Meetings: Good Idea, Bad Idea

It seems that the one carryover from brick-and-mortar, manual, old school business to the new knowledge-based economy is that upper management likes to have meetings. Meetings are necessary. Meetings suck. Here’s my meeting school:

Meetings are good:

  • Task assignments are best identified by the team, rather than just direct orders by a superior.
  • Resource allocations are easier with the minds of many.
  • Well executed meetings facilitate brainstorms.

Meetings are bad:

  • Tyrants use meetings for short-sighted task assignments.
  • Long or frequent meetings waste the time of the team.
  • Reactionary meetings facilitate blamestorming.

Make your next meeting productive. Set a timer, bring a list of things to talk about, don’t shoot down ideas, and come up with next action lists.

Motivation

Happy New Year! I think. Hopefully your endeavors for the year are off to a good start.

If you’re a leader working to motivate people, I have some ideas for you.

  • Compensation alone can only motivate temporarily. Substantially higher pay for mundane work may get Samuel motivated to work on a project for a very short period of time, but if your project will last for a long time, he’ll get bored and stop producing.
  • Substandard compensation is only sufficient if people love what they’re doing. In the depths of human subconscious, love is a much stronger motivator than money.
  • People who cannot envision the possibility of a completed project, they can’t be driven to it. “This task is impossible” will break even the most contrarian initiators if they actually believe it’s impossible.
  • Tell the truth, at all costs. Even if you think you’re pulling the wool over their eyes, they’ve got you figured out. Even if you think the truth will cause mutiny, the silent mutiny caused by a lie will break your team.

Are you motivated to do what you’re supposed to be doing right now?

Staying on the GTD Wagon (Part II)

It’s much harder to stay on top of your GTD if the system isn’t working for you. GTD works, so don’t blame the system. There are a number of small things that can go wrong, however, if you aren’t careful.

Exercise regular reviews. If you aren’t reviewing, you aren’t Getting Things Done. I review my action list a minimum of once a day. I review my action list when I think to myself “what should I be doing?” I review my Someday/Maybe list at the first of every month, and whenever I’m feeling day-dreamy. I review my project actions every time my brain switches contexts to that project.

Behavioral Change Odds (Stacked in Your Favor)

Thanks to the outlet I have in space-age wasteland (and the fact that people continue to read it), I apparently have a 95% chance of making my vocational changes work. This Occupational Adventure post points out that:

[A 1993 BYU study] shows the chances of a change being incorporated into one’s life in various scenarios. When a person…

Says, “That’s a good idea.” 10%
Commits, “I’ll do it.” 25%
Says when they’ll do it. 40%
Plans how to do it. 50%
Commits to someone else. 60%
Sets a specific future time to share progress with person they committed to. 95%

I’m making significant progress on my goals. Thanks!

Daily Progress

Yesterday I promised myself I’d squeeze in a daily activity into my schedule. I didn’t really commit to anything because I’m already reasonably overextended, but I knew it had to be something that was related to my passion.

If nothing else comes of this commitment, I’ll have earned the fruits of practice. Zack pointed out that I already have a daily activity because I take and post pictures of my daughters each day. I think this is one of the most important parts of my day. Now I’ve added to the daily activities with my daughters and have committed to reading two of their books to them each day. This puts my time with the girls at the top of my day and will hopefully strengthen our bond.

But what about something that will advance the progress of my latest goals? Music is it, folks. I can’t say I’ll write or record a song every day. Jonathan makes good use of Oneword.com to practice writing – it’s short and you only have a minute. So I’ve decided that I’m going to put 4 lines of text to music. Any 4 lines at all. Last night, I actually put 16 lines of text to music in a Psalm that I arranged for Sunday. We’ll see what happens tonight.

“Everyday I Write the Book”

Reader’s Digest has a feature, Only In America, which highlights “Ideas, trends and interesting bits from all over” – all over America, I presume. October’s edition of this feature included two very interesting storiettes. The first of these mentioned David Allen and GTD, clutter busting, and feng shui.

The fruit of the meme, however, was a brief about Jacob Berendes, who runs a small record label in Worcester, Mass. A friend of his had recorded one blues song a day for an entire year and it inspiried him to find an everyday activity. The Macguffin here is that he went for the “original stuffed toy a day” idea. His toys are quite interesting but the true fruit is, oddly enough, in the root of this idea.

Since the progress of my goals is evident but slow, I am inspired to squeeze this idea into my schedule. I don’t think that ‘writing a song a day’ is an achievable goal, so it doesn’t pass the SMART test. It’d be much more realistic for me to come up with a progression a day, or a melody line a day. For now, I’m going to brew on this and leave the loop open for now.

Bye-Bye Bloglines

Ok, it seems odd that only about 2 weeks ago I committed to using Bloglines to aggregate my feeds, and now I’m already moving on. Yes, Google (of course) has caught my fancy with this slick (and very Web 2.0) news reader/aggregator. Since I use my Google account for gmail, personalized search, and the ig personalized homepage service there was really no setup to do besides importing my OPML export from Bloglines.

Once again… good job, Google.

The Prequel to ‘Finding Your Calling’

Ok, so I wasn’t so clear about how I actually went through the exercise early Friday Morning. After reading back over the post, I realize that it looks like I skipped the first two steps, but they were just done on paper. Now I’ll share them in hopes that a review of them will give me stronger results.

My Gifts:

  • Musical Performance
  • Facts and Trivia
  • Instruction
  • Performance
  • Technological Proficiency
  • Strong Faith
  • Communication and Conversation

My Passions:

  • Creating, Writing and Performing
  • Being a Positive Influence on Others
  • Systemization

More Specific Passions:

  • Music Electronics/Synthesis/Gear
  • Live Music
  • Liturgical Music
  • New-Media/Design and Technology Aggregation and Integration
  • Keeping up with Technology Trends

It is from these gifts and passions that I drew Friday’s ‘Passion Intersections:’

  • Music Technology Instruction – Teaching people (kids?) the correlation, history, and future possibilities of music with computers, computer based instruments, etc..
  • Musical Resource Development – I write a lot of liturgical music, most of which could be used even worldwide and receive modest payment for it.
  • Musical Performance – I could always gig but this is an obvious one I’ve intentionally stayed away from as a career choice since I left for college – why?
  • Technology Instruction – I’ve actually done this before with much success, but never in my current market so it might be worth testing the waters of SC.
  • Leadership Instruction – I’m an effective leader of young people but this market might be slim.
  • Productivity Instruction – I think I’d get a big kick out of doing GTD-style training to executives and watching the results as they become more productive, but this is an odd market to break into, and the local market is probably intensely slim.
  • Buzz Consulting – How is this even on the list, huh? I don’t even know where this could go but with my ability to get a good overview-like knowledge of emerging technology very quickly, I’m a good box drawer. I’m good at coming up with systems (at a high level) that will work once the boxes are connected by the right programmers and designers.

This is, of course, still a work in progress. But there was some confusion so I think this should clear some things up. I appreciate the comments and assistance.

Fred’s ‘Finding Your Calling’ Exercise and Invitations

Recently, Fred Gratzon over at The Lazy Way to Success posted a very interesting article outlining a method for “finding your calling.” Seeing as how this seems to be the meme of the year and I mentioned it in my last post, I figured it would be a good idea to actually exercise this method.

My ‘intersections of passion’ (on pass #1) are listed below. Some may have a commercial component, some I can’t even imagine being existing jobs. Does that discount anything? Probably not. I’m inviting feedback on these intersections (invite #1).

  • Music Technology Instruction – Teaching people (kids?) the correlation, history, and future possibilities of music with computers, computer based instruments, etc..
  • Musical Resource Development – I write a lot of liturgical music, most of which could be used even worldwide and receive modest payment for it.
  • Musical Performance – I could always gig but this is an obvious one I’ve intentionally stayed away from as a career choice since I left for college – why?
  • Technology Instruction – I’ve actually done this before with much success, but never in my current market so it might be worth testing the waters of SC.
  • Leadership Instruction – I’m an effective leader of young people but this market might be slim.
  • Productivity Instruction – I think I’d get a big kick out of doing GTD-style training to executives and watching the results as they become more productive, but this is an odd market to break into, and the local market is probably intensely slim.
  • Buzz Consulting – How is this even on the list, huh? I don’t even know where this could go but with my ability to get a good overview-like knowledge of emerging technology very quickly, I’m a good box drawer. I’m good at coming up with systems (at a high level) that will work once the boxes are connected by the right programmers and designers.

Ok, that’s pass #1.

I’d like to nearly shift the focus of space-age wasteland to this sort of passion/goal-seeking mentality. It’s not a big stretch considering what I’ve written about in the past. I’m going to post updates on these sorts of exercises and goals in my life. Invitation #2 is for you to come along. In the comments of this post, it’d be rad (yeah, I said ‘rad’) to see feedback of my ‘intersections of passions,’ the results of your calling exercises and some discussion of the results of each.

My next post could be an announcement of steps I’ve taken to advance one of these ideas, maybe it’ll be motivation for you to follow. It could also be another pass at this exercise because I found that the results were lousy. I hope to hear from you. We’ve got a lot of work to do.