Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 16, Issue 13;   March 30, 2016: Still More Things I've Learned Along the Way

Still More Things I've Learned Along the Way

by

When I have an important insight, or when I'm taught a lesson, I write it down. Here's another batch from my personal collection.
An example of a Weaver's Pathway

An example of a "Weaver's Pathway" in a Navajo rug. A "Weaver's Pathway," or "Spirit Line", is a small line of contrasting color that passes from the inner field of the piece, penetrating the borders, until it reaches one edge. When non-Navajos notice it, they often see it as an imperfection, because it violates all the symmetries of the pattern. But to Navajos, it's a path that enables the weaver's spirit to free itself from the piece.

We can view imperfections in anything we create as pathways to places worth exploring. For more on the Weaver's Pathway, see "The Weaver's Pathway," Point Lookout for May 7, 2003.

When I learn something, I sometimes wish I had learned it long ago. If it could have saved me trouble, or led me somewhere I find appealing, I write it down. Here's another installment from my growing collection.

  • If your workload is totally unreasonable, better time management won't help much.
  • If you work for a jerk, striving for superior performance is worse than a waste of time. It keeps you from finding another job.
  • Multitasking is a hoax. What we really do is task switching, which drains energy and wastes time [*] .
  • If my success depends on yours, but yours doesn't depend on mine, I might be in big trouble.
  • Creating great ideas from scratch is really hard and really rare. Many great ideas are clever combinations of other great and less-than-great ideas.
  • Organizations and their people either succeed together or fail together.
  • Risk-averse organizations risk stifling creativity and innovation.
  • Threats work in the short run, but they drive people away in the long run.
  • If you decide to give up, you'll never know whether you could have done it.
  • You can't trust everything you find on the Internet, but some Internet communities and Web sites are very reliable. Find some you trust.
  • Perfection isn't achievable, but with practice, you can make the imperfections insignificant.
  • Cherish imperfections. They can sometimes lead to wonderful, exciting places.
  • If a difficult decision gets easier when you pretend you're deciding it for somebody else, the difficulty is probably about you, not the decision.
  • When all your choices are bad, choosing usually isn't the hard part. The hard part is accepting that you must choose the least bad choice.
  • To get more choices, try letting go of dogma and ideology.
  • When people suddenly renege on commitments, they could be just untrustworthy, or maybe somebody powerful ordered them to do it. Some people would let you believe the former before they would ever acknowledge the latter.
  • You can't When I learn something that
    I wish I had learned long
    ago, I write it down
    solve problems you don't realize you have.
  • You can't use assets you don't realize you have.
  • The Development orientation focuses on figuring out how to break the mold. The Operational orientation focuses on using the mold more perfectly.
  • Creativity and Freedom are partners. You can't have much of one without help from the other.
  • I've forgotten so many great ideas that I'm sure some must have been better than any idea I've pursued. So now when I get an idea I write it down (or type it in). Now if only I can figure out how not to lose what I've written down (or typed in)…
  • Outsourcing risk management is risky. Something about having to live with the consequences of risks makes people better risk managers.
  • The easiest way to offend somebody is to disparage something personal they can't change.
  • If all you know is where you don't want to go, you'll get there faster.

If you have a personal collection, maybe some of these might suggest an addition or two. If you don't yet have a collection, maybe you can start one. First in this series  Go to top Top  Next issue: Irrational Deadlines  Next Issue

[*]
Psychologists have studied multitasking in detail. See this article in Psychology Today for a survey of the latest thinking.

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Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople 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.

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