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:
- TINOs: Teams in Name Only
- Perhaps the most significant difference between face-to-face teams and virtual or distributed teams
is their potential to develop from workgroups into true teams — an area in which virtual or distributed
teams are at a decided disadvantage. Often, virtual and distributed teams are teams in name only.
- How to Foresee the Foreseeable: Focus on the Question
- When group decisions go awry, we sometimes feel that the failure could have been foreseen. Often, the
cause of the failure was foreseen, but because the seer was a dissenter within the group, the issue
was set aside. Improving how groups deal with dissent can enhance decision quality.
- Ending Sidebars
- We say that a sidebar is underway in a meeting when two or more meeting participants converse without
having been recognized by the chair. Sidebars can be helpful, but they can also be disruptive. How can
we end sidebars quickly and politely?
- How to Deal with Holding Back
- When group members voluntarily restrict their contributions to group efforts, group success is threatened
and high performance becomes impossible. How can we reduce the incidence of holding back?
- High Falutin' Goofy Talk: II
- Speech and writing at work are sometimes little more than high falutin' goofy talk, filled with puff
phrases of unknown meaning and pretentious, tired images. Here's Part II of a collection of phrases
and images to avoid.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming December 7: Reaching Agreements in Technological Contexts
- Reaching consensus in technological contexts presents special challenges. Problems can arise from interactions between the technological elements of the issue at hand, and the social dynamics of the group addressing that issue. Here are three examples. Available here and by RSS on December 7.
- And on December 14: Straw Man Variants
- The straw man fallacy is a famous rhetorical fallacy. Using it distorts debate and can lead groups to reach faulty conclusions. It's ad readily recognized, but it has some variants that are more difficult to spot. When unnoticed, trouble looms. Available here and by RSS on December 14.
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