Strategies fail more often than they succeed. Occasionally it’s because they are stupid strategies. Most of the times the cause is a lack of clarity – a lack of specificity about where you are headed, how you will get there, and what must change. Consider these examples of typical failures: (more…)
The year is half over. If that is bad news for you, I am sorry to be the one to break it!
In our not too distant past, weather, daylight hours, changing seasons, and the calendar year ruled all.
These days – not so much! Nonetheless, old habits die hard and that calendar controls far too much in the business world. While you reflect on progress to date at this half-year mark, reflect also on all the things that should NOT be controlled by the calendar year. Here are a few just for starters:
- Strategic planning
- Performance reviews
- Goal setting
Something to ponder while at the beach this summer. Have a great July!
During my early days in the corporate world, one of my jobs included developing the software that synchronized and backed up all the data needed to control the generation and transmission of power for Great Britain. The project manager made the rounds every Friday to update his Gantt chart. He stepped through each activity and asked me for an updated percent complete. I struggled with this exercise and finally, when my tasks hit 67%, I refused to play. Despite my long list of open tasks marked two-thirds complete, I promised him we’d be finished on time.
This tracking ritual continued weekly and every Friday he could hardly contain his anger with me. He told me my group was going to ruin the whole project. I told him not to worry. My promises did nothing to relieve his anxiety.
Meanwhile, all the other leads were marching steadily toward the finish line and keeping him happy. 70%. 75%. 78%. 80%. 82%. To increase the pressure on the laggards, the charts were posted on the wall. Practically everyone was in the 90s and my group still showed 67%. (more…)
The Patriots lost last night for the first time this season. But that is the least of their problems. Gronkowski was carted off the field and he now joins Amendola, Edelman, Lewis, Dobson, Jones – more players than I can list – who are injured. Brady looked crestfallen when Gronk went down.
But this morning, what are they saying? “Just wasn’t our night.” In true Patriots fashion, they refuse to contemplate what Gronk’s injury means for the next game or the rest of the season. “It was a very hard loss” and “players gave a tremendous effort” are all that we will hear. Their job is to get it done. One game at a time. No matter what comes at them. Whether they will get it done remains to be seen, but we all know Tom Brady is special because of his uncanny ability to get it done by focusing on that and nothing else.
Everyone has problems. Most people spend far more time agonizing, talking, and worrying about those problems than actually doing something about them. Save that energy. Channel Tom Brady. Your job is to get it done. One step at a time. No matter what comes at you.
Under cover of darkness, “America’s Wine Superstore,” with 100 stores in 15 states and offering 8000 wines, 3000 spirits, and 2500 beers, quietly opened at a prime intersection just outside the city limits of a first ring Minneapolis suburb possessing 3 ho-hum municipal liquor stores.
Now, a mere 5 months later, “Edina blames Total Wine for falling revenue.” This headline in the Minneapolis Business Journal caught my eye because I lived in Edina a dozen years ago and know exactly how exciting those stores are.
- That store was not built overnight.
- It is not a tiny, unrecognizable threat.
- Furthermore, you got a huge reprieve when Total Wine lost a full year battling for a liquor permit.
Meanwhile, what did these stores do to prevent the revenue loss? Probably what many businesses do: (more…)
We arrived early to make first tracks in the fresh powder. The snow has been so fabulous this year that we’ve become completely spoiled.
But not so spoiled that we were unprepared for disappointing conditions!
After one run, I’m back in the lodge waiting for the sun to climb higher and soften the snow. In the meantime, I can answer emails, write a blog post, and make a few calls. Instead of feeling disappointed, I seize the opportunity to get some things accomplished.
Business, and life, rarely go as planned. To increase your odds of success, prepare for those disappointing conditions.
Is your business overly dependent on a single individual, vendor, facility, or condition? Do your plans involve many unknowns or interdependencies? Are you relying on luck and people outside your control? (more…)
An ounce of planning is worth a pound of rework.
If you’ve ever:
- Wasted time on a wild-goose trail that turned out to be irrelevant to your goals
- Built something that wouldn’t fit
- Been stuck waiting for something that no one thought to do
- Been a day late and a dollar short
You know that insufficient planning can lead to tremendous delays, wasted money, and great frustration.
But do you also know that accurate, complete, and detailed plans can be counter-productive? (more…)
It’s here! The cheat sheet for clarity! The best quick tips for getting better results faster with greater confidence and commitment at your fingertips!
Download Ann’s Clarity App from the iTunes store today!
It’s loaded with tips you can use and share immediately to improve decisions, meetings, planning, holding others accountable, and more!
Imagine the value gained from sharing and using nuggets such as the:
- only 6 types of outcomes for any meeting
- 4 steps to better decisions, 3 of which are usually skipped
- biggest mistakes people make when planning
- how victim-hood prevents us from managing our time
- 2 criteria you should use to include others in your decisions
- 4 words that will make your productivity soar
- and more, including more to come!
Since shared clarity is the most powerful clarity, encourage your colleagues to download Ann’s Clarity App right away as well.
Need another incentive to act now? The introductory price can’t be beat!
Once you’ve tried the app, I’d love to hear your reaction. And don’t forget, new content is on its way!
Iraq is a mess. Much of the blame lies with the TE-TBD Syndrome. Too Eager To Be Done. It affects all of us. Not just a weary President faced with declining public support, increasingly frustrating Iraqi leadership, and a war he never wanted. We all wanted to be done with Iraq, some much sooner than others. It doesn’t matter. When we are Too Eager To Be Done, we stop investing the time, energy, and resources needed to continue learning, make smart decisions, manage risks, and successfully wrap up what we’ve started. Too Eager To Be Done Syndrome leads to wishful thinking, dismissal of key indicators, and hand-waving. We are bored, tired, and eager to move on. We want it out of sight, out of mind.
That’s when things fall apart. Iraq. Your employee engagement project. The platform consolidation effort. That massive training program that never changed anything. Big launch. Slow fizzle.
To avoid TE-TBD, you must recognize when you are succumbing to its power. Before you start dropping the ball, dismissing the issues, ignoring those employees who’ve invested their hearts and hours, and gearing up for the next shiny yellow project.
When you get that first strong Urge To Be Done, take notice. Figure out why you feel the way you do. Was the consolidation effort really a bad idea or is it your implementation methods that need tweaking? Hold up the mirror, reexamine the original objectives, and invoke the discipline to make conscious, informed decisions that consider more than the obvious options and consequences.
Note also that there is energy in that Urge To Be Done. Harness it to increase your focus and determination. Find a new champion, change up the team, jack up the volume on the progress indicators.
Backing down may be the right thing to do. But don’t do it just because you are TE-TBD!
I used to play the cello. I guess. Sort of. I say sheepishly.
When I listen to something like this, all I can say is I have a cello, and I wish I could play like this:
So why can’t I? I love the cello. I love the way it sounds. I’ve played it enough to believe I could play well, even if not by this standard. So why can’t I? (more…)