Thursday, August 17, 2006

Care and Feeding of your Gear-Train

I was looking through some of my old class materials from my teaching days at Northwestern University (teaching nights, actually!) and ran across a great little article by Michael J.Robson called, Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. (Quality Digest magazine, January 1993.) The idea of the piece was that, like a 10-speed bicycle, we all have gears we rarely use.

Taking Robson's premise a step further, in addition to the gears we tend not to use enough, we probably also have gears we use too frequently. Given that, here are some suggestions for effectively switching gears, as it were:
  1. a. Use more of your 'accepting constructive criticism' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'ego leads the way' gear.
  2. a. Use more of your 'encourage staff to contribute more fully' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'disregard the opinions of those who don't' gear.
  3. a. Use more of your 'this could be interesting' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'close-minded and cynical' gear.
  4. a. Use more of your 'clarifying the goal' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'activity in lieu of achievement' goal.
  5. a. Use more of your 'collaborating with others' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I'll just do it myself' gear.
  6. a. Use more of your 'I'll finish this up by 5:05pm' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I'll stay late and work through dinner' gear.
  7. a. Use more of your 'holding staff accountable' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'letting them drop the ball ... Again' gear.
  8. a. Use more of your 'being curious and engaged' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'being judgmental and enraged' gear.
  9. a. Use more of your 'confident, capable, and caring' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'fear, uncertainty, and doubt' gear.
  10. a. Use more of your 'creativity and resourcefulness gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I just don't know what to do about this' gear.

What other gears do you want to become more facile at shifting in and out of?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Robin said...

Why don't I remember this article from your class?

With all of the data out there, why isn't information more readily available?

My upgrades to a 12 speed.

Gear #11
a. Use more of 'what does the data tell us'
b. Use less of 'let's try this and see what happens'

Gear #12
a. Use more of "get er done"
b. Use less of "Let's 'Dilbert this to death"

Sunday, August 20, 2006 9:08:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous beezee said...

Why hi there, Robin. What a nice surprise! For some reason, Quality Digest never put this article on line. And repeated attempts to reach the author for it also fell short. Oh well.

The particular reading, though, was pre-work for a class near the end of the semester - the one I titled, "Your Career as a Mission Critical System." (The special guest that night was the headhunter I brought in to talk with the class about the inside secrets of finding way-cool jobs in the IT sector.)

Hope all is well with you and the family.

Monday, August 21, 2006 7:33:00 AM CDT  

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