Sometimes we get so caught up in the small stuff that we forget about the big stuff. We try to do what nobody can do. We take the hard path because we think it's easier. Or we choose the path we know, even though we know it leads to trouble.
Here are twenty-three thoughts to keep in mind when caught up in the small stuff.
- It's better to cancel a meeting that shouldn't be held than to hold a meeting that shouldn't be held.
- When a project gets way behind schedule, you have to go faster than "best case" just to catch up. Actually catching up is unlikely.
- Tarzan's First Rule of Change: After you grab the next vine, you have to let go of the vine you're on.
- They don't call it the "red-eye" for nothing.
- If you only call people when you want something, they'll eventually learn how to use Caller ID.
- Advice for troubled teams: If you're mixing batter for two chocolate cakes in two bowls, and you accidentally drop some asphalt into one bowl, moving some of the asphalt to the other bowl doesn't help.
- Multitasking is often just a way of convincing yourself that you're getting more done than you really are.
- The need for continuous communication with coworkers might really be a need to feel needed.
- Troubles at home eventually find their way to work.
- Troubles at work eventually find their way home.
- The Troubles at home eventually
find their way to work.
Troubles at work eventually
find their way home.more stuff you pack for the trip, the more stuff you'll be lugging around.
- The more stuff you pack for the trip, the more stuff you can lose someplace.
- Most people have little tolerance for ambiguity. What they don't know, they make up.
- To reach unexplored territory, you have to step off the well-trodden path.
- Number One way to halt forward progress: start squabbling about who gets credit for progress already made.
- When things are going well, getting the small things right can make outcomes even better.
- When things are going badly, getting the small things right might be just an irrelevant distraction.
- If someone is constantly trying to do part of your job, have a chat. If that fails, or if you can't chat, do your job before they do it.
- Number One sign of disorganization: "Where did I put that?"
- Number One sign of overload: "Did I or didn't I already do that?"
- Advice given but unsought soon becomes advice heard but unheeded.
- Working smarter is harder. That's why so few do it.
Finally, and most important, almost everyone involved in whatever you're involved in is focused on their own role in it. Most of them think the whole thing is about them. They're wrong, of course, because it's not about them. But they're only partly wrong: it's not about you either. Top Next Issue
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More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
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have time to read the time management books we've already bought.
- Knowing Where You're Going
- Groups that can't even agree on what to do can often find themselves debating about how
to do it. Here are some simple things to remember to help you focus on defining the goal.
- Working Journals
- Keeping a journal about your work can change how you work. You can record why you did what you did,
and why you didn't do what you didn't. You can record what you saw and what you only thought you saw.
And when you read the older entries, you can see patterns you might never have noticed any other way.
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answer. The right answer can be good; but often, the right question can be better.
- Unnecessary Boring Work: II
- Workplace boredom can result from poor choices by the person who's bored. More often boredom comes from
the design of the job itself. Here's Part II of our little catalog of causes of workplace boredom.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
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- And on August 30: They Just Don't Understand
- When we cannot resolve an issue in open debate, we sometimes try to explain the obstinacy of others. The explanations we favor can tell us more about ourselves than they do about others. Available here and by RSS on August 30.
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- The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
- On 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald
Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen
had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished.
As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business
analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read
more about this program. Here are some dates for this program:
- The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce Street,
Virginia Beach, VA 23462: September 13,
Monthly Meeting, Hampton Roads Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- CTCPA, 716 Brook Street,
Rocky Hill, CT 06067: September 20,
Full-day Workshop, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23462: September 13, Monthly Meeting, Hampton Roads Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
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speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises
is often enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. The problem is that we lead, manage,
and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located
teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and
supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance.
Read more about this program. Here's a date for this
- Baci Grill, 134 Berlin
Road, Berlin, CT 06416: September 19,
Monthly Meeting, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Road, Berlin, CT 06416: September 19, Monthly Meeting, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
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- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.