Details make the difference

The previous article discussed not sweating the small stuff by not letting small details get in the way of the big picture. This one is a bit different.

There are many examples where taking care of minor details can have a huge impact on the big picture. Some examples are when a building or area is allowed to fall into disrepair. Windows are broken, graffiti is on the walls, drugs are being sold in the area, crime is rampant etc. While some people would look big picture and try to figure out how to counteract the crime, people have realized by fixing the windows and painting over the graffiti, it sends a message to the community and it’s quite common for the drug problems and other crimes to lessen if not go away completely.

I can think of many times when sitting in a hotel lobby, if there are newspapers left randomly on the tables, someone will sit down with a cup of coffee, pick up a paper, start reading and when they get up to leave, they leave the cup of coffee (and frequently other garbage) behind. If the papers were not lying around randomly (either they weren’t there in the first place or they were organized in some fashion) the likelihood of them leaving garbage behind would be much lower..

People who would normally not think of littering will litter if they are in an area with a lot of garbage already on the ground. It’s an attitude of “a little more garbage wont make a big difference” so they start littering as well. Instead, if the garbage had been picked up in the first place, the next people wouldn’t compound the problem.

Another example would be with speeding. If a town is having a problem with excessive speeding in a certain area, they could pass all kinds of laws and regulations prohibiting speeding etc (this would be thinking big picture) or, they can start ticketing speeders and when others see the police out giving tickets, they will start to slow down.

Sometimes if you take care of the small stuff, the big stuff gets taken care of naturally.

As was mentioned in the previous post, this is why it’s so helpful to have a good mixture of people working together, some working big picture and others working on the details. It’s extremely unusual for one person to be good at both so getting the correct combination can prove to be invaluable.

In the same way that keeping an eye on the big picture can help you get past the small obstacles, sometimes taking care of the small obstacles will allow you to see the big picture much clearer

If you find this post helpful, please share with others and encourage them to subscribe at http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Don’t sweat the small stuff

One of the biggest things that limit people is they get bogged down in the details and either lose focus on what they are ultimately trying to accomplish or, they never think about the big picture because they are concentrating so much on what is just in front of them

While details are important, if you let them stop you from seeing the grand plan, they will prevent you from doing everything you would like to do.

One reason people do get bogged down in the minutiae is the belief that things have to be perfect before they can be released. While trying to make sure everything is perfect, they stop themselves from moving further for extended periods of time. In my case, I could spend a few hours writing these posts to make sure each word is the absolute perfect choice but if I were to do that, I would end up discontinuing the blog because I wouldn’t have the time to get other things done. Instead, I get an idea, write the article, and then move on to the next thing. While some might argue that it’s unacceptable to have a typographical error in a post, I see it as it’s better to have a post with the occasional typo than to not have anything at all. This is an example of not letting the small things stop you from moving forward.

Ideally, you would have one (or more) people looking big picture (doing the visionary work) while others are more detail oriented. This way, the visionaries would keep the projects going forward while the detail people make sure the little things get done. When you have a good combination of visionaries and detail people, good things will happen. If you are doing things on your own, it’s important to not become too visionary or too detail oriented but rather to have a good mix of both.

If you can’t see the forest because there are too many trees in the way, this would be a good indicator that you aren’t looking at the big picture. On the other hand, if you are admiring the forest so much that you walk into a tree, you might want to think a little bit more about the details.

The next post is going to seem to be a bit contradictory to this one but it’s an example of how there are very few absolutes in life. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it.

If you find this post helpful, please share with others and encourage them to subscribe at http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/

Have a great day!

Lawrence

You work there?

Have you ever really looked at your work area and wondered if it was set up to work efficiently?

Are you regularly looking for papers that are in a stack…somewhere?

Do you frequently print from your computer and then have to walk across the room (or into another room) to get the printout?

Is your computer set up to make it as easy as possible to get work done?

If you have meetings in your office, do you have it set up so you don’t have a desk separating you from your visitors?

Do you have the materials you regularly use located in a convenient location so they are readily accessible?

Do you have a chair that allows you to be comfortable yet productive while working?

Is your office personalized in a way to make you feel “at home”?

When someone walks into your office do they ask “you work there?”

Why not make the most of your work time by organizing your work space?

If you find this post helpful, please share with others and encourage them to subscribe at http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Winning and Losing with Class

Around two weeks ago, I turned on the TV and it was the fifth set of the mens tennis final of Wimbledon. I’m not a fan of tennis but figured it would be interesting to watch.

First, if any of you saw this match, you saw two tremendous competitors (Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) put on a wonderful exhibition of athleticism, competitiveness, and courage. Even as someone with limited interest in tennis, it was great to watch.

However, this post isn’t about tennis but rather the way each handled the winning and losing.

Roger Federer had won the 5 previous Wimbledon Championships and as the number one ranked player was expected to win this one as well. Rafael Nadal was ranked number two and although he has been dominant on clay, playing on the grass of Wimbledon there was no doubt he was the underdog. Nadal won this match in the fifth set 9-7.

The interesting thing (to me at least) was their reactions after the match. Nadal fell to the ground once the final point was won in celebration (and probably exhaustion) but quickly got to his feet and went to the net to meet Federer who was waiting to congratulate him. So many times, in other sports, you see the winner spend a lot of time celebrating, without regard for the opponent. Also, you see the opponent sit (or lay) dejectedly feeling bad for themselves. I realize tennis is considered to be a “gentelmens’ game” but these two really seemed to care for each other and respect each other as well.

Each player was interviewed after the match and rather than speaking about themselves, they seemed to spend more time complimenting the other (Federer talking about what a great competitor Nadal was and Nadal saying that while he might have won the match, Federer was still the best player). No excuses, no complaints, just compliments.

While it’s traditional for the winner to take a “victory lap” around the court after the match to thank the crowd (and to receive their applause) both players took the lap (in opposite directions). My guess is Federer would have preferred to have been in the locker room at that point but since he did this after winning a tournament, he did it after losing as well.

Both players handled their winning and losing with complete class and character.

Interestingly, the very next day, Nadal had to withdraw from a tournament in Germany due to a knee injury. Rather than calling or emailing or having a representative withdraw for him, he chose to fly to Germany and withdraw in person. How many “champions” take the easy way out rather than doing the right thing? Although his withdrawing was a big loss for the tournament, the tournament director was quoted as saying “He is here today, because he is responsible and has character.”

Whether you win or lose, do people think of you as being a person of character? Are you a gracious winner and a poor loser? Are you an obnoxious winner and a gracious loser?

While I’m still not a big fan of tennis, I can say, after watching the way these two men handled the match, I am a fan of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

If you find this post helpful, please share with others and encourage them to subscribe at http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Networking

How many opportunities do you lose each day because you don’t see the networking opportunities that exist and even when you do see the opportunities, you aren’t prepared for them?

Some of these opportunities should be quite obvious. For example, joining the local chamber of commerce or joining the local Rotary organization or something similar. Usually, you will find like minded individuals in these groups. While some might schedule specific networking opportunities, the reality is every opportunity is a networking opportunity.

Other opportunities would be any type of meeting of people of similar interests. Regardless of what profession you are in or want to be in, or what your your interests might be, there is always a chance of networking. You might be a nurse who attends dance classes as a hobby. Realize there might be other nurses there, or possibly hospital administrators who also like to dance. Be willing to interact with others and see what possibilities might exist.

Just because a networking opportunity exists doesn’t mean you should be the “obnoxious networker” who always talks about their job and what they want to do. You can accomplish more being an accomplished listener than you will ever accomplish as a big time promoter of yourself.

One thing to consider is making sure you have the proper tools available. Make sure you always have some business cards available. It’s quite unfortunate when you meet someone that can help further your career (or maybe whom you could help) and when they ask you if you have a business card you mumble about not having them with you. You can still give them your name and contact information but chances are, you will never hear from them again. If you have your own web site, make sure the address is on your card. Include your name, phone number, mailing address and email address and make sure you have them available at all times.

Most of the business opportunities I have experienced came from unexpected places. Whether it’s from the parent of someone I coached in soccer or someone I met while hiking. Look at every opportunity as a potential networking opportunity and see how many new possibilities come your way

If you enjoy these posts, please encourage others to subscribe by going to
http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Should you be doing that?

One of the most valuable exercises you can do as a manager of a business is to look at all the tasks you do on a regular basis and ask yourself “should I be doing that?”

If you are like many others, you will find yourself doing many things that others in your organization can and should be doing. By doing a better job delegating responsibilities, it will allow you, and others, to get more work done.

Please understand, this isn’t about you trying to do less work, rather it’s about trying to work more efficiently.

I have a friend who is very talented but tends to get frustrated trying to delegate because she knows she can do things better than the people she is delegating to. So, rather than delegate, she tends to do much of the work herself. While the quality of her work is very good, she doesn’t get as much done as she should because she is doing things others could and should do and not doing the bigger picture work

Another thing to look at is whether some of what you are doing can be automated to save you time, without losing the personalization. A very simple example would be the way I handle email with some of my web design clients. Some of the ones we have monthly maintenance agreements with would send an email to me and then I would review and forward it on to the appropriate programmer. The problem with this is that until I read and forwarded the email, nothing would get done (admittedly, if I’m at my desk, this might only be a couple of minutes but if I’m in a meeting it could take hours). Instead, we have set up email rules so emails sent from certain clients are automatically forwarded to the appropriate person. This frequently results in the work being done before I ever see the email. I could have the client email the programmer directly but at that point it makes it difficult to keep track of how much time is being spent on each project plus it makes it more difficult to make sure everything is being done. Plus, I can reassign the project (so that instead of programmer A being in charge of an account, I can change the rule and have programmer B put in charge with the client never seeing a change). With multiple clients requesting changes on a daily basis, these rules allow us to get more done, more efficiently

How many things are you doing which could or should be done by others in order for everyone to be more efficient? Or how many things are you doing that could be automated to make everyone’s lives easier?

If you enjoy these posts, please encourage others to subscribe by going to http://lawrencefine.com/blog/subscribe/
Have a great day!
Lawrence