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

Last updated: November 23, 2019

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 dog When 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  Next in this series Go to top Top  Next issue: Projects as Proxy Targets: I  Next Issue

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More articles on Ethics at Work:

Lt. Col. John Paul VannManaging Personal Risk Management
When we bias organizational decisions to manage our personal risks, we're sometimes acting ethically — and sometimes not. What can we do to limit personal risk management?
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People have been deceiving each other at work since the invention of work. Nowadays, with telephones ever-present, telephonic deceptions are becoming more creative. Here's Part I of a handy guide for telephonic self-defense.
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Extended interviews provide multiple opportunities for detecting lies by people intent on deception. Here's Part IV of our little collection of lie detection techniques.
Representative Don Young, Republican of AlaskaAppearance Antipatterns: I
Appearances can be deceiving. Just as we can misinterpret the actions and motivations of others, others can misinterpret our own actions and motivations. But we can take steps to limit these effects.
A happy dogMore Things I've Learned Along the Way: IV
When I gain an important insight, or when I learn a lesson, I write it down. Here's Part IV from my personal collection. Example: When it comes to disputes and confusion, one person is enough.

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

A meeting held in a long conference room.Coming July 8: Multi-Expert Consensus
Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus, members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision with all its relationships intact. Available here and by RSS on July 8.
A dictionaryAnd on July 15: Disjoint Concept Vocabularies
In disputes or in problem solving sessions, when we can't seem to come to agreement, we often attribute the difficulty to miscommunication, histories of disagreements, hidden agendas, or "personality clashes." Sometimes the cause is much simpler. Sometimes the concept vocabularies of the parties don't overlap. Available here and by RSS on July 15.

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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.

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