Goals cannot sound noble but vague. Targets cannot be so blurry they can’t be hit. Your direction has to be so vivid that if you randomly woke one of your employees in the middle of the night and asked him "Where are we going?" he could still answer in a half-sleep stupor.
In his book The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Patrick Lencioni describes brilliantly three reasons individuals disengage from work.
Anonymity: They feel their leaders don’t know or care what they are doing.
Irrelevance: They don’t understand how their job makes a difference.
Immeasurement: They cannot measure or assess for themselves the contribution they are making.
This is why the choice of leaders in Law Enforcement is so important. There are lots of miserable cops counting the days the days until retirement. Do their leaders care what they are doing? Are their leaders showing them how they are making a difference? Can the Officers measure for themselves the contributions they are making?
Spoiler. Its thought. It’s taking "time to think deeply about the problems you are facing, the relationships that you are you’re dealing with at work or personally. Taking the time think about the problems that you’ve been handed by you manager… Taking the time that is absolutely necessary to distill the noise we encounter on a daily basis into something actionable, something meaningful something that will have help us progress toward our ambitions."
It is about turning knowledge and noise into wisdom. We need to stop reacting to everything and step back and think deeply about it.
I guarantee you that if you walk into a meeting and you say, here is what we should do… and here is are the reasons why we should do it… and here is what I think the potential outcomes are… If you are able to give that kind of a response in a meeting because you have have actually spent time thinking and developing your thoughts and really exploring. Then your manager will say, who are you and where can I get four more like you? Because that well reasoned response is very rare.
So how do we build thought time into our lives? Mr. Henry offers four ways:
Plan it. Try to do it during the hours most likely to be interrupted.
Be consistent. Rituals can be important.
Keep yourself in the dark room and play. Staying in a place of uncertainty that is uncomfortable. Don’t gravitate to the first answer. Deal with ambiguity and uncertainty. Train yourself to look for deeper answers.
Synthesize thoughts. Look for bigger patterns. Connect domains.
"The goal is to develop responsiveness not reactivity. We want to be able to respond meaningfully with wisdom to problems, not just react to them. "
Having worked with and interviewed hundreds of professionals, I’ve come to believe that each person also has a “sweet spot”. It’s comprised of the situations and activities where they are maximally effective, and where they create the most unique value for their effort… Here are a few of the key insights I gained about finding your sweet spot:
To find your sweet spot, you must act first and sort later.
Your sweet spot is not always something you enjoy.
Finding your sweet spot is not necessary, which is why many people never do it.
As I looked around, I noticed that the most successful people I know have one thing in common: they are masters at eliminating the unnecessary from their lives. The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry hit on the same idea, writing in his memoir, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.” This principle, it turns out, is the key to success.
Here’s one method to help you choose what to focus on and how to use your time (it’s a mix of time blocking and a variation of Warren Buffet’s two-list system):
Step 1: Change how you think about your day.Think of your day as having 96 blocks of energy, with each block being a 15-minute chunk of time. . . .
Step 2: Write a list of all the goals you have. . . .
All that we write about, think about, and strive to achieve is inspired by one or more of the following principles. We hope they offer some clarity about what our community believes, and perhaps some direction as you carve your own path.
Direction Over Speed
Thoughful Opinions Held Loosely
Principles Outlive Tactics
Own Your Actions
Farnam Street is Shane Parish’s blog about better thinking and better decision making. Not sure how why I’ve never come across this before, but it’s now in my RSS feed.