Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, March 2007

Greetings!

Welcome to Clear Thoughts from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • Introductory Thoughts
  • Leader Thoughts - You, the Exemplar
  • Computer Thoughts - When Irrelevance is Irrelevant
  • People Thoughts - Mental Aerobics
  • Parting Thoughts - Swim or Stand?

  • Leader Thoughts - You, the Exemplar

    When headlights flash to suggest that you turn your lights on, do you:

    1. Turn them on quickly and mentally send a "thank you" to the other driver?
    2. Turn your lights on only after the helpful driver has disappeared in your rearview mirror?
    3. Ignore the advice completely, convince yourself you left them off on purpose, and denounce the other driver as an idiot?

    If your answer is not "a", think about how you behave when someone makes suggestions in the workplace. Be honest now. Can you admit a mistake? Are you able to hear ideas and consider good advice?

    Anyone can forget to turn their headlights on, especially now that so many cars do it for you. Anyone can make a mistake, forget something, fail to think something through. Why would you want to discourage helpful people? Is it so hard to say "thank you", to agree to reconsider your position, and give credit where credit is due?

    If it is, don't expect much from your employees.


    Computer Thoughts - When Irrelevance is Irrelevant

    I recently read that retail clerks spend 70% of their time serving their computers, not their customers ("Managing in the Next Society" by Peter Drucker). Easy to believe if you think of all the time you have spent in lines while clerks click and computers connect, recall, spew, stew and authorize.

    If clerks will ignore customers standing right in front of them, imagine how computers can devour the time and energy of workers behind the scenes. Probably you don't have to imagine; probably you've been there and experienced those finicky appetites where order of entry and format are often king, reports are not quite right, and irrelevance is irrelevant. And that is when the computers are behaving, not when they are acting up!

    I have seen numerous examples of computer systems, databases, spreadsheets and lists, which despite colorful graphs and exhaustive reports, have done absolutely nothing to increase revenue, decrease costs, or make customers happier. Yet, once launched, they reign supreme, and the data must be complete at all costs!

    It takes fortitude to abandon these blackholes but if you can't point to the payout, it is time to consider exactly that!


    People Thoughts - Mental Aerobics

    Remember when you were young and you ran, jumped, pedaled, climbed, cartwheeled, somersaulted, wrestled, and more? Think of all the different muscles you strengthened and stretched daily. In contrast, think of how few you use as an adult. Kind of shocking, isn't it?

    So we pursue yoga, aerobics, weights, and team sports in the hopes of remaining physically fit.

    Remember also as a child how often you confronted new situations, new teachers, new classes, new schools, new field trips, new sports, new books, new assignments, new rules, and more? You were a learning machine! In contrast, think of how few variations you encounter as an adult, especially if you tend to take the same vacations, relax with the same friends, eat at the same restaurants, read one kind of book, listen to one kind of music, and remain in a steady job for years.

    So where is the regimen to keep ourselves mentally fit? Where can we find the equivalent of yoga to keep our minds flexible, aerobics to retain discipline and determination, weight training to stay smart, and team sports to help us react quickly and openly to other perspectives?

    You are surrounded by great learning opportunities, both in your own town and farther afield. But you won't find them if you hone your routine and avoid the unfamiliar, the intimidating, and the confusing. Mental fitness requires putting yourself in new situations, facing new challenges, and listening to new perspectives. The opportunities are out there. Are you taking them?


    Parting Thoughts - Swim or Stand?

    "In matters of taste, swim with the tide. In matters of principle, stand like a rock."

    Thomas Jefferson


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

    Best regards,


    Ann's Signature



    Ann Latham

    2007 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.

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


    Introductory Thoughts
    Ann Latham

    After more than a dozen years of fun and devotion, I watched my daughter play her final college ice hockey game last week. Never mind all that I'll miss, I'm amazed at what she has learned. Kudos to her coaches who taught the team lessons you would love to transfer to all of your employees:

    • The most successful and most enjoyable team wins or loses together so respect, mutual support and shared goals are key
    • Focus on what you can control and don't let the rest sap your energy or your self-confidence
    • When you don't do as well as you would like, pay attention - notice how you think, how you feel, and how you act - you have the answers

    Uncommon Clarity, Inc. dramatically improves the systems that make people productive, processes reliable, and customers happy.

    Please contact us for help in achieving your business objectives.

    - Ann Latham

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