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Stuck In A Rut

Read a quote recently from Albert Einstein, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

It reminded me of a well known saying about the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

How often do we get stuck in our routines and not even realize it? How often do we not see the breakthroughs we want? Persistence is a good thing, but sometimes you have to recognize when you stay in a rut it will take you to the same place it always has. If you want to go someplace different, achieve breakthrough, see a change happen, we have to change our approach.

What haven't you tried before? It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense or you don't think it will work. Everything else you've tried hasn't worked so if the next idea doesn't work you will be right where you are now. Sometimes you have to try all the ways that fail to find the one way that will work.

Prioritize Your Priorities

If I had a dollar for every time I heard people ask for clarification around priorities I would have enough money to retire and not have to hear about priorities. It is so important, no matter what your job, what company you work for or how long you've been with a company, everyone has to deal with prioritizing their work. It always sounds so easy, whatever is most important do that first. The problem is deciding what is most important is usually a strategic decision, you have to say A is more important than B. That gets really hard when B has value, and you really want it too. Wouldn't it be nice to have our cake and eat it too? You have to decide. Companies that are great are simply better at prioritizing. Finding the things that seem so important and coming to terms with the fact that they simply aren't as important as we make them out to be and making them a lower priority.

Take it a step further, what happens when two different people/teams/departments/divisions have …

Stop Bashing And Start Promoting

Dave Adamson (@aussiedave) had a tweet recently that really resonated with me:
Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. (Link) When I first read it I immediately thought about social media and how so many people speak so harshly and critically of the things they don't agree with. I think there isn't good healthy debate in today's society, I think this is part of the root of this issue because we think debate is destroy your opponent, not about winning people to your side. I look at our political system and it feels like each side spends far more time saying why the opposition is wrong rather than outlining a solution to actually fix things.

Think about your workplace also. How often do you hear people complain about a new policy, explaining all the ways that something isn't going to work or playing the "I told you so" game? How often do you hear people bring ideas to the table? Unfortunately I'm guessing it is far more often than you would …

It Is Always The Little Things That Get You

I've been around software development for 20 years now (man that just made me feel old) and there has always been an ongoing joke about the first thing that gets thrown out when you are pressed for time is the testing. Well, the testing is probably the most important thing. You are either going to spend your time in testing or you will spend your time troubleshooting after go live and trying to fix what you didn't realize was broken. Most developers prefer writing code over testing their code. It seems like it is a secondary task, or a little thing, compared to the main focus of development.

The separation between those that are successful and those that are average is in the little things. The best software developers are really good at testing. Whatever the secondary tasks are for you, if you can be really good at those you can stand out.

If your main task is building a product, secondary tasks are marketing, on-time delivery and return policies.

If your main task is fixing …

Who Are Your Mirrors?

Mirrors are helpful in showing us what other people see. They can show us our flaws, our best features, when we look good or when we are a mess. There isn't a mirror though that reflects our qualities that you can't see. There isn't a mirror that shows us how others perceive our attitude, our tone or the words we use. We need people in our lives that hold up the mirror and are honest about what our reflection looks like. The best managers that build great teams are good at holding up the mirror. People that you trust that are brave enough to show us the good things and the flaws are priceless. When people give us feedback we need to hear what they are saying.

Nothing changes though if we don't take the feedback and do something with it. Sometimes we don't agree with the feedback, to which my response is that perception becomes reality. Even if you don't think something is true if others perceive it as true it may as well be. Sometimes we don't like the feed…

What Does A Life Well Lived Look Like?

The only thing that is guaranteed in life, is death. At the end of our days on Earth people that we know and love will gather together to say goodbye and share memories of us. Most of us will not be famous and remembered long after we are gone. What will be remembered is the impact and influence we had on the people around us.

Thinking of this I was reminded of a story I heard from David Nelson (@davidnelson86) who was a teammate of Tim Tebow and a two time college football national champion. In it he talked about how he came to Christ, his story was when he was in 8th grade students went to a conference but he didn’t have the money. The pastor called him up front, had him explain his situation and and asked the congregation who could give to help him go. At first nobody came up, he felt embarrassed and wanted to run and hide, but then this woman came up, pulled a Ziploc bag from her purse filled with coins and bills and said that she had been saving for years to treat herself to a sp…

Failing Does Not Make You A Failure

It is Super Bowl week so there is a lot of talk about the upcoming football game. Media people are running around trying to find any angle they can to find an interesting story. One of the most interesting stories in all of professional football is the ongoing success of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Whether you like the Patriots or not you can't help but be amazed at the run those two have had in their careers. Many would argue that Bill Belichick is the most successful NFL coach in history, and it is hard to argue with five championships. But what is even more interesting is that his first job as a head coach was with the Cleveland Browns where he only had one winning seasons in the five he was with the team. Bonus fact, his defensive coordinator was Nick Saban for the first four seasons. Many would argue Saban is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.

The point is, that before two coaches became the best in the business they failed. They din't stop there …