Occasionally, when I learn something, I think, "I wish I had known that years ago." Maybe it would have saved me pain and trouble, or helped me find more joy and happiness, or maybe it just appeals to me. Whenever this happens, I write it down, or at least I mean to write it down. Many of them do get away. Here's the second installment of some that didn't get away.
- It's way better to cancel a meeting that shouldn't happen than to hold a meeting that shouldn't have happened.
- If you phone someone only when something is wrong, they'll eventually learn about Caller ID.
- Ask questions only if you think the answers (or non-answers) will help.
- Turning the other cheek is a good way to get slapped again. And maybe that's a good thing.
- When people interrupt each other, rudeness isn't always the only reason. Some interruptions are strategic.
- When somebody consistently does something wrong, your understanding of what they're trying to accomplish might be incorrect.
- When an expert tells you it's impossible, take heed. Experts who exaggerate aren't experts for long.
- Humor is everywhere. Even in things you're embarrassed you laughed at.
- Humor helps some people get over the rough spots. Others find it most unhelpful. How wondrously different we all are.
- People who take credit for the work of others soon run out of others.
- The young have a huge advantage over their elders. They haven't yet learned that there isn't time enough to learn all of what they haven't yet learned.
- Three kinds of people who don't learn: the unwilling, the unable, and the soon-to-be-unemployed.
- Dogs understand us. It's what they do for a living.
- Get a scanner. Electronic hoarding Dogs understand us.
It's what they do
for a living.is better for the environment than hardcopy hoarding.
- Many of my mistakes eventually proved right. And many things I thought were right eventually proved to be mistakes. So, being sure I'm right can be a mistake. I think.
- Some people contribute much more than they get credit for; some contribute much less. The trick is figuring out which is which.
- Some people contribute much less than they think they do. Way less.
- Being loyal to an organization that's incapable of being loyal to you is just dumb. Same for people.
- You get good only at what you practice at, but practicing at something is no guarantee you'll get good at it.
- Don't practice at anything you don't want to get good at.
- Getting angry at inanimate objects hardly ever motivates them to do better.
- Taking time out to think usually saves time in the end.
- On days when nothing is going right, I remind myself that most things actually are going right. I'm just too messed up to notice them.
- Trees know how to make do with whatever comes their way. They have to.
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More articles on Ethics at Work:
- When You're Scared to Tell the Truth
- In the project context, we need to know that whatever we're hearing from colleagues is the truth as
they see it. Yet, sometimes we shade the truth, or omit important details. Here's a list of some of
the advantages of telling the truth.
- The Power of Presuppositions
- Presuppositions are powerful tools for manipulating others. To defend yourself, know how they're used,
know how to detect them, and know how to respond.
- Virtual Termination with Real Respect
- When we have to terminate someone who works at a remote site, sometimes there's a temptation to avoid
travel — to use email, phone, fax, or something else. They're all bad ideas. Terminating people
in person is not only a gesture of respect. It's good business.
- Extrasensory Deception: I
- Negotiation skills are increasingly essential in problem-solving workplaces. When incentives are strong,
or pressure is high, deception is tempting. Here are some of the deceptions popular among negotiators.
- Telephonic Deceptions: II
- Deception at work probably wasn't invented at work. Most likely it is a continuation of deception in
the rest of life. But the technologies of the modern workplace offer new opportunities to practice the
art. Here's Part II of a handy guide for telephonic self-defense.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming November 29: Manipulators Beware
- When manipulators try to manipulate others, they're attempting to unscrupulously influence their targets to decide or act in some way the manipulators prefer. But some targets manage to outwit their manipulators. Available here and by RSS on November 29.
- And on December 6: Reframing Revision Resentment: I
- From time to time, we're required to revise something previously produced — some copy, remarks, an announcement, code, the Mona Lisa, whatever… When we do, some of us experience frustration, and view the assignment as an onerous chore. Here are some alternative perspectives that might ease the burden. Available here and by RSS on December 6.
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- Ten Project Management Fallacies: The Power of Avoiding Hazards
- Most of what we know about managing projects is useful and effective, but some of what we know "just ain't so." Identifying the fallacies of project management reduces risk and enhances your ability to complete projects successfully. Even more important, avoiding these traps can demonstrate the value and power of the project management profession in general, and your personal capabilities in particular. In this program we describe ten of these beliefs. There are almost certainly many more, but these ten are a good start. We'll explore the situations where these fallacies are most likely to expose projects to risk, and suggest techniques for avoiding them. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.