Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 19, Issue 31;   July 31, 2019: More Things I've Learned Along the Way: IV

More Things I've Learned Along the Way: IV

by

Last updated: November 23, 2019

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.

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.
  • A happy dog 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 bad
    can'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  Go to top Top  Next issue: Workplace Politics and Social Exclusion: I  Next Issue

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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

A spiral notebook, a pencil, and a mobile deviceComing October 28: Notes to Self
Many of us jot important reminders to ourselves on sticky notes, used envelopes, scraps of paper, and whatnot. Often we misplace these notes, or later find them too late to serve their purposes. Here's a low-tech alternative that works better for some. Available here and by RSS on October 28.
Multiple clocks, one for each time zoneAnd on November 4: Mastering Messaging for Pandemics: I
When a pandemic rages, face-to-face meetings are largely curtailed. Clarity in text messaging and email communication becomes more important than usual. Citing dates and times unambiguously requires a more rigorous approach than many are accustomed to. Available here and by RSS on November 4.

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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.

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