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Less than 20% of people work at making changes; over 80% of people require ongoing assistance & leadership.

by Rick Baker
On Dec 5, 2018

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Focus on change leaders.

Focus on self-motivated people.

Focus on confident people.

Tags:

80/20 Rule | Change: Creating Positive Change | Leaders' Thoughts | Thought Tweets

Sorting Out Your Decisions Before You Make Them

by Rick Baker
On Apr 24, 2017

On the Nature of Decisions

Every one of us makes numerous decisions every day.

Many of our decisions are small, like - “What shirt should I wear today?” Some of our decisions are larger with more serious consequences, like – “How should I go about firing this employee?”

Some decisions trigger strong and challenging emotional responses, like – “Should I tell this person my true feelings?”

Other decisions involve trade-offs between goals, like – “Should I stick to my diet or eat that chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone?” 1 [Often these decisions pit short-term rewards against long-term rewards.]

Some decisions involve massive risks involving money, reputation, relationships, etc.

Decisions involve the study of past and present data and the forecasting of future outcomes.

This is just a sampling of the ways you can sort decisions before you make them. If you take the time, and it will be a surprisingly large amount of time, to analyze the decisions you make in a 24-hour day then you will discover the wide variety of decisions you make. You will be able to consider the ‘nature’ of your decisions and you will be able to categorize your decisions by their ‘nature’ and confirm the frequency of each major type of decision.

But – odds are you will never do that 24-hour exercise.

Perhaps, you will buy into sorting your decisions into two types/natures: easy decisions & tough decisions? This simple sorting will be a very good first step toward understanding then planning the types of decisions you face regularly.

On the Method of Decisions

There are also numerous ways to make decisions.

Decisions can be knee-jerks and blinks, relying on unconscious responses, emotional waves and intuition.

Decisions can be crafted by masters and orchestrated by maestros. Capturing this in a shorter description - when we make decisions we can “Plan the Work and Work the Plan” [paraphrasing Napoleon Hill].

This article is about planned decisions, which can be sorted into 3 'methods' 2:

Consultative and consensus decisions involve trade-offs, as examples:

As psychologists and judges will confirm:

  • the ‘nature’ of the decision is important,
  • the decision outcome is important, and
  • the procedure or ‘method’ used to create the decision is important...especially if you want people to "buy-in".

Sorting Decisions by ‘Nature’ and ‘Method’

Simple tools exist to help people think through and sort out their decisions - examples include Pareto's Principle [80/20 Rule], Covey's Time Management Matrix and Berne's Transactional AnalysisMuch time and effort can be saved by using these simple 1-page tools to sort out the best ways to make decisions. Also, these tools can be used to reduce decision-making conflicts and increase decision buy-in. It is a good idea to have a number of these tools in your decision-making toolkit. You can use them to set your personal decision-making rules and you can use them to communicate with others on your decision-making teams.

Here’s a starter tool you and your decision-makers can use to create a picture of the way you sort decisions by 'nature' and 'method' -

 

Footnotes

  1. As a general rule: when decisions align with goals they promote good habits; when decisions do not align with goals they promote bad habits.
  2. Brian Tracy recommended these categories. 

If you are spending too much time fighting fires at work, your career is getting doused.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 19, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

The economy would get a serious boost if 10% of business people would apply the 80/20 Rule and spend more time doing work directly linked to building value [planning the work and working the plan] and less time fighting fires.

Simplicity generates efficiency

by Rick Baker
On Feb 23, 2017

Complexity confuses people.

Simplicity generates efficiency.

80/20 Rule wisdom has repeatedly proven its value over time.

The 80/20 Rule tells us that 20% of the work we do delivers 80% of the value we receive for that work. In other words, 20% of our efforts yield 80% of the results we desire. 

In no way does the 80/20 Rule try to guide us to work perfection in all areas.

In no way does the 80/20 Rule try to cover all of the various pieces of work we perform.

In no way does the 80/20 Rule try to satisfy 100% of anyone's needs.

In fact, the 80/20 Rule implies the exact opposite.

  • It implies simplicity.
  • It implies reduction.
  • It implies compromise.

In exchange for these ‘limitations’, the 80/20 Rule delivers the benefits of efficient and effective coverage of the processes that deliver 80% of the value we are working to obtain.

When we cover 80% of the value using systematized and simplified processes, such as those governed by the 80/20 Rule, we free up the ability to focus the majority of our time on injecting innovation into processes that require our inter-personal talents, our technical expertise, and significant amounts of our concentration and thought.

***

In business we do better when we have simple systems, we know the rules for those systems, and we know when we must break those rules and do different things.

We need to understand human nature: people are very comfortable following the rules they have chosen for themselves; people have more difficulty buying into and following rules created by others. And yes, some people are natural born rule breakers...they are the outwardly defiant, the silent detractors, and the saboteurs.

In reaction to the resistant-to-change realities of the business world, we develop supervisors, managers, coaches, and mentors.

 

 

Tags:

80/20 Rule | Master Rules | Seeking Simple!

There are 2 types of busy in business

by Rick Baker
On Jan 5, 2017

I think there are 2 types of busy in business:

1. There's good-busy

2. There's ?-busy

When business people tell me they are 'too-busy' I am uneasy because I have no place in my brain to file that type of busy. So, I either wonder if they are telling me they are experiencing #1 [good-busy] or I jump to the conclusion it's just another case of #2 [?-busy]. 

I admit I am prone to jump to the #2 [?-busy] conclusion because experiences tell me there's an awful lot of #2 out there.

On the other hand, I do not always jump to conclusions so I regularly find myself wondering, "Is this too-busy good-busy or ?-busy?" When I am wondering in the direction one thought always finds its way into my mind, "Is your too-busy coupled with increased gross margin?" Sometimes that internal thought finds its way to my external voice and I blurt out, "Is your too-busy coupled with increased gross margin?" That's always followed by my observation of a puzzled if not surprised or maybe annoyed face peering right at me. The conversation either goes uphill or downhill from there. While the downhill conversations are not particularly enjoyable the uphill ones more than offset their downhill counterparts...resulting in an overall net gain...call it 'productive and constructive conversation'.

Needless to say, when I slip up and almost start thinking I am too-busy the little voice in my head keeps asking me, "Is this almost-too-busy coupled with an increase in gross margin?" When the answer is "Yes", I know I am dealing with some good-busy work...so I don't even feel tempted to get stressed out about it let alone complain about it.

 

PS: There are competing thought-cycles at play with one another here. When almost-too-busy is tested and found to be good-busy the opportunity for too-busy disappears. When almost-too-busy is found to be ?-busy further thought is required: one good example of further thought is 80/20 Rule thinking. Further thought about ?-busy results in paring of some underlying work, which again reduces the possibility of too-busy thinking. Either way, there is little temptation to be thinking, "I'm too busy". And, that's a real good way not to be thinking. 

Successful people have more time...

...because they do not fall into the trap of thinking they are too busy.

And...we want to be successful...right!

 

PPS: good-busy --- Good Habits --- Acting in the direction of Goals

 

Original posted October 3, 2013

Discern, then Do - and make a Difference

by Rick Baker
On Dec 21, 2016

Nike says, "Just Do It!"

While that may lead to better health, more energy and more fun it sure creates inefficiencies when it happens at work.

The tech gurus used to say, "Fail quick, fail often" and maybe they still say that. While that may promote curiosity, experimentation and learning it also can create havoc in the typical workplace.

Putting these sorts of slogans/advice together we have experienced a groundswell of advice promoting action without sufficient consideration of the appropriateness of that action.

In the old days, business consultants presented "Ready, Aim, Fire" analogies to help business people understand the need for thinking before doing...paraphrased, "Ready, Aim, Do". That advice was meaningful, specifically because it included the concept of 'aiming', which of course brings to mind pictures of 'aiming at targets'.

Business targets and goals are important. If in doubt, just ask any business consultant…or your boss…or your CEO. Targets and goals help us clarify where we want to go.  With the end-point in mind we can figure out how we want to get there. Specifically, we can figure out what needs to be done to get there.  Similarly, we can figure out what we don't want to do because we recognize some actions will not help us get to our goals.

While that all sounds simple enough, most people in business don't do it.

Most people do not test their actions against their goals.

Put another way, the 80/20 Rule applies: most business people spend most of their time (perhaps 80%) doing things that do not take them toward their goals.

Here are two practical tools that can be used to improve your “Ready, Aim, Fire”:

 

Personal Organization Tool #1

To be accurate, Pareto inspired tools like the one above. He recognized that in many situations 20% of the 'causes' generate 80% of the 'effects/results/outcomes'. The key message here is: when it comes to doing things, be discerning so you increase the likelihood your performance of work will deliver the results you desire.

 

 

Personal Organization Tool #2:

 

Stephen R. Covey understood tasks had 2 major dimensions: Importance and Urgency. He designed a simple matrix/grid to help people be more discerning when performing work tasks.

More details to follow...

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