Monday, January 11, 2016

Two questions you need to ask yourself everyday to be successful

There are two questions that I've learned to ask myself (and others) everyday. Two very simple questions that will help you to uncover a lot of bad habits and help you fill any gaps preventing you from accomplishing your goals.

  1. What am I doing today, that if I stopped doing, would be beneficial to me or my team?
  2. What am I NOT doing today, that if I started doing, would benefit me or my team?

What you need to stop doing

The goal of this first question is to help you look more objectively at yourself, your habits, and your process and find roadblocks that you're putting up yourself. There are many many many things that every one of us does everyday that get in the way of us being more productive. The key is identifying them and either replacing them with something helpful or just stopping the behavior all together.

For example, are you randomizing your team without knowing it? A good example of this is asking a question of your team that causes some of them to stop working on what they're working on to get you the answer. Are you sure getting that answer now is a higher priority than what they were working on? If not, that's something to stop doing.

There are so many examples of things we do every day from the emails we send to the meetings we call that are not helping us or our teams be productive. Rooting out these problem behaviors/activities will help you and your team be more productive.

What you need to start doing

The goal of this second question is to help you identify your blind spots. I can promise you there are several things you're unaware of that happen everyday that, had you been aware of, would have changed something about your work. Your goal should be to help identify these things and incorporate their knowledge into your everyday process.

For example, maybe your team suffers from randomization, always being pulled in a different direction. You need to start saying no to work and work on creating an intake process to help prioritize your current and future work.

Like the former question, asking this question will help you understand your problem space better. The better you understand your problem space, the easier it is to navigate and be successful in it.

Stumped where to start?

The great thing about these questions are that everyone around you has an opinion on them.  Start by asking your boss and your direct reports these questions. I would bet that you'll be surprised at some of the answers you receive.  Beware of those who constantly answer "nothing". They're likely not invested in your growth or the growth of your team.

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