Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, Fall 2006


Welcome to Clear Thoughts from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • Introductory Thoughts
  • Problem Thoughts - A Secret Formula for Answering Tough Questions
  • Process Thoughts - Interruptions Reconsidered
  • People Thoughts - Motivated by Money?
  • Parting Thoughts - Frogs and Time Management
  • Your Thoughts - And my response

  • Problem Thoughts - A Secret Formula for Answering Tough Questions

    I have a secret formula for getting the answers to your toughest questions. Interested?

    There's one catch. The formula will work only if you search for answers to very specific questions. No general questions will do. You must articulate exactly what it is you don't know, but need to know.

    To put you in the right frame of mind to get specific, imagine that you are going to ask your question of someone who is known to be monumentally impatient, tremendously helpful if you come prepared, and absolutely unwilling to grant second chances to those deemed lazy.

    Process Thoughts - Interruptions Reconsidered

    Interruptions! The bane of productivity! Cell phones, email, text messaging, PDAs, IM and more have brought interruptions to a whole new level. Which interruptions do you think are most disruptive?

    My answer: none of the above. These devices have changed the way we work and play, and as a consequence, have created another, super disruptive force - ourselves. With instant communication and access to information at our fingertips, we have learned to interrupt ourselves constantly.

    • Do you check email countless times each day?
    • Do you make that quick call when a question pops into your head? No need to wait until someone gets back from somewhere anymore, thanks to cell phones!
    • Do you let that random thought send you surfing? No longer a need to file it away until later at the library or bookstore or home.

    But think beyond these examples. Watch yourself for a few days. The more wired you've been, the more likely it is that you jump from activity to activity, from project to project, without any outside interruption.

    Many of us are proud of our ability to multitask. But I think we have to wonder about the productivity lost by dis-engaging and re-engaging from an activity repeatedly, rather than just getting it done. Or consider what we may be losing in terms of the depth that only comes with immersion.

    Perhaps it's time to swing the pendulum back the other way and look for ways to develop concentration skills and create environments that discourage multitasking.

    People Thoughts - Motivated by Money?

    Here is something I read in a May 2006 issue of "The Week" magazine:

    "A new study suggests that higher pay improves productivity only for a short time. The University of Chicago researchers promised to pay a group of data-entry workers $8 more an hour than their expected $12-an-hour rate. The overpaid group outperformed the control group by 27 percent - for about 90 minutes."

    Parting Thoughts - Frogs and Time Management

    "If you have to swallow a frog, don't look at it too long. If you have to swallow two frogs, swallow the big one first."

    - proverb, frequently, but not always, attributed to Mark Twain

    Your Thoughts - And my response

    Many clients have expressed concern about change management. For my thoughts, see Change Management - Five Colossal Mistakes to Avoid.

    Feel free to send topics you would like addressed in future articles. We'd love to hear. Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Ann Latham

    Ann Latham

    P.S. If you enjoyed this edition of Clear Thoughts, please forward it to others who may be interested.

    2006 Uncommon Clarity, Inc.

    We encourage sharing Clear Thoughts in whole or in part if copyright and attribution are always included.

    Introductory Thoughts
    Ann Latham

    "Minimize detail, maximize results." Not my words, definitely my style.

    Consider the opposing forces. Today's example: "To every purchase, there is a season." Buy plane tickets on Wednesdays for the best deals. Is telling me this really doing me a favor?

    Isn't it great to know that on the autumnal equinox this week, night and day will both be twelve hours. Predictable, reliable, simple. We need more of that.

    Does your organization need help reducing waste, pain or customer disappointment?

    * Wasted time, money, energy?
    * The pain of confusion and inefficiency?
    * Missed opportunities to win customer loyalty?

    We bring clarity and cohesiveness to purpose, process and people.

    Please contact us for help in achieving your business objectives.

    Visit our website to learn more: www.uncommonclarity.com

    - Ann Latham

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    New Articles:
    Seeing-Eye Boss, The Uncertain Upside, Five Colossal Mistakes in Managing Change

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