Is 100% Really an Issue?

We all have given our best efforts to task at one time or another. And the effort of giving 100+% is often demanding and fatiguing. Would it be fair to settle for 99.9% on occasion? It seems like that is still a great effort. But, think of it this way, if 99.9% was an acceptable standard:

  • In the next hour 22,000 checks would be deducted from the wrong bank account!
  • And tomorrow…12 babies would be given to the wrong parents!

That does make consistency something to consider. Our best efforts are available, but do we always give them? It is the last 10% that is often the most difficult to give. Shortcuts seem beneficial, and trimming time seems like better efficiency. But, consider the words of Howard W. Newton…

“People forget how fast you did a job – but they remember how well you did it.”

Or maybe a quote from former Super Bowl Coach Vince Lombardi (for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named)….

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence,

regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

One of my favorites is from baseball pitching legend, Sandy Koufax….

“You can always pitch better.”

Whatever you do, make it count. Have a great day!

Didn’t Get a Chance to Finish High School? We can help!

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American Career Path now has affordable options for Career Training, even if you were unable to finish High School. Right now, American Career Path is offering combination Career Training Programs that include completing High School requirements in the following fields:

 

Clinical Medical Assistant

Dental Assistant

Dialysis Technician

Phlebotomy Technician

EKG Technician

Medical Administration

PC Network Technician

 

The Adult High School Program combines previous high school credits (if any) with life experience credit (up to 5 maximum). A student must have at least 12 high school credits to qualify.

 

And all of the above programs are eligible for MyCAA, GI Bill, and Vocational Rehab.

 

The purpose of the programs are to allow those individuals who were unable to complete high school a fresh start in a successful career.

 

Call 512-565-1162 for more information. To find out if you may qualify for full scholarship as a military spouse through MyCAA funding, visit www.americancareerpath.com.

 

 

 

Employees (and friends) Behaving Badly!

We have all experienced those situations where negative habits of employees and friends seem to never die. We try to be patient or polite, until our head begins to throb and we feel an ultimate volcano that risks either a lost friendship or human resource issue. If I might dare to suggest, be free from that volcano before you explode (or implode).

Our busy activities do not offer much time to think on the fly, much less think about using a little psychology to get through our day. But, continued negative behavior can be a result of ‘What gets rewarded gets repeated’. One of my favorite clichés….because it’s true. In psych 101 it is called operative conditioning and is structured around negative and positive reinforcement. Rewards of course being a positive reinforcement. Behavior that continues can be modified by simply finding the reward that inspires it, and remove it.

Let’s look at the individual you are already thinking about as you read this article. What are they getting from those bad habits? Affirmation from peers? A sense of ‘being right all the time’? The support of ‘not being messed with’? Attention? Some intimidate others…because it works! Some whine and complain…because it works! Some criticize everyone…because it works! Find why they feel rewarded, and you will find a key to re-navigating their negative behavior. Sometimes this means changing the culture or environment so the reward is eliminated. But, think carefully. Be sure your answer is not a reward in disguise. A grouch my want to be alone all day. So if you eliminate what may appear to be affirmation as an incentive from co-workers by isolating them, you may actually be rewarding them. Then the grouch monster grows.

Challenge the paradigm. And never be afraid to ask why? Sometimes it can be as simple as a little coaching and encouraging. But, if you choose the easy road and keep rewarding the negative, do not be surprised to see the behavior you (and most likely everyone else), regret repeated. Rewarding bad behavior makes the monster grow!

More than A Cup of Joe

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The old cliche is when life hands us a lemon, will we make lemonade. This story takes it to a new level. I found it in an archive and thought it a good read to start the week:

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.

She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter.

The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes, he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her he asked, “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs, and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water it became soft.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, and egg, or a coffee bean?”

In life things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us…..

 

Author unknown

Coaching at it’s Best: It’s the socks

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As I prepare my day for a late night indulgence of NCAA Tournament action, watching my beloved Florida Gators play the UCLA Bruins, it brings to mind one of the greatest coaches of all-time. UCLA’s John Wooden is undoubtedly one of the greatest. And whether in sports or in real life, wisdom is wisdom.

(Paraphrased from memory)
Once, in an attempt to pry wisdom from the master (John Wooden), someone continued to ask what was his secret to winning so many championships. Finally, Coach Wooden replied, “It’s the socks.”

“The socks”
“Yes, the socks.”
“The socks?”
“Yes, from the team our players begin practice before the season even begins, we teach them the importance of their socks. We coach them to always make sure the socks are pulled up tight at every opportunity. It seems small, but it is important. You see in the fourth quarter, when the other teams feet are irritated and blistered because their socks are bunched or loose, their attention will be on their feet. I want our guys attention to be on winning the game.”

How does that apply to everyday life?
Many ways I believe. Preparation and detail mean the difference between winning and losing. It’s all about the socks.

Happy trails! Go Gators!!!!

The Donkey That Wouldn’t Die

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Everyone faces adversity sometime. I guess that is why it is a topic everyone can relate to. When thumbing through some old files, I found this story. It put a smile on my face, so I thought I would share.

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up any way, it just wasn’t worth the effort to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing! He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off….

Author unknown

Fact Free Planning and Other Great Ideas

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I recently attended a workshop where I heard a phrase that I am now billing as one of my favorites. Fact Free Planning. Now before I feel a need to travel further with this thought, I am sure many reading this are already placing a story to the phrase. It would be fair to say that if you work anywhere in America, you have probably been the victim of Fact Free Planning. The polar opposite of Paralysis by Analysis, Fact Free Planning is the engine by which haste is made to frustrating volumes of unsuccessful activity.

Details are the essence of which great planning transpires, unless you are a skilled fact free planner. Details only slow down an uncalculated vision, goal, or mission. Ever get that stare when you birth revelation of reality in a meeting, as if you are the wet blanket that would prefer to do nothing? By nature I analyze. I strategize. I consider variables that may impact results. That’s just who I am. I can’t seem to shake this party pooping demeanor. Yes, it’s funny. But, it is also sad.

Action is definitely a fuel that an organization needs to project vibrancy and life. And sometimes too much analysis can stymie the visionary’s mojo. But let’s consider the great waste that follows Fact Free Planning.

One of my favorites is the time honored cookie cutter plan. Let’s do it like those guys over there. We’re smarter, better looking, and have better coffee. It can’t be that hard. Forget about the variables of specific skills, resources, and experience the ‘other guys’ may have. So we beat a drum and march on in futility.

Or maybe it’s the ‘Let’s Do It Before Anyone Else’ plan. You know, the innovation that must be executed tomorrow. Unfortunately, sometimes those innovations have already been scrutinized and found without merit.

And then there’s the ‘It’s So Crazy, It Might Work’ plan. Does this really need description? Who out there has scars and battle wounds from some of these.

The truth of the matter is, planning is needful if you really desire success. Lack of planning is the villain by which time and resources are wasted. The time we invest is a precious commodity. Whether in life, work, or leisure, once spent it cannot be regained. If the purpose of life is to just stay busy, by all means plunge past the facts and battle through a ‘Fact Free Plan’. But, if your real goal is to accomplish, change, or impact the world around you, stare the facts down, overcome the objections, resolve the variables, and press on to success.

Happy trails. Enjoy another great day…. Of Climbing Higher and Expecting More.

written by James Anderson, Consultant and Life Coach for Expecting More