I used to think, if I wanted to start something new, that I need a “big idea” to make it worthwhile and increase the chances that it will be successful. Most of us will not conceive a lottery-winning “big idea”. And even if we did, there’s really no increased chance of success just because of that. The idea still needs to be implemented and that could mean talking to people, getting funding, building skills, i.e. doing stuff.
It seems that taking action is the difference, even with small ideas. Everyone can come up with many small ideas. I may not be clear what the total future potential of the idea is, but I can take action on it now, see where it goes, and then evolve. Success is a process.
Wintery weather this week and I fired up the wood stove in the family room. I remember when that stove first got installed many years ago, I think there was some issue with the product being back-ordered, and then maybe the installation crew wasn’t available or they were missing some parts, then I think there were delays with the inspection. The waiting was so frustrating, and I walked around feeling surly and snappish. Now I can’t even remember what the fuss was about! What a waste of energy that was.
Now when dealing with a frustrating situation I try to recall that perspective: “Will it matter a year from now if this happens today or tomorrow or next week?” If it won’t matter (and most of the time it doesn’t), then relax. Spend that valuable energy on things that matter.
I find the same is true with when dealing with a decisions: “Will this matter a year from now?” If the answer is no (which tends to be most of the time), make the best decision I can and move on. If the answer is yes, then it makes sense to invest more time and resources and then make my best decision.
This article, called the 5-Hour Rule, makes a fascinating assertion: that the world is shifting so fast and physical products and services are being demonetized so rapidly that the best investment to make today – in fact the currency of tomorrow – is knowledge. Our ability to learn will be what differentiates the most successful people from the less successful ones. People who identify skills needed for future jobs and quickly learn them are poised to win.
“We need to stop thinking that we only acquire knowledge from 5 to 22 years old, and that then we can get a job and mentally coast through the rest of our lives if we work hard. To survive and thrive in this new era, we must constantly learn.”
This is worth the read.
Credit this content to Rick Houcek whose free weekly email broadcast has featured this story more than once over the years. It’s worth the read, every time.
In 1996, at a convention of 4,000 baseball coaches in Nashville, a 78-year old keynote speaker stepped to the stage to a standing ovation. Only 5 years had passed since he retired from a storied college coaching career that began in 1948.
Continue reading “Don’t Widen Home Plate”
If leadership lacks humility, they will rarely admit when they make a mistake. If this happens, employees observe and the result is employees who don’t take risks. This subversively kills companies.
Here are 3 premises that I believe are true about organizations and their leaders:
1. The organization that the develops the fastest, wins.
2. No one develops faster or further than the leader.
3. People, including leaders, will do anything to avoid significant development.
Learning is easy. Development sucks. Learning changes what I know, but Continue reading “Learning vs. Development”
The scarcest resource in any organization is the attention of the leader. How much time does the leader spend on WHAT versus HOW versus WHY. For most leaders, most of their time is spent on WHAT and HOW. Yet executives are the ones who should be thinking about WHY.
We invest a lot of time and money in acquiring new customers. It is also part of the natural flow for customers to eventually become dormant. As this happens, our sales team turns its attention toward finding new customers. However, this is not usually the most profitable approach. We are leaving Continue reading “Acquisition vs Reactivation”
When sales are good, it’s easy to ignore problems in the organization. Are we spending too much on freight? Did our R&D project run far over budget? What about the mistake in marketing that required us to reprint all those materials?
More subtly, systemic and cultural problems such as tolerating Continue reading “Sales Covers Many Sins”
I stumbled across this easy-to-understand article about How To Kill A Stupid Rule. If you are a boss, please take 2 minutes to read this. If you are an employee, please take 2 minutes to read this, then show it to your boss. Don’t wait until next week, do it right now. Just one conversation to create a Continue reading “How To Kill a Stupid Rule”
In my encounters with other people, especially challenging encounters that tackle tenuous issues where there may be tension or disagreement, I try to keep in mind the other person, and I try to be curious about Who They Are:
- What do they fear?
- What do they believe?
- What do they need?
Continue reading “Who They Are”
One of our company leaders had a great idea. Our hallways and walls were utterly uninspiring: mindless motivational posters and a few Ansel Adams images mishmoshed with an assortment of oddball paintings from long-gone employees.
What if we had a contest to update our surroundings? Something personal Continue reading “Framed Glory”