Archives For Learning

Vuja De

joe —  Sun 2-Sep-18

Don t Screw Up TodayTomorrow I start my next gig at a new company. Today, I am focused of the four words that can ruin that opportunity. I am serious, these words send a shiver down my spine when I think about how much damage they can do to someone coming into a leadership role at a new company.

As I get older I find these words creeping into conversations with my peers more often. Unfortunately, I am often the one blindly saying them. It’s only four words, a simple turn of a phrase, so how bad could it be?

Imagine you are informing your team of a challenge you are facing, when out of the corner of the room your boss chimes in with:
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Synchronized swimmerA friend once asked, “What is the dumbest question anyone has asked you?” I didn’t have an answer then and still don’t. Though done in jest, my response of “That one?” wasn’t taken well.

Like many, I have been programmed with the mantra that there are no stupid questions. I believe that. Every question has a potential to strip a way a little varnish of ignorance that runs deep in ourselves. That doesn’t mean every question uttered was a wise one, though.

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Let’s Peel That Onion Back

joe —  Tue 19-Jun-18

SmockI am confident that 98% of you are going to disagree with this week’s column. Many of you might even think I’ve lost my marbles as I have typically sided with the opposite position on this topic. In the end, however, pragmatism won out.

I was reading a column by Travis Bradberry where he implored his readers to stop using those ridiculous buzzwords that are regularly attributed to the pointy-hair boss types. Bradberry discusses the cringe that comes over the audience when someone says “low-hanging fruit,” “win-win,” or “bang for your buck.” I think Bradberry’s position says more about us as a receiver than it does the pointy-hair boss, and that’s not good.

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The Trouble With SMEs

joe —  Sat 8-Mar-14

Roses are grayThey say that ignorance is bliss. I’m guessing that is until you realize that you are ignorant. But is it possible that you may be hurting your opportunities for promotion by knowing too much?

I never would have thought that until I had a chance to talk with a friend that had announced he was leaving his company.

Alan was known by what many call a SME – a subject matter expert. He is an incredibly smart man that knew his business inside and out. His knowledge and insight of all things related to his customers and the inner workings of the product made him the guru that everyone sought out for advice.
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More is More

joe —  Sun 13-Oct-13

Les mooreIt was 9:45 pm. I didn’t have a chance to eat dinner that night and I was at the point where even McDonalds sounded like a reasonable alternative. Unfortunately, that was the only choice for miles. So I gambled.

Clearly, the crew behind the counter were not happy to see me. It was a slow night and I looked to be the last customer preventing them from getting home early. I ordered my Big Mac Value Meal and was surprised that it came back so fast. Having worked at a McDonalds back in high school, I knew that nearly everything after 8 pm was made to order.

The young girl behind the counter handed me a tray that consisted of a Big Mac, a Coke, and enough french fries to make me believe that the french fry fairy did exist. She leaned over the counter and said in a rather clandestine voice, “This was our last batch of fries and they were getting past their time to toss them out. I didn’t want you to have to wait for another 5 minutes so I gave you a lot more fries.” Continue Reading…

I’m Where?!?

joe —  Fri 23-Aug-13

Early gpsIf you ever have the chance to ride in my car you will learn one thing very quickly – I have absolutely no sense of direction. This has greatly affected my bike riding. The reason my bike rides would often take three hours, is because the route was two hours. The other hour was finding my way back to the route after I had made a wrong turn. On the bright side, it’s made me a better rider.

My wife, Beth, on the other hand has amazing navigational abilities. You could put her in a city she has never been and she would be able to find any destination just by knowing the general direction and distance from where she started. No maps. It is a thing of beauty. This is why when we go on trips, I drive and she navigates.

There is one slight chink in our driver/navigator relationship armor. If Beth and I were going to a new location, say downtown, Beth would proceed to tell me every turn to make, just before we get to it. This doesn’t work for me. I want to know the route before I get in the car. I knew if I asked for the route ahead of time she would respond, “Why does that matter? You still won’t know how to get there. Just trust me.” Continue Reading…

eMail or eJail?

joe —  Sun 21-Jul-13

Lucy deleting emailEvery great movie has a memorable line that becomes fodder for the memeosphere. “If you build it, he will come” was the hot line from Field of Dreams, the 1989 classic. The line implied that by simply building a baseball field, something mysterious was going to happen.

It seems we may have adopted this adage when it comes to email.“Send it and they will read” seems to be the battle cry of millions of corporate citizens. There is a failure to recognize that the burden of communicating falls on the sender, not the receiver. If your email is not read, it’s because you didn’t make it readable. Readable emails get read – it’s that simple.

I would venture that over half of the emails I open are not readable. Most of them are too verbose, lacks an obvious purpose, have the wrong people in the sender list, or are only sent to cover one’s posterior. If I could avoid reading those, I would. Unfortunately buried deep within the bowels of some email is an important nugget of information that I need. Since I can’t tell ahead of time which emails are of value, I am forced to read the rest in frustration.

The reason I know this is because I have been perpetrating these crimes of email waste myself for the better part of my career. I am willing to bet that you have too. Here are some rules that I try to follow. Continue Reading…