– living the dash (this blog has moved to livingthedash.tv)

business, leadership, christian, family, management, technology

Posts Tagged ‘work

Moving Day

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Tomorrow is moving day for us at work.

Changing buildings on campus.

And changing from personal offices to cubes.

I will miss the privacy and the quietness of having my own office, but I am actually a little excited about moving into the new cube environment.

Here are a few reasons why…….

  • I believe you work better with people you know. The walls of offices prevent you from getting to know people well.
  • I believe that work performed in an attractive, clean, and creatively designed environment will be more attractive, clean, and creative than work performed in an ugly, sloppy, and boring environment. Our current office space has a 3 color design scheme. Grey, Gray, and Greigh. And it is not uncommon to see trash bins and junk piles cluttering the hallways. I’m ready for a more inspiring workspace.

So do you agree? Does the physical environment where work is performed have a direct impact on the quality of the work performed there?

And just for fun, check out some cool office spaces here…..here……here

Written by Aaron

May 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,

Choosing Your Battles

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The other day, during an away from work conversation about work, a colleague of mine said…..

You have to choose your battles.

It is one of those cliches that we have all heard a million times, but hearing it again got me thinking.

At work, whenever I notice a poor process, an ineffective tool, or an inefficient way of doing things, my first reaction is usually, “Let’s just fix it….now”.

But in most organizations, especially large organizations, it is not always that easy.

I am learning that I can actually increase the pace of change by carefully choosing my battles.

When I make noise and try to drive immediate change for everything that requires change, I run the risk of damaging work relationships, overwhelming myself and others, and creating even more resistance.

When I focus on driving change in 1 or 2 areas that require change, I am able to strengthen work relationships through teamwork, develop some examples of success, and build an environment where people are open to more change.

Written by Aaron

April 27, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Systems and Processes and People

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In almost any line of work, a smooth convergence of Systems, Processes, and People is critical.

  • Process and People without good Systems = Inefficiency
  • People and Systems without good Process = Wasted Talent and Wasted Technology
  • Systems and Process with People that don’t fully understand the Systems and Process = Inefficiency, Wasted Talent, Wasted Technology, Chaos, and Confusion

At work today, instead of our Systems, Processes, and People smoothly converging, they roughly collided.

Written by Aaron

April 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Death by Email

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I have a process for work email that used to work fairly well.

I like my Inbox to be an Inbox…….not a Stay There For a Long Time Box.

An email comes in…..

  • I skim through it.
  • If the email requires nothing from me and I don’t need it for future reference, I delete it.
  • If it requires a response or a quick action that takes less than 1 minute of my time, I go ahead and do it immediately.
  • If it requires a response or action from me that takes longer than 1 minute, I copy it into a Task for me to work on at a future time.
  • If it doesn’t require action from me, but I could need the email for future reference I move it into an archive folder.

Unfortunately, that process isn’t working anymore.

I am drowning in email.

I have to try something different. Maybe set aside certain times of the day to process email.

Anyone else drowning in email? Any suggestions?

Written by Aaron

April 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in Business, Random, Technology

Tagged with , ,

Work Complexity

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I just finished reading a book called Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster by Bill Jensen.

The layout and overall flow of the book was a little complex for a book titled Simplicity, but the book contained tons of great information and ideas.

The book had my mind racing…..identifying areas where we have unnecessary complexity at work………thinking of ways to organize, simplify, and work smarter.

One idea that came up throughout the book was this…..

– Knowledge workers in most companies are bombarded with, overwhelmed with, and drowning in information, data, meetings, and requests for their time.

– Making sense of it all becomes job #1.

– Turning all that information into action falls a distant second.

The author found that simple companies and organizations provide tools and organize information in a way so that employees are able to spend less time on making sense of everything and more time on taking action.

To the whiteboard…..

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Written by Aaron

March 23, 2008 at 5:11 pm

What do I want to be when I grow up?

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My manager (who happens to read this blog) has asked me to fill out a Personal Development Plan.

1st question – Name? (that one was easy)

2nd question – Employee #? (getting tougher)

3rd question – Job Title? (no problem)

4th question – What is your Career Aspiration? (aka, What do I want to be when I grow up?)

great……now i’m stumped

Written by Aaron

March 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Business, Random

Tagged with , ,

Simplicity

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I am fascinated by this idea of ‘Simplicity’.

At home……eliminating clutter, stuff, noise, distractions from your family life so you can concentrate on the things and people that matter most.

At work……taking extremely complex business strategies, goals, and plans and simplifying them so that employees can spend more time on doing and less time on figuring out what to do.

At church…….taking the mind blowing concept of an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, approachable, and saving God and simplifying it so that simple minded people like me can understand it and respond to it.

In politics………taking a complex philosophy of government and simplifying it so that masses of people will understand it and support it with the power of their vote.

Author Bill Jensen wrote a book about this idea of simplicity in the workplace called Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster

I haven’t read the book yet, but I was able to browse through the first few chapters online. The book was written back in 1999/2000, but the frustrations encountered by knowledge workers then still exist today.

Here is some stuff I found in the just the first few chapters:

“The hardest work is figuring out what to do in a world of infinite choices.”

“Making the complex clear always helps people work smarter. Because it is a lot easier to figure out what’s important and ignore what isn’t.”

“In today’s infosaturated world, what you know is power only if you know how to use it to help you juggle the too many things that were all due yesterday. That kind of power is based on your ability to separate the important from the urgent.”

“By changing how you organize and share what you know, you’ll spend a lot less time on the things that don’t matter and a lot more time on the things that do. When you spend more time making the complex clear, the figuring out part happens ‘for free’.”

“If you’d like a simpler company, senior execs also must do one thing: Work backwards from what people need.”

“Simplicity is a leadership tool to help you help everyone to work smarter.”

“Productive knowledge work is all about how we use each other’s time and attention as we try to get stuff done. Your worst competitor is day-to-day confusion—the time it takes everyone to figure out what to do and what not to do.”

“The universal problem seems to be how hard people have to work just to figure out what to do.”

“Business is doing a great job at changing to meet marketplace, customer, and shareholder needs. And it is lousy at making work elegant—creating clarity of choice, then providing the tools and information people need to work smarter.”

“Simplicity could be the toughest job you never asked for but must take on.”

“Our biggest limit is no longer the reach of our imagination. It’s now our inability to order, make sense of, and connect everything that demands our attention.”

The top 4 sources of complexity: 1) Lack of integration of change 2) Unclear goals and objectives 3) Ineffective communication 4) Your knowledge management experience

Written by Aaron

March 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm