How are you recharging?

How are you recharging?

One of my favorite things these days is hiking through the woods. The fresh smell, the greenery, the winding trails. It is a great way to recharge.

As we approach the end of the year, how are you recharging?

Don’t get distracted from the things that matter

One day on a walk, a squirrel was sitting on a rock eating a nut. I was sure as I got closer, it would run away. But it just sat there eating the nut. Until I got almost to it, when it ran away. It made the assessment to eat the nut as long as possible. And no distraction was going to stop it.

During the workday, it is so easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter instead of focusing on the things that do. How do you make sure you are focused on the things that matter?

more isn't always better

More isn’t always better

This year, rain came early in the Pacific Northwest. And unfortunately, that meant just as the leaves were turning, they were rapidly knocked to the ground by the wind and rain. More rain and wind, fewer days of fall colors.

We find this type of trade off in business too. Too much in one area means less in another. The trick is to find the balance of investment, people, focus, etc. that drives the best result. More isn’t always better.

how effectively are you setting boundaries?

How effectively are you setting boundaries?

The pedestrian entrance to the local university is flanked by one house on each side. As you can imagine, people like to park there and walk onto the university. All year long, a truck has been parked in front of one of the houses, with cones blocking off the rest of the curb space. The owner of the house set a clear boundary that they don’t want people parking there. And no-one has disturbed the space.

We talk about a lot of things in business, but boundaries don’t come up as often as they should. When done well, boundaries set the basis for what is appropriate and what isn’t in how people interact with each other. And when they are made explicit, people understand the expectations, leading to lower levels of conflict and stronger relationships.

How effectively are you setting boundaries?

fear of missing out


My dog enjoys sitting outside on the deck. But there are times she opens the door to see what is going on inside. After a game of her opening the door and me closing it, she will finally decide where she wants to be. Her preference would be to leave the door open so she can go back and forth. She might miss something.

At work, there’s a lot that happens that people don’t want to miss. A meeting where something important is discussed. A project that will have a big impact on the company. Job openings. People want to know what is going on in places they can’t see. They don’t want to miss out. How are you creating the conditions so people don’t feel like they are missing out?

who is making a bee-line for you

Who is making a bee-line for you?

There’s a gray cat that is periodically out and about. The first time he made a bee-line for me, I thought he was heading elsewhere. He wasn’t. He was headed straight for me. He rubbed up against me, purred and got a few pats. And now every time I see him, he makes a bee-line for me.

Some companies have customers that do the same. People just make a bee-line for them. They want what that company has to offer. And they are so exited about it, they tell everyone they know. How about your company? Are you so compelling people make a bee-line for you?

are you watching for the unexpected scenario to succeed?

Are you watching for the unexpected scenario to succeed?

It was a beautiful weekend after a long stretch of nonstop rain. And that meant everyone was out hiking, biking and riding through the wooded park. Going up one of the hills, two horses were coming up behind me. So, I stepped off the path to let them pass, waited for them to get up the hill a bit more, then continued up the hill. And a funny thing happened. I was actually moving faster than the horses and had to slow down. They ended up stepping off the path and let me pass.

Sometimes the scenario you don’t expect to happen is the one that plays out. That’s why it is important to watch for the early signs that show which scenario is actually working and not anchor on the one you expected to occur.

when incremental change becomes big change

How are you addressing the point when incremental change becomes overwhelming?

Every year, the days get progressively longer, until the peak daylight is reached, then they get progressively shorter. And it is funny how it feels. When the days start getting shorter, it isn’t really apparent until all of a sudden, it feels like a big change. It is dark at 5:00 or 6:00 when it was light until almost 10:00 a short time ago.

That’s how change often feels. Little things shift and go unnoticed until the accumulation feels like a big change. And the change catches everyone off guard, leaving them with an unsettled feeling. It’s easy to miss, but one of the most important things leaders should watch for. And actively address.

How are you addressing the point when incremental change becomes overwhelming?

change isn't always good

Are you still doing things that are no longer necessary?

The local wooded park has standing water in places. And that means mosquitos. They love me, but I don’t care to be bitten. So, my ritual has been to hop out of my car and apply mosquito spray. Until one day, I realized the temperature had been well below the point where mosquitos are active for some time. I had been applying mosquito spray out of habit, not because it was necessary.

The same happens in business. We continue to do things out of habit that may no longer be necessary. It takes periodically, deliberately examining work being done to determine if it continues to be necessary. Are you still doing things that are no longer necessary?