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:
- Own Your Space
- Since we spend so much of our waking lives in our offices, it's surprising how few of us take control
of our immediate surroundings. If you do — if you make your space uniquely yours — you'll
feel better about the time you spend at work.
- Status-Report as a Second Language
- Sometimes, the clichés the losing team's players feed to sports reporters can have hidden meaning.
So it is with Project Status Reports, especially for projects in trouble.
- Should I Keep Bailing or Start Plugging the Leaks?
- When we're flooded with problems, and the rowboat is taking on water, we tend to bail with buckets,
rather than take time out to plug the leaks. Here are some tips for dealing with floods of problems.
- Asking Brilliant Questions
- Your team is fortunate if you have even one teammate who regularly asks the questions that immediately
halt discussions and save months of wasted effort. But even if you don't have someone like that, everyone
can learn how to generate brilliant questions more often. Here's how.
- Creating Toxic Conflict: II
- Some supervisors seem to behave as if part of their job description is creating toxic conflict among
their subordinates. It isn't really, of course, but here's a collection of methods bad managers use
that make trouble.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
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- And on June 27: Interrupting Others in Meetings Safely: I
- In meetings we sometimes feel the need to interrupt others to offer a view or information, or to suggest adjusting the process. But such interruptions carry risk of offense. How can we interrupt others safely? Available here and by RSS on June 27.
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- The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development
- 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. Lessons abound. Among the more important
lessons are those that demonstrate the power of the agile approach to project management and product
development. Read more about this program. Here's
a date for this program:
- Fifth Third Bank, 5717 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227:
Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati
chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Register now.
- Fifth Third Bank, 5717 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227: July 17, Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. 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.