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Showing posts from April, 2024

Play Fair

We all know the temptation to cut corners, skirt rules, and dance along the line of cheating. But, whatever it takes, however hard it is, it is best to play fair.  When the truth discovers you, let it be a truth worth sharing. Play fair. It does take extra work. It's easy to find people who do not play fair and who seem to be getting ahead. That's not for you. It's much better to feel the complete satisfaction of leading with integrity. If you game the system you ultimately game yourself. Play fair. -- doug smith  

Clarity Always

  How do you feel about being misunderstood? It makes me frustrated, but I've learned that being frustrated in someone else's inability to understand me has no pay-off. Instead, the opportunity is to clarify how I'm communicating what I want to say. If they didn't get it, I need to try something else. I could say it in a different way, or use a story to illustrate, or identify data that supports the message, or let them tell me first to see what they already know...many ways to clarify and clarify we must. We are so often misunderstood that we must work extra hard to be precisely clear in our meaning. We can always do that, and it's not likely that someone else will do it for you.  Clarify! -- doug smith

Celebrate Progress And..

When was the last time that you were frustrated in trying to learn something? If you can't remember, maybe it's time to learn something new -- something tough and challenging. Truly worthwhile endeavors are often struggles. The satisfaction comes not only in the final result, but also in the progress toward that final result. The best way to avoid a sad let-down once a goal is achieved is to enjoy the journey all the way thru. Celebrate your progress! Not so much that you feel finished, but enough so that you feel able. Celebrate progress, and then keep on progressing. As that beat poet and philosopher Harry X. Tudas once said, "Feel in the groove but continue to improve." -- doug smith

Pass The Learning On

  If it's worth learning, it's worth teaching. If you want to be sure that you've acquired a skill, do your best to teach that skill to someone else. You'll quickly find your gaps. You'll humbly stumble in some of the difficulties. And that will all help you learn while you share the knowledge that you are gaining. If it's worth learning, pass it on. -- doug smith

Prevention: Why Wait?

There is usually more glory (and satisfaction) in solving a problem than there is in doing the hard work ahead of time to prevent the problem in the first place. It means paying attention to risk, rather than dismissing it with some wildly optimistic notion that things will stay steady and true and always work out for you. That would be great, but have you considered the potential problems. Potential problems have a way of turning into actual problems. It takes less energy to prevent a problem than to solve it. Why wait? Fun or not, prevention works. -- doug smith

Collecting Problems?

Does it feel like you're collecting problems? One thing leads to another and before you can resolve one issue another pops up?  It's like being in the middle of a movie when you just keep falling deeper into one hole or trap after another. There is usually more than one solution to any problem. If it feels like you're just collecting problems, try collecting solutions instead. You can't have too many solutions, so be generous with your generating. -- doug smith  

Take a Positive Step

Sometimes it's too much to muster up a big effort. Maybe that's when a little effort gets us going. Even the smallest positive effort has a positive impact. Let's start with that. -- doug smith  

Shifting Perspective

How flexible is your perspective? There is value in seeking a different point of view, especially in setting goals and in solving problems. Any way we ever look at anything is always a limited view. That's a broad (and possibly inaccurate) statement and yet what if it's true? Or, as my alternate perspective might state, what about it is true? Or even, what about it could be true? Sometimes we hold our problems too close to see what's causing them. Shifting the perspective opens up new vistas. That might be all we need to see the best possible solution. -- doug smith  

Assess The Risk

Fast is good, and sometimes dangerous. Easy is preferable, until it isn't. We make trades in a hurry without enough analysis because the convenience seems worth it. Our premise is "how bad could it be?" and maybe, just maybe it could be quite bad.  Be careful about accepting a premise that can later be weaponized. Because, if it can be weaponized, it will be... -- doug smith   

Truth First

A clumsy truth is more noble than an eloquent lie. The lie is so tempting. It feels like it preserves our ego. Instead, it delays the bruise that's bound to appear. Clumsy truths unnerve me sometimes. As Brene' Brown might say, we just need to risk being vulnerable in order to make the better choice, to disclose our truth. Awkward, sure. Embarrassing, maybe. But let's go with the truth first. It's a vital step toward going with the truth always. -- doug smith

It Won't Be Easy

  How often do you avoid difficult conversations? Most people avoid difficult talks a lot, don't you think. I've been known to conduct both ends of a conversation in my head for weeks, and never get around to actually initiating the conversation. Because that's what it takes -- to initiate the conversation. Maybe even to frame it from the standpoint of you don't know HOW it will turn out (so what's the point of rehearsing it?) but for sure you do know that it will not be perfect. A difficult conversation does not need to be perfect. Nothing ever is. Difficult conversations become easier when we don't expect them to be perfect -- or easy. -- doug smith

A Little Bit At A Time

  Do you exercise? We all know that we should, and many of us should exercise more. We should exercise our bodies (those of us blessed with the ability to do so) and we should exercise our minds, too.  The mistake that I used to make was trying to do too much improvement too fast. If I hadn't exercised for a long time, I'd go right for a big day of exercise. All that got me was sore muscles and no new habits. I like the expression "take baby steps." Tackle a little bit at a time. Make incremental improvements. Start small and gradually gain more.  A little bit at a time physically, and also a little bit at a time intellectually. We're designed to get smarter, but we've got to work our muscles. Incremental improvement wins. It works for me. How about you? -- doug smith

Yesterday's Assumptons

  Assumptions get us into so many problems, don't they? We know better, and yet they are hard to resist. "I'm sure they'll get that done on time...I know they agree with me...Of course we're right about this...people will work harder if you pay them more..." On and on, the list of assumptions is long.  Where do those assumptions come from? Most likely, they aren't new. Assumptions are based on what once was true, or what we at least believed to be true. Even if they WERE true in the past, assumptions may no longer be valid. Yesterday's assumptions require inquiry today.  Don Miguel Ruiz has as one of his "Four Agreements" Don't Make Any Assumptions. As noble as that is, and I absolutely love the book "The Four Agreements" I think it is a challenge too big to win in order to not make any assumptions. I like to rephrase it as "Question Your Assumptions." You ARE going to make assumptions. I AM going to make assumptions.

Why Do People Work?

  "It's so hard to find anyone who wants to work these days..." "I know what you mean, they just want to stand around and read their phones." "If you can find them at all..." Is that how it has to be? Is that how it feels? Everyone in awhile even a high performance leader needs a reality check. Maybe you agree, and maybe you don't, but here's a free reality offering for you: People don't want to work for you -- they want to work for fun and profit. Lead them TO that and they'll follow. We could make it more complicated, but it's not. What do you think? -- doug smith

Have You Tested Your Values?

We tend to believe that our values are absolute and true, but to truly know that we need the courage to test them. To withstand resistance and temptation. To try after trying gets hard. Have you tested your values? Have your values been tested? -- doug smith