Friday, May 5, 2017

What To Do When Your Plans Are In Trouble

"Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours." Source

Here is the problem.  Whatever you are great at now will probably turn on you in the future.  Even with all the research and studying you can embrace you're not quick enough to keep up with all the changes.  Notice that I didn't say that you're not smart enough, you are.  You're not quick enough.  

Knowledge in your area of expertise is out running you at a tremendous pace.  Remember that degree you got from college?  It may be worthless now.  Everything you learned has changed.  

What do you do? 

#1 - Get a reality check.  Find a way to honestly assess your skills against your field of expertise.  

#2 - Get sober real fast.  If you find yourself "behind the curve" you're not dead.  But time isn't on your side. 

#3 - Get a coach.  Someone who will help you and encourage you to take the next step, which is ....

#4 - ... Pivot.  Or in other words, how do you go from plan A to plan B.

#5 - Get a network.  Who is already doing what you want to do?  There are some professional networks out there that are designed to help.  You may end up having to create your own.  Regardless, you have to collaborate with others in order to make it.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Save Time

I know that there are thousands of posts out there on this subject.  But I want to share with you a few things that have really helped me.

#1 - Wunderlist
I know that there are a lot of, "to do" lists out there that promise to do everything.  Evernote, Trello or Basecamp.  Someone once told me that Wunderlist was the "low brow" version of to-do lists.  Well, I couldn't disagree with them more.  Wunderlist helps me to track my 6 or 7 projects that I need to do daily.  Each morning, before I go to work I review my day and make any necessary changes.  Then once a week I review the whole list and determine what needs to be delegated, done or dumped.  

#2 - Identify Distractions
Telephone, email, text messages, knocks on your office door and more!  Identify them and deal with them.  You make not be able to stop some of your distractions.  But what you can do is manage your time around them.  If you know that between the hours of 2 and 4 pm you're going to get overwhelmed with interruptions, then prepare for it. 

#3 - No
Stop saying yes to everything.  If you work at a job where you are paid to say yes to everything, get a new job.  If you are overwhelmed, say no until you are caught up.  Keep saying no until your life gets better.  If you say no long enough you will be able to say yes to something better.

#4 - Manage your dead time. 
What is dead time?  What you do while you drive your car to and from work.  Sitting in a doctors office.  Stuck in traffic.  Do something constructive during those time.  Listen to an audio book.  Have a serious conversation with your spouse.

#5 - Get some sleep.
7 - 8 hours of sleep every night.  If you have a job or career that demands that you cut your sleep time short.  Get a new job.  When you are healthy, you can produce better and with better results.  When you are tired you will make mistake, cut corners and give up.  Not good.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Change - You Can Feel It In Your Bones

I use to have an Aunt that would say, "It's going to rain, I can feel it in my bones."  I use to think she was a little crazy until it rained.

Families, marriages, business and our personal lives go through changes.  Time changes us.  Culture changes us.  Even knowledge will change us.  But there are seasons of change and seasons of rest that we need to watch for.

Think of it like the seasons of the planet.  There is a time to for the land to rest (winter) and there is a time to harvest (summer and fall).  There is a time to prepare for change (fall and winter) and there is a time to put plans into action (spring).

When we recognize these rhythms or seasons of life, we can utilize them to our advantage.  While is rest, we can prepare to harvest (grow).  While growing we can save for winter.  While putting plans into action we can prepare for the harvest.

As you may know, I am a pastor.  So I hear stories about different walks of life all the time.  One that applies here is from the wheat fields of Kansas.  During harvest season, everything - including the church - shuts down.  When you start harvesting, you don't stop until the job is done.  Now you're probably thinking that when the farmer gets his wheat in the silos, he can go home and rest.  NO!  People don't stop harvesting until everyone gets their harvest in.  As in the picture above, all the farmers pool their resources and help each other succeed.

Can you feel the change coming?  Do you have a plan for it or are you just going to let it happen?  If you do that, you can not complain about the change that takes place.  You have to go into this with you eyes open.  Prepared and ready for what is about to take place.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

United Screwed Up - Again!

Well, United Airlines has once again messed up.  Remember the guitar they destroyed and then refused to take responsibility for?  Or what about those two little girls who were not allowed on a flight because they were wearing leggings?  

Now to be honest with you, I don't think that there are any innocent people in this new fiasco.  The point of this blog isn't to trash United if anything I am trying to help them.  But in the meantime, I want to point out how you can keep this from happening to you.  

Don't put yourself in that situation.   Apparently, United overbooked and needed some people to get off the plane.  The flight wasn't overbooked.  They just needed four seats to move flight attendants to another airport.  This is called BAD MANAGEMENT.  What is the problem here?  Management hasn't caught the vision of the leadership to ensure the quality of customer service.  

Once a passenger is in the seat, you've accepted their money.   I'm sure some lawyer somewhere will point out the fine print to me saying, "No, they had the right to do that."  Maybe, but not in the minds of people who just fly in airplanes.  After you get your ticket, check your luggage, go through TSA, go through roll call, get on the plane, put your bags overhead and sit down - you've taken my money. United is thinking like an airline, not like a customer.  

You made a mistake and tried to cover it up.   The immediate PR from United, when this happened, assumed what was going on.  Then when the truth came out, oh boy!  United was way too slow in responding to this.  What is the problem here?  They don't understand the speed of social media.  They were dead before they knew it.  

Publically fix this, quickly.  Alright, United, you're in deep so what do you do?  Admit you messed it up.  Do it publically and passionately.  First I'd acknowledge that your management systems are flawed, fix that first.  Then admit that your information systems are just as flawed, fix that next.  Do what you can to HEAR your customers before you TELL your customers anything.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Inspect what you Expect

I hear this years ago and thought it was such a novel idea.  In my naivety, I really didn't understand the power of this statement.

Inspect what you expect.

When you release someone to do a task or to complete a project did you ever think about how you did it?  You should.  Because how you release someone is key to their success or failure.  Here are a few guidelines you should be employing.

#1 - Do they know what they are doing?  If you assign something to someone make extra sure that they have the skill set to do it.  If you ask them if they do and they say "yes" don't be afraid to ask them to prove it first.

#2 - Do they understand their boundaries?  Do they know what they can AND can't do?  If you don't set boundaries, you may end up empowering someone with less than acceptable morals to represent you and your integrity.

#3 - Do they have a timeline?  Do they know when this task or project should be completed?  Do they know that they should approach you if they are in trouble and need help?  Do they know that they can safely approach you if they are not going to complete the task in time?

#4 - Will they try to force you to micromanage?  This problem is usually based on an unhealthy fear of you and/or a lack of self-confidence.  Either way, you're going to have to address it.

#5 - Are you going to check up on them from time to time?  OR - Inspect what you expect?  You can either do this one of two ways.  #1 Tell them that you have to.  If you have to go this route assure them that you're not there to be critical of their work, only to help them be successful.  #2 Ask them for permission to check up on them.  You can even supply them a list of things that you are looking for in your inspection.

Friday, March 3, 2017

And The Oscar Goes To . . . Who?

Did you watch the Oscars?  I didn't.  But I watched a clip of the biggest mistake ever made in the history of television.  WOW!  If you are going to mess everything up, make sure that you do it on the most important Oscar announcement of them all.

SPECIAL NOTE HERE:  I think Steve Harvey should say, "See!  It isn't just me!"

In a world where customer service is king, there were some fans, A-list actors and Hollywood types that were outraged.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation?  Has someone in your organization done something so stupid that it embarrassed you and your organization?  What do you do?

#1 - Admit quickly that a mistake has been made.  Connect your corrections with an apology.
#2 - Do not throw anyone under the bus, yet.  Many times we think that if we spill some blood people will be satisfied.  Not always.  If someone needs to be fired, then deal with it appropriately but don't do it as a knee-jerk reaction.
#3 - Promise to be forthcoming and open about the issue as soon as possible.  The quicker, the better.  Honesty is your best asset. You are going to have to answer the following question.  "How do I make sure that never happens again?"
#4 - Announce what you can that is ethical and legal to share with the customer(s) who were jilted.   Your purpose is to hopefully re-ignite their faith in your organization.  But whatever you do never, never, never say, "The Russians did it."
#5 Shut up and listen.  Your customers need to vent.  Listen will do a lot to heal the rift caused by this mistake.