When I learn something, or when I witness someone else learning something, I sometimes wish I had learned it long ago. If it could have saved me trouble, or led me somewhere I find appealing, I write it down. Here's another installment from my growing collection.
- Professional relationships are like bank savings accounts. You can't make withdrawals until you've made enough deposits.
- We are all imperfect. All of us. Even the people we admire and respect most. And that imperfection makes them no less worthy of admiration or respect.
- Give slackers the room they need to fail. Helping them out of a jam just ensures that they'll be around long enough to depend on you to help them out of their next jam.
- Not everyone who breaks the rules is evil or dangerous. But steer clear of people who break the rules solely for personal gain.
- When it comes to disputes and confusion, one person is enough.
- Using past achievements as a predictor of future performance is a great way to build a team of has-beens.
- The birds at the bird feeder take turns, but the bigger birds get more turns than the smaller birds do. Seemed a little unfair, until I realized that bigger birds need more food.
- Some birds are just too big for some bird feeders. What seems like an advantage in some ways can come at a very high price.
- Even if you don't plan for Reality, Reality will happen anyway.
- I like podcasts, but they're pretty much the slowest way to learn anything.
- Withholding bad news leaves space for people to make up what they don't know much about. What they make up is often worse than any bad news you can withhold.
- Clutter isn't a reflection of the state of a person's mind. Some very confused people have really neat offices.
- The quality of decisions that affect lots of people is correlated with the regard the decision makers have for those same people.
- You You can't get a bully to stop
bullying by explaining
why bullying is badcan't get a bully to stop bullying by explaining why bullying is bad.
- When bullies understand that disciplinary action will result if they continue to bully others, they don't stop bullying. They just get cleverer about it.
- Loss may be painful, but sometimes it makes space in life for something new and wonderful.
- When someone you know is in the grip of an addictive substance, beware. You might not be able to determine who's speaking — the person or the substance.
- The worst thing about procrastination isn't that you eventually have to tackle whatever you deferred. It's that you lose the freedom to choose a good time to tackle it.
- Getting too much email can create an overpowering urge to unsubscribe from good stuff just because it takes too long to read. Resist that urge. Instead, use email filtering more effectively, or unsubscribe from the chaff.
- When I find myself doing something on a computer repeatedly, and very inconveniently, chances are good that I'm doing something either unnecessary or dumb. If it is necessary, and it's not dumb, there's almost surely a better way.
- Sometimes a difficult problem has a very elegant solution. When that happens, what made solving the problem difficult wasn't the problem — it was my biases, prejudices, fears, or blindness to assumptions I was making.
- Naming something is a long way from mastering it. But mastering something does require naming it. (See "The Nominal Fallacy at Work," Point Lookout for January 1, 2014.)
- Brilliant explanations of subtle concepts are often the result of many refinements of less-than-brilliant explanations. Brilliant explanations are rarely born brilliant.
You probably have a collection like this, but maybe it isn't written down. Something magical happens for me when I write them down. I tend to remember them when I need them. If you haven't written down your collection, try it. First in this series Top Next Issue
Love 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 welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenuQKLUMsVubCpqOpqner@ChacCCvpZbzKGsgliMGNoCanyon.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.
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.
More articles on Ethics at Work:
- Tornado Warning
- When organizations go astray ethically, and their misdeeds come to light, people feel shocked, as if
they've been swept up by a tornado. But ethical storms do have warning signs. Can you recognize them?
- Currying Favor
- The behavior of the office kiss-up drives many people bats. It's more than annoying, though —
it does real harm to the organization. What is the behavior?
- Extrasensory Deception: II
- In negotiating agreements, the partners who do the drafting have an ethical obligation not to exploit
the advantages of the drafting role. Some drafters don't meet that standard.
- Counterproductive Knowledge Work Behavior
- With the emergence of knowledge-oriented workplaces, counterproductive work behavior is taking on new
forms that are rare or inherently impossible in workplaces where knowledge plays a less central role.
Here are some examples.
- Influence and Belief Perseverance
- Belief perseverance is the pattern that causes us to cling more tightly to our beliefs when contradictory
information arrives. Those who understand belief perseverance can use it to manipulate others.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming August 5: Red Flags: III
- Early signs of troubles in collaborations include toxic conflict, elevated turnover and anti-patterns in communication. But among the very earliest red flags are abuses of power. They're more significant than other red flags because abuses of power can convert any collaboration into a morass of destructive politics. Available here and by RSS on August 5.
- And on August 12: Cognitive Biases at Work
- Cognitive biases can lead us to misunderstand situations, overlook options, and make decisions we regret. The patterns of thinking that lead to cognitive biases provide speed and economy advantages, but we must manage the risks that come along with them. Available here and by RSS on August 12.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenuQKLUMsVubCpqOpqner@ChacCCvpZbzKGsgliMGNoCanyon.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:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- 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, )
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
- 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.
- Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?
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.