Where’s the Hot Water?

I was rinsing out the coffee pot and getting frustrated that the water wouldn’t seem to get hot. Irritated, I started lamenting to myself that we needed a new water heater – and why did we buy a house that needed so much fixing up? Long after the water should have been hot, I checked the faucet. You’ll never get hot water out of the cold water faucet. Oops. Continue reading

What Type of Goal-Setter Are You?

How often do you stop and reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going? There are those who are religious only on Easter and Christmas; I feel the same can be said about people who only set goals as the New Year approaches. To change your life, you have to start with the little activities. The once-a-year, big activities don’t influence our lives as much as our daily choices. If you want to see change in your life, here are a few habits I suggest: Continue reading

Which Is Better: A Manager or a Leader?

It’s time to do away with the archaic manager vs. leader dichotomy! The comparison was developed in a time where we didn’t really understand what leadership was. A time when bosses were autocratic, and people worked more to provide for their family and less for personal fulfillment. Now we get it. We understand the concepts of management and leadership. Staying in this mindset is limiting. It causes people to say things like, “I’m a manager. I don’t need to be a leader,” or, “Since I’m a leader, I shouldn’t be doing these management pieces.” It’s time to move our thoughts away from a discrete manager/leader model to a management spectrum and leadership spectrum.

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Still Pulling All-Nighters?

At some point you just have to let it go. You set the gears in motion and then let the outcome happen. I see a lot of people trying to control the minutia all the way until the end. They are pulling all-nighters right before a deadline, calling everyone in a panic to follow up on tasks. While tying up loose ends and validating the upcoming tasks is a value-added activity, there comes a point where it starts detracting from overall performance. Continue reading

Finish Strong

Death by a thousand cuts. Ever had a project like that? One problem after another. The next fire drill starting before the last one finished. I’m sure everyone has been in this position, whether at work, volunteering, or with a project at home. How do you avoid giving up? Don’t throw in the towel; here are some tips to finish strong: Continue reading

Maybe It’s Time to Panic!

As deadlines near, there is something in the air – panic! While this isn’t always the case, it frequently is. A big project or deal has hit do-or-die time, and suddenly leaders within the organization worry about whether the company will meet with success. What can often be seen in that moment is more involvement from upper-level leaders and a lot more oversight, with a little bit of micromanaging thrown in for good measure.

Critical projects and deals warrant involvement from key leadership. If a lot is at stake, it’s understandable why upper management should be asking the right questions; these people often can bring the right perspective to avoid unnecessary hiccups. But, if you are a leader in this position, pause and ask yourself these questions before jumping in: Continue reading

Are You Playing out of Bounds?

What do you value? What are you not willing to compromise? When companies write mission and vision statements, often they begin with value statements. Frequently their value statements talk about a commitment to the environment, being involved in the community, upholding quality and innovation, etc. What are your values?

When we set goals, it’s important to take time and explore what we stand for. What do we really value in life? Family? Time not working? Travel? It’s a very individual choice, and one person’s choice isn’t necessarily better than another person’s. As you decide what your driving values are, don’t be fake. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t care about volunteering in the community, don’t say that it’s a value! If you want to have enough financial security that you can take a sabbatical from work every two years, that’s fine, too! The important thing is this: be honest with yourself about your values, and use that as a basis for making your decisions. Continue reading

How Many Projects Is “Too Many”?

Every year as the fourth quarter approaches, capacity planning kicks off. With the speed of business we tend to try and cram in as many projects into a year as possible. We can’t risk falling behind, so we figure out how to implement every great idea. Often we get caught in the trap of believing we can just use staff augmentation to offset the greater capacity needs extra projects create. When doing capacity planning, don’t forget these other big hitters: Continue reading

Be Dispensable

Ever wanted a promotion? How about going on a vacation without work tagging along? Want to learn a new position at work? The key is to be dispensable. For ages people have tried to make themselves indispensable, attempting to avoid lay-offs or seeking ways to be worth more to the company. This strategy doesn’t work, as companies have proven time and time again, everyone is replaceable. And if you try to be irreplaceable, that’s all the more reason for companies to try and replace you. This¬†starts off my first point about being dispensable: Continue reading