In 100 Words: Inadvertent Bad Advice

June 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

“Bring me solutions, not problems!” can be poor advice. We want people to be pro-active so the adage applies at times. Leaders, however, deal with many complex and challenging problems which either require, or benefit from, collaborative work. Collaborative work entails conversation between two or more people to surface and debate alternative solutions. One person alone will not get to the best decision.

Some people disguise complaining or laziness by merely pointing out problems. Other people, though, raise genuine issues with a desire to be actively involved in collaborative work on a solution. A wise leader discerns between the two.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

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In 100 Words: Dear Meetings,

May 1st, 2017 by Troy Schrock

I love you, I love you not…

Time we share together can be so energizing when we are engaged and collaborative. Good ideas flow and build. Conversations are relevant. Debates are healthy. There are clear decisions and follow-up. I want to see you again!

I must confess, though, much of our time together is a waste of my precious time. It’s maddening to experience glowing screens of distraction, conversations without preparation, and boring report-outs. I simply can’t go on meeting like this!

Tell me, am I alone in my feelings? I beg you, can we rejuvenate our relationship?

Yours Truly

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” Friedrich Nietzsche

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In 100 Words: Don’t Let Urgent Win

March 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Urgent and Important spar for supremacy in our minds and work. Intentional and strategic thought and action is many times held at bay by the press of immediate demands flying at us. “I’ll get to it tomorrow” quickly becomes next week or month.

Then sometimes a person or event forces us to slow down, and we gain new perspective. We are forced to step out of the day-do-day and think more deeply. If you want to see Important win out in your work and life, consider creating forced slowdowns. Quarterly calibration sessions are one way of accomplishing this exact thing.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (quoting an unnamed former college president in a speech)

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In 100 Words: Your First and Best Time

March 11th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Why do we spend time setting the top few quarterly priorities (a.k.a. Rocks) only to put off working on them until we get some free time? Free time will not simply appear in our schedules. To accomplish Rocks we must put in the time. This doesn’t mean all, or even the majority, of our working time has to be dedicated to Rock work.

We should, however, invest our first and best time – our first and best time each day and week. Watch results accelerate when you commit the first hour of your working day to the Rock you are leading.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell

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In 100 Words: Rewards of Generosity and Kindness

December 15th, 2016 by Troy Schrock

How often do we take the time to really notice the people around us? Not simply a casual glance and recognition but the attentive and genuine interest in their well-being that leads us to act with generosity and kindness toward their needs and desires.

If you are like me, the answer is not frequently enough. But why not? What am I giving up? Every time I care enough to serve someone else I realize double joy – the expressions of gratitude of the person I help and then the deep, internal satisfaction I experience as a result. These are worthwhile rewards.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan

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In 100 Words: Time for Strategy Planning

November 1st, 2016 by Troy Schrock

As leadership teams craft strategy plans for the upcoming year, they should remember the following lessons:

• There are no formulaic answers, however, you can benefit from a systematic approach to both your preparation and strategy planning conversations.

• Markets are dynamic so be disciplined in your strategy thinking. Challenge and test your basic assumptions – even if they are producing good results. Things change.

• Strategy requires clear choices and resource commitment. Each decision either reinforces or weakens the whole. The strength of how the decisions weave together form the fabric of compelling business models (think IKEA, The Container Store and Southwest Airlines).

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” – Peter Drucker

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