Posts Tagged ‘productivity’



Sometimes All You Need Is To Show Up

It’s a cliche, but it’s a good one: “Sometimes all you need to do is just show up.” I have seen its power in my own life. As a matter of fact, it works for me on a daily basis. I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned personal growth goals because I was too afraid, too lazy or too discouraged to even try, so I didn’t even bother showing  up. You can’t fail if you don’t try, right? Wrong. For me the greatest battle is winning over my mind. Waking up at 5 am and dragging myself to the gym when I don’t feel like going is not always easy to do. Sitting down and working on a project that’s important but not urgent is tough to do sometimes. But there’s so much more than just showing up at the gym or getting your job done. Sometimes…

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The 10% Rule of Life

We judge most things and experiences on details. I call it it the 10% rule because most of that what makes the details worth of notice usually happen at the very end of a project, building construction, manufacturing, design, experience–the last 10% of completion.That’s why finishing well is not just a good idea, it’s the difference between mediocrity and greatness and even success and failure. I don’t care how solid the foundation of a house is or how well-framed the walls are, if the painting is sloppy the entire structure gets devalued. “It’s just cosmetic,” you might say, but in the minds of most people the entire product gets devalued because of the last 10% of effort was not done well.  The opposite is true as well. Sometimes a beautifully finished building will garner top price before its owners find out that at core the structure is substandard. The value,…

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Work Smarter Not Harder

Working hard and working smart are not synonyms. Yes you can work both smart and hard, but you can also spend a lot of effort and fail at the end of the day. Here are a few principles on how to work smarter that I have learned by watching successful leaders and managers as well as those who got them wrong. While these principles are simple…even obvious…they seem to elude us quite often. Do what only you can do for your organization. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Once I was the technology expert for my company–doing everything from troubleshooting network connections to installing printers and drivers. Granted, there were only 3 of us in the early days. Today I don’t even know how to use the fax machine or get a conference call started. I had to let those things go or I could never…

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Why We Need Deadlines

Deadlines are critical in order to get things done. Most of us, myself included, need deadlines to avoid procrastinating on things that might be important but are not urgent. Both at home as well as work, I try to bookend our projects with an event that forces everyone involved in wrapping up lose ends and making sure the project is completed in time for guests to see it. I decided to schedule an open house for The A Group’s new offices less than three weeks from our moving in date. I knew it would be a tight deadline. It’s staggering the amount of work that goes into moving offices, computer systems, phone systems, workstations, furniture, signage, and on and on. And while in the midst of all of that, still get work done. The tendency is to get enough done to be functional and continue to  fix things up as…

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The Tyranny of the Urgent

“I’m already overwhelmed in my job. I have no time left to write a blog post, create a conversation on Twitter, or engage in a Facebook discussion.” I hear it quite often these days.  I understand people’s frustrations. We all seem to be tapped out. My answer is simple: you must let go of the urgent and not important and focus on the important but not urgent. Easier said than done. The urgent always demand our attention, whether or not it warrants it. It’s the “needs immediate attention” email you get in the middle of the day, or a “crisis” a client is having you must attend to. Much like disgruntled church members, the “urgent but not important” tasks fill our days and rob us from doing what we should be doing but, unlike its obnoxious counterpart, the “important but not urgent” will not grab us by the neck and…

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3 Reasons to Fire a Client

Sometimes you have to fire your clients. That sounds almost wrong until you give it some thought. Early in entrepreneurial career, I would say “yes” to anyone willing to hire me. The reasoning was simple: I needed to eat and someone was willing to pay for what I had to offer. However, over the years I have lost a lot of money and opportunity courting and working with clients who were not strategically a good fit for my company. Until I realized the true cost of working outside my sweet spot, I continually jumped on every opportunity that came my way. What I did not understand for a long time is that for every less-than-ideal client or project we pursued as a business and took on, we gave up the ability to find and work on the projects that were the most enjoyable, most profitable and, therefore, most successful. The…

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Build Your Dream Team

I’m fortunate to have an amazing group of talented and committed people working at The A Group. It’s truly a dream team. And with each new hire, the stakes seem to be getting higher. I like that. Talent, attracts talent and elevates the game for everyone. I have written about the 3Cs we screen in hiring: competence, character and chemistry. But beyond that I’m always on the look out for qualities that will make a great addition to our team. Raw talent. Nothing is more exciting than to find someone who has a natural ability in their area of expertise. No matter their area of work inside our organization–designers, programmers, video producers, account managers, or sales–talented people are given the tools and the opportunity to do their best work. I’m convinced you can help a talented person grow and flourish, but without it, no amount of coaching and tools can…

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Is Your Team Blocking Your Opportunity?

It’s happening all over the place: leaders are hijacking critical projects from their internal teams and implementing a “bypass” play in order to get things done. While you might question the non-conventional leadership style, the wisdom or the potential fall-out inside the organization of such tactics, these leaders are more worried about missed opportunities, missed revenues or loss of ministry impact than trying to protect the organizational pride and inefficiency. Lately, much of my consulting has been with key leaders who find themselves in endless meetings, studies, and discussions of projects that have been stalled for months and even  years because of organizational inertia. As leaders they see the opportunity and want to seize the moment, but cannot make forward progress with their teams. Fear, incompetent, ignorance, philosophical differences, and so many other issues often play into this organizational paralysis that keeps a lot of good businesses and ministries from…

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What Should You Do Next?

Somedays I walk into a new week with purpose, a long “to do” list and begin to knock it out. But then there are days like today. I’m sluggish, a bit unfocused, didn’t plan the week well, and I’m not sure what to tackle first. In these unplanned moments, my reaction is to find the busy work that will inevitably appear out of nowhere and fill my entire day and do that. But instead, I decided to stop and ask the one question I should ask myself most days: What should I do for my business that only I can do? I’ve been asking that questions for years now and because of it, I have stopped doing a lot of things, such as fixing copiers, designing brochures, writing checks, troubleshooting IT problems and a number of other important things that other people can do, often much better than me, and…

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