Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No Secret Agenda

It's not easy. It takes a level of trust most of us are not prepared for. It requires a level of radical truth that exposes the scars and wrinkles of the world. It's this simple, and yet not easy: say what you mean, ask for what you want.

Why is that so hard?

We fear that others might resist our desires if they knew them. We fear we might hurt others' feelings. Or maybe, just maybe, what we truly want is not what we think we should want. Maybe it's not even in our best interest.

I reflect on that sometimes. Is what I want, what I want? What case am I building for now and for the future? How will my task list look to me ten years from now? Is my agenda a secret because it's too small?

I don't have the answer today. Today, I'm just a little tired of people who say they have all the answers, even in topics they clearly are not qualified to be experts in. But, can they -- should they -- express their views? Of course!

Say what you mean, ask for what you want, and do not get attached to the outcome.

The fun is right here, right now. The work is right here, right now. The conversation is right here, right now.

A secret agenda carries a heavy cost. Sleepless nights, stress, broken promises, surprising and unhappy disclosures. Expose's.

Why take the chance? Why take the excuse?

Say what you mean, ask for what you want, and do not get attached to the outcome.

Keep your secret agendas to yourself. And then let them go.

It's up to you.

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

False Choice?

Have you ever fooled yourself into a limited choice?

We fool ourselves endlessly and don't always know it. Narrowed choices that lock us in dispute. There are always other choices. The possibilities are endless. Let go of the tight grip you've got on that goal and another goal will likely appear. Clarify. Expand. Breathe.

We trick ourselves into sacrificing what we really want for something that feels like an obligation. I'm not saying to ditch your responsibilities. Do keep your commitments. Be responsible. Just don't be recklessly limiting in your scope, in your promise, in your possibilities. What if you didn't need to sacrifice what you really want?

What if sacrifice is a false choice?

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, November 4, 2017

What Are You Building A Case For?

Have you ever heard someone argue incessantly in a direction that doesn't seem to make sense? Or maybe they're stacking the evidence so completely one-sidedly that the whole view looks distorted.

We seem to be doing more and more of that these days. Building and defending our own cases to the exclusion of any inquiry. We lack curiosity when it would serve us better than defensiveness.

It's the person complaining about their job: every detail is negative. It's the person attracted to another person: every detail is enticing. It's the political argument with no escape: every point is in opposition.

What case are you building?

That's a question I like to ask when it feels like I'm working cross-purposes to what I really want. Or, when someone else is doing the same thing.

What case are you building?

Is that really what you want? Will that make things better for you, for your team, for the world?

What case are you building?

What if there is a better alternative?

When you find yourself building a case for something, find out if that's really what you want.

After all, the possibilities are endless. No need to lock into a bitter compromise.

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Evolve Your Vision

What's the difference between a mission and a vision?

You'll get different answers to that question. Here's what I think. Your mission is your practice call to action. It's what you are paid to do. It's how you keep your customers happy.

Your vision is bigger. Your vision is largely aspirational, meaning you are not there yet but you aspire to be there. It's something to work toward. It guides your strategy, your goals, your actions. As you get closer to actualizing your vision -- when you become KNOWN for doing that -- it's time to evolve. Evolve your vision so that you can elevate your game. Raise the bar, so you can go far.

Your vision evolves. When has it shifted the most for you and where is it now headed?

Keep growing -- it's our best choice.

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Clarify, Clarify, Clarify

What's your biggest communication mistake?

Mine is often assuming that my message has been understood, or that I understand what someone else is saying when we actually do not have a meeting of the minds. Whatever causes it, assumptions take over and the water gets muddy. Miscommunication creates more miscommunication. We end up getting excited about things that don't matter and forgetting what does.

I've learned to clarify. Clarify the intent. Clarify the meaning. Clarify the context. Clarify the request.

Clarify, clarify, clarify -- the muddy water makes you sick.

Know what you've said is heard, and what you've heard is what was said.


-- Doug Smith


Miscommunication reverberates a long time.

Do your best to get it right the first time.