By January 1, 2009 Read More →

Lessons Learned for 2008

LessonsLearnedIn2008
Photo by Jan Tik

This post is a consolidation of my lessons learned for 2008.  There’s a lot of lessons.  I tried to keep this as tight as possible, while keeping the fidelity of the insights.  I didn’t want you to have to read every post just to get the lessons, so I put the key points inline with a link to more.  I also organized the posts into key categories: Body, Business, Career, Conflict, Decision Making, Effectiveness, Focus, Goals, Intellectual Horsepower, Leadership, Learning, Life, Productivity, Strengths, and Stress.   This way you can scan for the ones you care about the most. 

I labeled the lessons as memorable, action phrases where possible.  For example,  one of the lessons is “give your best where you have your best to give.”  This makes it easy to remember and recall.  Lessons aren’t any good if you can’t remember them!  I’ve also found that a lot of day-to-day decisions are shaped by the little rules floating around in our heads … everything from “carpe diem!” to “a stitch in time saves nine.”  You can think of these guidelines as tools in your tool belt.  The more tools you have, the more options you have.  The more options you have, the more likely you’ll use the right tool for the job.  I use many of these lessons at work and with my mentees and they work.  Many of them are life changing.  I’m not a fan of blind adoption, so test what works for you.  Enjoy!

 

Top 10 Insights
I thought it would be helpful to put a shorter list up front before the more exhaustive list.  I picked the lessons that I either use everyday or that were the biggest “ah-ha” or that really change the game for me.

  • Adapt, adjust, or avoid situations. Learn how to read situations. Some situations you should just avoid.  Some situations you should adapt yourself, as long as you play to your strengths.  Some situations you should adjust the situation to set yourself up for success.  See The Change Frame.
  • Ask questions over make statements.  If you want to get in an argument, make statements.  If you want to avoid arguments, ask questions.
  • Character trumps emotion trumps Logic.  Don’t just go for the logical win.  Win the heart and the mind follows.  Build rapport.  Remember the golden rule of “rapport before influence.  Have the right people on your side.   If you win the right pillars first, it’s a domino effect.  It’s part of social influence.  See Character Trumps Emotion Trumps Logic.
  • Develop a routine for exceptional thinking.  Create a preperformance routine that creates consistent and dependable thinking.  Work backwards from the end in mind.  Know what it’s like when you’re at your best.  Model from your best experiences.  Success leaves clues.  Turn them into a routine.
    Set time boundaries.  Don’t let yourself take as long as it takes.  Work has a way of filling the available hours. Set a timebox and improve your routine until you can shift gears effectively within your time boundaries.  See Design a Routine for Exceptional Thinking.
  • Give your best where you have your best to give.   Design your time to spend most of your time on your strengths.  Limit the time you spend in your weaknesses.   Play to your strengths.  When you play to your strengths, if you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up again.  It’s also how you unleash your best.  See Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give.
  • Label what is right with things.  There’s been too much focus on what’s wrong with things.  Find and label what’s right with you.  We all have a deep need to know what’s right with us.  Shift from labeling what’s wrong, to labeling what’s right. See Label What is Right with Things.
  • One pitch at a time.  Focus on one pitch at a time.  Hook on to one thing.  Be absorbed in the moment, no matter what’s at stake.  Let results be the by-product of what you’re doing.  Don’t judge yourself while you’re performing.  Don’t rearrange your work; rearrange your focus.  See One Pitch at a Time.
  • Spend 75 percent on your strengths.  Very few people spend the majority of their time on their strengths.  Create timeboxes for your non-negotiables.  You’re not your organization’s greatest asset until you spend your time on your strengths.  Activities that you don’t like, hurt less, if you compartmentalize them to a smaller chunk of your day.  See Spend 75 Percent on Your Strengths.
  • Ask Solution-focused questions.   Ask things like “how do we make the most of this?” … “what’s the solution?” … “if we knew the solution, what might it be?”  Believe it or not, a lot of folks get stuck unless you add the “if you did know the solution …” or “what might it be?”  See Solution-Focused Questions.
  • Use stress to be your best.  It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you make of it.  Distinguish stress from anxiety.  Stress is your body’s response.  Anxiety is your mind’s response.   See Use Stress to Be Your Best.

Body

  • Balance your protein, carbohydrates, and fats.   Eat a balance of the three major categories of food (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) at every meal to get the right response from your body.  You also need to be selective about the quality of the foods you choose within each category to get the right hormonal impact. Get the right balance and quality of foods, and your body will produce the appropriate hormonal signals for the next four to six hours.   See A Zone Primer.
  • Divide your plate in three.  For 1/3rd of your plate, choose a low-fat protein (chicken or fish.)  For 2/3rds of your plate, choose fibrous carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables.)  See A Zone Primer.
  • You’re only as good or bad as your last meal.   Your hormones are readjusted every time you eat a meal or snack, so you’re only as good or as bad as your last meal.  See A Zone Primer.

Business

  • Craft your strategy. The core of your strategy is your customers, capital, capabilities and commitments.  Clarify your strategy to identify what you will and will not do.  Craft strategy by addressing the fundamental questions around customers, capital, capabilities, and commitments.  Assess strategy by looking at its coherence, adequacy, and implementation.  Use the right questions to evaluate your strategy more effectively.  Use the SWOT method for assessing adequacy. See Crafting Strategy.
  • Plan for minimum profitability over profit maximization.  Know the minimum profitability you need to survive.  Know that the minimum might to meet your objectives might actually be higher than you expected. See How Much Profitability Do You Need.
  • The business development process is not static.  Continue to innovate, quantify and orchestrate your business development process.  See The Business Development Process is Not Static.

Career / Work

  • 3 answers for the second half of life.  3 options include: 1) Start a Second Career, 2) Develop a Parallel Career, and 3) Become a “social entrepreneur.”   See 3 Answers for the Second Half of Life.
  • 3 questions to ask when you interview.  The 3 questions are: 1) What have you done? 2) What do you want to do? and 3) What are you like?  See 3 Interview Questions for Picking the Right People.
  • Don’t approach your boss only with problems.  See Fundamental Dos and Don’ts for a Productive Relationship with Your Boss.
  • Improve your job satisfaction.  The keys include meaningfulness of work, perceived responsibility, and knowledge of results.  See Improving Job Satisfaction.
  • Stick with the Dips that make sense.  Stick with the Dips that are likely to pan out, and quit the Cul-De-Sacs to focus your resources.  See Lessons Learned from the Dip.
  • Use a development grid to chart out your professional development.  The key functional areas include marketing, sales, finance, human resources, operations, R&D, and information management.  Map out your functional expertise.  Map out the business situations you’ve been in.  For example, Start-up, Turnaround, Realignment, and Sustaining Success are all very different scenarios.
    Use the map to identify strengths and opportunities. See Development Grid.
  • Work on your business rather than in it.  Apply the concepts of your current job.  Your business is not your life.  Pretend the business you own or want to own is the prototype.  Ask what consistent value your business can provide.  Create business results that are are systems-dependent.  Build systems to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  See Work On Your Business Rather Than In It.

Conflict / Influence

  • Agree, Build, and Compare.  To improve building rapport, agree, build, and compare.  Agree – agree when you agree.  Build – build when others leave out key pieces.  Compare – compare when you differ.
    See Agree, Build, and Compare.
  • Ask questions over make statements.  If you want to get in an argument, make statements.  If you want to avoid arguments, ask questions.
  • Ask What’s In It For You (WIIFY). Ask the question What’s In It For You?  If you’re a marketer, this might come natural for you.  If you’re an engineer, this might feel weird.  It’s about shifting the focus from the thing to the person. If nobody shows up to your meetings, tailor the invite to be explicit about what’s in it for the attendees.
  • Character trumps emotion trumps Logic.  Don’t just go for the logical win, build rapport.  Remember the golden rule of “rapport before influence.  Have the right people on your side.   if you win the right pillars first, it’s a domino effect.   See Character Trumps Emotion Trumps Logic.
  • Compliment, disarm, and clarify to negotiate more effectively.  Find a way to genuinely compliment.  This helps reduce friction.  Find a way to agree.  This takes the wind out of their sails and helps build rapport.  Clarify and assert what you want.  See How To Negotiate More Effectively.
  • Create sticky ideas.  The keys are: 1) simplicity 2) unexpectedness 3) concreteness 4) credibility 5) emotions and 6) stories.  See Six Principles of Sticky Ideas.
  • Empathic listening. Listen until the other person “feels” they’ve been heard.  Once they feel heard, they’re more likely to listen to you.  You can do this 1:1 or in a large meeting.  Covey uses an “Indian Talking Stick.”   The person with the stick talks until they feel heard.  A former Softie told me his team used an eraser as “the mutex.”   See Lessons Learned from Stephen Covey.
  • Improve your crucial conversationsStart with Heart – Focus on what you want.  Learn to Look – Look for safety problems and look for your own style under stress.  Make it Safe – Apologize when appropriate, contrast to fix misunderstanding, and find Mutual Purpose.  Master My Stories – Separate fact from story.  STATE My Path – Tell your story, ask for other’s paths and encourage testing.  Explore Other’s PathsAsk, Mirror, Paraphrase, PrimeAgree, Build, and CompareMove to Action – Decide how you’ll decide.  See How To Improve Your Crucial Conversations.
  • Past, Present, Future.  The past is about blame.  The present is about values.  The future is about opportunity.  If you’re stuck, try switching tenses to future opportunities.
  • Rapport before influence.  This is true whether it’s a presentation, interview … etc.. For example, go to a comedy club and see how the comedian gets the crowd laughing only  after they have rapport.
    Match their style. You don’t have to go overboard, but a little bridge can go along way.  If somebody is visual, could you whiteboard it for them?  If somebody’s detail oriented, can you provide the details?  If somebody needs to hear action, can you turn your ideas into action?
  • Start with your audience’s mood.  Start with your audience’s mood.  Sympathy can help build rapport.
    Use rhetorical sympathy to show concern.  You can lead your audience to a new emotion, if you first start with their mood.  See Start With Your Audience’s Mood.
  • Use subordinate goals to improve cross-group collaboration. See Superordinate Goals.
  • Win the heart, the mind follows.   If their hearts not in it, that’s a problem.  Something is telling them that something is off.  You need to know the concerns.  It could be anything from fear to a lack of trust.   One thing that helps is simply to ask, “what’s the concern.”

Decision Making / Problem Solving

  • 4 decision making methods.   Command decisions are made with no involvement.  Consult invite input from others.  Vote discuss options and then call for a vote.  Consensus talk until everyone agrees to one decision.  See 4 Decision Making Methods.
  • 4 Types of Problems.  1) Truly Generic (individual occurrence is a symptom, 2) Generic, but Unique for the individual institution, 3) Truly exceptional, truly unique, and 4) Early manifestation of a new generic.  See 4 Types of Problems.
  • Consult-and-Decide and Build-Consensus for Making Decisions.  If the decision is likely to be highly divisive — creating winners and losers — then you usually are better off using consult-and-decide and taking the heat.  A build-consensus process will both fail to reach a good outcome and get everyone mad at one another in the process.  Put another way, decisions about sharing losses or pain among a group of people are best made by the leader.  If the decision requires energetic support for implementation from people whose performance you cannot adequately observe and control, then you usually are better off using a build-consensus process.  See Consult-and-Decide and Build-Consensus for Making Decisions.
  • Develop disagreement rather than consensus.  Don’t make a decision unless there’s disagreement.
    Disagreement provides alternatives, stimulates the imagination, and helps you break out of preconceived notions.  Understand the alternatives.  Know why people disagree.  Know both sides of the issue.  See Develop Disagreement Rather Than Consensus.
  • Develop your intuition.  Develop your intuition by asking yourself “yes” and “no” questions to recognize where your answers come from.  Develop your intuition by remaking old choices.  Pay attention to where your answers come from.  See Develop Your Intuition.
  • Resolve conflict by shifting tense.  Many arguments that fail take place in the wrong tense.  Past is blame, present is values, future is choice.  Focus on the future for more productive arguments.  See Conflict Resolution by Shifting Tense.
  • Set boundary conditions for effective decisions.   Success is a range or continuum of possibilities.
    Know the boundary conditions for your important decisions.  Know the continuum of what good looks like.  Know the minimum the decision needs to satisfy.  Don’t depend on everything going as planned.
    Know when you need to abandon a decision.  If the decision is a failure from the start, don’t go down that path.   See Boundary Conditions for Effective Decisions.

Effectiveness

  • Analyze it over time. Look at the problem or solution over time. Build your temporal skills.  The more you play “what ifs” in the future, the easier it gets to anticipate.
  • Ask outcome focused questions.  Ask “outcome questions.”  Use “outcome questions” to move forward and avoid getting stuck in analysis paralysis.  No matter how bad the situation is, there’s always a desired outcome.  Focus on that.  Move away from the problem and towards the solution using “outcome frames” and “outcome questions.”  See Outcome Questions.
  • Choose “How” questions over “Why” questions.  Find a way to move forward.  Choose how questions to find a way forward rather than choose why questions and dwell on what’s wrong.  See Choose “How” Questions Over “Why” Questions.
  • Confidence comes before success.  See Confidence is Knowing and Going.
  • Distinguish between responsibility and authority.  Know whether you influence a decision or own it.  When you don’t have authority, but you need to get results, leverage the model in Influencing without Authority.
  • Know the 3 pillars for self-efficacy.  The three pillars are: 1) adopting success strategies 2) enforcing personal discipline 3) building your support system.  See 3 Pillars for Building Self-Efficacy.
  • Know the system. Analyze the problem from a system standpoint.  What are the components and subsystems?  What are the inputs and outputs?  Who are the players?   What levers can you pull that make the most impact?  If you don’t know, who does?
  • Know the Yerkes-Dodson Human Performance Curve.  Avoid sustaining high-levels of stress beyond your capacity.   See Yerkes-Dodson Human Performance Curve.
  • Model the Best.  Learn from the best of the best.   Success leaves clues.  See Lessons Learned from Per.
  • The limits to reading faster are your eyes and comprehension.  See The Truth About Speed Reading.
  • Think, act, and communicate from the inside out.  Rather than focus on your what’s, focus on your why — the why behind what you do.  When you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up when you have your motivation to lean on.  Know your how.  Your how is your personal success pattern for results.
    Know thyself.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is your key to success.  Success leaves clues.  You can use the clues from your past experiences, to build awareness of what works for you.
    See Why Do You Do What You Do?
  • Turn chickens into pigs.  A pig’s committed while a chicken’s involved.  Don’t let a chicken have a controlling vote, without turning them into a pig. 
  • Use structured reflection.  How do you feel? what’s bothered you so far? What’s one well? What’s gone poorly?  Are you as proactive as you can be?  See Guidelines for Structured Reflection.
  • When it’s cold shiver, when it’s hot sweat.  See When It’s Cold Shiver, When It’s Hot Sweat.

Focus  / Mindset

  • One pitch at a time.  Focus on one pitch at a time.  Hook on to one thing.  Be absorbed in the moment, no matter what’s at stake.  Let results be the by-product of what you’re doing.  Don’t judge yourself while you’re performing.  Don’t rearrange your work; rearrange your focus.  See One Pitch at a Time.
  • Training Mindset and Trusting Mindset.   The Training Mindset is where you analyze your performance as you go.  The Trusting Mindset is where you use your skills, not your head.  Engage in a task so completely that there’s no room left for self-criticism, judgment.  Don’t think about the mechanics of what you’re doing while your performing.  Practice your skills until you can do them without thinking about them.  See Training Mindset vs. Trusting Mindset.

Goals / Motivation

  • 3 Outcomes for Today.  See 3 Outcomes for Today.
  • Don’t Wait for Inspiration.  Inspiration isn’t something you should count on, but you should be able to leverage it when it happens. The key is to create more opportunities for your inspiration to be unleashed.   Focus on mastering your craft. The key here is to focus on what you control. You have control over your techniques and routines. By improving your techniques and routines, you set yourself up for success.   See Don’t Wait for Inspiration.
  • Getting out of a slump.  Low-confidence is a common cause of slumps.  Action helps restore confidence.  Focus on the right steps over focusing on what can go wrong.  See Getting Out of a Slump.
  • Objectives are like flight plans.  Turn objectives into specific work.  Effective objectives are like flight plans.  Don’t treat objectives like straightjackets.  See Objectives are Like Flight Plans.
  • Use choose-tos over have-tos.  See Choose-Tos Over Have-Tos.
  • Choose positive action over positive thinking.  See Positive-Thinking vs. Positive-Action.

Intellectual Horsepower

  • Ask solution-focused questions.  Spend 20 percent on the problem and 80 percent on the solution.  Focus attention on the solution.  This doesn’t mean ignore understanding the problem.  It means, that rather than spending 20% of your energy on the solution and 80% on the problem, spend 80% on the solution and 20% on the problem. Stay out of analysis paralysis.  Keep moving forward, learning and adapting rather than sitting in analysis paralysis.  Use questions to get resourceful.  By asking solution-focused questions, you switch your mind into a more resourceful state.  Your brain suddenly starts drawing on all your resources internally and around you to solve the problem.   See Solution-Focused Questions.
  • Consider personal invention quotas.  Thomas Edison used personal invention quotas.  See Personal Invention Quotas.
  • Develop a routine for exceptional thinking.  Create a preperformance routine that creates consistent and dependable thinking.  Work backwards from the end in mind.  Know what it’s like when you’re at your best.  Model from your best experiences.  Success leaves clues.  Turn them into a routine.
    Set time boundaries.  Don’t let yourself take as long as it takes.  Work has a way of filling the available hours. Set a timebox and improve your routine until you can shift gears effectively within your time boundaries.  See Design a Routine for Exceptional Thinking.
  • Use a precision model to avoid language pitfalls. See Precision Model for Avoiding Language Pitfalls.
  • Use Solution-focused questions.

Leadership

  • Action commitments.  Turn decisions into action commitments.  Actions speak louder than words.  Knowing what to do is not the same as doing what you know.  Get the right owners for the actions.
    Know what the action owners need to be successful and support them.  See Action Commitments.
  • Adapt, adjust, or avoid situations. Learn how to read situations. Some situations you should just avoid.  Some situations you should adapt yourself, as long as you play to your strengths.  Some situations you should adjust the situation to set yourself up for success.
  • Avoid vicious cycles.  See Avoiding Vicious Cycles.
  • Be aware of the larger system.  Map out the system.  Anticipate the resistance.  Know the potential impact of changes in the system.  See Be Aware of the Larger System.
  • Build your advice-and-counsel network.  Include technical advisers, cultural interpreters, and political counselors.  See Building Your Advice-and-Counsel Network.
  • Consistently build winning teams.  The keys are: 1) build pride in the team 2) appear to be fair 3) build successors 4) beware of ball hogs and 5) understand each individual.  See How to Consistently Build a Winning Team.
  • Frame compelling arguments.  Frame compelling arguments by either appealing to reason, core values or a combination.  Core values can include: loyalty, commitment and contribution, individual worth and dignity, and integrity.  See Framing Compelling Arguments.
  • Sequence to build momentum.  Build incremental support.  Tackle your most influential critics first.  Know when you’re not the right person.  Don’t get blind-sided by social influence.  Consider an exec sponsor.  See Sequencing to Build Momentum.
  • Use action-forcing events to produce results.  Schedule a review is effective for driving people to action.  If you need more action and results, schedule more reviews.  See Action-Forcing Events.

Learning

  • Know your learning styles.  Know whether you prefer information to be random or sequential.  Know whether you prefer information to be abstract or concrete.  Know the four styles: 1) Concrete Random 2) Concrete Sequential  3) Abstract Random and 4) Abstract Sequential.  Understand how others process information as well so you can bridge styles.  Concrete – You’re dealing with the here and now and processing information based on what you see, hear, think, feel, and taste.  “It is what it is.”  You want a real example.  Abstract – You’re looking for the patterns.  You’re more cerebral in your analysis.  You’re using your intuition and imagination. “Things aren’t always what they appear to be.”  You abstract from the examples.  Random – You prefer processing chunks in any order.  Sequential – You prefer processing chunks of information in a linear way.  You prefer a plan or set of steps to follow.
    See Concrete, Abstract, Random and Sequential.
  • Learn and grow through routines.  Use routines and habits for personal development.  The key is to focus on improvement.  Your set routines are a baseline to improve upon.  Orchestration is a way of doing something habitually.  Your habits need a higher level purpose or they are mechanical and deadening.  Think of improving your routines and habits as mastering your craft.  Leverage your work for personal transformation.  See Learning and Growing Through Routines.
  • Improve your recognition and recall.   Chunk it down.  Ask questions. Improve your questions. Write it down.  Revisit the information.  Turn insights into action. See Proven Techniques for Remembering.
  • Make everyone your mentor.  You can learn from everyone around you.  Make them your mentor.  Figure out what they are the best at and learn from them.
  • Reading is an investment.  See Reading is an Investment.
  • SQ3R: Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.  This is a technique to improve your learning.  Survey each section of a textbook, starting wide then narrowing down on successive passes.  Turn each heading into a question and answer the questions as you read the text.  See Proven Techniques for Remembering.

Life

Productivity / Time Management

  • Consolidate your discretionary time.  Figure out how much discretionary time you have.   Baseline your schedule to figure out what time is available that you can move around.  The goal is to batch your discretionary time together so that you have bigger blocks of consecutive work time.  Consolidate your operating work for Mondays and Fridays.  Batch your meetings, reviews, and administrative tasks to Monday and Friday mornings.  Use your power hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for your high priority work.  Focus on moving your big rocks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
    Work from home one day a week.  Consider working at home to consolidate your discretionary time
    See Consolidate Your Discretionary Time.
  • Know where your time goes.  To manage your time, you need to know where it goes. Keep a time record. Your memory is wrong.  See Know Where Your Time Goes.
  • Personal space.  3 models: 1) the overload model 2) Stress theory and 3) Communication channel.  See Personal Space.
  • Use 30 Day Improvement Sprints.  Pick a focus and work it for 30 days.  Use this approach to cycle through things you want to learn or improve throughout the year.  You can think of them as “monthly” improvement sprints and that gives you 12 improvement sprints for the year.  See 30 Day Improvement Sprints.

Strengths

  • All appetite, no ability is a hobby.  No ability, all appetite is a hobby.  If you enjoy an activity, you grow from it, and you feel good afterward, but you aren’t effective or successful at it, it’s a hobby, not a strength.  Strengths are where you feel successful, you feel an instinct for it, you grow from it, and you feel a need to keep at it.  Explore activities to find your strengths.  You won’t have a passion to keep giving your best if you’re not improving.  You’ll have a passion to do more of what you’re good at.  That’s how you go from good to great.   See All Appetite, No Ability is a Hobby.
  • Give your best where you have your best to give.   Play to your strengths.  When you play to your strengths, if you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up again.  Design your time to spend most of your time on your strengths.  Limit the time you spend in your weaknesses.  See Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give.
  • Find your key strengths.  Figure out your five key strengths.  If you know these five key strengths, then you can spend your time in activities that charge you and avoid activities that drain you.  You can find ways to be your best and move towards work where you can excel.   See Finding Your Key Strengths.
  • Label what is right with things.  There’s been too much focus on what’s wrong with things.
    The strengths movement is about finding what’s right with things.  Find and label what’s right with you.
    We all have a deep need to know what’s right with us.  Shift from labeling what’s wrong, to labeling what’s right. See Label What is Right with Things.
  • Spend 75 percent on your strengths.  Very few people spend the majority of their time on their strengths.  Create timeboxes for your non-negotiables.  You’re not your organization’s greatest asset until you spend your time on your strengths.  Activities that you don’t like, hurt less, if you compartmentalize them to a smaller chunk of your day.  See Spend 75 Percent on Your Strengths.

Stress

  • Take a worry break.  Consolidate your problems rather than let them interfere throughout your day.  See Take a Worry Break.
  • Use stress to be your best.  It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you make of it.  Distinguish stress from anxiety.  Stress is your body’s response.  Anxiety is your mind’s response.  Practice, practice, practice.  Perceive stress as a good thing.  Use “nerves” to perform better.  Choose the job or make the time.  Choose something to spend more time doing every day or carve out time for what you want to practice.  See Use Stress to Be Your Best.

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8 Comments on "Lessons Learned for 2008"

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  1. J.D. Meier's Blog : Lessons Learned in 2008 | January 1, 2009
  1. Diane says:

    Wow!
    That’s alot of insight!!!!

  2. Step back and feel proud of the magnificent insight you have provided the world. I have gained so much insight from you this year. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  3. JD says:

    @ Diane

    Thanks! I can definitely say it’s been an insightful year and these nuggets served me well. Some of them seriously took my game to a new level.

    @ Stacey

    Will do! It was hard to see the forest from the trees since I was posting a nugget at a time, but when I consolidated the list, it really put things in perspective.

  4. Derek says:

    You know, I think you are being way too conservative when you say you should spend 75% of your time on your strengths. I think you should go one step further and just spend 95% of your time on your strengths. You won’t become successful by taking your ones, twoes, and threes, to sevens. You become successful by taking your sevens to tens.

  5. JD says:

    @ Derek

    I would love too! Unfortunately, with my current role and commitments in corporate life, I have a bunch of “non-negotiables.” It’s OK though. The 25% is a piece of cake, after spending the bulk of my time in my strengths. For the things that really suck, I team up with somebody and it makes it go a whole lot better.

    What’s interesting is how easy it is to take on doing weaknesses. It happens slowly. It’s a little activity here or a little activity there. This is especially true if you continuously explore new things. What I do now is I periodically “sweep” my activities and do a strengths check.

  6. Molly says:

    These 2008 insights are a great reminder for 2009. Your nugget on “rapport before influence” is valuable. In any situation where I’m stuck, not communicating properly, etc. is because the relationship between myself and the others wasn’t substantial enough before work and negotiations began. It’s definitely a nugget I’ll rely on in 2009. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    And thanks so very much for all of your insight in 2008. Your dedication and leadership in this area is appreciated. There would be a huge gap in my learning without your coaching!

  7. JD says:

    @ Molly

    Thank you. I love when a little rule of thumb, helps so much in your day to day. Rapport before influence is one of my favorites and I’m glad it serves you well.