Can we learn from Mite Hockey?

30 12 2009

In youth hockey, the youngest  group (6-8 year olds) is called mites.  Watching a mite hockey game, especially with the players in their first games, is a unique experience.  Watching a kid on a breakaway is everything, an amalgam of excitement, anticipation, worry, dread.  You feel like you can chew off all your fingernails from the time the play starts to when the play ends.

Why? Purely the speed in which the play happens.  It takes too long.

Think about the speed of change within an organization.  If it takes too long, it probably doesn’t happen.  We talk about burning platforms, or Machiavellian-like beheadings.  Employees don’t like change, but what they really don’t like is the not knowing what the other side will look like.  So why do we draw this stage out?

  • Why do we take forever to move some projects?
  • Why do we announce reorganizations, and then take months to make it happen?
  • How much artificial time do we add to a number of the things we do, and what is the value of that time?
  • What is the impact if act twice as quickly as the day before?

If you need to get something done, get the right minds on it, have a discussion and be done with it.


Just get it Done – The Art of Ending Procrastination

21 12 2009

All too often, we sit and stare at the pile of things we have to do wondering how we will get through it faster than it seems to be growing.  We try to think strategically, we try to look at similar groups, we walk to the proverbial water cooler to complain about how much we have to do.

There are a number of things we can do…

  • An old manager of mine saw that I was swamped and becoming stressed about it.  She simply said, pick the three things that you have to get done this week and ignore the rest.  What happened is I did a very quick mental prioritization, picked the three things and got them done.  In fact, I had them done that day which then allowed me to get the other things done.
  • Another exercise is to just pick the thing on the top (or bottom of the pile – though the bottom can be a little dangerous) and just get started.
  • Not everything needs to be perfect.  Some things just need to get done, yet we often treat things like they have to be perfect.  And consider perfection is often unattainable, excellent and good enough are usually all we need, especially in terms of the trade off of time and effort.  We consult too many people, draft too many concepts all for an item some one may not really care about.  ABSOLUTELY some things needs to be done with great care, but that is not everything.  The art is applying the right effort to the right things.

“Momentum is the best way to stay on top of things”

  • Been thinking about starting a blog, no better day than today.  Go to Wordrpress (which I use) or Blogger, sign up and start.  It is not the first blog that matters, but the 10th.  Both sites are free, so your only barrier to enter is content and will to get it done.
  • Been thinking about dieting, eat half your lunch today.  Eat half again tomorrow.
  • Need to call a client about an issue, write down what you want from the call and make the call.
  • Need to buy a holiday present, hit Amazon and send it to them.

Just get it done – TODAY!

Is a failed action the same as a failure to act?

27 04 2009

Over the weekend, Seth Godin blogged about making timely decisions.  It brought to mind a number of items worth additional discussion.  One of my favorite sayings is “we should do something” when managers are shown a potential issue.  It is usually followed up with a flurry of meetings, too much information, and less than a clear path forward.  While frustrating, it became clear over time that we often lack a process to consider, debate, and ultimately put ad-hoc course corrrections into action.  It was also appearant that we suffer from a culture that uses information overload to decline action based on the need for additional information.

To make a little more sense of it, here is a two by two grid that shows the risk and rewards of whether action was created and whether it was correct or not.  The goal of this was to highlight perhaps the personal motivations behind action or lack thereof.


Creating action is more likely to cause the extremes in risk versus reward, while delaying or taking no action is often the safer route.  While companies need to take risks to lead within the market, employees may not have the same motivations.  Is the potential for a promotion, worth the risk of falling out of favor?  Do we, as company policy, reward action financially?  Is a failed action the same as a failure to act?