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Welcome to ProcessImprovement.Me.  Each week we will post between one and three blog posts on change, how to improve at something in life or business, or learning something new.  Please join us and participate in the comments.  We would really like to hear your thoughts.  You cannot post a comment on the home page (just the way they set up the site.) All the other pages do afford the ability to post comments. We recommend you use the Blog Page for this.

Please join us, have fun, and interact with others in the same kindness that you would like others to interact with you.

We Have a Plan

Plans are important. If you think the plan will never change, you never faced a true enemy in combat. When you face-off in combat the first thing that changes are the plans. These days my plans normally revert to “yes dear” and “I’m sorry.”

As you craft your plans, the best idea to get everyone who is part of that plan involved. Not only do you get overall buy-in to the plan, but you also have the support of everyone, because they know and understand they are part of that plan.

I know this sounds strange that I’m telling you to plan and then tell you that your plans will change. To demonstrate this let me tell you about Boy Scout Troop which I helped run as a leader.

About four times a year the scouts would go out to a camporee, freezoree, or some other camping adventure with all of the troops in the Council. Imagine a vast field with between 75 and a hundred troops of boys in attendance and camping over the weekend. We used to hold an overnight camp-out a week or two before a camporee and train the scouts in our troop on all of the various skills which would be tested on in the games at the camporee.

Does this mean the kids had an automatic guarantee of winning the games? No. Like everything else in life, things do change. The boys were there to have fun and having a little knowledge about what they were doing made it more fun. The games were never exactly like what we taught them, yet having those skills helped to do well. They still had to do it, and adapt as things changed. But, at least they had a plan of how things work.

As you leave one comfort zone, even though you may not have been exactly comfortable with it at times, you need a plan. The plan alone does not guarantee an absolute victory. The plan and a little practice mean you have a good idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Will that plan change? Yes, dear, I’m sorry.

Protect What Is Valuable as We Move Forward

Sometimes when we live with jewels all of our life, we forget what is really precious. We sometimes take for granted the things that work so well. And, tend to ignore those people  that are always there.

When we make a change, the ripples of the change affect everything and everyone around us. The larger the change, the stronger the ripples around us are; and the more those who are near to us are affected. It is important that we are cognizant of, and pay attention, to those concerns.

Have you ever been in an earthquake? Having lived around the world, I have been in several earthquakes. Some that were over as soon as they started, and some that seemed to go on forever. The truth is, the time of earthquakes is usually shorter than you think. The reason it feels longer is that you don’t know when it’s going to stop. Just like the earthquake, ripples that are caused by the change of one person affect others more deeply when they do not know what is going on or where the changes are headed.

There is a really neat way to help dampen the ripples of change for both you and those around you. The nice thing is it doesn’t cost anything, it takes very little time, it provides everybody involved some great support. Just sit down with those concerned and talk to them about what is going on.

It’s amazing that when people know, they can work as a team and together they can do all sorts of wonderful things to meet challenges.  To grow, to move in  directions, and to set the basis to ultimately succeed, no matter what the odds are.  Whether you are moving to a new city, changing jobs, planning a retirement, or any number of other things, sit down with those around you and whatever you do you discuss it and do it together.

That is one mean old master sergeant’s thought for the day. Try talking to those around you, especially the ones you care about, and you’ll be surprised how much support and teamwork you actually will gain.

Talk to you again tomorrow, have a great one out there.

We change with the times

We have talked about the fact that nothing lasts forever. Even the glass bottle that we drink from and the glass vase that holds our flowers is actually in a liquid form very slowly, forever changing. And so we have a choice. As everything changes around us do we accept the fact and change with it? Or, do we put a stick in the sand and say, “Here I stand.”

We see this all the time. Because of this, some people are labeled as old fogies. Other people are just dismissed out of hand as not knowing because it was not of their generation. The truth is, it depends. It is actually up to you. Do you keep with the old times? Do you learn and grow and go with the new times? I vote for the latter. I am too young of the mind to start living in yesteryear and begin believing there are no worthwhile changes.

We see others, and sometimes ourselves, occasionally get stuck in the past. Does that mean we are forever doomed to live the life of what happened at the high school football game? Counting the rivets on a B-52 in North Dakota? The pain of a hangover a day after the frat party? The patrol that went sideways? Or whatever else is burdensome on our mind? I really don’t think we have to do that.

We have a choice. For me, I choose to remember the past, learn and live in the now, and celebrate the possibilities of the future.  We remember in order not fall into the same traps or repeat mistakes. Now is where I live. If I am not happy with now, I learned so that I can change it. I also learn to prepare my path into the future.

Right now I should not be living in the past nor in the future. Right now, I should live, except, and enjoy where and what I am now. I do this knowing that like glass, I am not a solid. Rather, I am something that is continually learning, growing, and reshaping my destiny.

Nothing is a forever

Nothing in our lives in this world lasts forever. Rarely is there an immediate change. Often the change is gradual. What is normal to us is what seems like slow progress, and is often viewed as a drastic change by those who leave and come back five or 10 years later.

To see changes in the galaxy, or in the universe, one would have to leave and come back in 1000 or 2000 years to notice a difference. Sometimes we change so slowly, we do not even recognize the changes within ourselves. One day we wake up, look at our reflection and wonder, “Where did that old Fart come from?”

Change is inevitable. I know that this is quoted until it’s  practically a cliché. However, it is still true. I am talking about the second law of thermodynamics. Everything will break down to its most common elements.

As change happens, we have a choice. We can look at change as a good thing, or we can look at change as a bad evil. If you read my blog for a while, you know why I believe change is good.

I look at all the ills in the world that have been cured. I look at better understanding and better thinking brought about by better communication which leads to better collaboration. I believe that the more we learn, the better we become as humans.

This week we will explore this topic in more detail. If you aren’t sure, we are working towards something here. Hopefully, it will be something good.

We will talk with you again tomorrow.

Tomorrow Is a New Dawn

Tomorrow is a new dawn. The start of a new day and the possibilities that day brings for all the great things in life. Just imagine what tomorrow might bring.

We get so used to the idea of the new Dawn because during our lives we have seen it happen so often. We get accustomed to the fact that there will be a new day in the morning. The new chance for a beautiful sunrise, dew on the grass, and beauty all around us in the air and on the ground.

Sometimes we just cannot see the beauty and wonder of it all, because we get a little jaded by its regularity. Yet it’s the most wonderful thing you can think of. Whoever put this whole plan into motion took great care. The cycles work well sunrise and sunsets, seasons and years.

In our day to day hustle of work, kids to school, bills to pay, and important things to do, we sometimes forget to stop and look. If you have the sun rising and purple on the mountain and crops in the fields, forests before you and the beauty of the shoreline again with its ebb and flow of the tides with the crashing of the waves to the shore, it is something to behold.

In the neatest thing, we each see something a little bit different within the new morning. It is as though each morning was crafted especially for each and every one of us.

Interesting things are coming up in the next week, and I will be very excited to tell you about it on Monday. Please remember without change, better things never happen.

Hope to be in touch with you again Monday.

What Is Next

Often, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the rat race. Rather than having time to say that you’re glad that’s over with, as you finish one thing, you’re rushing forward to the next because you feel you are behind in your work. Other times, you may be idle and have so little to do, you become bored.

It would always be great if the rat race and the time of boredom could get together and smooth out. Just enough things to do, and just enough time to do them. It seems to me that sometimes we might be able to help the two smooth out.

Not a perfect solution, yet in a world of relativity, it usually works. If you know of tasks needing to be done sooner or later on a recurring basis, make a list of them. When you find yourself in a lull at work, pull out the list and do a few things that will save you time later.

Remember that you want to have those around you see you’re the busy person. Not with make-work, rather as the person always staying ahead of the game. The worst thing that could happen is that people see you as someone who is idle with no work to do. When layoffs come, and sooner or later they always will, management often starts off by trying to figure out who seems to have nothing to do. This is because someone with too much time and nothing to do is the one let go to thin down the company.

The worst thing that anybody can think is that they cannot be laid off because they do something so special that no one else can do it. It is very easy for the company to decide to train someone else to do those actions or to outsource those actions, or just not do those actions anymore. No one is so important the company would fall apart if they left.

Have a great day, and we will talk to you again tomorrow.

 

Laying Out the Day

Several weeks ago, we had a blog about laying out our clothes, shoes, socks, belt, wallet,  and accessories the night before work, rather than running down the day of work in trying to find everything.

What would you think if I told you you can do the same thing with your day at work for the next day. The nice thing about going over the next day the night before is it saves you time and emotion.

Just grab your calendar and go over it. Just to remind yourself of the meetings you have, whatever is due the next day and how much work you still have to do on at it, and how much free time you have and at what times during the day, because something will always come up to take care that free time.

If you understand what’s going on at the time, it is easier to face. A thank you and the office of the boss is smiles and grins and grips. Working with an unhappy customer make a cause for some contrition and an earnest pledge to find and fix whatever is wrong. And, counseling a team member who did not perform his tasks on time may cause the need for empathy, encouragement, and chiding in proper amounts.

Knowing all this ahead of time means that none of it catches you blindsided, and you have some time to think and prepare. Knowing ahead of time is nice because you are less likely to go off your script or make some foolish error based on lack of time to think and consider.