I had privilege of hearing Gordon Graham in person many years ago. I can still still him blowing his train whistle. If you can predict it (“hear the train whistle”), you should be able to prevent it (“get off the tracks”). I talk to my kids about this all the time (“we shouldn’t have the dog on the top bunk”). The clip below is directed at law enforcement, but the concept applies to any field.
- Make sure that email is the correct medium (vs. text or call)
- Take time to write a good email
- Craft a potent, informational subject line (e.g. Quick question re: ____”)
- Stick to 5-7 sentences
- Make the ask and/or response needed very clear
- Stick to one question/request per email
Brett & Kay McKay on The Art of Manliness give a good reminder that it is still possible to stand out in today’s hyper-competitive world :
While it often feels there’s a dearth of opportunity out there, the real scarcity in this world isn’t in openings, but in common sense, social skills, manners, reliability, and persistence.
Nail these basics, access to which is inexhaustibly abundant, and you’re no longer competing with the masses, you’re competing with the very small segment of humanity that understands and is willing to execute on the rare, but stupidly simple fundamentals.
A look at the number of traffic stops the Fort Wayne Police Department conducted each day so far in March 2020:
Todd Henry talks about the three things a great team leader must provide on the Accidental Creative:
Ensure that your team’s attention is allocated to the right problems at the right time.
- What are we doing? Ensure that every member of you team has a crystal clear understanding of what a successful outcome looks like on every level of their work.
- What are we not doing? Strategic pruning of priorities is necessary to your team’s ability to focus.
- When are we doing it? Expectations around timing effect the choices a team member makes throughout the day. Understand the priorities is critical.
Ensure that your team has the resources and processes in place that it needs to do its work.
- How will we do it? Ensuring that there is a clearly defined and articulated path to accomplishing your objectives. Clear obstacles out of their way.
- What do we need in order to do it? Is there anything your team lacks? Materials? Information? Buy-in from superiors? You have to go to bat for your team.
Keep the team motivated to do the work. You have to diligently tie the work the team is doing to why it is doing it.
- Why are we doing it? What difference will it make to the team, company or the world?
- What will it mean if we actually do this work? What is the change that is this going to make and how does it relate to my personal productive passion? Learn to speak the motivational language of your employees.
“One day” is the worst thing we tell ourselves when we do our shopping. I used to buy a lot of things for the ideal version of myself, so clothes I wanted professional Cait to wear, or books I wanted smart Cait to read. I would think I should read these books, but I don’t want to, and that’s okay. I was spending a lot of money on my idealized version of myself.
If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself.
Get rid of it
If you’re in doubt about something that’s in your life already, get rid of it. Not just things, this goes for identities, habits, goals, relationships, technology, and anything else. Default to not having it, then see how you do without.
No really, get rid of it
Err on the side of no. Get rid of it. Start with a clean slate, If it was a mistake, you’ll get it back with a renewed enthusiasm.
I love podcasts. I like listening while I am exercising, working outside and especially while driving. Although I am continually trying new podcasts, these are the ones I currently listen to the most.
- 99% Invisible – I love listening to Roman Mars and thinking about how we choose to design the world around us. High quality and I learn something every episode.
- The Accidental Creative – Although I wouldn’t consider myself a creative, I really like Todd Henry’s continual focus on doing the work.
- Accidental Tech Podcast – Listener since episode one! My favorite pundits talking about what’s going on in technology. Nothing beats a good John Siracusa critique.
- The Art of Manliness – I listen to most episodes, but occasionally skip ones that don’t look interesting.
- Criminal – Another podcast I have been following since the first episode. Not to be missed.
- Derek Sivers Podcast – A recent addition. Very short episodes to make you think. Some of my favorite will be posted on this blog.
- Focused – Started listening when they changed from Free Agents. Even bought their calendar.
- Grace To You: Pulpit Podcast – The only religious podcast on the list. Very conservative and Biblically based. Thought provoking.
- Invisible Office Hours – I am a fan of Paul Jarvis and many of his ideas on the world of work.
- Order of Man – I skip lots of these episodes (All the "Ask Me Anythings" and most of the "Friday Field Notes"), but some of the interviews are fantastic.
- Bregman Leadership Podcast – I add a lot of books to my "to read" list from here.
- Under the Radar – The only other tech-based podcast I listen to. I am not an independant developer, but I can live vicariously though them.
I have exclusively used Overcast to listen to podcasts since Version 1.0. Highly recommended. I usually listen at 1.5x speed with Smart Speed and Voice Boost enabled.