I will wait

When have you waited for something really important to you?

The only times I tend to wait are when I have something challenging or stretching in front of me.

I mentioned a few posts ago, but I am giving a talk in a month at a TEDx conference. And I continue to wait to finalize my presentation. I’m excited about the opportunity to give the talk, but I continue to wait to develop the content.

What am I waiting for? I let smaller, less important tasks get in the way of something that is important to me.

What are you waiting for? Denying yourself is sometimes important, but don’t say “I will wait” on something important or challenging.

Dive in head first

p.s. this is a Mumford and Sons inspired post.

Focus

photo credit: digital-photography-school.com

My guess is that most of my co-workers, friends and associates have no clue how un-focused I can be. At current I feel like I have 13 different projects going on, without sole focus on one thing.

Small batch theory advocates that we are more efficient when we focus on completing one project (or batch), rather than pushing along several projects along (as I am doing now). – See The Power of Small Batches

I am learning that focus and control of your schedule comes and goes. There are times when it is clear the one thing that must get done. There are other days when I push along 15 different tasks. My hope is that most days I am able to focus on a few important (small batch) task, but embrace the days where life and work get crazy.

How focused does your work/life feel?

Errors of omission

source: investingcaffeine.com

Most errors fall into one of two camps:

  1. Errors of omission – a mistake involving not doing something I should have done. Example, I did not call my grandmother on her birthday.
  2. Errors of commission – a mistake involving doing something I should not have done. Example, driving 82mph when the limit is 70mph.

For me, the errors of omission sting and haunt me much more that the errors of commission. To paraphrase Seth Godin, the biggest mistakes in your career are the risks that you didn’t take. The job opportunity that you turned down, the times you failed to speak up in the meeting, the tough conversations you didn’t have.

Living life will involve mistakes of commission. If you spend a lot of time with people, you will say things you wish you wouldn’t have said. If you create a lot of presentations, you will have some that don’t have page numbers. If you generate and analyze a lot of reports, some of those reports will have errors or you will miss something in the analysis. Errors of commission are the cost of doing business and living life.

If you spend all of your time focused on avoiding errors of commission, you will increase your errors of omission – and this is a tragedy.

Who wants to live squarely in between the margins? Who on their death bed thinks, “I am so thankful that I played this life safe.” Or “I am so glad that I made 75% of the people in my life sort of happy.”

Take action. Making an error of commission involves action. Missing a work function to go to your kid’s ballet recital involves taking a risk. It may look “bad”, you may get passed over for a promotion, a fire may start at work – but there are some things that you cannot hedge. If you put every chip you have on every number on the roulette wheel, the house will win every time.

The next time you think, “I should have called her” or “I should have spoken up” or “I should ask how he is doing”, write this down. Actually recognizing that you are “omitting” is a huge first step into making fewer errors of omission.

I came up with big error of omission in my life just this weekend. I do not reach out enough to the people in my life who matter the most to me. They matter deeply to me and I think about them often, but they don’t know it. It would be so easy to make a phone call or send a text, but I fail to do this, time and time again. So today, I took a first step. I wrote down my error and came up with a plan to take action.

Life is too short to have your money on both red and black. Take a stand, have a point of view and make some mistakes along the way.

Lean wins. Every. time.

Lean is all about eliminating waste. The concept can be applied to manufacturing, product development, startups and leadership, just to name a few.

Since waste can never be completely eliminated, it gives us a true north to always strive for.

Don’t confuse lean for economy. It could even mean the opposite. Lean simply means that every interaction, every test, every item shipped serves some purpose. All is done by design.

Lean wins because it’s intentional. It’s purposeful. If your competition isn’t learning from their mistakes, they are not practicing lean methodology. If you are not learning from short words you had with your spouse or kids, if you are not getting your ideas in front of your customers before it’s to late to make changes, if you are not giving the members of your team meaningful opportunities to take risks, you are not practicing the lean way.

I am convinced that as we have more choices as consumers, businesses will have to be “lean.” We won’t stand for waste. Those that make the most of our feedback – the insights to be gain from empathizing with us – will win. Every. time.