Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some time/project/HR management lessons I've learned the hard way

I never took a business class. I studied underwater BB stacking with a minor in underwater basket weaving. (They seemed naturally complimentary). So when I had to figure out how to build and manage a business, I made a lot of mistakes. I still do. In fact, I'm a horrible manager.


I've learned a few basic things, which I call my First Principles. Abiding by them creates order and harmony. Ignoring or forgetting them creates discord and chaos. All of these principles presuppose things like integrity, honesty, honor, courage and all other virtues. Here are the First Principles I try to abide by in order to minimize the daily chaos:

Know the goal.
As some guru or another said, if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.

Keep it simple.
I just have to. I'm easily confused.

Have a plan.
It should point toward a goal and it should be simple.

Be intentional.
This is huge for me. "Live and let live" is the fastest way to die, in my experience. Either DO or get out of the way. Or, as Lincoln allegedly said, "Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Break down the big projects.
Feeling overwhelmed? That's probably because you're looking at the whole thing before you start. Break it down. One thing at a time. "Bird by bird," as Anne Lamott writes re: writing.

Structure your days, weeks, and if possible, months and years. 
This might be a bit repetitive, but it's at least another way of looking at similar things. Once you have a goal and a plan, you have to implement it. That's done day by day, trench by trench.

Don't be a control freak. Get rid of the tasks that are keeping you from the fun/creative parts of your job. If you have no fun/creative parts to your job, delegate yourself a new job.

Take risks.
Get uncomfortable. You'll get nowhere in your comfort zone.

Follow through.
Don't just be a dreamer. If you commit to it, see it through until the end, bitter or otherwise.

Implement your vision, but be open to new ideas.
Democracy is overrated in this day and age. Be a tyrant. a beneficent tyrant.

Hold people to the standards.
If you're not going to hold people to standards, don't bother having any.

Be positive. Negativity is a cancer. 
Having spent most of my life in a negative funk of my own making, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that negativity A) is a choice, and B) so completely warps your point of view that you are literally unable to see reality.

Them's my thoughts. Please feel free to enjoy, comment or argue!


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