Team SuperManners – An Illustrated Book for Preschoolers

Team-SuperManners-Cover

This year, I had a goal to write an illustrated kid’s book (while my kids were young enough to enjoy seeing themselves as characters in a book).

I’m happy to say that Team SuperManners, The Well-Behaved Adventures of Zander the Dog, Sweet Cheeks, and Baby Girl is finished and on Amazon in print and Kindle.

Jakob Bartels was the illustrator.  Jakob is a phenom.  At only 17 years-old, he was the designer of the crest for the USS Minnesota submarine.  My huge thanks to his father, Chris, who’s been our marketing consultant for over a decade.  Chris graciously volunteered his time to make this book a reality and once again made a project a ton better because of his involvement.

If you’re seeing this post/message and would like a free copy, just fire me an email or send a message with your address.

Life and Work Balance Is Doable (Post 1 of 3)

Balance-is-BunkThe September issue of Harvard Business Review had an article titled “Work+Home+Community+Self”.  Sort of clumsy title… but a good article.

It was written by Stewart D. Friedman, a Wharton professor.  He’s the author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.

His take on life balance is based on a concept he calls “four way wins.” The four ways are work, home, community, and self.  Instead of trade-offs between these four different parts of a life, his approach is to look for a way to have a “win” that improves all four dimensions.

Interesting approach!

In leadership, he proposes following three guidelines.  Be:

  • Real
  • Whole
  • Innovative

In being real, he states leaders need to know what matters, embody values, line up actions with values, use stories to share values, picture your legacy, and hold yourself accountable.  “Getting real” took me some time.

For example, on my first wedding anniversary, I told my wife to celebrate on her own… not a good call!

Luckily, since then, I’ve righted the ship and identified personal values that drive my life:  caring, commitment, humor, and honesty.

On my next post, I’ll share additional thoughts on Friedman’s on balance.

470 Interruptions a Week

Business People FightingAfter flying 1,000 miles to meet with me, a prospective client and his team from one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies kept looking down at their “productivity enhancing” gadgets—smartphones.  I stopped talking.  I waited.  He and his team were physically in the room but mentally 1,000 miles away.

Finally, one of them looked up and said, “Oh, sorry, there’s stuff happening back at the office and these keep us connected.” “Yes, they do,” I replied sarcastically. They were too disengaged to notice.  They have technology-enabled Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) I thought.  A few years later, I learned I was right.

Dr. Edward Hallowell, a Massachusetts psychiatrist and ADD expert, says the symptoms of ADD, such as the inability to focus and make thoughtful decisions, are surfacing in the workplace.  The source is technological interruptions.

Forbes magazine has pegged the number of e-mail messages received each week by the average office worker at a whopping 470!  That’s nearly 500 interruptions, and that doesn’t even include regular phone calls, cell phone calls, or text messages.  An article in Time described a study of 1,000 office workers at an information technology firm which found that interruptions waste 2.1 hours a day per person.  Extrapolated to the entire U.S.-based workforce, the financial impact is more than $500 billion per year.

Let’s face it folks, we’re frazzing!

“Frazzing,” is a term by Edward Hallowell his book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap—Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD, means “frantic, ineffective multitasking, typically with the delusion that you are getting a lot done. The quality of the work, however, is poor.”

And while no one can say for sure how frazzing affects productivity, psychologists have long known that performance decreases in direct proportion to each additional task being juggled.  What’s the solution?  Go old school… prioritize and problem solve.

Prioritize:  Figure out what tasks you must accomplish in a given day, week, or even month. Then, organize your work day so those tasks get done first.  Turn off email notification, hit “do not disturb” on your phone, shut your door and hunker down.

Problem solve:  Of course, the top of any priority list should be the most difficult tasks, which typically involves solving problems. Start by writing down a clear statement of the problem at hand, continue by listing all possible solutions without filtering good or bad, then move on to prioritizing the potential solutions, pick the best one and begin executing.

Here’s to anti-frazzing!

Want to Live Longer? Smile!

A great seven minute TED talk on the power of smiling.  A couple of the benefits including living longer and being perceived as competent.