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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- Many project emergencies are actually the result of setbacks — negative progress. Sometimes these
mishaps are unavoidable, but often they're the result of patterns of organizational culture. How can
we reduce the incidence of setbacks?
- Our Last Meeting Together
- You can find lots of tips for making meetings more effective — many at my own Web site. Most are
directed toward the chair, or the facilitator if you have one. Here are some suggestions for everybody.
- The Power and Hazards of Anecdotes: I
- Anecdotes are short stories — sometimes just a single sentence. They're powerful tools of persuasion,
but they can also be dangerous, to both anecdote tellers and anecdote listeners.
- How to Find Lessons to Learn
- When we conduct Lessons Learned sessions, how can we ensure that we find all the important lessons to
be learned? Here's one method.
- Getting Value from Involuntary Seminars
- Whatever your organizational role, from time to time you might find yourself attending seminars or presentations
involuntarily. The value you derive from these "opportunities" depends as much on you as on
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
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- One of the attributes of team cultures is something called power distance, which is a measure of the overall comfort people have with inequality in the distribution of power. Power distance can determine how well a team performs when executing high-risk projects. Available here and by RSS on October 23.
- And on October 30: Power Distance and Risk
- Managing or responding to project risks is much easier when team culture encourages people to report problems and question any plans they have reason to doubt. Here are five examples that show how such encouragement helps to manage risk. Available here and by RSS on October 30.
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- The Race to the South Pole: Lessons in Leadership
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. We'll use the history of this event to explore lessons in leadership and its application to organizational efforts. A fascinating and refreshing look at leadership from the vantage point of history. Read more about this program.
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44017: November 7,
Kerzner Lecture Series/International Project Management Day, sponsored by Baldwin Wallace University and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
- Baldwin-Wallace University, 275 Eastland Road, Berea, Ohio 44017: November 7, Kerzner Lecture Series/International Project Management Day, sponsored by Baldwin Wallace University and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
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.