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 Are Designed to Explore

Humans are designed with curiosity.  We want to know what is over the hill, on top of the mountain, or across the seas. Our desire to reach into space and dive to the deepest depths of the ocean actually fuels our curiosity to go farther.  We have had this desire since our earliest days, and there is no sign of slowing down.

We do need to remember, finding lands that are not populated allows us to inhabit them with our customs and laws.  When someone else lives on those lands, whether we knew the area existed or not, the property is theirs and not up for grabs.  We would have a problem if a space explorer showed up and tried to claim the Earth for its galactic empire.

This weekend is dedicated to Columbus, who failed in making it to India, and yet happened to stumble over some tropical islands on the outskirts of a couple of continents.  We also remember the native inhabitants that were there to greet him and the Vikings who found some of the northern continent.  These people did boldly go out and discovered lands with a lot of different peoples, who may not have realized Europe existed. 

It is always good to learn.  It is a basic tenet in growing as a person.  To do so, we need to get out and see what is around us and what it actually means. Remember, the whole goal of new inventions, ideas, and thought processes are explorations into what is next.  You need to understand what they are and know if they will help you with your quests or not.

Not all that is new is the right fit for everyone.  That which succeeds and has staying power are the items that fill our needs and help us to advance our plans and goals. Those that do not are the ones that tend to fall by the wayside.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again soon.

Reaching Out

We have great ideas and great thoughts. These grand plans are often big enough that they cannot live only in our minds. If we keep them bottled up inside of ourselves, they go nowhere and do nothing. We need to wisely bring these ideas out into the open, sharing with others, and giving them the breath of life.

Magellan did not circumnavigate the world by only thinking of the trip. He took actions to acquire vessels and crews and set off on a route. The route was not easy, and although Magellan perished in a battle, his idea made him and his team the first to circumnavigate the world. He did something that had never been done before because he believed in his goals and did not give up when people said no.

How much do you believe in your ideas? The Royal Air Force is working with a group and helping to train young blind people on how to fly. There is a member of the Royal Air Force on the plane with a young blind pilot. And the young blind person is actually flying the plane. The young person even lands the aircraft. Imagine the boost of confidence this gives to the young pilots in helping them to know they can do whatever they desire if they work at it.

Imagine what you could do if you start to reach out and talk to people. Naysayers? Some. Yet, also others who may find your ideas intriguing and be willing to give assistance, either in input, which could make your ideas better or direction, which will show you a more natural way to accomplish some of your tasks. Help like this is vital and puts your concepts on a better track. After all, none of us know everything.

Consider this, and as with everything, small steps.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Failure: Better Than You Think

To strike out on your own to learn new things is a scary proposition.  Often this is because we are afraid of failure. And I know the fear of ridicule is sometimes intense. Failure is positive, though, because it allows us to take a look at how to accomplish something and find better ways.

Penicillin was found because someone failed to keep the office clean. New continents were found because someone did not understand that they could not sail directly to India. And we have new ways to look from the Earth to the stars because somebody failed to tell a bunch of grad students it could not be done. Failure is a faithful ally on the road to discovering new things.

Others warn us of failure because they mean well, and sometimes just because they are mean.  We need to understand that failure does exist. And we should have a plan for when we find something that does not work correctly. After all, it will not be the end of the road; it is, instead, a starting point for new ideas and discoveries.

Not everyone can find failure, and that means not everyone can find new ways to do something better. When somebody picks on you for finding a problem, smile at them, and remember that there is still hope that they may also find their failure; so that they too may find the solutions they seek.

Remember, each failure you encounter, shows that you are actually moving in a direction. And in not being stagnant, you are one more step closer to finding the answer you seek. After all, how many different light bulbs did Mr. Eddison try before he found the one that worked?

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Know Your Locale

We all believe we understand the area in which we live. Some of us have lived there all of our lives, and some might have lived there just a few years. Often, it does not matter how long we have lived in a place, what matters is how often we get out and engage our local community and surroundings. Failure to do so might leave us surprised by how the landscape has changed, and so have the people.

It’s no mystery how this happens, times change, new stores, malls, and other industries move in, and changes are made to what people do and how they do it.  If we are not an active part of that community, we will not know about the changes. We may see something on the news or read something in the paper, however, we will not know the actual extent and how it affects us.

I can attest to this first hand. I recently took a Nielsen survey where it asked me about several places in my town, and the last time I was there. The more I got into the questionnaire, the more I realized how sedentary I had become, and how little I had been out within my community over the Last year (or several.)   

If we close ourselves off and do not participate in our community, we genuinely have a loss of many valuable resources. Through participation in our local community and civic affairs, we actually have a better quality of life and a better understanding of the changes and how they may best work in our favor. Without this interaction, we know less about others, and they know less about us.

When you are an active part of your community, you know who you can count on and how you’re needs could be best met. Even more important people know that you are there. A formal or informal structure seems to happen where people check on each other and make sure they’re OK. The community is stronger because of these links. And life is more comfortable and more enjoyable for more of the city.

After all, if we’re going to live life, we might as well work as a team with those who are doing the same and work to mutually enjoy it.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Be An Explorer

We each must make our own exploration to understand what great things exist in our world. If you don’t go out and look at what is within your world, you’ll never know. And you would lose out on what could be some beautiful treasures and surprises.

We are explorers, just like those of old. Yet we have a few more tools on our side. We have instantaneous communication in most places in our world. We can travel through space and live in orbit around the earth for extended periods. We can have our food and other necessities sent to us wherever we are. This does not mean that our explorations are any less fraught with danger than those of explorers who sailed in rafts and boats. It just means that we are more cautious and with a steady chain of connections, can go further and do more.

For many, this exploration of learning is exciting, and they are eager to go and explore. For some, the fieldwork is fearful, and the searcher will view it as a daunting task. Often the nervous Explorer would instead prefer to stick with the very little they know, rather than taking on the fears of what may happen outside of their known world. Sometimes the seekers are afraid of being taken advantage of. And sometimes, they are fearful of imaginary dangers that may or may not actually exist.

Anything worth doing will carry some risk. Yet compared to what our imaginations can think up, which is totally untrue, most threats are minor. Just be mindful of where you are, where you are going, and what you plan to do. Most real risks are easy to anticipate, along with plans to mitigate any circumstances that may come up.

Remember, any good exploration starts with well-planned goals. You plan your adventures and be sure you’re planning follows through to where you want to be at the end of the experience. Most plans may fall apart or have a few hick-ups in the early stages. The fact that you took the time to make those plans gives you the knowledge you will probably need to get back on track. Proper planning, whether it works or not is often the best thing you can do to succeed in your ventures.

Remember though, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Time to Talk

We have had a good discussion this week about change.  Change is going to happen, and nobody can stop it. In attempts to do so, you may end up like a penny on a train track after the freight train has passed. A threat? No, just a fact of life. Change will happen.

If you would like to look a little deeper into change, there’s a book out there called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’  It is a concise read of 100 and some pages, and if you get an original copy of the book, it comes with a nice placeholder that has several tips to help you deal with change. You have to remember that change is not personal; it happens to us all.

One of the biggest things in change is that you’re not really alone. If you have any worries or confusion, please write to me in the comments, and I will try to help you with them and possibly guide you to resources that will help. Remember, you also have people in your area that can be of great assistance. You can reach out to them, and they can give you good ideas and sound advice.

I thank you for being with me this week. If you ever have questions or would like me to write on something to help you, let me know, and I’ll see what I could do. I’m not sure what next week holds in store, although I imagine it’s going to be something exciting. Until then, please enjoy your weekend.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Change with Purpose

Whenever you make a change, you need to change with purpose. Making a change just because you feel like it can leave everyone in a state of confusion. The more significant the move based on a whim, the more considerable the uncertainty. Change must be needed and have a purpose.

That means change requires planning, research, and shared knowledge of what is going on and why. To do less is to invite trouble into the mix. Therefore, it is always good to work as a team and share with outside resources as necessary or advantageous.

This is not just something that can happen to workers, it happens quite often in management. A group of level II managers got together at the plant where I used to work and decided that they were going to rename all of the various conference rooms, training rooms, and other rooms in the plant. They claimed that the rooms needed new names because those spaces had no names in common with each other.  They felt that by renaming the places, there would be a cohesive structure to the type of rooms based on their use.

I happened to be working one day in a conference room they were meeting in, and they proudly told me what they were doing and how great it would be. I thank them and then proceeded to point out to them that the rooms had already been named as such. All the training classrooms were named after various train lines.  All of the larger conference rooms were named after quality control leaders. And the smaller rooms were named after quality control tools.

They looked at me sheepishly, and one said, ”Oh yeah, well, oh well.” It was clear that although they had worked at the plant for years, they really didn’t know or understand it. They went ahead with their plans and renamed the rooms, put up new signage, and laid open confusion for about the next six months while hundreds of people try to understand what new name was given to the room where they needed to go.

The sad part is that after doing this, the plant was closed and moved overseas about a year later. I appreciate the fact that they busied themselves changing room names. I often wonder what they could’ve done that would be more productive in keeping the plant open and workers employed rather than so many jobs being lost.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.