“Continuous Improvement” is a mantra for just about all areas of our businesses and — if we’re ambitious — our lives. Companies make huge investments in everything from lean manufacturing to agile development methodologies knowing that the best way to make things better is through steady and continuous improvement. We reengineer our business processes to have feedback loops so we can learn from what we have done and build on those learnings.
Learn. Improve. Repeat.
It’s a no-brainer, right? The relentless pursuit of perfection, as Lexus would say. Everything is fair game. Nothing is exempt from the beneficent outcomes of continuous improvement…
Well, almost nothing.Read More
Productivity is hard. Most people overthink it, or worse, try to copy what someone else does. It’s tempting to think what works for others will work for us. Oh, if that were only true. Productivity is a beast that everyone must tame in their own way.
This is part I of a five-part series.Read More
Life — and success — contain a high degree of luck, randomness, and serendipity. It’s not just me that thinks so. Researchers are proving what our intuition has been telling us for generations. A study out of the University of Catania in Italy showed that the most successful people are not the most talented, just the luckiest.
Persistence, fueled by ambition, and a stroke of good fortune are often all that separate the the high-rollers from the homeless. But you have to try. Where would you be if you didn’t even try?Read More
From the perspective of the hiring manager, finding the right person to fill a job opening can be an arduous process. When we’re on the candidate side of the table, we lose sight of this complexity. Our goal is to get a job and, as they say in baseball, we “swing for the fences” at every step. We say things like “I would love to work here” before we know much at all about the role, the team, the company, or the compensation. We confuse our end game (get a job) with the incremental objective of moving forward in the interview process. We allow our primary goal to blind us to incremental goals.
The key is to move yourself along the process one step at a time.Read More
Happy New Year!
As the holidays wrap up this week, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead.
A cycle of annual and quarterly planning sets the strategy that you execute with a weekly and daily rhythm. You think ‘big picture’ and chart your course broadly at the beginning of the year. Then, on a quarterly basis, you make more specific plans that help you reach those ‘big picture’ goals.
Next, every week you lay out specific activities that you are going to work on, and finally, every day you identify tasks that must be done.Read More
I love to hike. There is something deeply satisfying in loading a few provisions into a backpack and heading off into the hills. I have had the good fortune of hiking in the Colorado Rockies as well as the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Hiking is both an exhausting and exhilarating activity. The pack is heavy and rarely comfortable. The trail is often steep, the terrain rocky. There are times when each step is a slog. You make progress by keeping your head down and putting one foot in front of the other again and again. You find your stride.
Eventually, it’s time for a break. You reach a vista where you loosen your pack and refresh yourself with water. And then you look up. The view is amazing. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how far you’ve traveled. Looking ahead, you see the path clearly in front of you. You catch your breath, revel in your progress, affirm your course, and don the pack for another march.
The rhythm of productivity follows a similar path.Read More
Do you struggle to be productive? At the end of the day does it feel like there are more items on your ToDo list than there were at the beginning of the day?
There is no end to the articles and blogs and tools and apps that aim to help you be more productive. Many of them are even good. But in some ways, they’re all a bit of distraction for the task at hand: getting stuff done.
Being productive is hard. If it was easy — if an app could solve your problem — we wouldn’t see the proliferation of articles and blogs and tools and apps.
Personal productivity is a Holy Grail: Many pursue it. Few seem to find it.Read More
A coach helps you be successful in business. A mentor helps you be successful in this business, — in this company, in this industry.
It used to be that you started your career at the bottom and set your sites on the corner office. If you were good — and just a tad bit lucky — a company veteran tapped you on the shoulder and took you under their wing. They showed you the ropes. They introduced you to the right people. They taught you how to lead and they made sure that you got what you needed to be successful. We reverently called these people our “mentors.”
What’s changed?Read More
Most people start a company with a product in mind, and then, often much later, look for people to build a team. I think we have that backwards. propose that a strong leadership team is a prerequisite for product or market decisions.
How are most companies started? In typical entrepreneurial circles — business schools, incubators, angel funds, venture capitalist firms — entrepreneurs are relentlessly challenged with two questions: 1) What is your product? and 2) Who is your market?
Both local and global markets are accelerating. Consumers are becoming sophisticated and have complex needs. They are constantly demanding new and individuated products. Competitive pressure is escalating. In this environment, successful organizations are those that can change and adapt. Only a cohesive leadership team can lead this change.Read More
Heather Hollick has been helping others become better leaders and craft more meaningful careers for more than 25 years. Her experience spans both business and technology, operations and organizational development. Oh, and she was born in Canada, so she can't help but be helpful. 😉