“Looking for some Clarity…. “

Need a little organization?

… want to eliminate some confusion?  … at work, home, school? … maybe achieve more?

Confusion in your life?  Mess on the desk?  Feel overwhelmed? Just  seems like you can’t get anything done?

Take some quiet time; manage your space, do some planning:

If you have an office, close the door, A cube? Find a conference room

If neither? Use a library or coffee shop.

Put your stuff in boxes, mentally or actually draw them, label them. Use a notebook and “Post-its”, or, laptop and e-tools to display, organize, prioritize, and manage your boxes.

Set some priorities, most important box to least important, some boxes may have to be addressed simultaneously, Some tasks on multiple days, so identify task, day(s), time alloted those as well.

Examples: Your “work” box may have 8 or 10 sub-boxes / projects; your home box maybe 5 or more, make a personal time box, maybe a “me box”. However, they are related by time — they share your time, just so many hours in a day/week/month.

There are planning tools out there on the web that can help you manage your stuff. Consider this popular matrix… it comes in many forms and is highly adaptable.

In a previous post,  I noted that organization chart structures are handy organization tools… that tool might be used here and is especially handy for prioritizing things.

https://wordpress.com/post/successnexcess.com/588

One of the greatest culprits of disorganization or inefficiency is a perceived lack of time. Actually, there is always time! In many cases it can be a lack of “time management” skills.  The writer believes you don’t necessarily have to take a course / attend a seminar on the subject, although if it helps its worth the time (no pun intended). This blogger believes all you have to do is organize your stuff and follow Nike’s advice — “Just Do It”.  Commit to the time to make a plan, manage your time, allot time for each box,  and implement your plan, taking related actions to close out the tasks or work.  Lack of or poor implementation has been known as a cause of failed plans.

Above all, one has to commit the time to make the plan!

Do not let anything short of an emergency or critical event get in your way, or disorganize your day and time. Interruptions and priorities can change your day of course, but if it happens too often, life/work/time may be managing you rather than the other way around.

For the record, a messy desk is not necessarily a sign of a disorganized owner; in some cases it might be the sign of a big-time “multi-tasker”, or, a disorganized owner.

***** S&E *****

“Time” for decisions…

This was a new job, a promotion for Sam, title: Human Resources (HR) Supervisor, his first management position. The company paid to move his family, a full relocation package. His new work location — a fully integrated manufacturing business that occupied a full city block. The facility was all brick, 60 years old, four stories high, with a courtyard in the center large enough for tractor trailers to enter, unload, and make a full turn to exit. It is a cool business. 900 employees. The business had additional facilities, two plants, offshore, in Puerto Rico.

Sam is on the job 6 days and finds out his boss is leaving for two weeks for a beach vacation with his family.

The second day his boss is gone the Operations Manager (OM) (responsible for manufacturing and warehousing) steps into the doorway of Sam’s office, leans against the door frame, and announces that his warehouse supervisor was arrested the previous evening for soliciting on a downtown street corner, dressed in drag.

There is usually a healthy competition, sometimes stressful, relationship between Operations and HR as the two need to strike an understanding and balance of what operating decisions are good for employees and the business, honoring policy, company values, and the need to run an efficient, productive, profitable, concern.

The OM, still in the door frame, is smiling like a Cheshire Cat, anticipating that the greenhorn HR guy will have no idea what to do with this. And, even better, the HR guy’s boss is gone. After a brief discussion the HR guy comes up with, “furlough him with pay until the authorities make a decision”. If the authorities charge him and he’s found guilty, we release him. Stop back at the end of the week and we’ll look at where we are. Boom! Disappointed that the new guy didn’t bumble the issue, the OM returns to his work.

Epilogue: Ten days later the authorities drop the charges against the Warehouse Supervisor. The the HR guy recommends the OM reinstate the Warehouse Supervisor, he does so. The Warehouse Supervisor was also warned that as a manager he can be the face of the company and he’d be released if further questionable behavior occurs.

There is usually a little time to make a decision.

***** S&E ****

You Get What You Take

Despite what that title sounds like it is not a challenge to run-over, do end runs, or otherwise abuse people or coworkers.

You can be run-over by others or, jump in, be competitive, take a lead, and be smarter. You can influence your critics and respond to challenges through the use of data and facts to solidify your position. Opinion is only that, opinion. And, this can apply to personal discussions as well as circumstances and situations in a work environment

And the “Intrapreneur’s” Ten Commandments can be applicable, however use with good judgement, particularly with items 1 and 2:

But… also consider that avoiding a Don Quote event is a good thing, and there are times where that that age old adage “Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom” yet applies.

***** S&E *****

Decisions, Decisions…

Making tough decisions is not easy. It is always good to understand the broader thinking on the topic as that helps drive an informed decision. Making timely decisions is important and then moving on. The right decision for the circumstance might be the correct one but not always popular.

Crafting a message…

It is important that those affected by the decision understand why it was made. That does not mean they have to agree.

Accurate and timely communication to support the decision is critical. As important, is crafting the message, which can differ for different audiences.

A highly respected professional in the communications field once said, “the greatest oversight in communicating a message is thinking that understanding has been achieved.”

***** S&E *****

Driven!

Lots of stuff around about businesses not finding help as people earn more money staying home living off or government doles. Understand there’s more coming thanks to another government family assistance program, $300 per kid and that under special conditions will apply for kids over 18.

Meanwhile…

Well, we are out to eat at a local restaurant and find out our server just received a scholarship from a local hospital, she’s heading for a nursing career, Bachelor’s degree.

But here’s the real story…

drive & ambition, seemingly becoming lost “arts”

She’s a single mom with an 8 year old, working three jobs to pay for her personal, living and family expenses. Three jobs! She’s got the jobs managed so she’s off on the weekends to spend time with her daughter. Her sister helps with her daughter during the week. Her work week, three jobs, around 90 hours!

Do you hear that America, three jobs, 90 hours!

Do you hear that Washington, DC… three jobs, 90 hours.

Driven!

***** S&E *****

Politically Blind or Politically Smart?

So the road sign read, “vote republican”. Do you know people who are politically party-blind?

When they vote, when they voice their opinion, do they speak their own mind, offer a fact-based opinion, and not just what their preferred political party or media is saying?

Are they in tune with what is good for the country, what benefits all types of people, what would be good for business, what are the key improvements for the country? And, not just the slanted media hype which has little balance and sometimes lacks factual reporting.

“Political party blind” is voting a straight party ticket as compared to voting for the candidate who will best serve the country. It is voting the party without doing research on each individual candidate, knowing their preferences, past history from a decision standpoint, how they may have voted previously, and what they are saying about, let’s say, the eight most important issues facing citizens today.

There is much evidence out there as to what those issues might be — jobs, health care, national debt, term limits, international involvement, etc. One could use the list to evaluate and guide voting preferences based on candidate behavior and background.

The other list that is so important are things like courage, integrity, leadership, team player. Consider your political choices in the light of people you are proud of in your personal life — siblings, bosses, friends, relatives. Make the comparison.

Candidates often have websites however actions can speak louder than words.

Consider working toward being politically smart… not a blind follower of a single political party.

And it is good to be aware of and sensitive to the slant of media.

***** S&E *****

What Vacation…!

Chris worked in HR. He told me at times managers would stop in to discuss various issues and occasionally as a side note would mention they were so busy they just couldn’t get all their vacation in, in the year.

He said his advice on the vacation problem might include:

  1. Look at your department’s workload and assess how the work is delegated.
  2. Are you doing the work of others; over managing?
  3. Do you have the right talent for the work?
  4. Is your department leveraging the support of other departments.
  5. Have your employees map / flow chart the work; look for inefficiencies and process improvement
  6. Make an argument for additional employees; make sure the case is analytical, data driven. Item 5 above might help.
  7. Work-life balance can be a real issue; look for solutions. Ask for help.

And he always would remind the manager, “the company will never come to you and suggest you take some vacation”.

***** S&E *****

World Traveling

The cover on the Kindle Reader shows a sailing schooner and the title, “Time to Travel”.

Lucky as it was, the job progressed in size and complexity to where it spanned extensive travel over the course of 19 years, 30 percent of the time, to all world continents. Three years was spent looking over Asia Pacific while living in Shanghai (China).

Busy, Busy… between family and work and many days it went well past the 8 to 5 window, and some weekends, and some weekday nights. There was little time for much else. But no complaints — few have the opportunity for such a rich, diverse and challenging career and life. Anyway, “hung it up” on May 1st.

T-Shirt Art Work

So years into retirement and living the retirement “plan” reading increased 10 fold. It was on the “list”… not calling it a bucket, rather what to enjoy in later years. To cement the plan, or at least to have some commitment to the plan, to have a direction, there was a t-shirt created (better than a mug, a little). It was given to domestic and international co-workers and family as a thanks for my traveling adventures and their friendships, and loyalty and patience.

Back to traveling… the wonder of books is they can take one anywhere, whenever one wants to take the time to go. And one can choose the destination!

(Also, had to put the real travel on hold while the world gets a handle on COVID-19).

***** S&E *****

Advice to a mentee

Do not be in a hurry; you will miss valuable observations and learning.  There are those who are successful in “moving up” quickly but miss important learning along the way.  That can threaten ongoing success.

Learn from everyone; learn from poor leaders and managers, as well as the icons. 

Business Acumen is the one of the most important assets you can own. Work within your function and learn all you can about others. Multi-functional knowledge is so valuable. About Business Acumen:

https://www.knolskape.com/blog-what-is-business-acumen-and-why-it-should-matter-to-everyone/

Find a way to work in a foreign country for a few years. Develop local, national and global perspective and knowledge. Alternatively work toward a position with international content and responsibility.

Always be positive, be the bright spot in the business lives or your co-workers and the boss.  Humor is contagious.

Be passionate about your work and performance; but always leave space for others.

Fine tune your professional presence – in presentations, meetings, and in your business travels. Influence is an important factor for success.

Analytics… they are the language of business.  Look for creative ways to analyze your work and use the analytics to support your opinions.

Values drive success and respect – think honesty, integrity, respect, fairness, selflessness; have your own value code and let it drive your life and career. Strive for a balance in your perspective and decision making.

***** S&E *****

“Root Cause”

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, updated 3:17 PM ET, Thu March 11, 2021

The following blog opinion comments on a CNN Politics article entitled “What the immigration ‘crisis’ debate is missing”, from CNN’s “5 Things”, 3.15.21. Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, updated 3:17 PM ET, Thu March 11, 2021

Excerpt from the article: “One effort that was discussed at a White House press briefing this week is an effort to address the “root causes” of immigration (these are the push factors I mentioned earlier). Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, special assistant to the president and coordinator for the southern border, said the administration wants to spend $4 billion over four years to do this (one big question to keep in mind about this: We’ve heard other administrations say they’re going to do this before, too — and they’ve tried. What could the Biden administration do differently this time?”

And it is not about border guards.

From the blog: I can tell Biden what the “root cause” of the immigration mess is on the Mexican border for far less than a $4 billion dollar, 4 year study. The root causes”, there’s more than one, are simple. It is all about seeking a better life. People are hoping for better living conditions, improved health, education, and medical care. And look for opportunity, and relief from inept governments, poverty, crime, and corruption that exist in in Mexico and Central American Countries. The root causes. Are there criminals among those seeking entry, sure. Probably some. But good processes might eliminate most.

Spend the $4 billion on finishing the wall and to hire some talented executives to put in place a process to manage immigration that can be applied at any border. Clearly, the USA has yet to find the talent to do that. And I can’t imagine the size of the government payroll that is tasked with immigration management and that supports the inability to solve the problem.

Government !

***** S&E *****