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Podcast title Plain Simple Management
Website URL http://plainsimplemanagement.c...
Description Thoughts on keeping things simple
Updated
Category Business
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Link to this podcast Plain Simple Management

Episodes

1. Completed move to posterous.com
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Description:

I have finished moving plainsimplemanagement.com to Posterous.com.  I had completed most of the work previously.  Moving the podcasts from Wordpress to Posterous was automatic.  The heavy lifting was moving the podcast mp3's  and including them in their respective posts rather than linking to them from within a post.  I think this move turned out well.

I finished the task by pointing my A record to my Posterous site and updated the Posterous setting to recognize my domain name.  Voila!.

One advantage is that Posterous provides the mechanism to play the podcast using an embedded player.

Another advantage is that Posterous provides and RSS feed that can be linked to from iTunes or can be linked from Feedburner.  I currently use feedburner for statistics so my Podcast link references Feedburner rather than aa direct link to the Posterous site.

And another advantage is the Posterous provides an itpc link for use in iTunes as well. itpc://plainsimplemanagement.com/rss for a more straightforward link to itunes.

An overwhelming advantage of Posterous is that I now no longer have to pay for site hosting and maintain my own WordPress to publish the podcast.  This is a huge timesaver.

If you are thinking of starting a blog or a podcast, I suggest you seriously consider Posterous.  http://posterous.com


 

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2. Moving Plain simple Management to posterous
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Description:

As you see, I am considering moving PSM from the site I manage to another site. Tumblr did not have a mechanism to import word press short of a hack. Wordpress.com wants to charge as much to host audio as Godaddy is charging for the site, leaving posterous. Posterous did a nice job of importing Wordpress but did not resolve links to other posts within the site nor did it upload referenced audio on the site. So moving here is yet tbd. Also remains to see how much work to get an iTunes compatible feed from here. Stay tuned for further developments.

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3. PSM #41: The Rotary Club Four Way Test
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The Rotary Club Four Way Test discusses a set of questions to guide our decisions. 

PSM_#41_The_Rotary_Club_Four_Way_Test.mp3Listen on Posterous

It is interesting how I am introduced to ideas and discoveries in surprising places when I least expect it.  In Big Spring, Texas I saw a sign featuring the Rotary Club there and asking 4 questions that I had not seen before.  Sure, I have considered these questions singularly or collectively but had not seen them listed collectively as a strategy for decision making and action.  I find it really handy to put these 4 questions on an index card, or in my iPhone, and carry them with me, occasionally reflecting on them when a difficult situation arises.  I have listed the Four Way Test, straight from the Rotary Club and that sign in Big Spring, for your consideration too.  Here they are:

Is it the Truth?Is it Fair to all concerned?Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Also, here is a link to The Rotary Club’s Guiding Principles to give them full credit for this.

I contend that this is plain, simple, management: managing with integrity by considering this Four Way Test or questions like these in everything we think, say, and do.  Considering questions like this differentiates leaders from managers and executives.

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4. PSM #40: Defining the Problem
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Defining The Problem discusses the importance of defining the problem before trying to solve what is an ill-defined problem. 

PSM_#40_Defining_the_Problem.mp3Listen on Posterous

During this last week I met a friend for dinner. We try and meet at least once each month to catch up on what is going on in each of our lives. I have known Steve for 20 years and value his opinions and insights.  He is a dear friend.  He always has an alternative view or another perspective to consider, and I figure I occasionally offer him some interesting perspectives as well. Reflecting on our conversations and especially the most recent one, I note a few points for discussion.  Some points involve the form or the intent of these meetings.  Some points are the content, especially from the last meeting.

On Form:Validation

Conversations with dear friends you respect are key to maintaining a realistic perspective.  These conversations either validate what you are thinking or feeling or they can disclose quickly the invalidity of your thinking.  Of course, it does help to have a trusted and trusting friendship.  Superficial discussion will not be very productive.

Perspective

Conversations with Steve always offer another perspective.  In these discussions, we will discuss one of our situations and invariably the other will provide a different interpretation of the facts, make a different set of assumptions, and suggest a different perspective for consideration.

Synergy

I  have spoken of synergy before in these pod-casts.  These conversations invariably result in something that goes beyond either of our insight or understanding, as if a third person distilled the essence of our thoughts and formulated a thought greater than either of us considered.

On Content:The Problem

Steve and I covered some interesting topics in our last meeting.  One was the economy.  We talked about  the economy, the fallen stock market, the failing banks, the failed corporation, asteroids, the unemployment rate.  We went down multiple paths of discussion on each and several times asked the question, "What's the solution to the ...... situation?"  We discussed multiple alternatives and the ineffectiveness of each. Steve then identified the real issue, "I don't think we know what the problem is."  It certainly does seem that governments, corporations, and enterprises worldwide are taking actions to address a problem that is not clearly defined.  Otherwise, it seems to me that some evidence of progress would exist, rather than a reliance on the argument that "things would be worse of we had not done (fill in the blank)".

True Value

With stock markets failing, 401K accounts at 50% to 60% of their value within the last year, with corporations and employers significantly reducing costs daily to survive, and with a future significantly more uncertain than 1 year ago, I raised the point that the only things we could really count on are the family, the friends, and the relationships we maintain.

The Management Message

Above, I spoke of validation, perspective, synergy, precise identification of the problem, and true value.  In our management role, we need to form relationships with our business associates that provide us true value, providing us validation, a perspective, and a synergy as we address our objectives, solve our problems.  And most importantly, we need to be able to precisely identify our problem.

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5. Merry Christmas
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May your holiday season be filled with family and friends and peace. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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6. PSM #39: The Performance Review in Employee Performance Management
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The Performance Review in Employee Performance Management discusses the importance and provides guidance in performing an Employee Performance review.

PSM_#39_The_Performance_Review_in_Employee_Performance_Management .mp3Listen on Posterous

The performance review is a key feature in employee performance management.  The review recognizes the employee’s contributions and accomplishments during the performance period.

The performance review

provides the basis for equitable reward for the employee’s contribution. [rewards contribution]Highlights the employee’s strengthsIdentifies areas in which the employee may improve to achieve higher ratings and/or more responsible assignments.Provides the basis for fair salary administration across the organization. [makes salaries equitable]

The performance review is a formal, scheduled meeting.  The manager asks the employee to prepare a self evaluation prior to the meeting.  Using the employee’s self evaluation and the manager’s project and task information, the manager writes the review.  The review considers and documents factual, observed performance and rates the performance using the position description as the standard for acceptable performance.  I suggest a 4 category rating system.

A zero rating means that the performance criteria was not met.A one rating means that the employee’s performance met the requirements of the job.A two rating means performance exceeded requirements in some aspects of the job.A three rating means that the employee’s performance exceeded requirements in all aspects of the job.

The manager rates each of the employee’s assignments using this rating system, then computes or derives an overall rating using the individual assignment ratings and their relative weights or importance.

The manager notes and comments on the employee’s strengths and areas of improvement and documents these comments in the performance review document.

Having completed the review documentation, the manager schedules the review with the employee.

The performance review is a formal, scheduled meeting.  In the meeting, the manager provides the employee with a copy of the review and provides the employee the opportunity to read the review.  They discuss the review, the manager answering any questions the employee may have.  The manager may change a rating if the employee provides factual comment that the manager did not consider. In matters of opinion, the manager’s opinion prevails.

During the conversation, the manager discusses the employee’s strengths and areas of improvement. The manager and the employee will schedule a separate meeting to discuss a development plan to address these areas of improvement.

Both the manager and the employee may then comment on the review.  The manager should summarize the meeting in his comments.  The employee may comment on the review too. If the employee disagrees, the employee’s comments should so reflect it.

The manager and the employee sign the review.  The employee’s signature states that the employee understands the review.  The signature does not signify agreement.

The employee and the manager set a meeting to create a performance plan for the next year.  They also set a meeting to create or update the employee’s development plan.

Summary:

Based on facts onlyRates 0-3Comments on each taskNotes strengths and areas of improvementConduct the reviewManager and employee write summary comments and sign

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7. PSM #38: Counseling in Employee Performance Management
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Counseling in Employee Performance Management

PSM_#38_Counseling_in_Employee_Performance_Management.mp3Listen on Posterous
discusses the importance of providing feedback regarding performance in the performance management.

 

Counseling is key to employee performance management. This feedback is essential to allow corrective action during the performance period.

Counseling takes two forms.

The first are scheduled interim reviews during the performance period. The manager meets with the employee and discusses what the performance review would be if it were conducted now, today. The manager discusses the basis for the assessment, identifying deviations from the plan. The manager and the employee investigate the reasons for the deviations and devise an approach to address them. Both individuals may have assignments in the corrective plan. The manager also recognized the employee’s demonstrated strengths. The manager and the employee discuss how these strengths may be further enhanced and utilized. The manager documents the counseling session and provides a copy to the employee.

The second form of counseling is immediate, occurring when the manager or the employee identify a significant deviation from plan. The manager and the employee meet and discuss the deviation. They jointly identify the issue, identify corrective action, and agree to address the issue. They also schedule a meeting to follow up on the issue and its correction.  It is important to note that either the manager or the employee can initiate this discussion. [Added Nov 13, 2008] It occurred to me today that constant immediate counseling would be demoralizing.  The compassionate manager should reserve immediate counseling for those situations that require immediate attention.]

These mid course corrections are essential in maximizing individual and organizational performance.

To summarize:
Feedback is essential.
Impromptu meetings address issues that require immediate correction.
Periodic reviews summarize performance to date in the plan cycle, providing areas of improvement and identifying strengths to exploit.

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8. PSM #37: Performance Plans in Employee Performance Management
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"Performance Plans in Employee Performance Management"

PSM_#37_Performance_Plans_in_Employee_Performance_Management.mp3Listen on Posterous
discusses the value and use of performance plans in employee performance management.

A performance plan is a written document between a manager and an employee of what the manager expects from the employee in tangible, measurable results.

The expectation stated in the performance plan should be based on the position description that describes the employee’s job.  If the position description and the performance plan are not congruent, then the employee is not being appropriately evaluated or paid.

The goals stated in the performance plan should be SMART goals.  Refer to my earlier podcast for a discussion of SMART goals.

I don’t think that the goals should be behavioral.  For example, a goal to “maintain good customer rapport” is behavioral or not measurable.  Such goals are not quantifiable and contribute only indirectly to the bottom line.  Behavioral issues should be addressed when the manager observes deviations from the organization’s standards.  Behavioral features like attendance, respect, team player, etc., are conditions of employment.

Plans should be brief, ideally documented on one type written page.  I think if plans can not be so briefly described either the performance objectives have not been completely thought out or the plan is describing how to accomplish the objectives.

Plans should state what is desired, not how to do the job.  The employee will select the appropriate strategy and behaviors to accomplish the job.  Doing so is the value add that the employee brings to the organization.

Plans, while based on the position description, should provide some possibility for growth, challenging the employee to develop new skills or to perform at the next level.  Plans should contain and identify objectives that exceed the requirements of the job, thus providing this challenge for performance and growth.

The plan should be a working document.  The employee and the manager should each maintain a copy of the plan and should periodically review the plan together.  I will discuss Performance Counseling in another podcast.

To summarize:

Base performance plans on the job description.Use SMART goals.Define task objectives, no behavioral objectives.Be concise.Make the plan a joint working document.Write the plan to provide a challenge.Review performance against the plan periodically.

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9. PSM #35: Framework for Employee Performance Management
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Description:

"Framework for Employee Performance Management" discusses an approach to employee performance management.

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The purpose of the next 4 podcasts is discuss employee performance management.  I suggest the following elements comprise the framework necessary for effective performance management.

This framework contains 4 elements:

The Position DescriptionThe Performance PlanPerformance CounselingPerformance Evaluation

The position description describes the job that the employee performs in the organization.

The performance plan describes management’s expectations of the employee in terms of results.

Performance counseling provides the employee relevant comment and feedback, during the performance period, allowing the employee to capitalize on strengths and improve when needed improvement is identified.

Performance evaluation formally reviews performance during the performance period and serves as the basis for salary administration and employ development planning.

In the next 4 podcasts I will discuss each of these items in more detail.

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10. PSM #34: Podcast Recording with iPhone
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Podcast Recording with iPhone discusses my experience in using the iPhone for recording podcasts.

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of using my iPhone to record a couple of podcasts.

In the past, producing podcast recordings was time consuming. I would record the audio using either Garageband or Audacity and a USB mic. I would then export the file to the desktop, import into iTunes, and convert to mp3. I then uploaded the mp3 file and assembed the podcast in Wordpress.

Enter the iPhone.

Over the last 2 months I have accumulated several voice recording applications for the iPhone. I am most impressed with “Recorder for iPhone” by Retronyms.

I decided to try this app to record 2 podcasts. I recorded the audio using the iPhone headset. Upload to the mac was straightforward thru the application’s sync feature and the AIFF files opened directly in iTunes.

The sound quality seemed fine though I tended to hiss my S’s. And the process of producing an mp3 was significantly shortened. All in all a great experience.

The only fault I find with Recorder for iPhone is that it does not have a pause feature nor does it have a way to resume a recording interrupted by a phone call.

I highly recommend podcasters consider the iPhone as a great supplement to a desktop setup and to seriously consider Recorder for iPhone by Retronyms.

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11. PSM #36: Position Descriptions in Employee Performance Management
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Description:

" Position Descriptions in Employee Performance Management" discusses the use of position descriptions in performance management. 

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A position description describes the duties, responsibilities, authorities, and required skills for a job.

A position description should exists for each position in the company and should be the basis for determining the compensation for each job and subsequently for each person in the organization.

the position descriptions allow the company to set salaries consistent with the industry and also to ensure that the individuals within the organization are being fairly and equitably compensated in relation to each other.

Position descriptions are also the basis for hiring.  They define the skills and abilities of the desired candidate and suggest where the candidate should demonstrate experience in the required duties and responsibilities.

Second, the job description is the basis on which the manager writes the performance plan, in cooperation with the employee.  It defines the level and extend of the tasks that are valid for an individual in a particular job.

to summarize:

Job descriptions describe each job in the company.A job description describes the duties, responsibilities, authority, and skills associated with the job.A particular job description describes the expectations that an individual in that job should meet.It allows the organization to establish salaries consistent with the industry and consistent within the organization.It is the basis for hiring.It is the basis for performance planning.It sets the acceptable level of performance in a performance evaluation.

A search on the Internet will reveal several sources from which an organization may obtain a set of job descriptions if the organization does not have descriptions for their job categories and does not wish to independently develop a collection.

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12. PSM #33: Accountability
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This podcast, "Accountability", derives a lesson on trust from Wall Street. 

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There are several lessons to be learned from the recent issues in the financial markets. One lesson that comes to mind deals with accountability.

Recall from an earlier podcast that I mentioned successful accomplishment of an objective requires three things: responsibility –the ability to respond, authority, and accountability.  Often we find ourselves where we may be held accountable but not have either the responsibility or the authority to perform.  But such is not the case with recent Wall Street.

Too many in power had the responsibility and the authority but not the accountability for their actions.  They took actions that made them millions of dollars and, even though those actions failed, they were not held accountable.  It seems that the boards of directors did not hold them accountable.  And I think most significantly, they did not hold themselves accountable.

It seems to me that what one stands for, one’s character, one’s core self, is defined by what one is accountable for.  I think one has to be accountable to self to define one’s self and one’s worth.

So in our practice of management we must ensure that we have the responsibility and the authority to accomplish our objectives, and we must be accountable to ourselves certainly, and to our stakeholders.

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13. PSM #32: Trust
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This podcast, "Trust", derives a lesson on trust from Wall Street. 

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Another lesson from Wall Street.

Trust is a fundamental aspect in all of our relationships, both business and personal.

It is interesting that one of the fundamental underlying issues precipitating a failure in the financial markets is the lack of trust between lending institutions.  It seems liquidity was not the main issue, it was the fact that these institutions did not trust each other.  It seemed that the institutions did not know what the others’ situation was.

This lack of trust seemed to suggest that the institutions were questioning each other’s judgment, honesty, and/or character.

As I mentioned earlier, trust is essential in relationships.  As a manager, trust is vitally important. How do we establish and maintain ourselves as trustworthy?  I offer the following list.

Be honest.Understand who you are, your character, your values, and consistently use these features to guide your interactions and decisions.Say what you will do and do what you say you will do.Form and demonstrate good judgment.Avoid drifting in the winds of politics and demands.

Trustworthiness takes time to build but can be destroyed in a instant.

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14. Thank You!!!
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Thank you all!!! On July 9, feedburner noted 400 subscribers.  I appreciate your support.

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15. PSM #31: Personal Productivity with a Wiki
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The podcast "Personal Productivity with a Wiki" presents a couple of simple Wiki implementations that support significant improvements in personal productivity. 

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Over the last few years, a really creative group of people have constructed a very powerful personal productivity tool in the form of an HTML page implementing your own personal wiki.

These tools are built around the concept of a tiddler, an element of information with a title, a body, and a collection of tags. These tags provide an implicit and dynamic structure to a group of tiddlers, relating them in multiple ways, allowing you to slice and dice your information in multiple ways.

I first started using a version of TiddlyWiki several years ago and found the tool quite effective in allowing me to manage several projects concurrently without dropping any balls. The entry and formatting of the tiddler is quick and simple. Tiddlers may be linked to each other to provide references and linkages to relevant information. Tiddlers may also link to external files and to URLs, allowing reference to documentation, mail addressees, etc. And as I mentioned earlier, tiddlers can be tagged with multiple tags.

In my personal use of TiddlyWiki, I used a collection of tags for the 6 areas that I map my life into: Physical, Mental, Social, Spiritual, Family, and Financial (Professional). I also used a collection of tags denoting importance: High, Medium, Low. Using built-in macros and plugins, I created a tiddler that contained a list of other tiddlers that had the same tag. Using these tiddler collections I could easily view my action items for my Physical life, or I could display all of my High priority tasks. During recent years, TiddlyWiki has continued to evolve and improve and now offers a robust feature set, CSS based formatting, and a huge collection of plugins that are easily installed to extend its capability.

Recently an associate at work asked for a recommendation for managing todo lists. Since the work environment is locked down, I thought of the simple html system that required only a browser, and recommended TiddlyWiki. I continued to look at extensions and variants of TiddlyWiki and found Simon Baird’s implementation based on TiddlyWiki.

Simon implemented the concept of a TagglyTag which I will let you read at his web site since I can not do it justice. And he has provided a way to group tiddlers that are tagged, allowing their classification based on other tags used to describe them. Now I can see my tiddlers tagged as Physical, grouped by those that are High priority and those that are Completed. I highly recommend Simon’s MPTW implementation to you if you are looking for a simple, powerful, tool.

Please post questions and comments here.

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16. PSM #30: When Things Go Awry
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This podcast, "When Things Go Awry" examines some of the causes for a project's failure and what we can do about it. 

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Robert Burns wrote in "To a Mouse":

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

We all know this one as, " The best--laid plans of mice and men often go awry" but i am a romantic and prefer the older language. But the fundamental truth here is that no matter how carefully we plan and execute our projects, occasionally situations arise when, in spite of our best efforts, plans and projects fail. This happens for one or more of many reasons, but I think it comes down to this distillation.

We did not know all of the parameters necessary to construct and effective plan. We did not have all of the necessary information.Our assumptions were erroneous.We had a faulty plan.We did not have control of the environment in which we executed the plan.We did not have contingencies in place to deal with deviations from plan.We do not have enough time (or other resource) to respond.

I am sure the list goes on and I missed a big one, so if I did please comment to this blog and we can start an aggregate list. What do we do when a project does fail?

Realize that life is an ebb tide and a flood tide. There will be more failures and more successes in life, and no one event is totally life changing.Look for the solution. From every failure comes the opportunity to learn and to achieve a greater success. The cause of he failure, when analyzed, will demonstrate significant opportunity for contribution. Entrepreneurs thrive on identifying failures and problems in processes and systems, and they benefit and succeed when they provide solutions.Examine what you could have done. We all have a circle of influence, to borrow from Covey. Often the cause of the project's failure occurs outside of our circle of influence, and consequently we have no way to exercise control over the situation leading to the project's failure. If the situation was in your circle of influence, reflect on the issue in the project review.Always conduct a project review, a post mortem. The purpose of this exercise is not to place blame but to identify real issues that we can correct, escalate for correction, or provide contingencies should they occur again. Our focus is creating a blueprint for a better plan and a successful project next time. Before you start the project review, review the following list with the review team and brainstorm other questions and tasks you want to add to the list. Identify what went right with the project.Identify what went wrong with the project.Identify assumptions that were invalid.Identify defects in the plan, its execution, and/or the project's control systems.Identify what was our of our control that contributed or caused the project's failure.Identify resource deficiencies and shortages.Identify communications issues.Identify structural issues and organizational aspects that contributed to the project's failure.Have each participant relax, clear their minds, and intuitively sense why they feel the project failed, list these observations, and discuss them From this exercise, produce a succinct report listing items that people can take action upon, identify the importance or priority of each item, and identify the person or organization best capable of resolving the issue. Publish this report to your management team, then to those who have action items to accomplish.I think the most important thing that allows us to deal with project failure is to maintain a realistic and healthy view of life. There are no successes or failures in our lives, just outcomes. Some are positive outcomes and some are negative. We will experience both outcomes several times in our lives. We need to view both our successes and our failures with this perspective and realize that we are not our failures, nor are we our successes.

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17. PSM #29: How To Conduct an Effective Meeting
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The podcast "How To Conduct An Effective Meeting" is located here. 

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We all participate and lead meetings.  Some of them work.  Some do not. We can plan and execute meetings with the following list.

Plan the meeting.

Define what the desired outcome of the meeting is.  Too many meetings occur without an end objective.  Consequently, few of these meetings achieve the intended result. Identify the meeting participants who are capable of making the desired outcome a reality. Avoid inviting spectators.List the minutes of any previous meetings that have been held to achieve this outcome.  Occasionally, it is necessary to frame the problem for the participants in a meeting, then meet again to reach an agreement.  Recalling the minutes of previous meetings hopefully prevents addressing issues that have already been decided.Define the meeting duration.  Keep the meeting as brief as possible.  Like work, meetings tend to expand to fill the time allocated to them.Construct an agenda that states the desired outcome and includes references to the previous meeting minutes. Include a list of the meeting participants.Schedule the meeting at a convenient time and place for all participants.  Be sensitive to time zone differences for dial-in participants.Send out the invites.

Conduct the meeting.

Start on time and end on time.Begin the meeting by stating the desired outcome.When discussion drifts from the desired outcome, gently bring the discussion back to the stated outcome.Work for synergy within the meeting participants.  Encourage discussion.Reserve time at the end of the meeting to summarize the meeting to assess the success of the meeting in accomplishing the desired outcome. Obtain agreement that the outcome was achieved.If the outcome was not achieved, list the issues and obstacles that prevent accomplishing the outcome, identify and owner for each issue, and agree to meet again.Conclude the meeting on time.

After the meeting

Write up the minutes of the meeting and send to all participants.Include in the minutes those items that have been agreed upon and resolved.List items requiring further action and the owner of each.Send the minutes to all participants.

Rinse and repeat.

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18. PSM #28: The State of the Invidivual
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The State of the Individual podcast is located here. 

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Maybe it is time for a “State of Me” address.

Yearly the President presents a State of the Union address, presumably to detail just that, The State of the Union, summarizing the state of the nation and its future intentions.

It seems that such an assessment would be good for me as well.

Doing my state of the person assessment entails the following items:

Recall my mission and vision.Recall my written SMART long term and short term goals.

First I will examine my SMART short term goals. Since they are measurable, I go through this list of goals and for each one I indicate the degree of success I have had, the planned versus the actual achievement. I now have a visual element that describes how I have done versus what I had planned to do. Some of these goals may be in progress, but I think it is still constructive to list them and figure out their degree of completion or realization.

I could use this data to construct a spider graph showing the shape of the invidivdual (me) and have a good visual representation of me. Bar charts would work just as well.

Now we see why SMART goals are useful. They are measurable.

I now have the basis for preparing my state of the individual speech to my audience (wife). I know how I have done relative to the plans and the achievements  that I had hoped to accomplish.

I think I need to fine tune this part of the presentation a bit. I need to do a reality check on what I observe. I need to review the assessment I have made and ask myself if this really reflects the state of the individual. Do the metrics really tell the honest story? Did I accomplish the goal but not the achievement I intended? In any situation where I feel uneasy about what the assessment reveals I need to make a footnote and figure out why I have fallen short. Am I really honest with myself? Is this goal really what I want? Did I “cook he books” and achieve one objective like eliminating credit card debt but deferred maintenance for which I did not have a measurable goal?

The next viseral check is to review my mission and vision and to ask myself if the numbers show that I am consistent with my mission and vision. If I get an uneasy feeling that I am not consistent, then I know that when I get to the next step I need to align goals with my mission and vision.  This visceral check is really important. I have found throughout my career that, when I had an uneasy feeling about something, I was usually right in my concern.

Equipped with the mission, vision, goals, and quantitative assessment, I can develop the plans for the next year.

Is the mission and vision still accurate? If not, modify.Referring to my goals and my assessment, am I where I need to be? Do I need to add other goals? Do I need to modify the goals based on a revised mission and/or vision.What do I plan to do this year, based on this process? What are the goals for the year? Where do I want to be 1 year from now?

Now I have the current state of things and my plans for the next year. I can complete a state of the individual address.

I believe this assessment does the following

It shows us our successes, giving us confidence, reinforcement, and a sense of accomplishment.It indicates shortcomings, suggesting that we are not really identified with the goal[s] that we list. “Stop Smoking” has been on my list for years. Perhaps “live a healthy life, evidenced by healthy diet, weight management, cholesterol management and exercise” might be better.It validates our direction, that is, our mission and vision, or it suggests that we need to revise our mission and vision, then our goals.It lays the foundation for the coming year.

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19. Representational Systems in Use
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To solidify my earlier discussion of representational systems in use, I want to offer you a story that I have acquired somewhere.  I assume it is true. In the world series between the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Braves, Elston Howard was at bat in the 9th inning.  Warren Spahn was pitching.  Winning run(s) on base.  The coach walked out to the mound and told Spahn, "Whatever you do, don't throw it high and outside!"  Spahn delivered the next pitch high and outside and Howard hit it out of the park, winning the series for the Yankees.  When asked later, Spahn said that all he could see and think about was high and outside. The message is this. Always state what you do want rather than what you don't want.  The mind has to create a picture of the thought before it can negate it.Know how to use your language to construct representations of what you do want.

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20. Zen Habits Interview with Stephen Covey
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For those of you that have not discovered Zen Habits or would like to read the interview with Stephen Covey, the link is here.  If you have not already made Zen Habits your daily reading, you really have to visit Zen Habits.  Every time I read Leo's work I find something to think about or work on.

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