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

Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunLove the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Ethics at Work:

Mark Twain in 1907When You're Scared to Tell the Truth
In the project context, we need to know that whatever we're hearing from colleagues is the truth as they see it. Yet, sometimes we shade the truth, or omit important details. Here's a list of some of the advantages of telling the truth.
A Julius Caesar coinOn Organizational Coups d'Etat
If your boss is truly incompetent, or maybe even evil, organizing a coup d'etat might have crossed your mind. In most cases, it's wise to let it cross on through, all the way. Think of alternative ways out.
A TSA Officer screening a passengerVirtual Termination with Real Respect
When we have to terminate someone who works at a remote site, sometimes there's a temptation to avoid travel — to use email, phone, fax, or something else. They're all bad ideas. Terminating people in person is not only a gesture of respect. It's good business.
A horseEthical Influence: II
When we influence others as they're making tough decisions, it's easy to enter a gray area. How can we be certain that our influence isn't manipulation? How can we influence others ethically?
Lion, ready to spring, in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya.The Attributes of Political Opportunity: The Basics
Opportunities come along even in tough times. But in tough times, it's especially important to distinguish between true opportunities and high-risk adventures. Here are some of the attributes of desirable political opportunities.

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

The Bay of Pigs, CubaComing September 30: Seven More Planning Pitfalls: II
Planning teams, like all teams, are susceptible to several patterns of interaction that can lead to counter-productive results. Three of these most relevant to planners are False Consensus, Groupthink, and Shared Information Bias. Available here and by RSS on September 30.
Assembling an IKEA chairAnd on October 7: Seven More Planning Pitfalls: III
Planning teams, like all teams, are vulnerable to several patterns of interaction that can lead to counter-productive results. Two of these relevant to planners are a cognitive bias called the IKEA Effect, and a systemic bias against realistic estimates of cost and schedule. Available here and by RSS on October 7.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power

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.

Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?

DecisBullet Point Madnession-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.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.