Posts

Endless Ways To Learn Something New

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I read a fair amount. Last year I finished 31 books, which seems like a lot but I know people that read lots more than I do. The number one comment that I have received from people when they find out I am a reader is that they just don't have time to read. There are times that I don't have a lot of time to read, or I just get out of the habit so recently I tried to find some new ways to continue to learn, consume more information and read more. I thought I would share some of the things I've learned, hopefully they are helpful for you to discover new ways to

I've always preferred physical books over electronic, and probably always will, but there are some
benefits to eBooks that I've learned. Now I am always reading at a minimum two books at the same time, one electronic and one physical. I don't always have the ability to carry a book with me, but I always have my phone. You don't need to buy a Kindle, just find the Kindle app and you can read on any devi…

Clear Communication And Today's Attention Span

Apparently I am wordy. That probably isn't enough details, so let me expound on it. 
I've received some feedback that I can write an email that is deemed to be "too long". I went back and looked at some of my longer emails, ones I heard comments about and measured them. The longer ones were all between 150 and 400 words. To give some context to how much that is, a typical page is around 500 words. A typical reader can reach 200 words per minute at a comprehension rate of 60%. (If you are interested in finding out your reading and comprehension scores this was a fun, and quick exercise at readingsoft.com).
So an email that takes 1-2 minutes to read and comprehend is too much. Unfortunately this is partially the nature of the world we now live in. Research showed that our attention span decreased from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just over 8 seconds in 2015. I need to accept that and find ways to get better at being concise. 
Now, does that mean that details don'…

Stop Thinking About Being The Greatest And Just Strive For Greatness

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Yesterday was the 4th of July and if you are like me your social media feeds were probably blowing up with patriotic statements and love for our country. I love this country too, and all of the benefits that we are automatically granted by being one of the lucky 327 million people out of 7.6 billion to be born here. One thing I read a lot that made me stop and think today was "America is the greatest country in the world." But are we really the greatest? There is a lot of good things that happen in this country, and it is filled with great people. But so are a lot of other countries. I have no doubt we are a great country but the greatest? When you look at rankings on education, work-life balance, national debt or health care costs we aren't the greatest. Heck the US couldn't even qualify for the stinking World Cup. I think we live in a great country but I'm not going to ignore the fact that there are things that other countries are doing far better than we are.…

If It Helps The Organization Then Do It

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On organization is made up of individuals, and those individual people, you and me, are what makes an organization successful. But only if our focus is in the right direction. When we get busy our natural fight or flight instincts take over and it becomes about survival, "I need to take care of my stuff, I don't have time to worry about anyone else." It isn't about butting in, it is about making sure you are focused on serving that of which you are a part of.

As an individual, your first priority is to figure out how you can best help your team be successful. Some days that means doing a task you don't like, or staying late because it will help the team get better. Next, as a team you need to figure out how to help make your department successful. Up through the layers of your organization you go, your organization might have 2 circles, or it might have 20. Each group or team you are a part of should be focused on how to help the next layer up be successful. If …

Being First Does Not Guarantee You Are The Winner

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Steve Jobs didn't invent the smartphone. Bill Gates didn't invent the operating system with a GUI. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile. Being first, or inventing the idea doesn't automatically guarantee that you are going to be the one remembered forever. Archie was the first Internet search engine that few people actually know about without Googling "first Internet search engine".

So often we want to be the inventor, coming up with something that hasn't been seen before. In our jobs we want to be the person that solves the problem nobody else has. To be remembered as coming up with the process that fixes our issues. Greatness is usually not found in the invention, instead it is found in the daily grind. It is about finding a better way to do something that already exists like what Henry Ford did with the Model T, making the process more efficient and far less expensive. Or it is about taking your creation and making sure every day you continue to mak…

You Are Probably Too Busy To Read This

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We like to be busy. We all complain about being too busy, not having enough time to get something done. Wishing there were more hours in the day to be able to do the things that we want. We of course have time for Facebook, Netflix, Candy Crush and ESPN, but we are so busy.

At work we become so busy that we spend time responding to the latest email and we miss our chance to get the important projects done. We also miss our chance to make things better so we don't have to be so busy.

Our society has somehow decided that being busy was cool. The number of hours you work becomes a badge of honor, a competition to see who has a heart attack first I guess. We need to stop giving attention to being busy and instead focus on making sure we are working on the things that actually matter.

This isn't a cry to figure out how to slack off at work, this is about shifting the balance from unproductive to productive work. We've all been to the meeting or read the email chain that at the …

I Don't Know How To Do That...Yet

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If I was only allowed to follow one person on Twitter, Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) might be it. He is funny, honest, witty, insightful and challenging. You never know what you are going to get from him but it is probably really good.

He had a gem the other day that made me laugh out loud and also made me question myself. Short story is there was a squirrel that had a very long tooth, and a lady found a YouTube video on how to cut it to give the poor thing a chance at survival. I can't do it justice, you have to take a look and see the pictures for yourself.


What really got me though is Jon's comments:
The next time someone tells me “I don’t know how to do something,” I’m going to tell them, “If someone can find videos on YouTube for how to trim squirrel teeth, you can find what you’re looking for, too.” It made me think about all of the times that we limit ourselves. We either tell ourselves that we can't do something or we believe too much about what other people are saying abo…