Doing The Work

Thinking Out Loud

I write a lot. That is an unavoidable truth. I’ve been putting my thoughts on this site on a mostly-weekly basis for several years now. While having an audience is valuable—and I’m grateful for the feedback that I do receive from readers—in many ways the person that I am most writing for is myself. I write to think, and I think to learn. Sometimes what I have to say surprises me as much as it might stimulate thought for someone else. And that is entirely the point.



Walking The Razor’s Edge

Much is made of the value of stretch goals. Managers love them, consultants pontificate about them and employees are victimized by them. There is irony in stretch goals, also. Those those people and organizations that are best able to leverage stretch goals often don’t. What constitutes “stretch” is variable, and varies for each of us. They are not necessarily attainable, at times they aren’t even reasonable, and in all instances we are walking the razor’s edge between success and failure. We need to be okay with that. Especially now.



You Are As Ready As You Will Ever Be

There is procrastination, and then there is procrastination. One of the most insidious forms is, “I need to do this first, to get ready.” Theoretically, this is all productive work. It is us getting prepared and focussed. We are making sure we have our ducks in a row, and we are committed, ready and able to do our best work. Practically, we are in many ways avoiding the thing that we say we want to do most. It doesn’t have to be that way.



How Do We Have The Important Conversations?

It is not entirely clear how long it will be before people are comfortable inhabiting meeting rooms again, even for very short and focussed interactions. Which raises some fundamental questions about how we go about having strategically important conversations. Our current reality changes how we facilitate, how we interact and how groups explore, unpack and resolve complex and messy questions. In trying to figure out alternative strategies, there are some fundamental problems that need to be solved.



Hitting The Reset Button

Given our current reality, many of us would like to hit the reset button. But we need to define just what we are resetting. And where we would like to reset to. Our currently reality is one of stress and uncertainty. It is also one of opportunity. Played right, we have the opportunity to reframe what we do, how we do it and who we do it for. That’s an opportunity we are rarely faced with; the opportunity lies in taking advantage of it.



The Organizational Is The Personal

I have been a consultant working inside organizations for three decades and more. In that time, I have been involved in the creation of numerous methodologies and practices, and the implementation of many organizational change efforts. I have described myself as an organizational consultant of some variety or other. So you might reasonably assume that I consider my clients to be the organizations that I serve. You couldn’t be further from the truth.



Systems Are Good… But Habits Are Essential

I’ve been sharing some of the experiences I’ve had as I transition my approach to time management. I’m liking the system that I have moved to. While it takes a different approach to some of the principles that I use and apply, I understand the choices that have been made and why. And I can see the value of many of them. What has been most relevant in this overall transition, though, is not that I have a shiny new piece of software. The essential change is a result of developing new habits about how I use and rely on the system that I have.



Working Through Personal Change

We all work through change at some point in our lives. More to the point, we frequently experience change, and often several changes at the same time. As universal as the experience is, there is precious little guidance on how to make it through. This is not a rational, linear process. There is a starting point and an ending point, and what happens in between is anything but predictable and easy. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t structures that we can understand, and ways through that we can find. We just need to know where to look.



This Is What Change Feels Like

I wrote last week about the transition that I was undertaking to a new approach to time management. At the time, I presumed it would be a relatively easy change to make. I knew I needed new software. I thought that I already had the practices and concepts down. I believed that I had ample time to get things sorted and organized in time for the new year. I was wrong on all counts.



Our Tools Get In The Way, Too

Not that we need any help on this front. We get in our own way just fine. But then we add tools to the mix, and that complicates things unnecessarily. For those who have a fetish for office supplies and time management solutions (you know who you are) it can be awfully tempting to look at shiny new software with covetous desire. My usual advice is, “If what you are doing now is working for you, then keep doing it.” Which is great, until you realize that it isn’t working. This is what happened to me.