If you don’t listen to others’ truths, yours will stagnate.

Stagnant truth is outdated truth.

Outdated truth is less useful than updated truth.

“the eyes of truth r always watching u” by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Work is 95% Noise

There’s a lot of noise at work.  I’m not talking about the audible noise you hear in your office or the chatter of your coworkers. I’m talking about the noise purposefully created to slather a layer of importance to things that aren’t all that important.

Corporate priorities are created at the company level to move the company in a new direction. There are regular presentations made by the leadership team to educate everyone on the new direction and help everyone think the initiative is important.  This takes a lot of time and energy.  Then, there are regular meetings held across the company to hear the sermon of the corporate priorities. How much does it cost for everyone in the company to sit through a one-hour sermon on corporate priorities? How much does it cost to do this quarterly or monthly? Because the cost is high and the value is low, corporate priorities have a high noise content.

Monthly reports on the status of the corporate priorities take a lot of work to pull together. These reports tell us how things are going at a high level but are not actionable.  Some initiatives are green, some are yellow, and some are red.  So what? After reading a monthly report of a corporate initiative, have you ever changed your work in any way? I didn’t think so, because the report is noise.

If your work brings about no changes, the work is noise.

If you complete a talent assessment for your team and no one’s work changes or no one changes teams, the talent assessment is noise. If you are asked to create a summary of your work experience to support a talent assessment and nothing changes after the assessment, the talent assessment program is noise. If you are asked to put together a succession plan and nothing changes, the succession planning process is noise. If you are asked to put together an improvement plan for your team’s culture and no one reads the plan or holds you accountable, the culture improvement program is noise.

If you write a monthly report and no asks questions about it, the monthly reporting process is noise. If you write a charter for a project and no one asks questions about it, the project definition process is noise. If someone sets up a meeting without a defined agenda, that meeting is noise. If no one writes meeting minutes, the meeting is noise. If there will be no decision made at the meeting, don’t go because that meeting is noise.

Work is 95% noise.

If someone asks for help, help them because that is not noise. When you see a problem, do something about it because that’s not noise.  When you see something that’s missing, fill the hole because that’s not noise.  When something interests you, investigate it because that’s not noise.  When your curiosity gets the best of you, that’s not noise.  When something is important to you, that’s not noise.  When something should be important to someone else, tell them because that’s not noise.

When the work is noise, don’t do it. But if you must do it, do it with minimal effort and do it poorly. Don’t start the work until two weeks after the deadline. With luck, next time they’ll ask someone else to do it. If you think the work is noise, it probably is. Don’t do the work until you’re asked three times. Then, do it poorly.

If the customer won’t benefit, the work is noise. If the work is new and the customer might benefit, the work is not noise. If you are unsure if the work is noise, ask how might customer benefit.  If you are pursuing something that will grow the top line, it’s not noise. If you’re unsure if the work is noise, ask how the work might grow the top line.

If it’s noise, say no.  That will free up your time to say yes to things that are real.

“Olive with her NYE hearing protection… Muffs on upside down work great!” by Bekathwia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some Problems With Problems

If you don’t know what the problem is, that’s your first problem.

A problem can’t be a problem unless there’s a solution.  If there’s no possible solution, don’t try to solve it, because it’s not a problem.

If there’s no problem, you have a big problem.

If you’re trying to solve a problem, but the solution is outside your sphere of influence, you’re taking on someone else’s problem.

If someone tries to give you a gift but you don’t accept it, it’s still theirs. It’s like that with problems.

If you want someone to do the right thing, create a problem for them that, when solved, the right thing gets done.

Problems are good motivators and bad caretakers.

A problem is between two things, e.g., a hammer and your thumb.  Your job is to figure out the right two things.

When someone tries to give you their problem, keep your hands in your pockets.

A problem can be solved before it happens, while it happens, or after it happened.  Each time domain has different solutions, different costs, and different consequences.  Your job is to choose the most appropriate time domain.

If you have three problems, solve one at a time until you’re done.

Solving someone else’s problem is a worst practice.

If you solve the wrong problem, you consume all the resources needed to solve the right problem without any of the benefits of solving it.

Ready, fire, aim is no way to solve problems.

When it comes to problems, defining IS solving.

If you learn one element of problem-solving, learn to see when someone is trying to give you their problem.

“My first solved Rubik’s cube” by Nina Stawski is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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