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:
- Games for Meetings: II
- We spend a lot of time and emotional energy in meetings, much of it engaged in any of dozens of ritualized
games. Here's Part II of a little catalog of some of our favorites, and what we could do about them.
- Shooting Ourselves in the Feet
- When you give a demo to a small audience, there's a danger of overwhelming them in a behavior I call
"swarming." Here are some tips for terrific demos to small audiences.
- We Are All People
- When a team works to solve a problem, it is the people of that team who do the work. Remembering that
we're all people — and all different people — is an important key to success.
- The Risks of Too Many Projects: II
- Although taking on too many projects risks defocusing the organization, the problems just begin there.
Here are three more ways over-commitment causes organizations to waste resources or lose opportunities.
- Meeting Troubles: Culture
- Sometimes meetings are less effective than they might be because of cultural factors that are outside
our awareness. Here are some examples.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
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- Some cognitive biases can cause people in collaborations to have inaccurate understandings of what each other is doing. Confirmation bias and self-serving bias are two examples of cognitive biases that can contribute to disjoint awareness in some situations. Available here and by RSS on January 22.
- And on January 29: Higher-Velocity Problem Definition
- Typical approaches to shortening time-to-market for new products usually involve accelerating problem solving. Accelerating problem definition can also help. Available here and by RSS on January 29.
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- 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.