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Reflect

Sure, the work is done, but have you gotten a chance to reflect?

And no, reflection isn’t the five minute stroll from the office to the car, or even the commute afterwards.

Reflection is work. Reflection is action. Reflection is hard.

You get what you put out.

So I ask again, have you reflected?

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Define The Edge

What’s the edge?

Are you sure? Seriously – is it?

Write it down.

Compare with your objectives.

Does it make sense to play with the edge – or jump?

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Time Matters

Daniel Kahneman talks about how our brains process – we have System One (gut reaction) and System Two (rational thought). For both to operate well, they need different nurishment.

We can talk about System One a different time. I’d like to focus on System Two.

Our rational mind needs a few things. It needs time to rationalize. It needs time to destroy and rebuild.

It needs time.

Once you are clear about the decision you are making (is this rational or a snap judgement) – make sure, if it is System Two, you are taking the time to make the right choice.

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We All Fall Down

We can’t avoid it.

So don’t try.

We are human beings. We fall. No doubt about it.

Now that it’s settled – what else are we doing today? Where can we make a difference?

I bet those folks could use you, bruises and all.

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The Shift

Here is the world’s greatest recipe.

Could you make it?

Sure – if you’re alone, in a small batch, with no problem.

  • How about in a kitchen full of people? They all have to know exactly how it’s done right?
  • What about if that kitchen has other responsibilities? How will they get out of those responsibilities to help you with this recipe?
  • Ok, What if they don’t know you? How will you convince them you know what you are talking about?

See, it’s getting a lot tougher. Those second set of questions represent the “shift.” People need to move mentally, and if you plan on making change, you better know what they need to do so.

Because, even if you have everything you need, you aren’t on an island.

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“Do Better” | Mental Models

“Do better” without clear context to both parties will backfire.

Advice only counts if the following is true:

  • They believe you are worthy of giving advice
  • They believe you understand their point of view
  • They believe you care.
  • And most importantly, if they believe you.

Unrequited advice is as good as the Charlie Brown noise.

On a related note, listen to this hour presentation on mental models. The speaker, Peter Kaufman, wrote one of the best books on Charlie Munger – pricey but worth it.

The talk ends on one of the most important leadership lessons you’ll learn. Don’t skip ahead; you’ll need the context from the beginning to make it all make sense.

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Taking Breaks | Product In The Middle

Being in management is difficult. Maintaining a level of empathy and listening to both executives and individual contributors adds a level of difficulty. Here is a Twitter thread that discusses some of the issues from peers, direct reports, and above.

Take a break when you can because they deserve your best, however, if it gets too toxic, get out for a while.

Product is in the middle of objective-based and perceptive-based thinkers. One of your job as a PM is to translate between the two types because the customer needs both.

One of the ways a PM can be effective is injecting cross-collaboration where they can. The two types won’t ever the same way (the jobs require the other type of thinking – and Engineer focused on perception gets lost in edge cases, for example). The best we can do is show the one sides world from the other’s perspective and let them know both ways are valid.

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Identity

Who you think you are matters. When someone attacks your identity, there is an extra sting to it. Even if the other person is unaware, an attack on how you see yourself can stop you in your tracks.

I’m still trying to understand how to get past it. I have some lessons, though.

  1. Make the other person aware that you are hurt.
  2. Step away from the conversation if you can
  3. Promise to continue the conversation when there are cooler heads
  4. Ask yourself, was this person aware. Don’t do this at the moment, do it afterward, with some time in between.
  5. Write down what it was, if they weren’t aware, you’d need to have language around it when you explain it to them. 
  6. Once you explain it to them, and they do it again, step away, and do not do business with them anymore.

It’s hard, and I still have trouble with it. 

This list helps me get things done, though. 

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Reactive Relativity

We see with our brains, not with our eyes. 

Don’t believe me? 

Have you ever heard of the white gorilla test?

The white gorilla test is a sociological experiment where the participant is told to count the number of times a ball is being thrown around a basketball court in a video. In the middle of it, a white gorilla begins to dance on the screen and hop around. 

And the end of the video, the researcher asks what did they see.

Most people don’t see the gorilla.  They just tell the researcher how many basketball passes they saw.

Sounds crazy. You wouldn’t be fooled, right?

Well, I want you to do an experiment. 

I want you to take a look at the room around you and write down what you see, then take a picture.

Don’t say it. It is important that you write it down.

Come back later in the day and look at that picture and write down what you see. 

I would be shocked if that list matches.

We see with our brains, and our brains come with narratives that are shaped by our moods and thoughts.  

Narratives are relative, based on whatever surrounds that narrative at the time. 

Most of us react to the narrative.

We can’t fight the narrative though. It comes with our brains, and it is a part of the hardware. 

Great leaders recognize this and know that there is no way to stop yourself from making a narrative. They don’t even try.

What they do is stop the reaction.

Recognizing and preventing reactionary relativity is the theme for the month, and each week, we are going to explore a different side of it.

Before I begin though, I wonder

What are some ways you’ve seen or things you’ve done to help you not react?

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Identity

Who you think you are matters. When someone attacks your identity, there is an extra sting to it. Even if the other person is unaware, an attack on how you see yourself can stop you in your tracks.

I’m still trying to understand how to get past it. I have some lessons, though.

  1. Make the other person aware that you are hurt.
  2. Step away from the conversation if you can
  3. Promise to continue the conversation when there are cooler heads
  4. Ask yourself, was this person aware. Don’t do this at the moment, do it afterward, with some time in between.
  5. Write down what it was, if they weren’t aware, you’d need to have language around it when you explain it to them. 
  6. Once you explain it to them, and they do it again, step away, and do not do business with them anymore.

It’s hard, and I still have trouble with it. 

This list helps me get things done, though.