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

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 nonanswers) 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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This article in its entirety was written by a human being. No machine intelligence was involved in any way.

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Related articles

More articles on Ethics at Work:

The silhouette of a famous fictional detectiveSome Truths About Lies: II
Knowing when someone else is lying doesn't make you a more ethical person, but it sure can be an advantage if you want to stay out of trouble. Here's Part II of a catalog of techniques misleaders use.
Duma, a wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, rolls to capture a scent atop a moundTelephonic Deceptions: II
Deception at work probably wasn't invented at work. Most likely it is a continuation of deception in the rest of life. But the technologies of the modern workplace offer new opportunities to practice the art. Here's Part II of a handy guide for telephonic self-defense.
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.
A compass is like a code of ethics in that it provides a sense of directionOnline Ethics
The array of media for exchanging our thoughts in text has created new opportunities for acting unethically. Cyberbullying is one well-known example. But sending text is just one way to cross the line ethically. Here are some examples of alternatives.
The Bill of RightsPersonal Boundaries at Work
We often speak of setting boundaries at work — limitations on what we can reasonably ask of each other. We speak of them, but we don't always honor them. They can be easier to remember and honor if we regard them as freedoms rather than boundaries.

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Lifeboats on board the FS Scandinavia, May 2006Coming December 13: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: I
To take the risks that learning and practicing new ways require, we all need a sense that trial-and-error approaches are safe. Organizations seeking to improve processes would do well to begin by assessing their level of psychological safety. Available here and by RSS on December 13.
A beekeeper at work, wearing safety equipmentAnd on December 20: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: II
When we begin using new tools or processes, we make mistakes. Practice is the cure, but practice can be scary if the grace period for early mistakes is too short. For teams adopting new methods, psychological safety is a fundamental component of success. Available here and by RSS on December 20.

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