It’s your choice

You’ve been dealt a hand, but you don’t have to play it.  Taking control of the hands you play is one of the biggest lessons you can learn.

It’s too easy to convince yourself that luck’s on your side, or to be persuaded to play simply because someone else wants to.

It’s your choice; use it.

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Making inconsistency work

To some, inconsistency in presentation reflects poor attention to detail.  For others it can be a distraction, diverting attention away from the message itself.  At worst, it can be irritating, with the message becoming completely lost due to poor delivery.

Inconsistency can be used to highlight, to accentuate or to emphasise, but its impact will depend on the audience, and to use it effectively takes more effort and skill than to produce a high quality, consistent presentation.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking inconsistency, created by accident, is a good thing… the chances are it’s far from it!

Portfolio working

Portfolio working can be rewarding, but only when the various elements of the portfolio are all compatible with each other:

  • There’s no point in marketing yourself as a SWOT team member if you have inflexible commitments to work around;
  • You can’t effectively sell your time if someone else thinks they own it;
  • You can’t travel at the drop of a hat if you’re tied to home; and
  • You can’t flex your capacity unless there’s extra capacity to offer.

A portfolio usually works best when the different elements are varied and self-contained, when they demand different aspects of your time and attention.

If you’re lucky enough to build a portfolio that works for each of your customers, the next challenge is to make it work for you!

A picture tells a thousand words

A picture tells a thousand words, but an icon endures. If you get the picture right, a simple diagram illustrating a key message, that message will come alive.

Moving beyond recollection, the icon becomes part of every-day language, a regularly visited reference point for discussions and decision making.

When you’re trying to deliver change too many visual models can create confusion, but if you can produce an iconic diagram to support your goals you’ll have taken a big step in the right direction.

Something’s got to give

You don’t have to lose control just because something’s got to give.

When things are coming at you too fast, you’re loaded to full capacity, unable to get on top of it… something’s got to give.

If you don’t make a conscious choice, the decision will be made for you.  Make the call.  Sacrifice something to give yourself space to breath.

Making the selection keeps thing within your control.  You can anticipate the fallout and manage the implications.

Continuing to do everything could have unknown long term implications.  It’s impossible to know. After all… something’s got to give.

Process efficiency

When you fail to successfully negotiate the process, ending up back at the beginning with little to show for it other than heightened levels of frustration, something is amiss.

When there is a significant chance of this happening repeatedly, something is fundamentally broken.

Processes are there to make things happen, consistently and efficiently.  When negotiating a process becomes a goal in its own right, it’s time to rip it up and start again.

Exception reporting

The problem with exception reporting is that expectations get re-aligned based on experience.  If you only ever see exceptions, sooner or later they become the norm.

Without seeing the full population on a regular basis it’s easy to get a skewed view of performance, positive and negative.

Exception reporting focuses the attention, but don’t lose sight of the message it portrays.