Crazy Time, March Madness, and uhhhhh I forgot

Crazy Time. Oh yes, you’ve been in it. A meeting goes on to long and people start talking crazy. Unfortunately, crazy talk has gotten confused with “innovative ideas” and “out of the box” thinking. If you watch small kids, when they get tired, but fear they may miss something, they do everything they can to stay awake.  They start acting crazy; running, jumping, screaming to keep themselves awake and engaged. Adults, are pretty much the same. Exhausted people need to keep themselves awake and engage and crazy time commences. This is not productive for meeting behavior and the meeting needs to stop; the crazy talk that loses sight of the oil and delves into minutiae starts. This inane rambling is not brainstorming. People need to take a break, rest and come back after ideas have marinated. While in sports, there is a shot clock in increase the pace and scoring of the game. In business, we need a  crazy clock too, to improve the sanity and effectiveness of ideas and to maximize performance. The crazy clock mandates, after a certain period of time, the madness stops.

In the past few weeks, of installing dimmer switches, replacing a thermostat, grouting the shower and general unpacking. I have observed my crazy time in real-time. It’s not pretty. Trying a ninja move for grout removal made me accidentally turn the shower on and once the floor was wet, I slammed into the rear wall, in a move put my knee in an abnormal contortion. Hence, I made mistakes, damaged things that weren’t broken and caused personal injury.

There comes a point when crazy time creeps in and I’m better off just stopping. So for this afternoon, one of my favorite pass times – March Madness—NCAA basketball. No more work today, just time to sit in my chair and watch basketball. Today, the only crazy will be March Madness and maybe my armchair athletics. Game on.

Response to Entitlement? Just Park It.

The first beep made me laugh. The second beep, well. really? Someone blew his/her horn at me twice, apparently with the goal of hurrying me along so he/she could park in a space occupied by me and my car.

Friday, I had fifteen minutes before I needed to leave for my next appointment, Perfect, I can sit in my car and get a little work done, check email and schedule a few things from my to do list. I’d done two emails when I hear a horn blow from a nearby SUV.  I looked around in an attempt to discern the cause. Hmmm, is the driver nudging me to move?  My key is not in the ignition, my foot is not on the brake, there is no indication I’m about to pull out and there are several available spaces close by. Whatever.

I continue working.  Two minutes later, the horn blows again – the double beep of annoyance. It is apparent the SUV wants me to move. Seriously? In what scenario does multiple horn honking motivate me put the key in the ignition, start my engine and immediately vacate a parking space?  I am frankly stunned and incredulous at this is act of entitlement. Surely there is some other explanation, but, before I could complete the thought, I hear an engine rev up and see the SUV speed away in my rear view mirror. This whole thing took place in 6 minutes real-time. Obviously we were operating from two paradigms. I realized, this horn honking thing happens both literally and figuratively.

When someone blows a horn at you, question,  do you need to react? Sometimes the answer is no. This is someone else’s stuff, someone else’s entitlement and you do not need to act. Don’t get pulled into someone’s stuff, sometimes, just park it, you be you and let the other person be, well, whatever.


Kicking and Screaming at the Action Plan

I hate “planning.” which is ironic since  people who know me would raise an eyebrow and tell you I would plan my dreams if I could. I hate planning, but, I know it is necessary to get good results. I had an all day meeting this week and we spent a good two hours talking to define what we were doing. This, the talking and planning, would make most groups nervous. “We’ve only got a day and we’ve spent a couple of hours with no work done.” Why do we often neglect to think of planning as work and rush through. In the meeting this week, once we got the “plan” in place, we were able to churn through and get a remarkable amount of work done with a clear path forward on how to finish the project.

It reminds me of what I’ve done with my new condo. I moved out of my house December and would not get the keys to the condo until February, For two months, I planned colors, style and furniture and assembled a box with paint samples, fabric swatches, rug pieces, floorpans, dimensions  and photos. I had a list of painters, electricians, carpet installers and blind suppliers. I had a budget.  Then there were just a myriad of logistics, temporary stay in hotel, po box for mail, scheduling what would happen when in a logical order (carpet and electrical before paint, movers after paint but before new items, etc. all with the goal to settle into new place as efficiently as possible with the least disruption.

At work, the new job, it’s been 6 weeks and it’s beginning to come together, but I don’t have any visible signs of progress yet. So, today, I’m working on “the box.” Just like I did for the condo and it starts with a list of what I need to do to plan and make things happen.

  1. What is the vision? What is the vision for the team? What does success look like for me.
  2. What is my scope? What do I own and where do I collaborate? Who do I give information to and where do I get information from.
  3. What is the timeline? What has priority? What are the due dates for work in process?

While I can’t show progress for the new job, I can assemble my “work box.” Much like the house box, I can get guidance. With the house box, the color specialist eliminated one color from the pallet and selected the right white for the ceilings and trim. The paint colors informed the rug selection and influenced the colors needed for art work. With a modern theme, the in store designer could steer me towards abstracts. All the pieces started to build and relate to each other. This makes me look forward to my “work box,” and anticipate of results will get me over, the I hate to plan.  And while it has become popular to say, think outside the box, in my case, it is think of what needs to go into the box. Is it possible that those who have to think outside the box, didn’t plan well to begin with?

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