Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to avoid the distraction of someone else's goals

Do people interrupt your work on your own goals because they want you to work on theirs?

How do you get back on track? How to you keep your focus on your own goals?

People mean well. It's a good thing that their goals are important to them. And, in many cases we find the time to help them with their goals and sometimes they reciprocate. That's healthy. What's a problem is getting so pulled into someone else's situation that your own goals go untended. That does not lead to success or happiness.

Here are some ways to keep your focus on your own goals:

1. Schedule time to work on them. Keep that time inviolate. When people interrupt, let them know when you will be available and not until then.

2. Post your goals so that others can see what you're working on. If you've written them skillfully enough, other people may interrupt so that they can work on YOUR goals.

3. Find an isolated placed to work on your goals (I'm doing that right now to avoid interruption!). Someone people like a busy place like a coffee shop -- others like a quiet room or nature spot. Find out what works best for you and choose it at least once this week.

4. When someone does interrupt, take the time to understand their reason. It may be valid. It may be worth your attention. In any case, they won't be ready to leave you alone until you've taken the time to understand them -- to validate either what they want or who they are. This can feel like it takes extra time, but in the long run will save you lots of time.

5. Align your goals with the goals of your organization. This keeps your focus on things that matter to the people who pay you. Why would anyone in your organization want to stop that from happening? The closer the alignment and more clear how your efforts advance the organization, the more freedom you will have to work on those goals.

What other ways have you discovered to avoid the distraction of someone else's goals? I'd love to know what also works for you...

--Douglas Brent Smith

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Plan a Little, Do a Lot

I tend to overplan.

Maybe it's from my years of working in insurance and doing my best to reduce every possible risk. Maybe it's from being analytical. Planning pulls me in.

It's better to put things in motion. It's better to put some action into my action plan. It's better to get things done.

Plan a little, yes -- but then DO a lot.

-- Douglas Brent Smith


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hidden Problems

Have you ever noticed a business that seems to be the last to notice their own problem? Customers notice, but the problem persists. It lasts so long that it doesn't seem like the business even knows about it. But they should.

It's the long line that never gets shorter -- or that always gets long at the same time.

It's the product that always runs out just when sales are picking up.

It's parking lot with no more spaces so customers drive in and then drive away (without buying anything).

Just because you don't see a problem doesn't mean your customers don't either. 

They do notice. And it might just be chasing them away.


-- Douglas Brent Smith

Why not bring our Solving Problems workshop to your organization and get some of those nasty problems out of the way?