New Poll: As discussed this week, who will coach the Habs when Therrien gets fired?

Week in Review March 4 – 9

Here are last week’s posts, all collected together for your Sunday viewing pleasure.

The Turning Point Myth – March 4 post disputing the notion that there are single points in time when everything changes.

Problem Solvers not Finger Pointers – March 6 post asking for us to stop playing the blame game.

Want Solutions? Ask the Right Questions – March 8 post.  Annoyed by the explanations you get when there is a problem?  Change the questions you’re asking.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and look for more posts this week!


Problem Solvers not Finger Pointers

Think about a time when you needed to solve a critical problem and time was of the essence.  Did you care whose fault the problem was? Nope. All you cared about was what information you needed to get a solution, and who and what you needed to implement it.  In a crisis we filter out irrelevant concerns and focus on the task at hand.

fingerpt pakorn

Finger pointers don’t want to focus on solving the problem.  Finger pointers rationalize that there is no need to change anything because they NEVER would have made the mistake that caused the problem.

Everyone makes mistakes.

Image courtesy of Pakorn /

Do people in your business, or personal life expend mental energy finding who to blame for problems, instead of solving the problems and finding ways to prevent them?  If so, why would anyone in that environment try a creative new idea that might take a few tries before working properly?  If people are afraid to make mistakes, forget about them coming up with a creative solution to a problem.  (oh, and financial incentives don’t help either, watch Dan Pink’s TED talk for more on that)

If we want to build a problem solving culture, in which deep thinking on elegant solutions is highly valued, our focus won’t be on who caused the problem.  Our focus will be on what needs to change.  And critically, what help is needed to change it.

The next time someone tells you about a problem that has occurred and your first instinct is to ask, “who’s responsible?”, catch yourself.  Instead, ask, “What do we need to do to fix it?”

Don’t point the finger.  Solve the problem.

The Turning Point Myth

As a society, we love to talk about turning points.

TPoint_Stoonn2That single moment in time when the momentum changes.

There is no such thing.

The notion of a turning point, creates an unrealistic expectation that all we have to do is decide to make the change we want and then continue as we were.

Change doesn’t result from one decision to change.  It results from a continuous series of decisions and actions that confirm our commitment to the change. It doesn’t end. We decide, act, decide and act again.  And we have to decide and act in more ways that support the change than in ways that do not.

What do you want to change? Are you committed to making the necessary decisions, again and again and again?  And again?          And again?

Image courtesy Stoonn /

Week in Review

The past week’s Mike’s Musings:

Yahoo!’s New Rules 

Are You a Pro?

The River


Are you a Pro?

As a hockey fan, I invest emotionally in my team and have high expectations for the performance of my team’s players.  Likewise, if you are a professional (which, for the purpose of this blog, means you’re being paid to do a job), someone is emotionally and financially invested in you and probably has high expectations for your performance.  With that in mind, and using the pro hockey player as an analogue, here are some thoughts to consider about how you approach your work.

1. Strength and conditioning – when not “on the job”, (ie. during the off season), pro hockey players are expected to train to ensure that during the season they have the strength and stamina to be at their best.  Most of us are paid for mental skills, not physical ones.  What is your regimen, when not on the job to improve your mental acuity, your memory, your attitude or any other areas of your mental performance?

2. Practice – pro hockey players attend practices most days to improve their skills, learn systems and to give them the best chance to execute at a high level when under pressure in a game.  How do you improve your on the job skills to ensure you perform at your best when your company or organization needs it the most?

3. Research – every pro hockey team scouts their competition, and the rest of the hockey world, to know what tactics other teams are using and to learn what innovations are being successfully implemented elsewhere.  What is your approach to keeping up on the latest developments in your industry so you can keep a slight edge on the competition?

4. Coaching – every pro hockey team has a head coach, assistant coaches, conditioning coaches, video coaches and skills specialists to ensure that their players are taught, encouraged, challenged, and held accountable to be the best they can be. Steven Stamkos, the best goal scorer, and perhaps the best shooter in the NHL has a shooting coach he works with regularly.  Do you have a business coach or mentor who understands you and your role and who encourages you, holds you accountable, and discusses the latest developments in your field and how to apply them?

5. Goals – Sidney Crosby, the best hockey player in the world is well known for picking a particular area of his game each year and working specifically on improving in that area.  He sets a goal, works at improving the skill, and becomes an even better player. He’s the best in the whole world and he continues to find ways to improve!  What area of your performance is a priority for improvement and what are you doing about it?

We can all learn from the approach pro hockey players use to become and stay professionals.  Are you giving yourself the chance to become the best professional you can be?

Get Started.

Human inertia.  It’s that inner hesitation that stops me from pouncing on my latest idea and running with it.  It’s a mixed bag of fear, insecurity, awe, trepidation, ignorance, analysis and a multitude of other emotions and feelings which keep me from just jumping in and figuring it out.

I find it interesting because I know that this inertia sometimes holds me back from accomplishing big things and from experiencing great joy.  Yet, sometimes it wins, I never get started.

I know the most satisfying projects, events, moments in my life whether they be personal or business-related have come when I pushed through the human inertia, got out of my comfort zone and made myself figure it out – whatever “it” was.  It’s when I’ve been most creative, most excited, and most enthusiastic.  It’s also when I’ve been the most serious, most hard-nosed, and when I’ve been most committed to the task at hand.  And it’s also when I’ve felt the best.

Take this blog.  It was tough to get started.  There were so many questions – where does one get one of these blogs? What should it look like? What will I write about?  Who will read it?  Will it be any good?  What if no one is interested? What if I say something really stupid?  How often should I post? If I don’t post enough will that look bad? Finally, I just told myself to get started.

And here it is.  It’s not the best blog in the world, but it’s getting better. It’s not the prettiest blog, but I’m researching how to improve the look. I’ve changed the name once, and may do so again.  I still don’t think I’ve fully found my “voice” but it’s getting refined. The important thing is I got started, and now, I know lots about blogging.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I view things.  I’ve had almost 600 views and had some pretty nice compliments. I find now, I feel great when I’ve written something I like – regardless of how many views it gets.  I’m more confident, I’m having fun with it and I get great satisfaction from making each post.  I’m also keen to find new ideas and write about them.

How many situations in life are like this?  We know if we push ourselves that little bit to get past the human inertia, off we’ll go – we’ll learn something new, we’ll improve, we’ll find a way.  And the rewards will be great. We just need to trust ourselves, and get started.