Tag Archives: Time management

Heal work pebbles – the Dr. No method

The best defense against the atom bomb is not to be there when it goes off. (unknown)

The team leader I disliked personally the most was a good project manager.  One redeeming social skill was that he knew about Doctor No.  When he was asked to add just a little more to a project he would agree and then ask what he got to drop to make up for adding that little bit.  He did it religiously. He didn’t just say, “No,” he used the Doctor No approach. He asked the person adding work to tell him what else he could say “No” to. He turned the person giving him the work into Doctor No, a healer.

I hate firefighters–people who commit a project to disaster.  The most difficult problem for firefighters is to say, “NO!”  It is hard to refuse to carry a mountain as it is thrust upon you one pebble at a time by smiling friends.  Still, you MUST gently refuse the pebbles.  The best way I have found to refuse pebbles of additional work is to require the person handing you the pebble to tell you which other pebble you can drop. They become Doctor No and fix your time and resource problems.

The velvet glove on the steel fist comes in handy here. As the person trying to hand you the pebble tells you how small it is, you have to clearly tell them it will not get done unless they tell you what else to drop.  When they say, “You decide,” tell them, “I won’t do your task unless YOU tell me what to drop.” If you absolutely can’t get them to let you drop something, you then decide to drop something.  Tell everyone by voice AND memo what will not get done due to the specific additional burdens placed on you.  Then “don’t do” what you said you wouldn’t do.

Does this apply to job hunting?  Absolutely.  I will give you more information on job hunting than they can possibly apply in a day, week or month.  Doctor No is about prioritizing.  If you ask me what order to do things in, I’ll tell you.  Otherwise I expect you to figure out what is most important and drop the rest.

Doctor No is about setting priorities.  It is a nice way to get the people overloading you to help unload some of the burden.  Turn those people into Doctor No. Let them be the healer.

Something To Do Today

Most people are afraid to try the Doctor No approach.  Try it out the first time with a smaller project, something thrust on you that really is not that significant.  Don’t say, I’ll try to get that done and then stay late to finish it.  Ask the person to help you figure out what to drop instead.  If they won’t tell you what to drop, tell them it won’t get done until they open up a hole in your schedule for you to do it.  Then don’t do it.  Your pebble pushers need to find out you are serious.

I hate firefighters – are you one?

I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to die in a fire of suspicious origin. (unkn)

Jim barely went home for the last two weeks.  He saved the Membership Project.  Our customer was screaming because of the implementation problems.  We are giving Jim a bonus and a week of vacation for his efforts.”

Jim is a firefighter and an arsonist.  He led a project down the path of failure.  When his inept leadership nearly sank the whole division, the manager two levels above him stepped in and salvaged the project at implementation.  Jim worked like crazy.  His whole team did.  It really bothers me when guys like that get praised and rewarded. In some companies that is the culture.

Has an emergency caused you to work nights and weekends?  Did a job you were the finalist for disappear because of a disaster? Was it filled by a firefighter who is an arsonist?  Do your bosses know the arson root of a lot of job fires?

Root causes of job arson are going to be a continuing subject for a few days.  Career building and job hunting both have firefighters who are also arsonists. Don’t think you are safe because you are job hunting.  It is amazing how many job hunters destroy their own chances of success.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of the times you have had to work late and on weekends due to unforeseen problems or disasters.  There is probably an arsonist somewhere.  Who is it?  Make a list of arsonists.

This list may help your job hunting.  It can help you see how you aid and abet arsonists.  That tendency may be why you have missed more than one job.  People can smell it on you.  People who worked with you will innocently let others know you are an arsonist.  Are you?

Your great idea is worth….

The most powerful factors in the world are clear ideas in the minds of energetic men of good will. (Thomson)

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  (Goethe)

I got a furtive phone call from a candidate a decade ago, “Bryan, this idea can make you a fortune.  I don’t want to tell it to you unless you promise me half the money you make from it. This will make you rich.”

I answered, “You want half of my business for an idea?  Great ideas are wonderful.  I have them all the time.  What I need are people who can execute great ideas.  Will you quit your job and risk everything to make your idea work?  Will you be content to be rewarded only after your idea is making money?”

“Well, no.  Listen Bryan, if you do it, you will make a fortune.  You only have to give me half.”

Unable to keep the idea to himself, he eventually told me that his idea was to bring cheap programmers from India to the United States.  It was a great idea. One I was approached with literally every day by phone or email.  And many people made their fortune doing it.  I just needed someone daring enough to take the idea and run with it. I needed someone to execute the idea.

Do you have a great idea?  If you have the guts and energy to gather supporters around you and execute that great idea, you will have the ride of your life.  It can be done in your present company, a new company or your own company.  Make sure the idea and your plans are big enough.  As many companies fail from a big idea executed in a small way as from a small idea executed in a big way.

Write down your plans.  Get people to critique the idea. Use criticizers to figure out how to do things better.  When someone says, “It can’t be done,” consider the source.  Go out and make things happen.  Life will never be the same for you.

Something To Do Today

In your job journal write down all the great ideas you have.  Do it in a separate section.  Discuss your ideas with people who can help you make them happen.

I make the milk – getting credit

I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty.  (Rockefeller)

With up to 9 kids (we have 10) at home, we drink a lot of milk. There isn’t enough room in our 2 refrigerators to keep enough fresh milk.  We use powdered milk instead.

Every morning I get up early and write.  When I am done I make breakfast for myself.  The milk is usually gone.  Sometimes I grumble a little.  Why is it always me?  Everyone uses it.  Can’t they make it too?  Then I go ahead and make the milk.  Occasionally  I remind my wife that I made the milk.  She can’t leave me for another man. He might not make the milk in the morning. (Truth be told: she makes it more than I do, but I can’t have her believing I am totally useless.)

Do you “make the milk” at work?  Are there indispensable chores you do?  Then you need to remind your boss of them every week or at least quarterly.  Put them in your weekly, monthly or quarterly reports to your boss. He needs to be reminded.

Since you are reporting what you do as routine every week, you better add what the extra things are that you do every week. Write how you saved money, speeded things up, or made a customer happy.  Don’t forget to include training you gave or received.

There is no way that your boss can possibly know all the important things you do.  He has his own job.  Giving him a weekly, monthly and quarterly report reminds him.  It also gives him a weekly opportunity to think of new projects to give you.  It forces him to think of your career.

Make the milk. Then make sure you get the credit.  It really will help your career.

Something To Do Today

In your job journal make a list of the things you do every day, week and month.  What do you take care of so your boss doesn’t have to worry?  Keep adding to the list.  Friday, write up the list and give it to your boss.  You may just surprise him with how much you did this week.  Okay, maybe not this Friday, but how about tomorrow?

(I wrote this years ago. Laura and I still have 9 kids and grandkids living at our house. We are down to one refrigerator.  I make milk every morning for my daughter Merrilee to have on her cereal.  The other kids can fend for themselves, and do very well at it.)

Halloween and your job search

Tips for job seekers and Halloween trick or treaters are just about the same.  Think about how each of these directly applies to looking for a job.

  1. If you are scared, get your dad (a coach) to help on a few doors.
  2. Dress for success.  Look the part from your hair to your shoes, bag and greeting.
  3. The neighborhood you call on defines the size of the treats you get.
  4. Not everyone is giving out one pound candy bars, but they are all worth visiting.
  5. The more houses you call on, the more likely you will get a one pound candy bar.
  6. Go BACK to the biggest house with the best candy later.
  7. The most successful trick or treaters plan their routes and run from door to door.
  8. If you don’t knock, they won’t answer.
  9. If the porch light is out, you won’t get any candy, but you may get advice.
  10. Some of the scariest houses give the best treats.
  11. You get more treats if you start early and work late.
  12. Asking for candy in the traditional way works, ingenuity may get you more.
  13. Helping a little kid can double your take.
  14. Always say thank you.
  15. Sometimes they just ran out of treats, sorry.
  16. Going with friends (groups and social media) can make a scary neighborhood safer.
  17. It is a night of cold calling, even if you know the people.
  18. Trade candy (leads) afterwards to get what you really want.
  19. If you go to a party instead, and complain, you won’t get a big bag of candy.
  20. Don’t blow out the candle in the pumpkin.
  21. Do it again next year, only better, now that you have experience.

Wow!  I could write 21 articles based on those points.  Let me make a few quick points instead.

  1. Planning and preparation. If you want the best chance of quick success, take 15 minutes each day and an additional 4 hours each week to review results, make lists, THINK, and plan for the coming week.  And make sure you have resumes that are attractive so people to call you back.
  2. Work hard and fast. Actually do what you plan.  Make calls and contacts daily.  It is amazing how often luck follows hard work.
  3. Go back again. You should be talking to your best prospects at least monthly.  If you spend 15 minutes thinking and looking for a reason to call, you can usually come up with a helpful reason to call almost anyone.
  4. Work together. Share leads.  Offer to critique other’s resumes.  Suggest websites, books, and other job search ideas.  A lot of people find the perfect job in the castoffs and contacts from someone else’s search. Go to someone else’s house and both of you make calls at the same time.
  5. Be polite. Just because they say “No” doesn’t mean they hate you.  Say thank you and contact them again if it is a company you really want to join.  Never burn bridges or “blow out the candle” with anyone.

Have a great Halloween, and an even better job search.  Good luck finding that one pound candy bar!

Great And Glorious Campaigns – the job search

My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today, I knew it then as purpose.  (Davis)

“We all thought Richmond, protected as it was by our splendid fortifications and defended by our army of veteran, could not be taken.  Yet Grant turned his face to our Capital, and never turned it away until we had surrendered,” reminisced Robert E. Lee.

Abraham Lincoln was strongly urged to remove Ulysses S. Grant from command by Grant’s two senior leaders.  Lincoln replied,  “I cannot spare this man, he fights.”

Grant’s first army unit as a General had driven away two other Generals in the previous month.  The unit was insubordinate, untrained and outright rebellious.  Yet they followed Grant.

The year before the US Civil War, Grant was an alcohol abusing store clerk who only kept his job because he worked for his father-in-law.

What changed in Grant? Passion, focus, and high purpose.

Do you have a career plan? A job search plan? One that really suits your talents and skills?  If one plan of attack fails are you willing to immediately switch to another?  As the job market changes are you ready to take advantage of previously unseen opportunities?  Are you constantly preparing?

Your passion may be your family, church, job or club. It is probably a combination of them.  If you take the time you spend on your job, concentrate, plan and execute, you can do wonders.  If you slackly follow orders, give the minimal possible and expect to get a raise before you work harder, you will stagnate.

Where can you go to succeed?  What can you do?  Do you have to relocate your family? Do you need a new job?  A new career path? What can be your great purpose at work?

Acres of Diamonds can give you some directions along that path.

Click on this link and I will send you a free copy of Acres of Diamonds.  I need your full ground mail address.  Tell your friends to ask for a copy.  They’ll enjoy it too.

Polar Bear Testicles and your job search

CNN had a story on shrinking polar bear testicles.  They went into detail about how it was an indicator of global warming destroying the earth.  I would hate to be the scientist with a bag of bear treats trying to make that measurement.  Then there was a brief blurb about the lowest SAT college exam scores in 30 years.  The SAT scores were just barely worth mentioning.

Which of the two stories caught your attention?  Shrinking polar bear testicles.  It was improbable, bizarre, and got you worried about vague worldwide problems.

Which story was really the most significant for your personal prosperity?  The SAT scores.  It affects every company in the USA.  More money, focus, worry, and concern are being focused on polar bear testicles than on why SAT scores are dropping.

Everything is not of equal importance.  The biggest problem that most job seekers have is that they are very focused on the wrong thing.

Are you focusing on these things?

  1. Finding jobs on job boards
  2. Sending out resumes
  3. Perfecting your cover letter
  4. Creating one perfect resume
  5. New ways to search Indeed.com
  6. Sending out more resumes

They are the wrong thing. Sorry.

You should focus on….

  1. Talking to hiring managers
  2. Talking to the bosses of hiring managers

Those are the only things that count.  If you are talking to one hiring manager a day, you are outperforming someone who sends out 50 resumes to qualified jobs every day.

Networking is the most effective way to talk to hiring managers.

No. Asking someone to introduce you to a hiring manager is not what I mean.  That is great,  but it is also a distraction.  The IMPORTANT networking you can do every day is to find hiring managers, ask them for some help they can easily give, and then stay in touch occasionally.

I haven’t got time to go over the details today.  I’ve done seminars and a hundred articles on how to do that.  I’ll try to publish a slew of them in the next couple of weeks.

Don’t get distracted by polar bear testicles.  Focus on talking to hiring managers every day and staying in contact with them until you have that new job.

Job hunting or administrivia?

  1. Do it.
  2. Do it right.
  3. Do it right now.  (The 3-do’s)

One of my managers told me, “Bryan, you don’t work hard enough.  I put in 60 or 70 hours a week. Even if I’m just in here filing microfiche, I’m getting more done than you.”  I couldn’t answer him.  I was too amazed.  He took my silence for the deep pondering of a well taught student and left. I am grateful he could not read my mind.

The hardest working people I know are paid about the same as others who work steadily and put in 40 to 45 hours a week.  Both the 70 hour week and 45 hour week people are VP’s and directors. They are paid the same.

The people working seventy hours a week focus on the 3 do’s differently.  They focus on working efficiently or hard.  They want to get a lot of work done. At the end of the day they point to the fact that they did the work of 3 people in only 70 hours.

The people working 40 to 45 hours a week also focus on the 3 do’s.  But they first prioritize.  They try to avoid adminstrivia–the things we are asked to do that don’t really help.

One director I worked for said, “When my boss asks for a new report, I faithfully send it to him for 3 weeks.  It is always a masterpiece.  The fourth week I prepare it for him and don’t send it.  If he calls and asks for it I apologize and he has it in his hands in minutes. Most of the time he never asks for it.  I prepare it for a couple of more weeks just in case, then I stop entirely.”   He was one of the most highly rated directors in that company.

Now lets get something straight.  45 or 90 hours of wasted time will get you nowhere.  Solitaire, internet poker and reading the news don’t count as well spent time.  You have to be doing what’s most important for 40 hours each week to beat out the person working 70 hours.

In your job search or your job this lesson applies.  Are you only putting in the time or are you focusing?  Are you doing the hard things that will have the biggest impact, or are you spending your time in the same online job boards praying for miracles?

Do it.  Do it right.  Do it right now.  Don’t get distracted.  Focus on what is most important.  Then take some time off with your friends and family.  They’re important too.

————————-

Something To Do Today

It is time to figure out what you are doing.   Really.  Make a list of the things you do at work or in your job search each day and each week.  Think about it.  Are you consistently working on the most important stuff, or are you merely focusing on activity?

inferiority vs superiority

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (E. Roosevelt)

Kids always made fun of the way I dressed.  I had two shirts and two pairs of jeans for the whole school year.  That’s all.  I had cheap shoes.  For dinner our family had beans every night, literally.  We drank powdered milk.  I brought peanut butter sandwiches to school every day with homemade quince jam.

I was different. We were paying a price.  It was worth it.  My friends had nice stuff while we saved and scrimped for every penny.  We did something they never did.  Each summer we went traveling in our VW Camper Bus.  We visited most of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and Africa.  Most summers we left school two weeks early and got back into school two weeks late.

Being different is not being inferior.  It can be a distinct advantage.  Be different in a way that can make you superior. How can you be different?  What can you do to dramatically improve over the long run?

I know two guys who never walk anywhere in the office without having a manual in their hands to read as they walk.  They are both considered a little odd, but they are both the undisputed technical experts in their field.  They are paid well for it.

Your goal should be to out-prepare and out-perform everyone else in critical areas. Critical areas are the most visible areas that:  1. Earn money; 2. Save money, or 3. Improve customer service.

Here’s how you find the critical areas for your next promotion, raise, or job:

Ask.

Your boss wants you to be more valuable, he’ll help you.  The people you look up to at work will want to help.  Go ask them what you should excel at.

Then do it.  Do it in your own way. Eccentric flair or plodding dullness does not matter.  Just excel IN A WAY THAT MATTERS.  It will change your life, not just your pay and job title.

—— Something To Do Today ——

Now ask 3 people you really respect, “What can I do for the company to make more money, save money or improve customer service?”

The time vampire

“I’ll zone out in front of the TV for five or six hours, and then I feel depressed and empty. And I wonder why. Whereas if I eat candy for five or six hours, and then I feel sick, I know why…. One of the reasons that I feel empty after watching a lot of TV is that it gives the illusion of relationships with people. It’s a way to have people in the room talking and being entertaining, but it doesn’t require anything of me. I receive entertainment and stimulation without having to give anything back but the most tangential kind of attention. And that is very seductive.”

The real effect of time vampires are explored in this article.