Tag Archives: Thinking

The 7 10 Split

The pins are as far apart as they can be and still be on the same lane.  It is still your turn, and mathematically speaking you can pick up this spare.  But it takes skill, calm and a confluence of several factors.  Bowling as life lesson, not just beer swilling league fun.

 

public domain clip art

public domain clip art

I bet if you start to think about it, you will remember one and then another and another instance when you had two elements that were supposed to be working together or part of a larger whole in some way that were far apart and working independently to inhibit the larger goal.  (Passively, as in the case with the pins, or less so.)  There are ways to get these elements back into the larger plan, but it could take cunning – at the very least it will take time and effort on your part to figure out a solution and implement it.

 

I bowled on leagues on and off for years and I’ve been involved in volunteer groups, training sessions and plenty of office situations and only just this morning had the realization that there are parallels in these set ups.  From a higher level strategic point of view, there are similarities in the solutions.  I, or you, have to figure out the trajectory that will bring the elements together and keep the game going.  Now in life we probably don’t want to violently knock one element into or against the other – particularly since quite often these elements will be people.  Co-workers, vendors, colleagues, partners.

 

Sometimes the straightforward, ‘hey where are you at with your part of this project’, approach works like a charm.  Sometimes a bit of cajoling and sometimes it is a grueling game of inching the parties closer together.  It can be an endurance test for us, a question of keeping up our energy and resolve – keeping our eyes on the intended end.  Mentally testing out different solutions for alignment and success.

 

Then stepping up to the lane, ball in hand, squaring our shoulders, positioning our feet, eyes set on the pins at the other end.  Stride up, swing the ball and let it go.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Advertisements

The Importance of Persistence

We admire someone with stick-to-itiveness, a person who single-mindedly pursues a goal.  Persistence does not mean adhering to a specific path, but keeping eyes on the intended goal.  Methods can change, as well as participants; even some aspects of the goal may be altered to achieve the essence successfully.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - Builders of the past had amazing persistence, minus modern tools

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Builders of the past had amazing persistence, minus modern tools

 

Let’s say that you and your co-workers were sitting one day discussing a particular issue that affects your ability to get tasks done and a new person says that they know about software that will make the task much more efficient.  Excellent!  You share this information with your boss as soon as possible, but she lets you know that there just isn’t money in the budget.  Blast, now what?

 

Well, you and your team mates could just continue to discuss the problem periodically and lament the stupid budget limitations.  But you are persistent.  You and your buddies split up some tasks to convince your boss that the software is the best answer.  Some people do research on the software itself – how it works, some alternative software platforms, reviews from people who have used the software.

 

Another part of your group starts to track the time lost on the task using the current process, not only time within your team but within the organization as a whole, perhaps on the part of your customers as well.

 

Now you can go back to your boss with a great deal more information that includes information to calculate the cost of keeping things the same.  You don’t necessarily have to compute these numbers (you probably don’t have enough of the data to do so anyway) but now the company can take a clear look and make an informed comparison.

 

Hopefully your persistence will pay off with a new solution to the methods in your task.  If not, regroup and start to plot plan C.

 

“Plenty of men can do good work for a spurt and with immediate promotion in mind, but for promotion you want a man in whom good work has become a habit.”

~Henry L. Doherty

[We’ll purport for the sake of the modern age that Henry was not excluding woman in his thought on purpose, merely making assumptions of his era.]

(I must admit to rerunning this post from last year at this time, from my old blog.  This wind seems to be blowing all thoughts from my head.)

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Directionless Progress

Let’s face it, sometimes it really isn’t clear what our next step should be – in our career or in life.  We can ask friends, coworkers and family for assistance or suggestions and we will get varying opinions and conjecture but it is up to us to create the direction.  Since we expect life to be ever advancing and improving we put a lot of import on making the right decision about direction.

 

Maybe it is our years in school that give us this impression of life as continuing advancement.  We have to learn the basics to build on with later, more specialized classes – calculus won’t make sense until we know the fundamentals of math.  Each grade builds on the information gained in previous grades, and school goes on and on for what feels like forever.  But life doesn’t really work this way, so in that respect school hasn’t prepared us at all.

DSC03746

If only it were as simple as a video game where the arrows show up ahead as you drive to tell you the next stage of your route.  Instead we have to explore, experiment and experience occasional false starts.  Or seem to stay in place while the world moves forward without our active participation.

 

If we don’t have clear direction, can we really make progress?  If we decide to change direction does that negate everything that we did toward our old progress?  Who is to say that all of us are meant to click into a certain track in our early twenties and follow it through thirty odd years of a career without any pause or deviation?

 

I haven’t taken anywhere near a traditional path (assuming traditional is that set 30 year career track).  I think that I’ve done all right with my progress despite some meandering directions – mainly because I have learned so much along the way.   In fact, since learning has been a main goal, I could say that I really didn’t meander in my direction in that respect.

 

How do you define progress for yourself?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Cures for the Bromidic in Deep Winter White

Winter and increasing mounds of snow appear to have taken permanent hold on my part of the world as I dream of green and balmy breezes.  Snow and ice are here for one season, thankfully since I find the incessant white and cold, the blanket of snow to be a blanket on my creativity.  I know that I am not alone, plenty of arts facilities and events are reporting lower than expected attendance due to the weather.

 

I have been lucky enough to arrange little breaks from the winter bromide for the last three weekends and it has helped in a small way.  I have met with three different friends once each weekend for either a meal and a movie or a trip to the symphony to listen to a tone poem that described warmer weather.

 

My urge to hibernate through most of January just fueled my winter grumpiness each time I had to venture out for work or errands.  Hibernation meant that entertainment choices were limited to what is at hand at home.  Same stuff, same four walls.  Bleh.

 

I know that other people like to plan trips to warm places for a week or two while home is locked in cold and ice.  I don’t know whether that would work for me, part of my thoughts would be focused on the required return to Nordic weather.  Now, if I could figure out how to live somewhere else for this one season every year that would be ideal.

 

Ah, at least I have thawed my creativity enough to dredge up and dust off this old word, bromide, and use it in a non-pharmaceutical manner.  I only recently realized that the word had alternate meanings.

public domain image, FDA

public domain image, FDA

 

Another mental exercise that several of us have taken up is how we would be happy to box up all of this snow and send it off to the areas on the West coast that are in the midst of an exceptional drought.  We have plenty to share.  Each of our regions needing a bit of what the other has, each sighing ‘enough’ to the weather pattern we are in.  Sadly, it doesn’t appear feasible.

 

I hope that everyone is able to find a cure or two for bromidic winter.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Favorite Ways to While Away a Winter Day

I think that my brain might be freezing up this long winter.  I’ve tried to start a few new posts and they are all now waiting for me to find a way to finish the ones that are worthy and dispose of the ones that aren’t.

 

So perhaps I can at least conjure up a list of pleasant things to while (or wile, if you prefer) away some hours rather than wishing them away for some better weather:

  • A good book, a mug of tea, and my cozy fleece throw (in a fine shade of green to remind me of seasons to come)
  • A marathon session of Sherlock on Netflix
  • A leisurely soup and sandwich lunch with a friend
  • Slowly and calmly putting a space to rights (and not thinking about how long it may stay that way)
  • Learning something new, or getting better at something
  • Perusing a map or atlas – to remember a trip, plan one or trace a historical event
  • A game with my sons and daughter-in-law, perhaps Settlers of Catan
  • A hot as I can stand it bath with great scents, some music and a good book or magazine
  • Normally, writing would fit on this list…
  • A look through old photo albums
Wikipedia snip-it of Sherlock

Wikipedia snip-it of Sherlock

 

I think that I need to add a new craft to this list perhaps, or revisit an old one.  Maybe getting some ideas from people in the blogosphere will help me out.  What would go on your list?  If you put any outdoor activity on the list, do give a compelling argument why, please.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Return to Doodling

I used to doodle.  Mindless scribbles in my school notebooks.  Once I hit the working world, I made myself stop because I didn’t want to be seen in a meeting with my doodles – I didn’t think that it would enhance any image of professionalism.  So I’ve taken to twirling my pen (and trying really hard not to click it repeatedly) in meetings instead.

DSC03739

Now seeing this news clip, CBS News Sunday Morning: The Higher Purpose of Doodling I might just go back to my doodling habits.  Perhaps this will keep my mind present in the room when a meeting goes on.  I have found that even when I am interested in the topic, or it is in some way pertinent to me I have a terrible time keeping my thoughts in the room after about 20 minutes or so – which bears out research that I’ve read about adult attention spans.

How will I balance this return to doodling experiment with perceptions of professional behaviors?  Hmm, not sure just at the moment.  Hunching over my paper so that no one can see doesn’t seem like a viable solution.  Why, exactly, any of us feels that we would have to explain our note taking habits in the work world is an entirely different blog post.  Regardless of any of my actions, I cannot direct, control, or shape someone else’s perceptions of me.

Perceptions of doodlers is a main theme in the hyperlinked video clip – and how we should reconsider them.  Why do we perceive doodling to be such a bad thing other than we can all probably recall a moment or two in our school days when a teacher called out someone for doodling instead of paying attention?  Engagement takes on many forms, as does disengagement.

The other main theme is the point that doodling serves a purpose beyond occupying your hand.  I find it very intriguing that researchers found better detail retention in the doodling group when playing a tedious voicemail.

How about you, do you doodle?

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

‘We Already Tried That’

I fear that these words have passed my lips at some point in the past and I imagine that they fell on the ears of the listener about the same way they fall on me when I hear them.  Shut down, denied, rejected.  Unintended enthusiasm killer.

 

I got together for brunch recently with some friends, we used to be co-workers, but now all work in other places.  This phrase came up and stuck with me because it is a common thing to hear in many offices.  New people mean new opportunities to examine old process and tasks in a new way.  New people could be new to the company or new to the team with prior experience at the company in a different role.

 

When I first heard ‘we already tried that’ in response to something that I said, I was rather crestfallen and rolled the rest of my comment back up, folded my hands and clammed up.  Now, I redouble my efforts to find a way to introduce the idea in a manner that will be palatable to the listener.  Or if I overhear someone else get shot down, I try to help them get an opening to complete their thought.

 

My thought isn’t so much that we should take action on the idea itself as much as it is about giving people the opportunity to speak up and participate in solutions.  Or the process for developing solutions.  Maybe we really did try exactly that and it didn’t work at that time, in that manner.  But that isn’t the point (plus this is a new time and maybe with a couple of tweaks the idea is valid again.)  Maybe it didn’t work the first time for some sub reason that would no longer affect the outcome.

Imagine if we hadn't allowed any new versions of Edison's inventions? (public domain image)

Imagine if we hadn’t allowed any new versions of Edison’s inventions? (public domain image)

 

The objective, purportedly, is to have engaged employees – ones who participate actively in creating solutions to the situations that invariably come up.  This phrase is high on the list of reasons why employees stop participating and just trudge along.  It is in my DNA to keep putting forth new suggestions, but this isn’t true for many people.  Who knows how hard someone had to screw up their courage to put forth an idea to be told ‘we already tried that’ before the whole idea was out of their mouth?

 

We already tried to shoot down ideas with ‘we already tried that’ and it failed miserably.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

The Sarcastic Muse

Writing. Information. Inspiration. Sarcasm guaranteed.

Stefanie O'Connell

Just another WordPress.com site

Retirement - Only the Beginning

Retirement Planning Beyond Financial

Voices In His Head

Recognized as Blog Of The Year! (unfortunately, it was given the year 1910, the start of the Great Depression)

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

Chicago Guy 14

Chicago's Street Corner Spirits

BAReed Writing, Business Writing

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Dancing Beastie

Seasonal living in a Scottish castle

The Middlest Sister

There are 5 sisters. She's the middlest.

Eyes Like Carnivals

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Blog to Work

Blogging your way to a job.

r a r a s a u r

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

Stephanie Raffelock

A good story can transform the way that you see the world.

Always The Write Time Blog

Ramblings and Rhetoric

The Art of Non-Conformity

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

xplorenorthshore

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Medievalists.net

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

The Creative Penn

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Gifts Of The Journey

The Fearless Pursuit Of A Life Worth Living

Betty Generic

Through the glass darkly

an interconnected life...

Discovering the threads that connect us, one story at a time.

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

animatingyourlife

A great WordPress.com site

Second Star to the Right

and straight on 'til morning

CAHOOTS

Success is meant to be shared

Daniel Nester

essayist, poet, college prof, hubby, dad, Queen fan

Bob Mayer

Write on the River

Farmlet

Living cheaply and richly on an acre in Puna, Hawaii

J T Weaver

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. — Dylan.

Homepreneurs

Work From Home

inspirationenergy

be inspired to greatness

Gen Y Girl

Twentysomething. Annoyed with corporate BS. Obsessed with Gen Y. Not bratty. Just opinionated.

Jenna Dee

....living with a following wind

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital