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Build the Courage to Work Smarter

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You know a lot about how to work smarter already! This is just about how to do so AND push back on corporate stupidity

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Build the Courage to Work Smarter

  1. 1. © Jensen Group, 2015 Simplicity Project Simplicity Toolkit Build the Courage to Work Smarter SAP has partnered with The Jensen Group, the premier expert on organizational simplicity to provide you with some of their tools and insights These documents are segmented into one of three areas of focus... Research Organizational and Leadership Simplicity Personal and Team Simplicity
  2. 2. by Bill Jensen The Jensen Group • 1 Franklin Place, Morristown, NJ 07960 • USA • 1 (973) 539-5070 email bill@simplerwork.com • http://www.simplerwork.com • twitter: @simpletonbill All content developed by and intellectual property of the Jensen Group © copyright 2014-16, and should be attributed as such ONE OF THE JENSEN GROUP’S FASTPAK SERIES: TOOLS DESIGNED TO DELIVER LASTING RESULTS IN 5—10 MINUTE INCREMENTS Easy Ways to Build the Courage to Work Smarter
  3. 3. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com The CourageYou Need You know you want to get out of that meeting, or hit Delete a lot more than you do, or walk out on a deal, or on a job, or ask for a promotion, or push back on a performance review. Or, or, or... FastPak Tool Guarantee: This tool is guaranteed to get you through daily implementation challenges, delivering lasting results in 5—10 minute increments. And if you use this tool repeatedly, you can become a star go-to teammate... Yes, by being more courageous! This FastPak’s Strategy and Strength Getting you what you need to get work done in a world of MoreBetterFaster. Sometimes, even more important than having an idyllic relationship with your manager or teammates, is just getting what you need to do your best. This FastPak doesn’t care if your situation requires high courage or next to no courage at all — use this tool and you’ll get you whatever you need...faster! What FastPaks Can’t Do Create world peace... ...or the workday equivalent thereof. Let’s be realistic about what you can expect for just a few bucks, OK?! 2
  4. 4. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 3 Three Simple Strategies Courage to work smarter comes in all sizes and degrees of riskiness. Here are the top three highest return/lowest risk approaches. Keep Track More “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” • “The first step in tackling any problem is understanding the problem.” Most of us say we don’t have the courage to do things without even understanding what’s happening or why. There’s a reason all 12-step programs begin with self-awareness! You will be amazed at how much courage you discover just by keeping track of what’s happening and why. Delete More Both in Electronic Deletes (emails/IMs/invites/voicemails/attachments, etc.) and in Face-to-Face Deletes (“Gotta go, can’t stay.”): Everyone wants your time attention and they want far more than you have to give. The secret to big returns, for the absolutely smallest investment, is in how you tackle all requests for time and attention. Delete, delete, delete! Speak Up More Most people work harder instead of smarter because they never asked the right questions, or didn’t speak up (in a politically correct way) that would help them work smarter. Time to tackle that challenge. ᕡ ᕢ ᕣ
  5. 5. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com THE PRIME DIRECTIVE 4 Respect 1440 1440 drives almost every single situation in which you feel you must exercise some form of courage. 1440 is the number of minutes in a day. Behind most every task, most every request: Getting it done NOW is still too late! Far too many decisions and far too many tasks are driven not by strategies, plans or what’s right — but by what can be done right away! Which means you must... Realize that much of what’s being asked of you wasn’t supposed to be yours... The number one behavior in business today: Moving To Do’s from our plate and onto someone else’s. Too little time, too many To Do’s, too few resources.... So what do you and every one of your teammates do? We all try to move our To Do’s onto someone else’s plate! Which means if you keep saying Yes at the rate you do now, you will never have enough time for your own To Do’s! Your day will always be filled doing other people’s tasks. And that scenario is only going to get worse, never better! Respect yourself more If you do not increase your courage to work smarter, you are disrespecting yourself. How? Since there are only 1440 minutes in every day, taking on so many other people’s To Do’s and requests means you are stealing time from someplace else in your life — from someone or something else that truly matters to you. THE PRIME DIRECTIVE RELATES TO YOU TOO
  6. 6. What’s Behind Each These meters tell the story of the risks, rewards and work involved Keep Track More Lowest risk: Deep awareness is the foundation upon which all future Yields are built Delete More Many feel this takes great courage; In reality, it’s just a critical “maintenance” cost needed to focus your time and attention Speak Up More Highest risk (if you’re missing skills); So the solution is to lower your risk by increasing your skills © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 5 ᕡ ᕢ ᕣ
  7. 7. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 6 Keep Track More Courage to work smarter begins with truly understanding what’s causing you to work so hard instead of smart Spend five minutes keeping a list Divide a piece of paper (or electronic log) into three columns: Label the left column Tasks/To Do’s; Label the middle column No to Little Courage; Label the right column Big Courage. Over the next two days, spend about five minutes jotting down events during your day. Did you have a 15 second phone call where all that was required was a “Yeah, go ahead” response? Put it in the No to Little Courage column. Did you attend a difficult meeting where the boss wanted feedback, but there was no way in hell you were about to tell him that his idea was terrible? Put that in the Big Courage column. Do this for just five minutes. Spend five minutes reviewing your Big Courage To Do’s What were the three things that required the most courage? Name ‘em and claim ‘em. Now ask yourself “Why?” Why would those things take so much courage? What are the real and proven, not created or imagined negative consequences. We’re willing to bet that you’ll quickly discover your Big Courage items fall into one of three categories: 1. Fear. “If I did or didn’t do such and such, I’m concerned that...” 2. Perception. “If I did or didn’t do such and such, my manager or teammates might think poorly of me.” 3. Statistically Valid. “Nine out of ten employees who did such and such suffered these consequences...” Let’s not kid each other. Number 3 is not gonna appear on your list! It almost always comes down to 1 or 2. Both of which are within your power to change. You can devise a “safe” pilot activity to test that fear and prove it false. You can do other things to bolster people’s perception of you if you did “such and such.” The point of these combined ten minutes is to have that Aha: That you’re in control of a lot more than you thought you were! ᕡ ᕢ 1.
  8. 8. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 7 Do That Again... For up to one week: Five minutes every day for as many days in a row as you can Spend five minutes keeping a list... Spend five minutes reviewing what takes courage Goal: Deeper Self-Discovery Fear...and...The need to be perceived as being highly responsible... Dig deeper into those. Do you really have to be concerned about what happens if you hit Delete on that email? Will you really start being perceived as a bad teammate if you blow off some of those meetings that you know are a waste of time? Sometimes those concerns are valid. But most of the time they are not. And all of the time, whether or not to be concerned about those things is completely within your control. Spend a week digging deeper into what. ᕣ 1.
  9. 9. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 8 Delete More Courage to work smarter continues with your first efforts to get rid of some of those “I feel obligated to”s that are killing you Spend five minutes deleting email “I feel obligated to”s New day: Take what you learned yesterday — that, if you size the action to match your comfort zone, you have the power to start tackling those things that seem to take courage. From our research, we’ve discovered that one of the most common “courageous” acts was to take something off your plate, making time for something that you thought mattered more — essentially the act of deleting something. And the biggest deletion act that has the most immediate big impact is your inbox. So let’s start there... Go through your emails, IMs, attachments, and apply your Aha’s from the Keeping Track exercise: • How many of those emails do you REALLY have to respond to? • How many are you responding to simply out of feeling of obligation or responsibility, but aren’t really necessary? • How many can you delete without there being any negative consequences (that really matter)? From our research, we have found... Most everyone is able to delete anywhere from 10% to 50% of their messages just by doing this exercise ᕡ 2.
  10. 10. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 9 Delete Meetings Courage to work smarter continues with your first efforts to get rid of some of those “I feel obligated to”s that are killing you Spend five mins opting out of one “obligation” meeting From our research, we have found... Getting out of “because I feel obligated to...” meetings or getting out of meetings that you know are a waste of time because “I feel I need to be responsible,” are the same as any other addiction... The first one where you try to say “No” is always the most difficult. We know that it’s tough for you to get out of meetings. That’s why your first step is the most critical. Examine all the Aha’s you’ve had from the exercise on pages 6 and 7, and take five minutes to really own the reasons you’re still going to many of those stupid or wasteful meetings. Take the first step based on what you’ve learned. Opt out of a wasteful meeting. Then take in the experience...Yeah...You can do this more and more, can’t you?! Quick tip: Many meetings are initiated via email. Respond “Yes...Tentatively.” That way you’re perceived as a good guy. Then just don’t go. When you next see the meeting host, apologize, but they’ll remember that you initially said Yes! If you’ve followed the five-minute exercises up to now, here are your results so far: For at least one day, anywhere from 10% to 50% of your emails have vanished, and you’re still OK. For at least one day, one stupid meeting went away, and you’re still OK. ᕢ 2.
  11. 11. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 10 Letting Goof what no longer serves you Why have we focused on emails and meetings? Goal: Deeper Self-Discovery While these two things may seem overly transactional to you, they are at the core of most people building more courage to work smarter. It’s not necessarily the biggest, bravest acts that matter. It’s gaining breathing space you need to finally stop being pressured by the tyranny of the urgent, and focusing more on what truly matters. The projects that matter. The co-workers who matter. Your family. If you’ve followed these exercises, so far you’ve not only eliminated some stupid work (allowing you to work smarter), you’ve gained some time back. Now, working smarter includes reflection: What are you going to do with those extra minutes you’ve just gained? More hurry-hurry urgent work? Or doing things that truly matter to you, your career, your family? ᕣ 2.
  12. 12. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 11 Speak Up More Courage to work smarter gets stronger and more real when you start — appropriately — questioning some of what’s going on around you. Goal: Change the exchange, in five minute chunks Discover the unsaid. Asking these questions of those involved... • What would success look like for this project? • What do you wish you could have changed last time? • Help me understand what you’re trying to achieve... • What else is on your plate besides this project? • What’s connected to this project that’s driving the deadline? • Even if they are minimal, what tools/support/resources are available? • Thanks for your confidence in me! Why’d you think of me? • Help me understand the connection to my quarterly goals... • What’s worked in the past? • Once I hand this back to you, what happens next? Explore alternative solutions • Here’s how I’d start...What am I missing? • Ya know, Alpha Team had a problem like this...How about if we...? • Which of these three approaches do you think is best? • What if I presented two solutions that stayed within the budget? • What’s connected to this project that’s driving the deadline? • Even if they are minimal, what tools/support/resources are available? • Are there others who should be involved in this? • Could I set up a mid-point check-in with you? Contract for the next conversation • Roger, Chief! Can we set up a debrief talk afterwards? • A lot fell off my plate doing this: Can you help me find a way to • I’m glad you’re thrilled with how I delivered on this! — avoid that next time? Now, can we talk about...? • I’d like to make suggestions to help do this even better next time, OK? ᕡ ᕢ ᕣ 3. No.DISCLOSURE ALERT: Consider this section to be the Lite version of the How to Say No FastPak. That tool is a deeper dive of this section, with a lot more why’s and how to’s
  13. 13. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 12 Discover, Explore, Contract... Remember the number one behavior in business? (Answer: Moving To Do’s onto each other’s plates) Much of your “courage” involves other people’s To Do’s! The reason it’s so important for you to speak up more is that many of the things that you believe require courage to get out of, weren’t your To Do’s in the first place! They were somebody else’s! (Your boss’s, your teammate’s...others you don’t even know!) Dig a little deeper into why you’re getting a specific To Do, (without saying ‘No’ or questioning the integrity of that person.) Much of the time, what looked like courage to you, actually only required somebody asking the right questions. And much of that time, most people will find that clarification process helpful. Our research has shown that “courage” is only necessary when the situation is treated as confrontational. When it’s simply “clarification,” the level of courage required drops significantly. 3.
  14. 14. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com 13 Why This Tool Works in Building the Courage to Work Smarter Most every exchange that seems like it takes lots of courage is more about creating fast clarity and on-the-fly deeper thinking than it is about conflict. Within five minutes or less. Each of the three steps here covers critical implementation details that you’ll need even if you can’t avoid conflict. So — worst-case scenario — you’ve gotten more of what you need to succeed! That’s a win for any level of courage! Why Using This Tool is So Critical First, simply keeping track of situations where you feel courage is needed will be a huge help! You’ll likely discover patterns that reveal it’s not really about courage, but about avoiding conflict. They’re not the same thing! But most every difficult and “courageous” act is triggered by and rooted in implementation — a task that must get done. Following the steps in this FastPak focuses you on fast clarity with no conflict and low risk. Regardless of how each situation turns out, you will either be uncovering courage you never realized you had, or discovering that the act didn’t require that much courage at all — just clarity and discipline.
  15. 15. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com Measuring Success in Building the Courage to Work Smarter Obviously, the ultimate measure is that you are working smarter! We may not be able to guarantee that 100% — (hey, sometimes we all have to do stuff that we know is stupid just to keep our jobs!) — but if you use this tool repeatedly, each time you’re in a situation that you believe requires courage —here’s what we can guarantee within one to five uses of this tool... Increased Alignment with Your Manager and with Your Teammates Your use of this tool is guaranteed to put you, your teammates and your manager “on the same page” faster with a lot less effort — as far as agreeing on truly matters and what doesn’t, and as far as what unnecessary work can be dumped so that you’re working smarter more often than working harder. Related and equally important: Increased ability to manage and meet everyone’s expectations, especially your own! Increased Efficiency and Effectiveness Your list assessments + increased deletions + the conversations driven by this tool with your teammates and boss will help you get more done with less effort. Increasingly Viewed as the ‘Go To’ Person You will model working-smarter behaviors more often. Which only serves to make you more valuable when working smarter is required! 14
  16. 16. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com Because one FastPak can’t solve for everything... All in this FastPak comes from the Jensen Group’s ongoing two-decade study, Search for a Simpler Way, as well as Bill Jensen’s best-seller, The Simplicity Survival Handbook. There, you’ll find 32 ways to do less and accomplish more, such as: How to delete 75% of your emails How to go to fewer meetings and get more out of them How to ignore most corporate communications How to give executives less information and still keep them happy How to deal with teammates who (unknowingly) pile it on How to get the orientation you deserve How to decide: Stay or go? Another terrific resource is Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Swistzler. We’re proud to recommend and showcase someone else’s work. This book delves into great detail about conversations where (1) the stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong. If your difficulties in saying No involve more than the transactions of getting stuff done — if there are deep relationship issues between you and others — Crucial Conversations is the perfect follow-up to this FastPak. The authors address three aspects of a crucial conversation: (1) managing our own style under stress, (2) dialogue techniques, and (3) what to do after you’ve reached shared meaning. At the core of the book is the theory of emotional intelligence, popularized by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book. Crucial Conversations notes that, when it comes to emotional intelligence, we are often at our worst in stressful situations, and offers tools and tips to stop you from doing the things you know you shouldn’t! 15 Buy from Amazon Buy from Amazon
  17. 17. © The Jensen Group, 2014-16 Courage to Work Smarter 1 (973) 539-5070 www.simplerwork.com ABOUT Mr. Simplicity THE BIO OF A SIMPLETON Bill Jensen makes it easier to do great work. He is today’s foremost expert on work complexity and cutting through clutter to what really matters. Bill has spent the past two decades studying how work gets done. (Much of what he’s found horrifies him.) He is an internationally-acclaimed author and speaker who is known for provocative ideas, extremely useful content, and his passion for making it easier for everyone to work smarter. His first book, Simplicity, was the Number 5 Leadership/Management book on Amazon in 2000. His latest books — The Courage Within Us and Disrupt! Think Epic, Be Epic — reveal the secrets of success through bold ideas and by unleashing your own greatness. His next book is on the Future of Work Bill is CEO of The Jensen Group, whose mission is: To make it easier to do great work. Among the Jensen Group’s clients are Bank of America, GE, NASA, the US Navy SEALS, BBC, Philips Lighting, Chevron, the government of Ontario, Pfizer, Merck, L’Oréal Italia, Johnson&Johnson, Guangzhou China Development District, and the Swedish Post Office. Bill's personal life fantasy is to bicycle around the globe via breweries. • • • 1. Out of clutter, find simplicity 2. From discord, find harmony 3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity Albert Einstein Three Rules of Work