Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday, June 1st, 2007
A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance.
Always try to do better. For those in the medical profession, better can mean the difference between life and death. But it can be a guiding principle in all life pursuits.
Atul Gawande makes some suggestions at the end:
1) Ask an unscripted question. Something that establishes a personal connection between yourself and other(s). Without that personal connection, it is too easy to treat people as objects.
2) Don’t complain. “It’s boring, it doesn’t solve anything, and it will get you down.”
3) Count something. Measure something about the universe in which you live and breathe. When you have counted, you can measure and analyze trends.
4) Write something. It is an attempt to observe and document, or observe and remember, something special about your world.
5) Change. Look to be better.
In a universe dominated by the bell curve, it is the “positive deviants” who pull the average in a direction that is beneficial to the rest, by becomine one of those deviations.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Power of a Positive No
Monday, May 28th, 2007
How to say NO and still get to YES. William Ury, Bantam Books, March 2007.ISBN-13:978-0-553-80498-0.
Say no served up between two yes’s. The first yes is the root of your value system - for example, that you value your family’s time and family life. When you get to the part where you have to say no to your boss about working double shifts all weekend, that first statement of value establishes the context that you are not refusing because you are a recalcitrant employee. The final yes opens options — can we get Frank to take a shift, or Jim ? Can some of the work be covered during the week ? Ury says, the first yes forms the root of your position — the deeper and more conviction with which you can say that first yes, affirms the no that follows — that is the trunk of the “tree” — and the last yes, are the branches that grow out and permit new options and relationships.
Go in with a “Plan B”, not just BATNA (the best alternative to a negotiated agreement) because you may not get to ANY agreement. If you have a solid Plan B, the very existence of that plan will give you a level of confidence that cannot help but make you negotiate from a role with greater power.
Sometimes our values are so obvious that they do not need to be stated out loud. But not actually stating them in clear (non-weasel) language can be very affirming. So many “mission statements” are fuzzy and loosely stated, they leave options to avoid the responsibility implied by some words. There is a universe of difference between “should” and “must”.
Reminds me I should look for Dale Carnegie’s classic and see what he says.