Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, August 2009


Welcome to the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • Summer Thoughts - Fleeting, Isn't It?
  • People Thoughts - You Are Not Me
  • Book Thoughts - Now Available!
  • Project Management Thoughts - 8 Tips for Excellence
  • Parting Thoughts - T or F? Goats Climb Trees

  • People Thoughts - You Are Not Me

    I watched a porcupine climb to the very top of the honey locust tree 60 or so feet above my office window to eat his favorite leaves. My first thought was amazement that he knows which tree to climb when all of the leaves are way up there.

    Of course, just because I can't recognize a honey locust by anything other than its leaves does not mean a porcupine is so limited!

    But for a brief moment there, I assumed that porcupine would see the trees the way I do. If I can assume a porcupine and I have that much in common, even for just a minute, imagine how easily I can assume that other people think, know, and believe as I do.

    In my experience, we all do this constantly, maybe not with porcupines, but with other people, and it causes tremendous problems.

    Our assumptions of commonality prevent us from listening carefully, explaining patiently, testing for understanding, and even ensuring we are talking about the same thing before we rattle on and on.

    Furthermore, when we assume others think and believe as we do, anything they do that differs from what we would do becomes grounds for concluding carelessness, incompetence, or intentional sabotage.

    You are not me and I am not you. Our thoughts, knowledge, and beliefs differ enough to pretty much guarantee we are not on the same page.

    • Listen more carefully
    • Take the time to ask clarifying questions
    • Trust that most of the time people are raising points you have not considered, and
    • Always give the benefit of the doubt if their behavior does not match what you think you would do.

    Book Thoughts - Now Available!
    Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking

    If you find my Clear Thoughts™ newsletter helpful, get a copy of my book, Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking!

    Take advantage of free shipping when you buy extra copies for all your managers, supervisors, and high-potential employees!

    Project Management Thoughts - 8 Tips for Excellence

    The difference between decent project management and excellent project management can be measured in delays, cost overruns, lost customers, employee misery, and business jeopardy. Boeing's Dreamliner provides a great example of all five.

    So what are the secrets of the top project managers? What do they do differently that makes their projects finish on-time, on-budget, and with good results?

    Parting Thoughts - T or F? Goats Climb Trees

    If you said 'false,' you are pretty normal and apparently have yet to encounter this popular YouTube video: 16 Goats in a Tree

    Easy to miss that little fact! But do you also realize that gray foxes, which live throughout most of the US, also climb trees?

    It is easy to voice amazement when you learn knew things that you aren't really expected to know. But how do you react when you hear something new that you feel you should have known?

    We are all loaded with 'facts' that may not be true. And we are often afraid of looking foolish for what we don't know, so we accept additional 'facts' from others without question. We learn even more 'facts' daily on the Internet.

    I was once honored with a certificate that read "Most Likely to Dispute Recognized Authorities," a good-natured jab at my constant questions. It is the only framed certificate I saved from decades in corporate America. It came at a perfect time because I had young daughters and I decided then to raise them as best I could to deserve such a certificate.

    A healthy skepticism benefits all but it takes courage. I encourage you, as a manager, leader, or parent, to foster skepticism. Set a good example by challenging assumptions yourself. And be sure your behavior encourages those who question.

    Best regards,

    Ann's Signature

    Ann Latham

    P.S. Do your friends and colleagues a favor! Share the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter with them so they can join our many loyal subscribers worldwide.

    We encourage sharing of these Clear Thoughts™ in whole or in part with attribution, copyright and website address, www.uncommonclarity.com, included.

    You are receiving this email as a friend of Uncommon Clarity, Inc. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, please add ann@uncommonclarity.com to your address book.

    2009 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.

    Summer Thoughts - Fleeting, Isn't It?
    Ann Latham

    With the summer sliding too quickly away, I am preparing to launch a new service next month designed for those situations where a full-scale consulting or coaching engagement seems unnecessary. When you are looking for some quick help with a difficult situation or could accelerate progress with the help of a confidential sounding-board, this option is for you. Watch for details in September. In the meantime, have a great final month of summer (or winter, my southern hemisphere readers)!

    Uncommon Clarity helps clients dramatically improve individual and organizational performance. We can help you sharpen your focus and your methods so you achieve your business objectives. But don't take my word for it, read what others have to say.

    Media Sightings:

    Forbes quotes Ann on topic of vacations you can't afford

    BusinessWeek quotes Ann in article on making sacrifices

    When and Why to Hire a Consultant in Business West

    Small Business Epidemic: Enrutis Stuckulococcus

    Ann joins Strategy Masterminds

    MSNBC quotes Ann on job hunting traumas

    Visit UncommonClarity.com

    Previous Newsletters

    Questions? Comments?

    Subscribe to Clear Thoughts

    Email Marketing by