Nonsense At Work

#84: June 2014 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

June 2014

Shifty Action Maximizing Your Brat

Science makes me shifty

shifty-meI’ve become a little shifty lately. Not in my actions, but in my style. Being honest and direct by nature, I find it very uncomfortable playing this Shifty-Me role. But it’s my own fault; I brought this on myself.

I recently explained in a very public forum that when I am thinking I need to look into the distance. I stupidly quoted recent research that explained my need – the human face is mentally demanding, and so, to focus my brain, I look away to think.

Of course, now that I have made my strategy so public I feel obliged to always look away when interacting with someone. If I don’t, sooner or later someone will complain that I obviously don’t find their face demanding enough.

It was so much easier before science made me shifty. In those days all I had to do was explain that, no, I wasn’t staring at a pretty girl.

Knowing right action

know-right-actionTime was when adding your contact details as an email signature was enough. Now emails pop open in my inbox with a quotation added to the sign-off line.

I find these faintly annoying. I mean, if you want to say something clever, then at least be original. Here’s the latest one I received, a quote by a Mr Theodore Roosevelt: “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

Because I specialize in thinking nonsense thoughts, this is where my thinking went. Dr Lawrence Peter, of the Peter Principle fame, once asked prison inmates to complete the following sentence: “(something) is the best policy.” They all got it right.

Indeed, knowing what is right is no guarantee of right action. And being irritated by email quotations is no guarantee that they won’t influence your thinking.

Maximum returns without maximizing returns

Return-To-SenderLet’s consider this sentence again: Knowing what is right is no guarantee of right action. Now tell me, have you heard the one about the latest product recall? If you are thinking ‘which one?’ because there have been so many, then you will understand my need to ask this question.

As a manager, is your focus on making sure that things go right or do you focus on making sure that nothing goes wrong? Yes, I know, you need to do both, but we all have a preference. And, no, it’s not as simple as being an optimist or a pessimist.

The answer lies in consequences. If the consequences can have serious implications or disastrous unintended outcomes, then you should focus a teeny bit more on making sure that nothing goes wrong.

If that risk is low, then your role as manager is to make sure things go right so that you don’t have to manage another product recall.

Get the balance wrong and you face maximum returns without maximizing your return, if you know what I mean.

Your part to being paid

PartBeingPaidWhether boom or bust, it’s nice to maximize your return, to be paid fully for what you do. Obviously, it is easier to be paid if your employer is successful.

As I have said before, the best measure of business success is cash flow – more in than out. It’s that simple.

How can you help to get that equation right? Make sure that in whatever you do, you either make money or you save money.

You might not be in a position to bring in cash directly, but we all influence how fast cash flows out. I do believe in spending money to make money, but much of what we spend on does not really add value.

So, what can you really do to save money or add value? Do simple things, like work faster and smarter; don’t take supplies home; spend time helping others rather than on the internet; and don’t waste anything, period.

It’s that simple.

Earn your daily brat

MothersBratWhile we’re on the subject of simple actions . . . . My mother warned me that women judge a man on how he treats his mother. She wanted me to be a gentleman. I once read, I think, that the true test of a gentleman is how he behaves when nobody is watching.

When I remembered this on a recent Mother’s Day, I wondered, how do you treat your mother when retailers are not watching?

To me, Mother’s Day has become like much of organized religion. It reminds me of the church-going adults I avoided as a kid – one day of religion bought them six days of behaving badly. Today, one insincere Mother’s Day card attached to wilted flowers earns you three hundred and sixty four days of being a brat.

Even Anna Jarvis came to dislike Mother’s Day. Who? Find her on the internet and be informed.

Next up on the be-nice calendar is Father’s day. Trust me; I’m watching you, every day.

Want to maximize your daily brat?

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