Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 13, Issue 50;   December 11, 2013: More Things I've Learned Along the Way

More Things I've Learned Along the Way

by

Some entries from my personal collection of useful insights.

Occasionally, when I learn something, I think, "I wish I had known that years ago." Maybe it would have saved me pain and trouble, or helped me find more joy and happiness, or maybe it just appeals to me. Whenever this happens, I write it down, or at least I mean to write it down. Many of them do get away. Here's the second installment of some that didn't get away.

  • It's way better to cancel a meeting that shouldn't happen than to hold a meeting that shouldn't have happened.
  • If you phone someone only when something is wrong, they'll eventually learn about Caller ID.
  • Ask questions only if you think the answers (or non-answers) will help.
  • Turning the other cheek is a good way to get slapped again. And maybe that's a good thing.
  • When people interrupt each other, rudeness isn't always the only reason. Some interruptions are strategic.
  • A happy dogWhen somebody consistently does something wrong, your understanding of what they're trying to accomplish might be incorrect.
  • When an expert tells you it's impossible, take heed. Experts who exaggerate aren't experts for long.
  • Humor is everywhere. Even in things you're embarrassed you laughed at.
  • Humor helps some people get over the rough spots. Others find it most unhelpful. How wondrously different we all are.
  • People who take credit for the work of others soon run out of others.
  • The young have a huge advantage over their elders. They haven't yet learned that there isn't time enough to learn all of what they haven't yet learned.
  • Three kinds of people who don't learn: the unwilling, the unable, and the soon-to-be-unemployed.
  • Dogs understand us. It's what they do for a living.
  • Get a scanner. Electronic hoarding Dogs understand us.
    It's what they do
    for a living.
    is better for the environment than hardcopy hoarding.
  • Many of my mistakes eventually proved right. And many things I thought were right eventually proved to be mistakes. So, being sure I'm right can be a mistake. I think.
  • Some people contribute much more than they get credit for; some contribute much less. The trick is figuring out which is which.
  • Some people contribute much less than they think they do. Way less.
  • Being loyal to an organization that's incapable of being loyal to you is just dumb. Same for people.
  • You get good only at what you practice at, but practicing at something is no guarantee you'll get good at it.
  • Don't practice at anything you don't want to get good at.
  • Getting angry at inanimate objects hardly ever motivates them to do better.
  • Taking time out to think usually saves time in the end.
  • On days when nothing is going right, I remind myself that most things actually are going right. I'm just too messed up to notice them.
  • Trees know how to make do with whatever comes their way. They have to.

I'm sure more will come to me. When I get a bunch, I'll send them along. First in this series  Go to top Top  Next issue: Projects as Proxy Targets: I  Next Issue

Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunLove the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenEPjdXcvMNbMzQAjsner@ChacXjHJKtnJvzpmYgqRoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Ethics at Work:

BalletWorkplace Politics vs. Integrity
A reader wrote recently of wanting to learn "to effectively participate in office politics without compromising my integrity." It sometimes seems that those who succeed in workplace politics must know how to descend to the blackest depths, and still sleep at night. Must we abandon our integrity to participate in workplace politics?
The rabbit that went down the rabbit-holeIt Might Be Legal, but It's Unethical
Now that CEOs will be held personally accountable for statements they make about their organizations, we can all expect to be held to higher standards of professional ethics. Some professions have formal codes of ethics, but most don't. What ethical principles guide you?
A horseEthical Influence: II
When we influence others as they're making tough decisions, it's easy to enter a gray area. How can we be certain that our influence isn't manipulation? How can we influence others ethically?
Washington Irving, American author, 1783-1859Extrasensory Deception: I
Negotiation skills are increasingly essential in problem-solving workplaces. When incentives are strong, or pressure is high, deception is tempting. Here are some of the deceptions popular among negotiators.
The Costanza MatrixThe Costanza Matrix
The Seinfeld character "George Costanza" is famous for having said, "It's not a lie if you believe it." What if you don't believe it and it's true? Some musings.

See also Ethics at Work and Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

A shark of unspecified speciesComing May 2: Narcissistic Behavior at Work: VII
Narcissistic behavior at work prevents trusting relationships from developing. It also disrupts existing relationships, and generates toxic conflict. One class of behaviors that's especially threatening to relationships is disregard for the feelings of others. In this part of our series we examine the effects of that disregard. Available here and by RSS on May 2.
Jump ball in a game of basketballAnd on May 9: Unethical Coordination
When an internal department or an external source is charged with managing information about a large project, a conflict of interest can develop. That conflict presents opportunities for unethical behavior. What is the nature of that conflict, and what ethical breaches can occur? Available here and by RSS on May 9.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenWnAnLymTjIvMYbLFner@ChacFzWzOpZfsYQyErUyoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople 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.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.