“Because any fool knows that to work hard at something you want to accomplish is the only way to be happy.” – Eugene O’Neill Source
Never Use a Number When Communicating (Unless You Do This)
“$5.7 billion, for example, is just an abstraction. Recently, I wrote about how a wall is a powerful concept because it’s so specific and tangible. Whether it’s made of steel or cement, a wall is concrete. We can picture it. But what about $5.7 billion, the amount that a certain wall is supposed to cost? That’s a big number, but here’s the thing: A number is not compelling. It’s abstract. And because of that, a number doesn’t stick.
That’s why if you’re communicating about numbers, you should listen to my husband, Paul B. Brown, who has written more than 40 business books. His rule is this: Never use a number unless you compare it to something else. (I don’t always listen to him, but I do about this.)
Paul’s premise is that a fact just hanging out there gives the brain nothing to hold onto. But create a comparison and people can make connections. For example: “Our profits are just one-quarter of what we made last year.”
Wall Street Journal columnist Jo Craven McGinty use comparisons to bring a number to life in her recent article, “Is $5.7 Billion a Lot for a Wall?” She did the math and compared the cost for the wall with a lot of things, including:
- The gross domestic product of the U.S. ($5.7 is .03 percent of the GDP)
- How much Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is worth (1/20th)
- Every person residing the U.S. ($17 each)
- Every undocumented immigrant apprehended at the border in 2017 ($18,750 per person)
Isn’t it interesting how you can picture $17 in your wallet much more easily than you can imagine $5.7 billion? The first is tangible (a 10, a five, and two singles) and the second is too vague to wrap your mind around.”
Via Daily Pnut Newsletter, February 4
““One of the paradoxes of life is that our big decisions are often less calculated than our small ones are. We agonize over what to stream on Netflix, then let TV shows persuade us to move to New York; buying a new laptop may involve weeks of Internet research, but the deliberations behind a life-changing breakup could consist of a few bottles of wine. We’re hardly more advanced than the ancient Persians, who, Herodotus says, made big decisions by discussing them twice: once while drunk, once while sober.” – Joshua Rothman, Choose Wisely: Do we make the big decisions-or do they make us? (New Yorker)
By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me Article
Are You Prepared to Succeed?
“In any endeavor preparation is a key to success. That’s not exactly a profound statement because everybody knows that. But knowing that isn’t the challenge. Doing it is.
Preparation is the difference between being proactive and reactive. It is the difference between a stress inducing task and an anxiety free accomplishment. Preparation saves time and energy. Preparing for your day allows you to anticipate potential problems and have at least a limited plan for dealing with them.
Preparation is possibly the greatest confidence booster ever. When you invest some time in preparing, for a meeting, an interview, a sales call or a difficult conversation you speak more authoritatively. It appears as if you actually know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about. Imagine that.
Most people who don’t prepare claim that they don’t have the time. Well if time is a concern for you then that’s the very reason you should be investing a bit of it in preparation. An hour of preparation will often shave two off the project or task.
Here’s one idea for you, it’s something I do every morning. If you were to look at my calendar you would see the same appointment every day, every single day. It’s from 5:00am to 5:30am. The appointment says “Planning and Solitude.” Every day!
It’s often the most important 30 minutes of my day. I invest those 30 minutes preparing to have a successful day. There are no interruptions and no distractions. It makes no difference what part of the world I’m in or what else may be happening. I and I alone control those 30 minutes. If that seems selfish then you should know that it is those 30 minutes that help me help others.
Those 30 minutes chart my course for the day. Yes, unanticipated events may throw me off course temporarily but after I’ve dealt with those I have a course to get back on. Without preparation I wouldn’t.”
By James Lawther via squawkpoint.com Article
“Blame is natural
The minute something goes wrong we seek out somebody to blame. Somebody to take the rap. It is human nature to find a fall guy when things go belly up.
Blame is easy
We live in a connected world. We work within a mesh of colleagues, customers and suppliers, so there are always plenty of people involved in whatever has gone wrong. It is easy to find somebody to point the finger at, justly or not.
Some managers have made finding blame an art form.
The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Blame stops action
Once we have found somebody to blame the process is simple:
- Sacrifice them (either a minor blood letting or full on slaughter at the altar of redundancy).
- Ignore the problem. It has all got quite unpleasant.
- Sweep the whole sorry incident under the carpet. Nobody wants to be associated with failure.
Once blame has been established and the guilty have been punished we move on.
Blame isn’t a solution
Sweeping things under the carpet doesn’t stop them from happening again.
- He should have stayed awake…
- He should be punished…
Sack the pilot and we can all go back to our business as before. The skies will be safe again. Won’t they?
Unfortunately sacking one pilot for falling asleep won’t stop another one from getting some shut eye. Pilots fall asleep at an alarming rate.
A better approach
Dig a little deeper, and find out why the pilot fell asleep. Then do something about it.
- Could you prevent tired pilots from taking the controls of planes?
- Could you change working conditions so pilots aren’t tired?
- Could you make pilots’ jobs more interesting to prevent them from falling asleep?
- Could you devise a system to wake the pilot if he gets drowsy?
- Could you warn others if the pilot falls asleep?
If you start to ask the questions the solutions appear. There are a hundred and one things that could be done to reduce the chances of pilots falling asleep at the controls of an aeroplane. But if your approach is to blame the pilot and then sack him then you won’t find any of them…
Blame limits progress
Finding somebody to blame closes our minds and stops us from learning.
Poor managers find blame, good managers find solutions.”
By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blob Article
Lust for Skittles and Other Bad Habits
“Wouldn’t it be great if lust for humility was as strong as lust for Skittles? …
7 bad leadership habits:
- Adding tiny improvements to the ideas, plans, work, or behavior of others.
- Providing answers before asking questions.
- Focusing on fixing people’s weaknesses and neglecting their strengths.
- Intervening quickly rather than making space for people to work through their own issues. Jumping in to help is permission for others to jump out.
- Getting bossy when stressed.
- Correcting but seldom congratulating.
Bad habit replacements:
- Curiosity. Go on a curiosity walk-about every morning at 10 a.m.
- Humility. Let others be right. Jettison your need to have the final word. Just stop talking.
- Gratitude. Go on a thank you tour at 2:30 p.m.
- Silence. Smile, nod, and say less.
‘We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.’ Steven Pressfield”