Nothing is obvious

nothing is obviousI spend a day at the helpdesk the other day. Listening what the usual conversations between the support staff and their customers were about and observing how the conduct their business.

I feel this is important. It provides me as a leader with a better understanding what is going on at the “coal face”. I could have easily skipped it as I’ve been managing a helpdesk years ago. What could possibly have changed?

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Some years ago I attended a conference where I was blown away by the keynote speaker. It wasn’t the world’s greatest conference as I forgot what it was all about. Although the keynote speaker stayed in my mind long after. He had a presence and a way capturing the attention of the audience that I have rarely seen or experienced after.

Can you remember a time when someone mesmerised you?

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Tension of Opposites


It is late Saturday afternoon. The Sun is still shining brightly and warm. I collect a few strawberries for later and our 2 Labradoodles play on the lawn. My wife is gone to her study and prepares for her training course. I’m picking up a book that I haven’t read for a couple of years, “Tuesdays with Morrie” , sit down in my rocking chair and begin reading.

Nougat, our little dog is jumping on my lap and makes herself comfortable. Vanilla, her mother sits next to me and lets herself get cuddled. Time passes and I think of a Glenmorangie that sits in the cupboard just meters away. The tale of Morrie Schwartz and Mitch Albom is fascinating me again. I didn’t think I could forget that much. Just when I think of getting myself a dram of whisky I reach the part of the tension of opposites.

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The positive side of Distractions

Everybody hates distractions. They annoy the crap out of busy people. Just yesterday I had one person telling me that he is falling behind with his work schedule because of distractions. “How do you do it?”, he said, “I just stopped you doing what you were immersed in. And still you don’t seem angry about it.”

Let’s step back.

You are working on an important task where other people depend on. The phone rings. You pick it up, some one has a problem and thought you were the best person to help. 10 minutes later you pick up were you left your task. It takes some time to get back into that train of thought. A knock at the door. “Excuse the interruption”, the person says, “I’m looking for Joe. Has he moved office?” You slowly get annoyed. Even these brief 2 minutes cost you much more than that. You look at the watch and at your calendar, 15 minutes until the budget meeting starts. You are not going to complete the current task before that. No point of starting again. You check your emails instead and add another 3 distraction tasks to your list. Just enough time before the meeting to tell your boss how busy you are.

Sounds familiar?

Feels bad?

It’s like everybody holding you back, 2 steps forward and one back. Right? Continue reading

How to communicate Change

For the last week I’ve been thinking about a couple of ideas for my blog. Nothing stood out and then I received an unexpected email from Google:

Now, I’m used to read Google’s blog where they announce upcoming changes. But this one is different. It’s for me the first time that I pro-actively get a “personal” email from Google announcing an upcoming change. I’m not going to discuss or analyse the change content itself but like to look at the way it is communicated. Continue reading