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:
- Your Wisdom Box
- When we make a difficult decision, we sometimes know we've made the wrong choice, even before the consequences
become obvious. At other times, we can be absolutely certain that we've done right, even in the face
of inadequate information. When we have these feelings, we're in touch with our inner wisdom. It's a
- Non-Workplace Politics
- When we bring national or local political issues into the workplace — especially the divisive
issues — we risk disrupting our relationships, our projects, and the company itself.
- When Others Curry Favor
- When peers curry favor with the boss, many of us feel contempt, an urge for revenge, anger, or worse.
Trying to stop those who curry favor probably isn't an effective strategy. What is?
- When You Aren't Supposed to Say: III
- Most of us have information that's "company confidential," or even more sensitive than that.
Sometimes people who want to know what we know try to suspend our ability to think critically. Here
are some of their techniques.
- Telephonic 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.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 25: Exploiting Functional Fixedness: II
- A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.
- And on August 1: Strategies of Verbal Abusers
- Verbal abuse at work has special properties, because it takes place in an environment in which verbal abuse is supposedly proscribed. Yet verbal abuse does happen at work. Here are three strategies abusers rely on to avoid disciplinary action. Available here and by RSS on August 1.
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- 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.