I Hate Excuses

Do you want to know why?

Because I used to make them myself.

Whenever there was something that I didn’t want to do, I’d try to come up with some excuse to not do it.  Whenever there was some job that needed to get done, sometimes I thought more about why I shouldn’t have to do it than putting my mind to the task of actually getting the task done.

You know what I’ve learned?

Excuses are lame (especially when I am the one making them).  They make you seem like you haven’t really been trying in the first place.

I’ve been trying to get something fixed, and all I keep hearing are reasons why it can’t be fixed or how hard it is going to be.  Just get it done, or at least put a good faith effort into trying to fix it.  I guess part of my frustration in this particular instance is that I have to trust that they are putting a good effort into fixing the issue.

But back to the matter at hand.  Stop making excuses and do something.  If it doesn’t work or gets you nowhere, do something else to put you on the right path.

How Old are You?

As I approach another birthday, I find that I don’t feel all that old.  29 isn’t that old, but it depends on your point of view.

I remember when I was in high school thinking that college kids were so old.

I remember when I was in college thinking that those that had already graduated were really old.

When I was an undergrad, I remember thinking that when I hit 30, I’ll be an “adult”.

You know what?  I became an adult somewhere during my college years.  It just sort of happened without any pomp and circumstance.  There wasn’t a party saying, “Hey Brian, you’ve made it to adulthood!”

Technically, when you turn 18, you are an adult in this country.  When I turned 18, I didn’t think so.  I still felt very much under the umbrella of my parents.  Legally, I was not allowed to drink.  I was still seven years from being able to rent a car.  All of these things I associated with adulthood.

But now I will be 29.  I live alone.  I rarely get carded anymore.  I’ve rented one car, and it was actually before I turned 25.  There are no big milestones left until I hit 65 and can collect Social Security (if it is even around at that point).  Sure, there are the 30, 40, 50, and 60 milestones.  Being that age doesn’t allow me to do anything different.  It is just a number.

I am still a ways away from the big three-oh, but I don’t feel that old.  When does the “old” feeling hit?  Will it just suddenly hit me one day?

I firmly believe that you are as old as you think you are.  It is not something you can measure in years.  It is a frame of mind.

How “old” are you?

Managing by Context

There was a great slideshow about how Netflix deals with the management of their company.  Lots of good stuff including a question that should be asked of a supervisor every so often in order to get a sense of where you stand and what you need to do; “If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind to stay?”

One slide really struck a chord with me:

Managers: When you are tempted to “control” your people, ask yourself what context you could set instead

Are you articulate and inspiring enough about goals and strategies?

I tend to try to be an efficient person.  Being efficient doesn’t always lend itself to laying out good context for the people that I supervise.  I make the mistake of assuming that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it and then blame them for not getting the job done.

I tend to be someone who wants those I supervise to take an idea and run with it, but this is one area in which I could use some work as I tend to want to know everything that happens.  This is one skill that I would like to hone.  It may not even be how I manage that needs to change, just the context that I put directions:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Author of The Little Prince