I view myself both as a practitioner and student of business. Therefore, I always try to find learnings in my experiences and to crystallize those learnings into nuggets that I can remember.
Here are some of my key, nugget-ized learnings from 2010.
- Analyze from near and far. While we live in a information-obsessed world (and I view myself as a data junkie), for some decisions less information is better than more.
- Only work with people you like, trust, and respect. Life’s too short to do otherwise. (I stole this one from a board member who says that people buy from people they like, trust, and respect. I think both are true.)
- If you don’t look forward to speaking with one of your coworkers, it’s a problem. In theory, you should be eager to speak to all your colleagues, so you can work together to solve problems. If you’re not eager, then you need to understand why. It could be the tip of an iceberg.
- Power matters. Read Jeff Pfeffer’s excellent book Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t to understand more.
- Don’t be a “bosshole” no matter how much you might want to be in certain situations. Read Bob Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule or Good Boss, Bad Boss for more.
- Assume you are missing information. This is an oldie but goodie. It’s very hard for Meyers-Briggs J’s like me to defer reacting to a situation (because we just love making decisions) and instead say “I must be missing information” and even “the crazier the situation appears, the more probable I am missing information.”
- Listen to words, but watch behaviors. As a word-oriented person, I often fall into the trap of using only my ears and not my eyes in gathering data. If you’re the same way, then I encourage you to keep listening, but to start watching as well. Word/action inconsistency can be a big tip-off.
- Listen for what is said as well as what is not. Omission is a very powerful communications tool.
- Your need to talk with someone is an inverse function of your desire to do so. In business, stressful situations develop and that stress can cause conflict avoidance. Conflict avoidance causes conflict. Break the cycle by talking when you least want to.
Those are my takeaways from the year. What are yours?