What I've Learned Working Remotely

For years I've known about the concept of working remotely and had even managed people who worked remote in the early 2000's. I thought it was a great option, but not anything I would enjoy. I felt like I knew myself, I liked being in an office environment and the social aspect that comes with it. Turns out I was wrong. Five months ago, exactly, I accepted a new position working remote. It hasn't been near the obstacle to overcome as I thought it would be. Sure there are things I miss about being in the office, but there are some benefits as well.

What I've learned five months in:

I was prepared for it because I have spent the better part of my career working with people not in the same building as me. Even when I worked in an office I spent as much time on the phone or in chats as I do now. Just because you are not in the office doesn't mean you can't feel like any other member of the team.Technology today is amazing. The tools allow you to interact with someon…

Robots And Artificial Intelligence - They Can't Replace Everything

A story you are starting to hear more about is the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence or AI. This isn't about Skynet or the Matrix, but some people see it as catastrophic of a change. The narrative in the media makes it feel like this is the end of civilization as we know it. There is a fear it is going to destroy a lot of jobs out there. It is true, it will destroy a lot of jobs. But you don't often hear about all of the facts that are a part of it.

It will end up creating more jobs than it will eliminate. All of the technology and manufacturing that is needed will end up creating more jobs than it eliminates.Our country and society has a history of destroying and creating jobs. Look at farming, around 1800 farmers comprised 85% of the workforce. Today that number is 2.6%. All of those jobs were destroyed and replaced by something else. Every month jobs are destroyed but new jobs, between 10-20% more than those that are destroyed are created.Not everything can be rep…

Learning Curves, New Jobs, And Knowing When It Will Make Sense

One concept I have discovered in my career are plateaus of effectiveness when you start a new job. I have started enough new roles in my career as well as hiring and working with new people enough that I've seen these natural leaps people make in taking on something new. At 30 days, 90 days and 1 year any person will have a deeper understanding of what the job entails and take what feels like a monumental leap forward. When you analyze it there is an amazing feeling that happens where you legitimately feel things start to click in a way they hadn't before.

I've been thinking about this because I'm a little over 4 months into my new role. When I think about how much more I can get done right now in comparison to where I was just a couple of months ago it is pretty crazy.

I think just knowing there are these plateaus and breakthroughs that occur is helpful. It is okay the first couple of weeks it feels like you are drinking from a fire hose, you know it only lasts a mont…

You Are Who You Associate With

Who you are as a person is primarily a product of the people you choose to associate with. If you spend most of your time with high character people, they are going to have a positive affect on you. Just like in the reverse when you choose people of questionable character it can lead you down the wrong path. We've all known people who have made bad choices and we say, "They just fell in with the wrong crowd."

I'm sure there is some parenting guide somewhere that says we are supposed to let our kids make their own mistakes, and we can't tell them who they should be friends with. I obviously have never read it because I have no problem sharing my opinion with them. I've never had to tell them they have to stop being friends with someone, but we talk and I openly share with them who I think are good friends and who I'm okay with them not spending time with because I don't think they are a very nice person.

Can we do that with ourselves or with our friend…

Wasting Time Solving Problems We Don't Understand

We are all very capable of wasting time. Everyone has their peak effective time. Some can crank out work really well in the morning. Some do their best work at night when it is quiet and there are no distractions. For some of us it is very easy to get sucked into a conversation that isn't actually relevant to your job. Social media and binge watching Netflix are other obvious time wasters.

When it comes to being at work, one of the biggest time wasters I've found is when you are trying to solve a problem but you don't really understand what the problem is. I love to solve problems, finding solutions is the most rewarding part of my job. But when the problem isn't understood, trying different solutions is just throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.

One of the simplest ways to get to the root cause of a problem is using the 5 whys. The idea is to keep asking why until you get to the true root cause. They say 5 because at a minimum it forces you to dig deepe…

What A Little Kindness Can Do

You can never go wrong in life by being kind and generous. You may have seen this story as it has gone viral, about a girl who gave two hockey pucks to a couple of boys next to her during warm-ups, one of which desperately wanted to get a puck. At the end of the video you could see the admiration the young boy had as he told her thank you.

A simple act of kindness, a story which could have ended there. However, with the power of the Internet, it was not the end of the story. The Minnesota Wild organization was able to track down 11-year-old Emily and they repaid her kindness by inviting her back to the next game, allowing her to meet some of the team and they presented her with a signed jersey and signed pucks from every member of the team.

We don't act kind to others because we expect or even hope to get something in return. Emily didn't do it because she expected to become a viral sensation and be presented with some amazing gifts from her favorite team. She did it because i…

The One Person It Is Worthwhile To Judge Their Behaviors

I've been working through The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday this year, it is filled with nuggets of wisdom. Last week there was a passage that has been the highlight for me where it basically talked about how we need to not judge other people's behavior and only judge our own.

If we are honest with ourselves, we get this backwards all of the time. Spend any time on social media and you will have endless rantings about something someone said, or did or thought about. When something goes wrong our focus goes immediately to what others need to do better.

If we have to look at ourselves, our instinct is to defend our motivations. Explain why we were justified in our behavior.

You will never be able to change someone else's behavior, only they can decide to change it themselves. If we all focused on worrying about ourselves what an amazing and different world we would live in.