4 11 2016

“I like to go full bore into something.  If you have a backup plan, then you’ve already admitted defeat.” ~ Henry Cavill

Long-time readers of my comic know that I am NOT endorsing Mr. Cavill’s philosophy.  Any of you that takes a huge risk without thinking about what will happen if you’re wrong, and what your plan B is have had an unpleasant conversation with me (if they’re still working here).  Our job as leaders is to think through all of the consequences, or show that we tried to think of everything (because nobody’s perfect) when an issue occurs.

That said, there is such a thing as OVER-Thinking consequences to the point of paralysis.  I call it navel-gazing, and my wife calls it picking lint from your belly button (Google it if you haven’t heard the terms).  Ready-aim-fire is the correct sequence, unlike Ready-fire-Aim or Ready-aim-aim-aim-aim-aim…  Eventually, you need to move, and then adjust course if your plan needs a little shifting.

Speaking of backup plans…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.


The falling tide creates 2 kinds of captains.

24 08 2015

“Luck?  I don’t know anything about luck.  I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do.  Luck to me is something else:  Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity, and what isn’t.” ~ Lucille Ball

I’m also afraid to work with people who bank on good luck.  Crossing your fingers, and hoping that everything will be OK in the business world is the recipe for a short career.  Sure, I hope the the rising tide will raise my ship, but if I don’t have a plan for the inevitable falling tide, then I didn’t really position myself for success, did I?  When the tide keeps going out, I want to go for a ride with the captain who rushes out to sea, because he knows that a Tsunami is coming to land.  I don’t want to be the person griping because the dock is so much higher than an easy step across the gap, because they won’t be needing that dock, or that boat in about 10 minutes, anyway.

You know who I want on my team?  When business stuff hits the fan, I want to look around the table, and find the leader who is already moving towards the next step in their head.  They knew that bad luck might happen, and had a plan B (and plan C, and plan D), and they’re already moving while everyone else is shell shocked, wailing, gnashing their teeth and asking “what are we gonna do?!?!”

Speaking of luck…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.

Quick, Good, or Cheap – Pick 2

26 03 2015

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s quote speaks to time management and planning.  “Get it done quick” and “Get it right” are 2 directives from leaders that are often at odds with each other.  In the IT world, buyers are often told that they can have it quick, good, or cheap – pick 2.  If you want something done quick and good, it’s going to cost money (i.e. additional programmers all working on the same project).  If you want it good and cheap, it’s going to take time (i.e. one programmer working on the project exclusively.  If you want it quick and cheap, it’s going to be thrown together, and not good at all.

When given a task, leaders need to not only understand the specific project, but the “view from 10,000 feet”.  Do you have the time to do the job good and cheap?  Is time an issue, so you just need any old solution quickly?  If this is the case, hopefully you build in time afterwards to improve the project.  Phase 1 gets it done “quick and dirty” (with work-arounds, manual reporting, etc.), and Phase 2 rolls in behind it cleaning it up, and automating the manual stuff.  When quality is non-negotiable, then you have to choose to spend a lot of money, or to wait for the final product.  There are valid business reasons for each approach.  If you’re not sure, then please ask before getting started.

Speaking of the first…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.

Strategic Planning and the need to forecast

19 02 2014

“My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana.  I said ‘No, but I want a regular banana later, so…yeah’” ~Mitch Hedberg

 (Finding a good banana quote about leadership is harder than you’d think.)  This quote speaks to planning and forecasting.  It’s a skill that leaders must have to succeed.  You need to see the situation as it is now, and forecast (i.e. budget, strategic planning, etc.) what it’s going to look like in a year, 3 years, whatever.

 Vision is something that comes with experience (and the mistakes that create experience).  However, it never hurts to think about what the path of least resistance for a process, product, or company might be.  Because without attention, the path of least resistance usually means grinding to a halt, eventually.  Once you have thought about the path, then think about where your efforts can best be used to move, and steer that issue to a successful resolution. 

 Speaking of Banana…


Rubes Cartoons used with permission.