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Qualifiers April 10, 2012

Posted by Jason in Daily PM.
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It’s not uncommon for people to hedge their speech when stating a fact.  A fun game is to see how many of these someone can string together in one sentence.

What Will You? April 3, 2012

Posted by Jason in Management.
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Almost every project contains a “post-mortem”.  I’ve always disliked the concept, not just due to the connotation of death (especially if the project was indeed successful) but because it implies that the only lessons we learn are those at the end – and that they are in turn due to some failure.

Simply learning from failures is a reaction to outcomes rather than setting out to learn during the process.  Case in point: how many performance reviews are there that ask the question, “What did you learn from the experience?”  All retrospective.  20/20 hindsight.  No challenge, just facts (and hazy recollections of them at best).

Instead, try turning the question around.  Ask, “What will I learn from this?”  Now, you are on the leading edge, looking forward.  Failures are possible, but so are successes.  You are moving forward with intention, rather than being carried down the stream looking back.  You plan on learning something – anything – from your next experiences.  Lessons that may have easily been forgotten many months later can be recorded, recognized, and immediately taught to others.

The nice thing about will?  It’s free.

Bright Spots December 23, 2011

Posted by Jason in Management.
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The Heath Brothers are all about change.  But really, we all are.  The subtitle of their book Switch is “How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.”  That seems a  bit redundant.

Humans are hard-wired to resist change.  Psychologists, sociologists, and advertisers have known this for a long time.  It is the rest of us – the owners of such irrational brains – that seem consistently surprised that most of the things we would like to (or need to) change take plenty of hard work.

So with the close of another year and a reflection on just how difficult it has been to change ourselves, our businesses, and even our countries, it is appropriate to recall some of what the Heaths call “bright spots.”

Their bright spots are the things that highlight that progress is being made.  The small wins and micro-steps that occur day to day, but that are often invisible when we lift our gaze to the goals that still seem quite far away.  But they are there, and in fact we need them – we are biologically wired to stick to the safe path and avoid unnecessary risks.  These small wins allow our minds to grasp the possibilities and literally reshape our thinking.  Our hesitancy to take the first step along the path is many times greater than that keeping us from the second and subsequent steps.

So it is as many of us look forward to 2012, make our resolutions, set high goals, and then – come February – discover that, “gosh, this is hard work!”  So many of us examine our weaknesses and resolve to reverse them – the ultimate definition of personal change.  Alternatively, we could examine our strengths and achievements over the past year – and build on them.  I guarantee that even if your life was turned upside-down during the last year or two, there have been small successes.  You never know when one of those will be the key to the next door.

Shooting the Elephant – With Lasers! April 28, 2010

Posted by Jason in Insider's View Relapses.
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Your efforts to improve profitability are lagging. You might be staying afloat, making payroll, and beginning to reinstate a few benefits, but you’re not really doing your best work. For the most part, that might be okay, since that’s probably also (more…)

Who Moved My Economy? July 9, 2009

Posted by Jason in Uncategorized.
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My latest “hard copy” article in RM3 magazine here in Billings (scroll down to the last post on the page):

Who Moved My Economy?

…PDF version coming soon!

Expect Success June 22, 2009

Posted by Jason in Insider's View Relapses.
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Congratulations are certainly in order for any business still surviving—if not thriving—now that some industry sectors have begun to level off and become less volatile. The government’s largesse doesn’t hurt either. Apparent success notwithstanding, most of the firms that I have spoken with recently are still “seeing how the next few months work out.” Unfortunately, this is counter to good business practices. In fact, those firms that have managed to make it this far must be doing something right, even if some simply do not know what it is. The best firms, however, have actively implemented decisions that are most likely to foster positive outcomes. Contrary to those that struggled through the last year, who wish they would have been better prepared for the downturn, the best managers are now making preparations to recover. Are you in this group? (more…)

Back to Basics April 11, 2009

Posted by Jason in Insider's View Relapses.
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As we negotiate the latest economic hurdles facing our industry and our individual businesses, we face many complex challenges. One of these is the double-edged sword of strategic planning. As usual, our time is constantly under assault from competing interests and conflicting priorities, and strategic planning is often one of the unfortunate casualties. Firms that neglected to fully plan and prepare for these conditions are now likely paying the price in lost business, lost employees, and lost morale. These are critical times, with many firms literally on the brink of collapse, and the ones most in need of a clear course have precious few resources available for plotting it. What is a leader to do? (more…)