Better Early Than Never

Zero Tasking
So I learned a new word/concept today…PREcrastination (New York Times)

 

It’s when you do things early!

 

The better known opposite word is PROcrastintion.


That’s when you put things off or delay…often until the very last minute.

 

We know why people procrastinate–they don’t want or like to do something, have more important things to do, may be overwhelmed with too many taskers, or perhaps they are just plain lazy.

 

But why do people precrastinate?

 

Well, it’s sort of the inverse of the above–they may like doing it, it may be a priority, or they just may want to get “ahead of the curve” on all the things they have on their to-dos, or they may be a Type A personality and don’t rest until they’ve “got a handle on things.”

 

Getting things done at the last minute (procrastination), can push off stress until later–perhaps a better time to deal with it, but getting it done early (precrastination), can help eliminate stress by just getting it over with.

 

Some of us who get things done right away, may be doing extra work, because at times, the necessity of the moment is “overcome by events” (OBE) later on or we may start something before we even have all the directions or information and do it wrong altogether.

 

While others who dilly-dally, may find that they waited too long to get the job done or have other things going on later that precludes them from meeting the timeline–as they say, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail!”

 

Is there a right or wrong in terms of Pre/Procrastination?

 

I want to tell you now, but I think I’ll wait until later. 😉

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is This The Way It’s Supposed To Work?

Is This The Way It's Supposed To Work?

As talk and warnings escalate about a potential government shutdown next week (not that long since the last time this happened a couple of years ago), one cannot help wonder is this the way government is supposed to work?

The partisanship and fighting has gotten so that either nothing significant gets done or get’s done by just one party leaving the other fuming.

The fight over healthcare reform pushed through for better or for worse has come back to haunt the Hill. Aside from a lot of talk about exchanges, I haven’t found many people that even really understand the changes or whether it actually benefits them or not.

The continuing Fed stimulus that many anticipated was going to start tapering off, but hasn’t, has left many concerned whether there is another huge economic bubble building and what will happen to stocks, housing, and jobs when the Fed finally does pull back.

The Sequestration which was never supposed to actually take effect, but was to replaced with more surgical budget cuts, continues to leave the nation vulnerable in terms of potential budget shortfalls for areas of national priority (e.g. defense and so on) and still leaves a mounting national debt (albeit growing at a slower pace).

The seesaw between the threat of military intervention and the potential for diplomatic solutions with Syria and Iran on no less than weapons of mass destruction have us asking whether these countries are serious, stalling, and really willing to give them all up or just buy time in their efforts to get over the finish line of proliferation, hiding, and burying the stockpiles.

Somehow we seem to be fighting each other more than we are tackling the issues.

Are we really talking with each other, listening with intent to understand, and seeing what is at stake?

We are playing brinkmanship on critical issues of national security that may leave us holding the toilet paper and plunger as we swirl around the bowl ready for the royal flush. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Changing Regrets Into Fulfillment

Death_bed

The Guardian (1 February 2012) published an important article called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”

The items mentioned were compiled by a palliative nurse caring for patients at end of life.

The list is a wake up call for many of us who work hard, but in the process perhaps forget the most important aspects of life are the people we love and the pursuit of opportunities to really be ourselves and achieve our purpose.

Here is the list of top 5 things you can do different in your life before it passes you by:

1. Be your true self–“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

– Ask yourself what are your dreams and how can you make them happen!

2. Work less–“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

– Ask yourself are you living to work or working to live?

3. Express yourself–“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

– Ask yourself if you’ve told significant others how you really feel and genuinely worked things out with them.

4. Maintain relationships–“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”

– Ask yourself have you been generous with your time, emotions, and material things with family, friends, and others important to you?

5. Seek out opportunities for happiness–“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

– Ask yourself what does happiness even really mean to you and how can you find it amidst the daily grind.

Life is always too short and everyone makes mistakes and has regrets–that’s part of being human, learning, and growing.

But if we can get our priorities straights and set clear goals, perhaps we can leave the world with less bitterness and more fulfillment in lives granted and well spent.

(Source Photo: here with Attribution to Raspberries1)

Your Leadership Ticket Is Waiting

Ticket_office

A lot of colleagues tell me that they hate office politics, and for many it represents their one-way ticket to ongoing bickering, infighting, and a virtual endless cycle of unsatisfied wants and unhappiness.

 

Office politics is where the interests of multiple parties either converge or collide–where convergence occurs through feelings of interdependence (i.e. enterprise) and acts of teamwork, while collisions predominate by stressing independence (i.e. isolationism) and head-butting.

 

This is where good and bad leadership can make a huge difference.

 

– One one hand, a bad leader sees the world of the office as “us versus them”and fights almost indiscriminately for his/her share of scope, resources, influence, and power.

 

– On the other hand, a good leader looks out for the good of the organization and its mission, and works to ensure the people have what they need to get their jobs done right, regardless of who is doing it or why.

 

Thus, good leaders inspire trust and confidence, because they, without doubt, put the mission front and center–and egos are left at door.

 

Harvard Business Review (January-February 2011) in an article called “Are You A Good Boss–Or A Great One?” identifies a couple of key elements that inherently create opposition and competitiveness within the enterprise:

 

1) Division of Labor–This is the where we define that I do this and you do that. This has the potential to “create disparate groups with disparate and even conflicting goals and priorities.” If this differentiation is not well integrated back as interrelated parts of an overall organizational identity and mission, then feelings of “us versus them” and even arguments over whose jobs and functions are more important and should come first in the pecking order will tear away at the organizational fiber and chances of success.

 

2) Scarce Resources–This is where limited resources to meet requirements and desirements impact the various parts of the organization, because not everyone’s wishes can be pursued at the same time or even necessarily, at all.  Priorities need to be set and tradeoffs made in what will get done and what won’t. Again, without a clear sense of unity versus disparity, scarcity can quickly unravel the organization based on people’s  feelings of unfairness, dissatisfaction, unrest, and potentially even “mob rule” when people feel potentially threatened.

 

Hence, a bad leader works the system–seeing it as a win-lose scenario–where his/her goals and objectives are necessarily more important than everyone else, and getting the resources (i.e. having a bigger sandbox or “building an empire”) is seen as not only desirable but critical to their personal success–here, their identity and loyalty is to their particular niche silo.

 

However, a good leader cares for the system–looking to create win-win situations–where no one element is better or more important than another, rather where they all must work together synergistically for the greater good of the organization. In this case, resources go not to who fights dirtier, but to who will most benefit the mission with them–in this case, their allegiance and duty is to the greater enterprise and its mission.

 

HBR states well that “In a real team [with a real leader], members hold themselves and one another jointly accountable.They share a genuine conviction they will succeed or fail together.”

 

Organizations need not be snake pits with cut throat managers wanting to see others fail and waiting to take what they can for themselves, rather there is another way, and that is to lead with a shared sense of purpose, meaning, and teamwork. 

 

And this is achieved through creating harmony among organizational elements and not class warfare between them.

 

This type of leader that creates unity–builds enduring strength–and has the ticket we need to organizational success.

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Done Manifesto v2

The Done Manifesto with 13 principles of getting to done has been circulated since 2009 (and recently reprinted in LifeHacker). It was made into a poster and creatively illustrated with Rubik’s cubes.

 

Below are the 13 principles revised and presented as The Done Manifesto Version 2.

 

Done_manifesto_v2
(Copyright: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Of course, there is a 14th principle that could also be considered–I remember this from a poster that I first saw in the local newspaper and candy store in Riverdale–it was illustrated with a little boy on a toilet and a roll of toilet tissue and had a caption that said “No Job is

First Stop Saying First

First

First came “Cloud First” in the 25 Point Implementation Plan To Reform Federal IT Management (9 December 2010).

Then came “Sharing First” and “Future First” in the “vision for information technology” (25 October 2011).

According to Federal Times (31 October 2011), there are many more ‘firsts’ to come– with a “set of principles like ‘XML First,’ ‘Web Services First’ ‘Virtualize First,’ and other ‘firsts’ that will inform how we develop our government’s systems.
At this point in this blog, I can’t even remember all the ‘firsts’ I just jotted down, so my question is at what point does assigning ‘firsts’ become ‘second’ to managing our tremendous IT asset base for the government?”
Some more firsts just to be first in starting this “list of firsts”:
“G-d First”
“Country First”
“Democracy First”
“Freedom First”
“Human Rights First”
“Capitalism First”
“Equality First”
“Justice First”
“Fairness First”
“Family First”
“Charity First”
“Caring First”
“Giving First”
“Love First”
“Health First”
“Mission First”
“People First”
“Insource First”
“Outsource First”
“Integrity First”
“Ethics First”
“Truth First”
“Communication First”
“Leadership First”
“Innovation First”
“Passion First”
“Security First”
“Safety First”
“Reliability First”
“Agility First”
“Adaptability First”
“Sustainability First”
“Planning First”
“Governance First”
“Execution First
“Project Management First”
“Performance Measurement First”
“Best Practices First”
“Learning and Growth First”
“Sharing First”
“Collaboration First”
“Transparency First”
“Interoperability First”
“Reusability First”
“Reputation First”
“Simplicity First”
“Requirements First”
“Effectiveness First”
“Efficiency First”
“Data First”
“Quality First”
“Customer First”
“Service First”
“Standards First”
“Cost-savings First”
“Business Process Reengineering First”
“Critical Thinking First”
“Jobs First”
“Women and Children First”
Essentially, there are a lot of ‘firsts’ in life and the challenge is in prioritizing and deconflicting these.
So with all due respect first, now let’s get back to the business of government and technology. 😉
(Source Photo: here)

>Human Capital = Job 1

>

Not only in word, but in deed, that what great leaders do with human capital….
Here’s an interesting anecdote, that I came across, that brings this point home:
“If managers say that employees are their greatest assets, why do they-
– Read their emails DAILY
– Pay their bills MONTHLY
– Check their inventory QUARTERLY
– Service their machinery HALF-YEARLY
– Check engagement and performance of their employees only once a YEAR?
Impact:
Human capital practices have not caught up with financial management practices and are still tuned to the industrial age.
And yet, human capital represents 77% of total expenses.”

>Slow Down And Enjoy The Journey

>

Someone sent me this beautiful poem; I hope you find it as meaningful as I do.

SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?

When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down

Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,”Hi”

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race
Do take it slower
Hear the music

Before the song is over.