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.
- 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.
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More articles on Ethics at Work:
- Managing 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?
- Telephonic Deceptions: I
- 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
- Some Truths About Lies: IV
- 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.
- Appearance 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.
- More 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.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- 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.
- And 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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- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
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- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
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Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.