Do You Want To Solve Your Problem Or Figure Out How To Live With It?

When it comes to problem solving, the challenge is we generally start from a place of what we know. Perhaps we have been doing something in our company for a long time but now growth or some other change has increased the demand on the old way of doing it. Or maybe you've been able to deal with your kid in a certain way but then they get older and their friends change and they have different ideas that has to change how you interact with them. We deal with problems and most of the time problems come about from some sort of change. If things happened the same way it would be easy to figure out how to manage your problems, find solutions that fix them and get things humming. The hard part is just when you think you have a problem solved something else changes and a new problem comes along. My wife and I have joked for years how every time we start to feel like we have this parenting thing down our kids grow out of one stage and into another. I mean you can try to parent a teenager t…

The Number One Task Of A Leader Is To Provide Clarity

We all know that some times leaders don't have all of the answers. Each of us have been in situations where you basically feel like you are making it up as you go. You might be in one of those situations now, especially with how crazy and constantly changing this year is.With the health in our country the way it is we are probably dealing with a lot more work absences this year. Maybe you are a manager or a small business owner and you have an employee who you don't know when, or even if they are going to return. You have customers and co-workers that are relying on that person. You can't be certain of how things are going to transpire, but you have to make an effort to provide some clarity. If you don't that is when the rumors get started and frustrations come out as people talk and try to make sense of it. When people have no information from leaders it creates a vacuum which is quickly filled with whatever people can conjure up.I think one of the main qualities of a…

Making An Impact By Observing

With my job there are at times late night calls to execute a change to minimize the impact if something goes wrong. One of the benefits of this is you can learn some new and interesting things as you are talking with people outside of normal hours. This week I learned about something called the Observer Effect which is my new favorite concept.
The Observer Effect is a theory in physics that by simply observing a phenomenon you are impacting the phenomenon. A great example of this is checking the air pressure in your tires. When you check the air pressure you let some of the air out in the process to get the reading of the air pressure. It is a miniscule amount but it is there none the less. 
If you want to see this effect in real life, pick a friend or spouse and observe them. Don't say anything, just sit down with a pen and paper and take notes about what you observe. I guarantee that you you will have an impact on them, simply from your observation. 
The reason I love this concept …

There Are Times The Smart Thing To Do Is Work Harder

The old saying telling us we should work smarter not harder is great, and we all want to do so whenever we can. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to.
For instance, I've been doing some landscaping, and that has required a lot of digging and hauling of decorative rock. Now, that whole process would have gone a lot faster if I had a skid loader. But if you look at the time it would take to be proficient to dig up what I wanted to and not hit what I didn't, it might not have actually saved that much time overall. Plus there is the cost to rent the machine and the risk of actually hitting something by accident and causing more work. 
So sometimes you just have to pick up a shovel and start scooping. 
There are lots of tasks that require hard work to get done. There are better and smarter ways, but we don't always have the luxury of being able to develop the skills needed to operate at a more efficient level. So we do the work, learn our lessons and prepare ourselves for th…

Surviving The Day Is Also A Victory

Tough situations happen. Work gets crazy. Kids schedules get hectic. You figure your only options are to figure out how to clone yourself, invent a time machine or give up and sit in the corner crying. 
The actual solution is to get through it. Sometimes we just get through it, barely, and that is okay. One step in front of the other. Being able to say you got through another day is a victory. Celebrate that as a small victory and sooner than you think a big victory will come along.

The Lost Art Of Thinking Before Speaking

I wonder what it was really like during World War II in our country. Reading the history I know that most Americans opposed entry into the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor. Even after we were drawn into the war there were groups of people that opposed the war thinking Nazism was preferable to Communism as well as other more racist stances. Amidst all of that the overwhelming stories handed down were about the Greatest Generation and how everyone did their part, no matter how small, to support the war effort. Everyone knew that sacrifices had to be made, even the sacrifice of so many lives.
I think about that generation, trying to understand how in 80 years it has become hard to find a similar spirit of unity. We are a divided country and I see no desire on either side to try to reconcile. The concept of evaluating the words you say before you say them has been lost with the anonymity of social media. Asking ourselves, "Is it helpful? Is it kind?" before speaking to someon…

If You Have Free Time Prepare For The Unknown

One of the great questions out right now is what school is going to look like in the fall. There are still a lot of unknowns around COVID-19 and what the right decision is. Education, mental health, social growth, nutritional well being are all factors that need to be weighed along with the health risks of the virus. 
Parents know the end of the school year was not great. It was pure survival mode for everyone, trying to make the best of a situation we were thrown into. There has been a lot of grief given to teachers and administrators expecting a rock solid plan as we approach heading back to school, which is too bad. The problem is there is still a number of options on how it would look. Each option would require a different structure and game plan for teachers. They need to prepare for all of the scenarios, and also the possibility of having to switch to a plan B over the weekend multiple times throughout the year. 
It reminded me of how hard it is to plan. We all get thrown into sit…