If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

“One of the great undiscovered joys of life comes from doing everything one attempts to the best of one’s ability. There is a special sense of satisfaction, a pride in surveying such a work, a work which is rounded, full, exact, complete in its parts, which the superficial person who leaves his or her work in a slovenly, slipshod, half-finished condition, can never know. It is this conscientious completeness which turns any work into art. The smallest task, well done, becomes a miracle of achievement.” – Og Mandino

“Do it right and be the best” has been my motto my entire life. My internal drive is no doubt a key to why I have been successful. If you were to interview everyone I’ve ever worked with, I’m confident they will tell you that I never accept the “it’s good enough” solution. There is no point in doing anything if you don’t do it right (Right = on time, on budget and exceeds expectations).

When people that don’t know me well see me in the workplace, they often call me a workaholic because I never let up until the job’s done. I laugh when I hear this because I don’t see myself as a workaholic. Sure I spend countless hours day and night on conference calls managing people from all corners of the earth, but I also play hard. I am a Master Scuba Diver, I am a licensed airplane pilot/mechanic, I am an avid Motorcycle enthusiast, I am a skydiver, etc. In fact, I am an recognized expert in non-work areas almost as much as I have been in work.

I’m in the November/December 2008 issue of Sport Diver Magazine, I have been restoring an airplane that is considered the best Mooney in the world (n252q.com), I am the second skydiver in this video flying with Russel Calkins, the national sky surfing champion.

It usually isn’t long before I get this question… “How do I have the time to carry the dotcom workload managing multi-million dollar projects throughout the world and still have enough time to ride a motorcycle across the country, explore 100 year old shipwrecks, restore an airplane, post to this blog, etc?” The answer is simple. I clearly visualize in my minds eye what has to be done, I intensely focus on getting it done, I do not let anything distract me form the goal, and I surround myself with talented people that share the same get it done mindset.

This week I thought I’d share some concepts I use that have helped me sustain a health and productive “Work-Life” balance.

Get Creative and Become Focused
Clarity is the beginning of creativity. If you can’t see very far then you can’t go very far. When we have clarity concerning our vision it helps us see farther and seeing farther provides the ability to focus on what is really important. Having clarity hinges on two issues: Purpose and Value. If we do not understand the purpose or the value of an action, then we do not have clarity. Most people believe they have clarity until they are actually confronted with a lot of the pesky details. Unfortunately, the whole point about clarity and focus is having ownership of all the pesky details that most people don’t want to deal with. I define clarity as “knowing were we are right now and specifically where we need to go.” The gap between these two realities is where focus must be produced.

Outsource the Action
Many people struggle with using an outside resource or others to help get things done. I often hear managers and young entrepreneurs saying, “I should be able to do this myself.” However, when it comes to expanding bandwidth, an outside resource can be a significant help in jump-starting the effort and moving forward. It is not necessary to view an outside resource as a permanent addition to your budget. Outside resources can be viewed as transitional strategic tools that help us bridge the gap between theory and execution. Just find someone who already has the answers and allow them to teach you how to do it. An outside resource can bring a new way of thinking about old issues, and when new ideas blend with our proven practices, creative solutions always follow.

Become a Better Communicator
How can becoming a better communicator contribute to finding creative solutions? It’s because two or more people working together are more creative are more creative than one person working alone. Communicating is the way we share our ideas, our dreams and our solutions. Poor communicators don’t get the results that great communicators get.

People usually see communication as a skill issue. However those who achieve Communication Mastery understand that communication is a powerful strategic asset that has a serious impact on their effectiveness and the results they get in every facet of life. At the heart of Communication Mastery is a different mindset that is created by embracing a few simple principles that lead us into new ways of thinking, reasoning and communicating to consistently produce creative solutions.

There are three strategic principles that impact out communication mindset and set the stage for helping us achieve more in shorter periods of time.

These three principles are:
Communicate to impact others at the level of belief. Getting things done always involves getting others to take some action. Our persuasive skills determine how well we get others to take action, and people take action faster when they believe in what they are doing. Our beliefs, thoughts and feelings determine our choices and the action we take. The reality of this powerful combination is that we must communicate to impact others at the level of belief. If what we are communicating is not believed, the results we get will be less than we hope for.

Communicate as far as you can see, then you will see farther. When you want results you have to communicate in the “now.” The most effective plans are based on the circumstances that exist today and may exist for some predictable time in the future. Since communication is really about persuasion, it is fairly obvious why communicating and planning farther than you can see is not very effective. If people can’t “see” what you are saying, it will be hard for them to believe. This concept, when embraced, will ground everything you do in a greater reality and produce more creative solutions, because the people whose help you need will be more engaged in the effort.

Communicate to create and leverage images of influence. Perception drives felt need in others and felt need controls the action people take, Communication Mastery requires a mindset that embraces the fact. The mindset I suggest involves the creation of what I call “Images of Influence.” Images of Influence are supported by the old saying that seeing is believing. Words can go only so far in achieving persuasion. What people see and perceive directly and indirectly about us will have a powerful impact on the way they help and support us. Our communication universe includes such things as presentations, our e-mail style, the meetings we conduct and attend, graphical images, our personal “brand” and how well we showcase our unique strengths.

If you believe you have a bandwidth problem when it comes to execution, I suggest you consider the possibility that the greater challenge might be a lack of clarity and focus. Are you clear about your vision? Can you effectively and clearly describe where you want to be in the future and where you are today? If not, focus will be elusive and execution unlikely. A lack of bandwidth will be the perceived cause and produce the To-Do Conundrum: How can you do more than you are able to do?

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

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