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:
- Budget Shenanigans: Swaps
- When projects run over budget, managers face a temptation to use creative accounting to address the
problem. The budget swap is one technique for making ends meet. It distorts organizational data, and
it's just plain unethical.
- 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
- Personnel-Sensitive Risks: II
- Personnel-sensitive risks are risks that are difficult to discuss openly. Open discussion could infringe
on someone's privacy, or lead to hurt feelings, or to toxic politics or toxic conflict. If we can't
discuss them openly, how can we deal with them?
- 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.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming January 22: Disjoint Awareness: Bias
- Some cognitive biases can cause people in collaborations to have inaccurate understandings of what each other is doing. Confirmation bias and self-serving bias are two examples of cognitive biases that can contribute to disjoint awareness in some situations. Available here and by RSS on January 22.
- And on January 29: Higher-Velocity Problem Definition
- Typical approaches to shortening time-to-market for new products usually involve accelerating problem solving. Accelerating problem definition can also help. Available here and by RSS on January 29.
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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.