One of the great blessings of my life was to spend time with my father-in-law, Jim McGee. He taught me a lot by what he said and the way he lived. Jim wrote the following on April 15, 1995. He had retired six years before. He titled it, “Thoughts from the Past.”
Keep a pad or a dictating machine by your bed at night to record your thoughts, ideas, things to do, etc. – these may turn out to be your best – if not, at least you will have been able to go back to sleep.
Your mind (if you are average like me) can only remember so much. If you record your thoughts and ideas, it can rid itself of these and bring on fresh ones.
Know your strengths and your weaknesses – engage the very best people to support your weaknesses. At the same time be prepared to lose them to other opportunities.
One or two people in a small operation who are not effective can cause failure. It is essential that you be constantly alert for this possibility. When found, deal with it swiftly – like a good surgeon – cut deep and get out quickly. If you have to cut, don’t prune – if you cut a few at a time everyone in the organization over time will become concerned about their future.
As an economist might say “on the other hand” only a small percentage of an organization will really make significant positive things happen. Identify these, give them an assignment. and enjoy the ride.
Get a full years’ experience each year. Some years you will be able to get two- or three-years’ experience in one – don’t miss these opportunities.
Avoid those who after being in a position for say ten years have instead of ten full years of experience, only one years’ experience ten times.
Have a plan and stick to your plan.
Do the things you dislike most as soon as possible – don’t let them hang around – don’t procrastinate or you will become less effective.
Don’t do anything you don’t know how to do. Determine what you are good at what you like to do and stick to it.
Think Phase II & Phase Ill. Many times, decisions are made without thinking through the longer-term consequences of the decision and the results are entirely different than intended from the start – usually failure.
It is extremely important to be able to turn what are seemingly overwhelming obstacles to your advantage – it builds strengths both inward and outward.
It is good that one cannot actually see the wall of inertia that is built up in an organization to keep doing the same thing – the same way. It would appear so insurmountable that no one would dare try to change it.
Work on the most important things – customers, cases, etc. Generally, it takes just as much time to work on the smaller ones as the large ones. Select what you do carefully, or you will end up working long hours going broke.