Showing posts from June, 2018

Being First Does Not Guarantee You Are The Winner

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

You Are Probably Too Busy To Read This

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

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

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 ar

What Do You Give To The Relationships That Are Important To You?

Today is my anniversary. I like the fact that my anniversary falls so close to Father's Day every year, I get to celebrate the four most important people in my life. It is also a good reminder for me every year about relationships. Relationships take work. Marriages only work if both people put effort into making it work. As a parent you need to work to understand your children and build a relationship with them. The more kids you have the more effort as well because each child is unique in their needs and personality. Good friendships require being there for the other person, supporting them when they need it. Work can be the same as you have relationships with your coworkers and if you are a manager the people that report to you. Each of those people that you interact with have unique personalities, different hopes and dreams for their career and a complete range of situations they are going through in their personal life that impacts them at work. Each of those relationships

Breaking Down The Walls That Exist In Organizations

I'm guessing we've all been in situations where it feels like you are fighting between departments or groups that you ask, "Are we not on the same team?" If you've never felt like that, you are either in a great environment (which I would love to talk with you and understand how it happens) or you are a company of one. But if you do find yourself in that situation it can be very frustrating. If we are all on the same team why is it so hard to work between divisions, between departments and with another individuals sitting right beside us doing the same job? Even when you talk about the people that feel like you aren't on the same page with, they are nice and helpful, you would describe them as a good team player and yet the silos still exist. So what do we do about it? It all comes down to getting buy in and agreement on the goal. If everyone agrees to what the goal is and what they are trying to accomplish you have far fewer issues. It is getting everyon

Good Customer Service Can Be Defined Many Ways

Customers are important, your business doesn't survive without them. Many companies pride themselves on how much they care about their customers. Leaders frequently trumpet how important the customer is, repeating stories about how someone went above and beyond to solve a customer issue. Yet I'm astonished at the number of companies that hold themselves in high regard on their customer service yet are often having to go above and beyond to fix problems that they have created. If your customer is your quality control, you have an issue. It is bad if they are noticing mistakes in your marketing materials or on your Web site. It is bad if they are finding inconsistencies in your information. It is bad if they are noticing a defect in your product. There is a difference in having a tribe that supports you and wants to see you succeed and a customer that keeps finding your errors. If you are having to constantly thank your customer for helping you find an issue you want to go out

Leadership And Delegation

As a leader, to be successful you need to learn how to delegate, it is impossible to do everything yourself. You need to have a good team that you have trained, that you trust to execute to the level needed. For many leaders one of the hardest things to learn is how to delegate. You need to give people responsibility, allowing them to make mistakes so they grow without the mistakes damaging your organization. Walking that line of trusting and seeing things get done without critical mistakes happening is really hard for some. For others, it comes far too easy. They can delegate all day long, they are good at assigning tasks and convincing someone else that they are the best person for the job. It is a slippery slope though because if you delegate everything away, ultimately people begin asking what it is you do. Delegation is letting others lead a task but being their to support them so they are successful, not dumping your work on them. If you are the CEO and everyone takes care of thi

Are You Okay Being Incompetent?

I was listening to a podcast with Seth Godin recently, it was a fascinating view of change and how people naturally view it. In it he talked about how we are all trained as workers to be competent at our job, that is how we are hired, reviewed and retained. If we aren't competent then we usually will find ourselves out of a job. But every time someone asks us to change in our job, when we are asked to step away from what we know to something unknown, we feel incompetent and we fight it. We have to move towards incompetency, then figure out what we don't know, learn it and become competent again.  There is also a natural part of us that instinctively doesn't like change. In the wild animals have their habits and instincts, they don't change. In the wild if you change you die. There is a part of us that feels the same way. If we don't keep doing our jobs the exact same way we've always done it, somewhere deep in our mind we fear we are going to fail and lose o