Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, February 2009


Welcome to Clear Thoughts from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • Economic Thoughts - Innovate, Differentiate and Thrive
  • Behavior Thoughts - "Yes, but ..."
  • Process Thoughts - Porcupines and Ponzi Schemes
  • Parting Thoughts - Enthusiasm, Imagination and Facts

  • Behavior Thoughts - "Yes, but ..."

    The boss says to the employee, "You know, I think you would get better results if you tried ..."

    The career counselor says to the job seeker, "I think you might get a job faster if you ..."

    The teacher says to the student, "Have you thought about trying ...?"

    Too often, the response to all of these questions is, "Yes, but ..."

    Without a moment of reflection, the idea is dismissed. The good intention squelched. The conversation ended. The door closed. The opportunity lost.

    "Yes, but ..." and its many variations (e.g., you don't understand, my situation is different, it can't work) can be heard all day long if you listen for them. Furthermore, if you listen very carefully, you will probably hear yourself saying them too.

    If someone makes a suggestion, provides advice, or comes up with an idea, you don't have to accept it, but why wouldn't you want to at least consider it, learn from it, morph it into something that would work, or simply give it a chance?

    But the first step is to actually listen and that's hard to do if you are busy explaining why it can't work. So here are two alternatives to "Yes, but ..." that are well worth learning:

    1. "Thank you."
    2. "Tell me more, please."
    And then concentrate on listening, thinking and asking good questions, rather than defending, debating or denying.

    Process Thoughts - Porcupines and Ponzi Schemes

    What do porcupines and Madoff investors have in common?

    At the risk of doing porcupines an injustice, I suggest the common characteristic is poor judgment. Of course I have only one porcupine data point and I don't even know for certain that this one is dead. All I know is that I haven't seen him trek across the yard to dine in our hemlocks lately. A serious thaw will tell us whether the ball of quills in the concrete corner under our deck is napping every time I look or has frozen solid.

    The deck over head and bushes shrouding the entrance may have given the porcupine the illusion of safety and comfort, but the barren concrete corner is not a cozy burrow and may have been his downfall.

    What gave Madoff investors the illusion of a good investment? The basic criteria for selecting an investment are not much more complicated than selecting a winter den. You need a trustworthy vehicle with agreeable risk/benefit positioning. Why would so many people pour their money into this unreliable, too-good-to-be-true investment much like that porcupine poured his heat into the concrete block?

    Protect yourself from yourself. Don't make decisions by jumping on the next appealing idea. Follow all 3 steps of a rational decision making process:

    1. Determine objectives
    2. Identify alternatives
    3. Consider Risks
    Skip Step #3 and you could be the next "victim" of a stupid decision.

    Learn more about the 3 steps on our website:

    Parting Thoughts - Enthusiasm, Imagination and Facts

    "We need enthusiasm, imagination, and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely."

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    Best regards,

    Ann's Signature

    Ann Latham

    Clear Thoughts has incredibly loyal subscribers worldwide. If you find this newsletter of value, why keep it a secret? Your friends and colleagues will thank you for sharing.

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    2009 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.

    Economic Thoughts - Innovate, Differentiate and Thrive
    Ann Latham

    In this economy, good is not good enough, middle of the pack is dangerous territory, and market priorities are shifting. Furthermore, yesterday's edge is always today's norm.

    Now, more than ever, is the time to innovate, find en edge, market that edge vigorously, and focus all resources on delivering as expected.

    If you need help, give us a call. We offer consulting, coaching, keynotes and workshops to help our clients dramatically improve both individual and organizational performance.

    Call Uncommon Clarity today. We can help you innovate, differentiate and thrive.

    - Ann Latham


    More Great Value:

    How to Select a Consultant

    Why All the Talk of Uncertainty?

    Economic Perception or Reality?

    Not Too Late to Rescue New Year's Resolutions!

    Low Hanging Fruit - 5 Tips to Prevent Choking on the Pits

    For More Value, Visit Our Website

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