Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Work Through Distractions

How many times today have you been distracted from your goal? Maybe THIS is a distraction? So I'll make this short: are you working on your most important goal today?

-- Doug Smith

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grow Beyond Your Limitations

What holds you back the most? For me, it's often that I over-analyze. I want to be sure. I calculate possibilities and assess risks so much that the energy can drain right out of the moment. And, when the moment is gone, we can lose the opportunity.

I'm working past that. I'm not quite at the point of the movie "Yes Man" (a great flick and a step in the direction of take the action, do the thing, just say yes!) but I'm better than before. Isn't that our job? To get better than before. To grow more. To keep going in the direction that set off in, to make things better?

You've got limitations. I've got limitations. All G-d's children have limitations. It's out job to grow beyond our limitations.

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, September 17, 2016

It's Up To You

There is a lot of material out there declaring how the universe is on your side, how all you need to do is manifest what the universe is sending you, how you can attract good things by just being open to what the universe offers.

Some of it is quite inspiring. Much of it is entertaining. It's even delightful. It feels so promising, so hopeful, so optimistic. But, it's nonsense.

The universe does not care.

I believe in a higher power (G-d!) and I do believe that G-d cares and will facilitate what is within G-d's will. But the universe?

It's random. It's mathematical. It's endless. It's amazing. But it does not give a crap about you, me, or anyone else.

You want to achieve your goals? It's up to you. You want to see the biggest problems solved? Again, it's up to you. You want pizza for dinner? It's up to you.

-- Doug Smith

Friday, September 16, 2016

Work To Be Done

Many years ago when I was music director and touring with Child's Play Touring Theater we were putting together a show for children with a work-related theme. Children are often fascinated by jobs, by what their parents do, by what they see adults doing in the world.

It was just one of hundreds of shows that we did, but I remember one song from that show that I wrote especially. The first verse was:

there's a little bit of work to be done
an American phenomenon
there will always be a little bit of work to be done
to be done, to be done, by everyone...

I can't take credit for the lyrics because we used poems and stories written by children as the basis for our material. It was fun.

And it reminds me today that what was true then is still true today. There's a little bit of work to be done. We have problems to solve. We have goals to achieve. High performance leaders are never finished.

Even as I near retirement age (don't fret, my bills will keep me working for years!) I realize that there is so MUCH work to be done!

So many inequities to fix. So many wrongs to right. So many problems to solve.

Today, I think I'll roll up my sleeves and do a little work. How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inspire Noble Goals

You know how to set goals. You do your best to lead. Are you setting more noble goals? Here's what i mean by noble goals: achievements to make the world a better place to live. Goals that do no harm. Solutions without side-effects.

That's tough work.

It starts with setting the right goals.

They might be bigger than you can ever imagine achieving. Don't wear yourself down. Be reasonable. But, set those noble goals anyway. We all need something big to work toward. And, heaven knows, we all need a better world.

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Make Room for the Big Stuff

When will you get to the big stuff?

Are you working on the big stuff right now? Are you working on the energizing, team-changing, life changing problems and goals that make the difference between a leader-in-name and a high performance leader?

No time? No room. Listen, nobody has room for the big stuff. We all have room for the big stuff. It's all a decision. Make that decision. Work on the big stuff.

Need to find time for the big stuff? Get the little stuff done. Finish it. Get it out of the way. It probably will take less time to finish than fret over anyway, so get that stuff done.

The report you've been putting off. The schedule. The budget. The cleaning. The decorating. Get it all done.

The big stuff is waiting.

-- Doug Smith


Here are the big goals that have my attention. I have no idea how to achieve any of them, but thought that sharing them is a start. I shared them previously on one of my other blogs:


Here are some goals worth growing for:

  1. Achieve peace thru dialogue
  2. Reform banking into a fair and stable system
  3. Build stronger relationships thru deeper conversations.
  4. Develop shared understanding by discovering, exploring and creating art and music.
  5. Normalize climate thru conservation and renewable energy
Well, in a way, the solutions are already mentioned in the goals. Maybe that's a mistake. I certainly don't teach problem solving that way -- by imbedding the solution in your goal. But maybe you get the idea. This is big stuff. So please excuse me -- I've got some little stuff to get done!

The exact URL for the post:


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Give That Crazy Idea A Chance

You can't keep a good idea down. Yet, so many leaders think that if they disagree with an idea - no matter how much merit it might have - that they can hold it down. Stopping a good idea is a bad idea.

How can a leader know if an idea is a good one?

You may never know for sure until you try it, but here are some signs:

- most of your team likes the idea
- the idea is a game-changing, even revolutionary concept
- the creative disagreement the idea stirs up creates energy
- you are moved from stasis to action
- the idea promote growth
- the idea is expressed with respect and enthusiasm

I often catch my first impulse being incorrect. I have learned to be careful of following what people affectionately call "gut instinct". My work in six sigma project management proved to me once and for all that gut instinct is often flat wrong. Our gut instinct equals our built in bias. Our gut instinct is that trench we keep marching in because it's too hard to get out of.

Our gut instinct is an illusion.

Stay curious. Examine, even explore that idea that rubs you the wrong way. It just might be the idea that you and your team need the most.

-- Doug Smith