J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

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    Agile Results in Russian

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    Yury wrote a great post on Agile Results in Russian.    The post is titled, Agile Results - a new approach to personal effectiveness. Description of the basic techniques and principles, and it's on a Russian productivity blog -- betteri.ru.

    What I like about the post is that Yury gave a simple description and then walked some of the big ideas and enumerated the values, the principles, and the practices. 

    In my experience, one of the best ways to share any system is to focus on sharing the principles, the practices and the values.   The principles help guide and focus on outcomes rather than have a rule for every occasion.   Practices are a great way to share “techniques”, especially if you give them fun or memorable names.   For example, I tested different names and went with things like Rule of Three, Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection, and Hot Spots.   The values help bring like minds together and that helps the system grow.)

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    Spirit Magazine Mentions Getting Results the Agile Way

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    Back in December, an editor from Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine reached out to me because they were going to feature a story on goal-setting that mentions my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.   The story is on the first paraplegic ever to walk again.

    They wanted to confirm my book's key message.   They have an audience of more than 3 million so they wanted to get it right.  Here is what they proposed is the key message in Getting Results the Agile Way:

    "Rather than letting the little stuff rule your life, define just three things you’d like to accomplish within a given time frame (a year, week, or day). Then define the individual tasks you need to accomplish during that time. Regularly scheduled reviews at the end of each period keep you from veering off course."

    I thought it was a great synopsis and I was flattered for a mention in such a powerful article.

    The article is called Luck and Desire.  It's by Nathaniel Reade, and it's a seriously good article.  Check it out.

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    Agile Results: It Works for Teams and Leaders Too

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    “No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”  -- H.E. Luccock

    A colleague of mine that’s been using Agile Results as an individual contributor asked me about how to apply Agile Results to a team as a manager.   It’s actually a question that I get a lot, so I figured I’d share the answer here.

    On a good note, Agile Results was born for teams.  It arose from chaos, madness, and mayhem to drive vision, clarity, and agility for distributed teams around the world.  All the practices that apply to the individual, apply to the team – it sets the rhythm, cadence, and clarity to operate more effectively.  It works for teams of various shapes and sizes, from software to consulting firms to non-profits to pizza shops.  (Side note – A local pizzeria owner I know used Agile Results to refocus and revitalize his team to transform his business and it was night and day.   The Rule of Three is his favorite recipe for success Winking smile

    Here are some quick notes on how to apply it at the team / manager level …

    Agile Results for Teams

    Item

    Notes

    3 Wins for the Week

    Identify three wins for the week at the team level.  Encourage individuals to identify their three wins for the week.   This is Monday Vision.

    3 Wins for the Day

    Encourage individuals to drive for three wins each day.  These are Daily Outcomes.

    3 Wins for the Month

    Identify three wins for the month at the team level.  Encourage individuals to identify their three wins for the month.

    Monthly Theme/Focus

    One driving theme for the month, such as “simplicity” … something helps move wins forward and give meaning to the month.  This is a Monthly Improvement Sprint.

    “Ten at Ten”

    If you have a “ten at ten” meeting (ten minutes at 10:00 am), then you can ask folks what they got done, what they are working on, and where they need help.  This gets everybody on the same page fast, helps debottleneck the team, and helps acknowledge the work being done.

    Weekly Team Meeting

    In the team meeting, go around the table and ask folks to talk about their wins.

    Think of it as a “3x3” system.

    It's a simple structure but you get a lot of synergy.  The big deal is that it helps you flow value in a more fluid way.   When you focus on outcomes and wins, you set your eyes on the prize and get out of your own way to unleash the creative force of the team.   The team can solve problems and deal with any setbacks when they have shared compelling goals and a way to focus.  It’s a learning system and you get better over time.

    You don’t have to start all at once.  The practices are better together, but if you do nothing else, simply start by identifying three wins for your week.  Go for the wins and help people find their fun factor.   This is how people really get engaged and find their flow.

    Additional Practices

    Item

    Notes

    40 Hour Work Week

    Drive the team to a 40 hour work week baseline.  Brains are better when they are rested and relaxed.  Use the timebox at the week level to ruthlessly prioritize and focus on flowing value.

    Pairing

    Pair people up on the team to rapidly cross-pollinate skills and to spread and amplify success.

    Friday Reflection

    Individuals on the team, and you, should reflect on three things going well and three things to improve.  Carry the lessons forward and bake them into each new week.   This builds continuous improvement.

    Sweet Spot

    Push people to spend more time in their strengths and less time in the things that drain them.

    This may look simple, but the message you are driving is: “Outcomes, not activities!”

    This changes everything.   You will see folks quickly rise from the weeds and focus on wins.

    This should start to build momentum and buzz.

    The beauty in all this is that you can easily ask simple questions in the hall, such as, “What are the three wins for the week?”

    This drives greater focus, clarity, and the right behaviors .. it’s all about flowing value for yourself and others, with the end-in-mind, and in a balanced way.

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    30 Days of Getting Results Revisited

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    Do you really know what you are truly capable of?  It’s time to get your game on and find out.  30 Days of Getting Results is revamped and ready for action.  With a new and cleaner look, each lesson brings you a memorable image, a quotable quote, an outcome, a lesson, and a set of exercises to put what you learn into practice.

    It’s time to get the wisdom of the ages and modern sages on your side.  The purpose of 30 Days of Getting Results is to give you the proven principles, patterns, and practices for time management.  It includes 30 self-paced lessons to help you find your purpose, find your passion, set goals, master motivation, and achieve work-life balance.

    The thing that’s really different about Agile Results as a time management system is that it’s focused on meaningful results.  Time is treated as a first-class citizen so that you hit your meaningful windows of opportunity, and get fresh starts each day, each week, each month, each year.  As a metaphor, you get to be the author of your life and write your story forward.

    I used a 30 Day Improvement Sprint, a practice in Agile Results, to create the lessons.  For 30 days, I took 20 minutes each day to write my best lessons down on paper on how to master productivity and time management.  It’s raw.  It’s real.  It’s hopefully some of the best insight and action you’ve ever experienced in terms of exponentially improving your results.

    It’s easy to dive in.  All of the time management lessons are there at your finger tips on the sidebar for easy exploration.  It’s timeless too.   Even if you’ve take the lessons already, they are there as a refresher.  

    If you test-drive just one lesson, check out Bounce Back with Skill.

    Share it with a colleague, a friend, or your family … or anybody you want to give an edge, in work and life.

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    Agile Methodology in Microsoft patterns & practices

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    “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” -- Vincent Van Gogh

    I find myself mentoring on Agile practices and Agile methodology on a regular basis.  More and more teams are needing to stay connected with customers, respond to change, and flow value along the way.   I find that if you know what Agile methodology looks like, it’s easier to get started.   In this post, I’ll share what an implementation of Agile methodology looks like.

    When I was on the Microsoft patterns & practices team, we used a combination of XP/Scrum for executing projects.  We called our agile methodology, "Customer-Connected Engineering"or CCE.  The following table is an overlay of customer-connected activities on top of the agile methodology:

    Phase Core Activities Customer-Connected Engineering Activities
    Exploration
    • Go / No Go
    • Business Case
    • Product Backlog
    • Release Planning
    • Team Role Assignments
    • Vision Scope
    • Broad Customer Surveys
    • Customer Advisory Board Setup
    • Stories / Scenarios
    • Prioritization
    Iteration 0
    • Clarification of process, responsibilities, and roles
    • Infrastructure setup
     
    Iteration N
    • Iteration Planning
    • Daily Stand-Up
    • Mid-Iteration Checkpoint
      Review
    • Retrospective
    • Internal Release (Optional)
    • Customer Release (Optional)
    • Stories / Scenarios
    • Prioritization
    • Demos
    • Product Drops
    • Feedback
    Stabilization
    • Remaining Work Completed
    • Outstanding Bugs Resolved
     
    Release
    • Documentation Updates
    • Incomplete Stories Removed
    • Final Test
    • Remaining Bugs Resolved
    • Release Bar Met
     

    The activities on the left-side of the table are core activities in patterns & practices projects.  If you’re familiar with XP/Scrum, you’ll be familiar with the activities.  On the right-hand side are customer-connected activities.

    10 Highlights of the Agile Methodology and Customer-Connected Engineering
    Here are some of the most important points and distinctions:

    1. 40 Hour Work Week.   In my experience, a 40 hour work week is a benchmark of the most effective teams.  They have work-life balance.  They have buffer to respond to opportunity and to deal with crunches.  They have processes in place, they invest in their learning and growth, and they move up the stack instead of always solving the basics.  Instead of perpetual fire-fighting, they are more deliberate about planning and strategy and they anticipate their customers and the market (through empathy and staying connected to customers.)  They learn and respond and can turn on a dime.  They have a dashboard, they know the score, and they can change their approach.   See 40 Hour Work Week at Microsoft.
    2. Exploration and Execution.   One of the best moves we did was introduce the idea of an “Exploration” phase.    This is where we would explore and test customer value, while also exploring technical risk.  By doing architectural spikes we could very quickly identify potential technical risks that would impact the project, long before we even started the project.  In general, our exploration phase was anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks.  It was also a practical way to drive innovation and explore new opportunities.  We reduced risk by setting a limit on time and budget.  This gave creative freedom within the box, but constrained risk and cost for the business, while exploring high potential opportunities.
    3. Demos.   Demos are the key to product success, if you do them early enough.  Demos actually serve two functions.  First, they force you to put together that you’ve got into a presentable form.  What looks good on paper, or sounds good in your mind, might not be that good when you actually present it.   So, the demo is a great forcing function for you to identify what’s actually valuable and how to package and showcase that value in a presentable way.    Second, the value of the demo is the actual feedback.  As a rule, I like to Demos on Thursdays each week, as a way to bring work together into a package.  It helps people show off their stuff and feel acknowledge and appreciated.  If it’s an internal demo, then it helps people on the team get real feedback from their peers before going more broadly.  If it’s a public demo, then it’s a great chance to get real feedback from actual users.  I’m a fan of failing fast and failing often.   You get better through failure than you do from success because you learn *why* and *how* to improve.   As Tony Robbins puts it, when you succeed you party and when you fail you ponder.  My guiding principle is to carry the good forward and to turn failure into feedback.
    4. Iterations.   Iterations are a wonderful thing.  They help you set a cadence for shipping stuff, doing demos, and executing your work.   In patterns & practices, the most common pattern was two-week iterations.  I originally used three-week iterations, and then moved to two-week iterations, and eventually moved to one-week iterations, for a variety of reasons.  The one-week iterations reduced my iteration planning time from one or two hours down to 30 minutes max.  It also helped people on the team feel more connected to their results and to drive a great week.   It also meant people had to spend less time estimating their work, and it meant that estimates were more accurate.  In simple terms, it meant that the team could plan a great week, and on Friday reflect on their results without bleeding things into the net week … bite off a weeks’ worth of work, and finish a week’s worth of work.   This radically improved our agility and our ability to execute in a more predictable and streamlined way.   This also set the stage for more lean practices, and on my projects, I was a fan of using a Kanban to visualize the work, reduce open work, and to improve our flow.  I also liked that Kanban is a very customer-connected approach to development in that it is “pull” vs. “push.”  It’s the ultimate in “demand-driven” development.
    5. Product Backlogs and Sprint Backlogs.   Your “Product” backlog is everything that needs to get built.  The “Sprint” backlog is simply the chunk you are biting off for this particular iteration.   This distinction is an important one.   It’s great to have one place to look for everything that makes up the possibilities, the pains, and the needs of your potential product.   It’s also great to be able to grab a meaningful chunk for execution.   The real trick with biting off a meaningful chunk is knowing the dependencies and being able to sequence in a way that flows value while reducing risk.  This is also another reason why user stories are helpful.  They are a collection of customer value at your finger tips.
    6. Prioritization.   To prioritize our user stories and backlog items, we’ve used surveys extensively.   A proven practice is to play a game of “spend a $100.” (See Enterprise Library 5.0 Product Backlog Prioritization Survey.)   An important point is that the prioritization surveys are input into your prioritization planning.  They help you balance perspective and identify actual demand.  In a best case example, they help you find the surprises or disconnects.  Customers usually know what they want, but they don’t always know what they need, and there is often an awareness issue.   If you’re familiar with marketing, this is specifically about finding, surfacing, and addressing latent needs.   Customers may want the “cheaper” bridge, but as the engineer, you need to make sure they know the trade-offs, and that a “safer” bridge might be a better bet.  What’s important is that you create an opportunity for customers to voice their priorities and that you keep an open mind to being surprised.
    7. Project cycles and product cycles.  Having a distinction between the project and product cycle help you optimize and use the right tool for the job.  For a simple example, Scrum is more of a project process, while XP is more of a product development process.  The project cycle is important at the business level.  It’s the cadence of the projects.  It’s where the vital few milestones are established in terms of start, key checks, ship, and post-mortem.  Product cycles on the other hand, are geared towards the product development.   The real key here is that if you have multiple teams, you can standardize on the project cycle, while you let each team choose it’s most effective product cycle or development methodology.  The product cycle would simply feed into the agreed milestones at the project cycle level to support the rhythm at the business level.
    8. Release Planning.    Release planning is a significant body of work.   One of the most important features of release planning in patterns & practices was determining the Minimum Credible Release (MCR.)  This was the minimum product we could ship that would actually be worth it.   To illustrate this to management, we simply drew a cut-line in terms of scenarios.
    9. Scenarios and Stories.   In many ways, scenarios and user stories are the backbone of the product.   They are one of the best ways to set scope.   Scenarios and stories are also a great way to capture and share requirements in a more contextual way.   You get customers to tell you their specific goals and tasks.   If you want to build a better product, then focus on building a great set of scenarios and stories.   These are the backbone of your product.   They set the tests for success.   They are your tool for prioritizing.   To stay customer connected, your customers directly contribute the stories and scenarios, and they help prioritize the stories and scenarios with you.   This is how you build empathy for the customer’s pains and needs.   For examples, see WCF Security Scenarios in Azure and WCF Scenarios Map.
    10. User, Business, and Technical Perspective.   Maintaining and balancing perspectives and points of view is key to successful product development.   You’ll find that a lot of conflict and arguments happen because everybody is “right”, but they are “right” only from their perspective, and you need to know which perspective they are arguing.  The perspectives that you will most often bump up against in product development are user, business, and technical.   If you keep those in mind, then whenever there is an argument or a conflict, then you can do a quick sanity check to figure out what perspective are they arguing from.   When you know this, it is a lot easier to build bridges too or speak the right language.   When speaking to the business, talk about value and cost, budget, and quality.  Or talk about cycle time and efficiency or effectiveness.   Or focus on the “What” or the “Why.”  When speaking to the technical, it’s fine to elaborate on trade-offs, the “How”, and implementation details.  Tech is a great perspective to elaborate on system concerns or quality attributes like security, performance, or reliability.  When talking tech, it’s a great perspective to speak about features and specifics.   When speaking to the customer perspective, here is where you want to talk about persona, roles, and goals.  Or it’s a great place to talk about pains and needs.   A great rule of thumb that has served me well is to speak in terms of “persona-based goals with scenarios.”  See Perspectives Frame and User Experience, Tech Feasibility, and Business Value.

    There is a lot more I could say, and a lot more I could share, and I will.   For example, I learned a lot from doing Retrospectives for various product teams around Microsoft.    I also learned a lot on building more effective business cases.   I’ve also learned a lot about doing effective daily standups with distributed teams around the world.  The most important thing though that I learned, at least in terms of helping teams get up and running with Agile, is how to show and share end-to-end life-cycles.   For example, I have a simple model now of the Project Cycle + Product Cycle and the workstreams below each, now in my head.  In a future post, I’ll share what that looks like, if there is interest.

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    Portfolio Management

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    How do you manage your portfolio of IT investments?  Do you have a mental model for portfolio management?   Here is an example:

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    While there are a lot of ways to manage a portfolio, I find the frame above to be highly effective.  It’s from the Cranfield School of Management in the UK.   It’s a very simple frame:

    • Two dimensions:   Value Today vs. Value Tomorrow
    • Four Quadrants:  High-Potential, Strategic, Key Operational, and Support

    The key is to know where your investments are in terms of this map.  A common path for investments is to move through the quadrants in this order:  High-Potential, Strategic, Key Operational, and Support.

    Example Investment Ratios
    Here is an example of a common investment spread:

    image

    Above the Line
    A cutting question to ask about your portfolio management is, “Are you operating above the line?”   This cuts to the chase to answer two key questions:

    1. Are you operating on the top half of the chart?
    2. Are you working on things that create business value for your future?

    You can use this frame to look at cloud investments … your current business investments … how you spend your time … etc.   It can be a lens for a life, and a lens for learning … and a way to shape your path forward by flowing more value and staying in the game for the road ahead.

    Here is a nice distillation of IT Portfolio Management and how to think about it as it relates to the cloud.

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    Office 365 Links and Resources

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    While looking for key Office 365 resources, I found the following to be useful starting points:

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    Getting Results the Agile Way - Top 10 Best Seller on Amazon in Time-Management

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    Colleagues, friends, and family have been asking me how my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, is doing.   It’s doing well.   Today it was #10 on Amazon’s Best Seller’s list in Time Management.

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    Time Management is a great niche because time is such a unique and precious resource.   How you invest your time helps shape your happiness, your fulfillment, your work life balance, and your achievements in work and life.  I hope the insights and actions I’ve shared in Getting Results the Agile Way, serve you well on your journey and in your pursuit of mastering your time.

    I think what makes this book unique for people is that I’ve tried to integrate as much as I could from many amazing mentors at Microsoft, my personal trials and tribulations, and even lessons from software development that we can apply to life (Think “Agile” for life or “Scrum for life” and the value of personal kanbans, timeboxing, etc.)

    In related news, Getting Results the Agile Way will be featured in an upcoming article in a magazine with a reader base of three million.

    Probably the biggest request I get now is training.   I’m exploring different ways to share and scale training in a more effective way.  I’ll be experimenting and testing approaches in the near future.   While I’ve done one-off sessions and Webinars, I’d like to better package it up and productize it.   I’m a fan of building information products to share and scale information and empower people.

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    30 Days of Getting Results - Free Time-Management Training

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    I’ve updated 30 Days of Getting Results based on feedback.  (Special thanks to Alik Levin for his feedback and insight above and beyond the call of duty.)   The site URL is simpler now and easier to share:

    I wanted to clean it up and improve the experience, especially for those that are using this as their 30 Day Improvement Sprint to bootstrap the new year.

    Time Management Skills
    Here are some of the time management skills you will learn, tune, and improve as part of the time management training:

    • How to manage your time
    • How to focus and direct your attention with skill
    • How to spend more time on the things that really matter to you
    • How to be the author of your life and write your story forward
    • How to make the most of your your moments, days, weeks, months, and years
    • How to use a simple system to achieve meaningful results
    • How to achieve work-life balance
    • How to play to your strengths and spend less time in weaknesses
    • How to motivate yourself with skill and find your drive
    • How to change a habit and make it stick
    • How to improve your personal productivity and personal effectiveness

    You will learn time management tips and strategies as part of a system, each lesson can be used by itself or “better together” with other lessons.

    Time Management Training Lessons at a Glance
    Here are the 30 Lessons at a Glance that make up the time management training:

    • Day 1 – Take a Tour of Getting Results the Agile Way
    • Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
    • Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
    • Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
    • Day 5 – Hot Spots – Map Out What’s Important
    • Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve
    • Day 7 – Setup Boundaries and Buffers
    • Day 8 – Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
    • Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
    • Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long
    • Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
    • Day 12 – Productivity Personas – Are You are a Starter or a Finisher?
    • Day 13 – Triage Your Action Items with Skill
    • Day 14 – Carve Out Time for What’s Important
    • Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
    • Day 16 – Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
    • Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week
    • Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week
    • Day 19 — Who are You Doing it For?
    • Day 20 — Ask Better Questions, Get Better Results
    • Day 21 – Carry the Good Forward, Let the Rest Go
    • Day 22 – Design Your Day with Skill
    • Day 23 — Design Your Week with Skill
    • Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
    • Day 25 – Fix Time. Flex Scope
    • Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
    • Day 27 – Do Something Great
    • Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
    • Day 29 – Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
    • Day 30 – Take Agile Results to the Next Level

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    Personal Development Hub on Sources of Insight

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    Personal Development Hub

    My categories page on Sources of Insight is really a Personal Development Hub (if you think in terms of a Hub and Spoke model.)   It’s a one-stop shop for all the categories I use on Sources of Insight.   Many of you I know, focus on continuous improvement and are life-long learners, so you’ll appreciate this.

    (BTW, be sure to subscribe to Sources of Insight.   I’m going to be tackling some key challenges in today’s world including, making a living in the new economy.  I’m going to share patterns and practices, as well as stories and case studies of people that make $1,000 a day online, doing what they love as info-preneurs.   Way too many people are struggling in the “jobless” economic recovery, and I want to give you the edge and real skills you can use to change your game, or help somebody you know.  I can’t promise an easy path, but I can save you some dead-ends, and wasted time and effort, and share some of the short-cuts and methods that actually work)

    Maps Help You Find Your Way Around
    I always think it’s easier to find your way around when you have a map.  A friend suggested I create descriptions for my categories to help both humans and search engines figure out what my categories are all about.  If nothing else, it would be a great map making exercise.

    Today, I added descriptions to the categories, so that you can see the intent behind the various buckets, and I included some samples where it made sense.  When I was done writing the descriptions, which turned out to be a two-hour exercise, that I originally thought would be a twenty minute exercise -- it revealed a lot.  It revealed a better map of Sources of Insight, going well-beyond just a list of categories and links.  It forced me to re-think and rationalize why I chose the various categories that I did, and revaluate whether they are still the right ones.

    While there’s more time ahead of Sources of Insight, than behind it … it was good to take a look at the map, which was like taking a look from the balcony, or taking a look from the mountain top.  It was easier for me to see where I have a lot more work to do, and where I haven’t done enough to equip you with the right tools and skills for the tough stuff at work, or the challenges in life.  I also noticed where some information is a bit too buried and needs to be surfaced and cross-linked in a better way.

    The Sources of Insight “Treasure Map” at Your Disposal
    I’ve created brief descriptions to help you understand the thinking behind each category I use on Sources of Insight.  Here is a map to help you find your way around Sources of Insight and to know where to look for key personal development resources at your finger tips:

    • Body – Body is anything related to shaping your body or improving your physical prowess.
    • Book Nuggets – “Book Nuggets” are key insights and actions from books.  When I read a book, I look for the actionable or insight parts, and then write about how to turn the insight into action.  I also share any relevant personal experience of applying the idea.
    • Business – Business is anything related to business skills, business strategy, etc.  Where possible, I try to show how business skills can be applied to life to improve your personal effectiveness.
    • Career – Career is anything related to finding jobs, thinking through career paths, making a living, etc.  I also try to work in cornerstone concepts like work-life balance, living your values, and driving from your life style.  The goal of my career posts is to empower you to be YOUR best, while growing on the job, doing work that makes your soul sing, and playing to your strengths.  I think of it as giving you skills to pay the bills and lead a better life.
    • Communication – Communication is anything related to communicating, whether that’s writing, or creating presentations, or speaking.  I’m a fan of continuously improving skills to write, speak, and share ideas visually, in a more effective way.
    • Confidence – Confidence is anything related to improving your self-confidence.  Confidence is one of the most important attributes for making the most of what you’ve got, and for living life to the fullest.  To improve confidence, I find patterns and practices based on both science and real-world experience.
    • Conflict – Conflict is anything related to interpersonal conflict, negotiations, and arguments.  With these posts, I equip you with skills to be more effective in identifying, addressing, and resolving conflict.  Conflict is a common part of every day life, and by improving your skills and coping mechanisms, you can turn conflict from a painful experience to something you look forward to as a way to challenge yourself to be more collaborative, create more effective solutions, and improve the greater good.  On the flip side, you can grow your skills to avoid getting stepped on or taken advantage of, and be more assertive.
    • Creativity – Creativity is anything related to improving your creativity, ideas, and ability to find creative solutions.  I treat creativity as an art and science, and I regularly explore techniques and methods for improving creativity.  There are many books with great ideas for improving your creativity, so what I do is find, organize, and share the best of the best that I can find.  I also try to put the insights into plain English, as well as make the skills easier to turn into action.
    • Decision-Making – Decision making is anything related to making decisions.  Your ability to make decisions and choose wisely is a way to express judgment.  Peter Drucker was a fan of judgment as skill, but something you very much learn from experience.  I focus on both personal decisions, as well as decisions in the workplace, including making team-based decisions.  While, I share decision frameworks and methods, I keep them simple and pragmatic.  The true keys to effective decision making are knowing the criteria, limiting the options, setting boundaries, and satisficing where you can.  One of the best skills you can grow through life is decisive action.
    • Effectiveness – Effectiveness is anything related to improving your personal effectiveness.  I like to think of effectiveness, the same way Covey thinks about success: “The response meets the challenge.”  One of the best questions you can ask yourself is, “Is it effective?”  I make it a point to find the best principles, patterns, and practices for improving your thinking, feeling, and taking action.  My posts on personal effectiveness and some of my most popular posts.  After all, who doesn’t want to improve their personal effectiveness.
    • Emotional-Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is anything related to improving your emotional intelligence skills.  You can think of emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive, evaluate, and control emotions.   It’s one of the most useful skills to help you think better and make better choices, by using emotions as input.  It’s also especially important as a leader to help you improve your empathy and build rapport.  By improving your emotional intelligence, you can use your rational-mind to make better choices, and either avoid going into ‘fight or flight” mode, or break yourself out of it, faster and easier.
    • Fear – Fear is anything related to dealing with fear.  Fear can hold you back in so many ways.  Whether your fear is based on real or perceived threats, the problem is when it cripples you from taking action.  To bring out your best, conquer your fears, and live life to the fullest, I share key strategies and tactics for dealing with fear.
    • Featured – Featured is anything that gets featured on the Home page.
    • Finance – Finance is anything related to making money, investing, building wealth, the economy, and personal finance. 
    • Fun – Fun is anything related to having fun, finding the lighter side, or sharing humor.
    • Getting-Results – Getting Results is anything related to my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.  Getting Results the Agile Way is a personal results system for work and life.  The book is a playbook for making things happen at work and in life.  In the book I share key principles, patterns, and practices for goals, motivation, time management,  personal effective, productivity, etc.  It’s all about making the most of what you’ve got, and it draws from software, positive psychology, project management, etc.  It puts science and proven practices on your side, and helps you bridge the gap between the “state of the art” and the “state of the practice.”
    • Goals – Goals is anything related to setting and achieving your goals.  While I do share classic methods and techniques for goal setting, I do put special emphasis on finding goals that inspire you and connect to your “why” in life.  I’m a fan of meaningful results and inspired action.  As Tony Robbins says, “ People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals.”
    • Guest Posts – Guest Posts is any post by a featured guest.  While I tend to focus on guest posts by best-selling authors, I really open the door to anybody who has a super skill to share with the world.   I especially enjoy sharing insightful authors, and people with expertise or interesting experience that helps people grow their skills to pay the bills or lead a better life.  That’s a common theme.
    • Happiness – Happiness is anything related to improving your happiness.  With these posts, I help you avoid the “If-then” trap of always putting happiness somewhere into the future, and instead grow it right under your feet.   There is a lot of science on happiness that you can use everyday.  For example,Stumbling on Happiness teaches us that we aren’t very good at predicting our own happiness.  We also know that happiness can be measured in two ways: 1) How happy are you? and 2) How happy are you with your life?  One focuses on how you feel in the moment, while the other focuses on fulfillment.  We also know that people have different temperaments and levels of happiness, and that you can work against your own happiness by expecting yourself to feel happy all the time or by having a low-frustration tolerance.  By building your happiness skills, you can choose happiness, and you can improve your enjoyment along the way, as you embark on your personal pursuit of happiness.
    • Health – Health is anything related to improving your health.  Your body is your temple, and hopefully we can make it last for the long haul.  As the joke goes, we spend our younger years trading our health for wealth, and then our later years we trade our wealth for our health.  Hopefully, with the right patterns and practices, we can get the best of both worlds.
    • Influence – Influence is anything related to improving your influence or understanding the impact of influence on you.  My dictionary defines influence as, “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself”, and that sounds reasonable to me.  To make it real, think of it as the ability for you to shape behaviors and change.  You can shape yourself, others, teams, organizations, etc.  In fact, influence is one of the most important skills in today’s world.  You can do it all, so your influence is how you can get it done through other people.  One of the specific skills I write about is influence without authority, which is a common scenario, where you need to influence people that don’t report to you.
    • Innovation – Innovation is anything related to the art and science of innovation.   Innovation is derived from the Latin word innovatus, which is the noun form of innovare, which means, "to renew or change.”  I’m a fan of innovation as a way to experiment and learn, and change the game on multiple levels.  I’ve tested multiple ways to innovate under extreme conditions, and one of my strengths is bringing ideas to life, and making things happen.  It’s been a long and winding road, but I think the road gets easier when you know the key patterns and practices that work.  I also share key ideas and wisdom on innovation from several leading thinkers including Peter Drucker, Edward de Bono, and Michael Michalko, who is a former Disney imagineer and author of the book, ThinkerToys.
    • Intellectual-Horsepower – Intellectual Horsepower is anything related to thinking and improving your mind.  I treat thinking as a skill and I focus on finding methods and techniques you can use to improve your thinking.  One of the best ways you can improve your thinking is by asking better questions.  I regularly share powerful questions you can use to improve your work and life.  For example, here is my post on, 101 Questions that Empower You, which is one of my most popular posts of all time.
    • Interpersonal-Skills – Interpersonal Skills is anything related to interacting with other people.  This is all about building the “people skills”  Whether it’s dealing with people you can’t stand, or building rapport, having crucial conversations, dealing with conflict, or influencing without authority  (Crucial Conversations, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand,  and Influence without Authority are great books, BTW).
    • Leadership – Leadership is anything related to leadership.  John Maxwell says it precisely, “leadership is influence”, and I think that’s true.   I’m a fan of distinguishing thought-leadership from people-leadership.  Although they are related, there is power in understanding your strength as a leader, as well as your passion, and how to use this insight to shape your journey and career path.  I think it also helps to think of leadership as a progression, from self-leadership to leading teams, to leading organizations, etc.  As you grow your capability, you expand your sphere of influence, and you can think globally, but act locally.  Another important concept in leadership is the idea of “servant leadership” and doing things for the greater good, which can be a sharp contrast from an authority-based or command-and-control leadership style, which works well in some specific contexts and environments, but not in many or most others.
    • Learning – Learning is anything related to learning.  I’m a fan of continuous improvement and I’m a life-long learner.  That said, I also believe that learning is a by-product of chasing your passion, and diving deep into what you love.  I also think learning is a skill we can use every day to deal with setbacks, fail fast, find the way forward, and carry forward the lessons learned.  In the age of information, learning is one of the super skills to have under your belt.   In my posts, I share techniques you can use to learn faster, simpler, and better, so that you spend less time down dead-ends, and more time figuring out what’s important and using what you know.  Learning and thinking skills go hand in hand, as well as reading skills.
    • Lessons-Learned – Lessons Learned is anything related to sharing lessons from work and life.  Many of my lessons learned posts summarize key patterns and practices from inspiring people.  For example, two of my most popular posts in this category are Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee and Lessons Learned from Seth Godin.   In each case, I think of it as “greatness distilled” as I attempt to share and scale their best insights and actions for work and life.  I use their quotes, books, and anything else that might be useful as a way to reverse-engineer their thought patterns and principles that we can use to expand our abilities and gain perspectives.
    • Life – Life is anything related to the topic of life.  It’s a broad bucket but that’s the beauty.  If there’s one thing we all share in common it’s the human experience, and this little journey we call life.  As each of us finds our way in the world, my hope is that we get better at living life, and making the journey the destination.  The key is that life is not a face, and the trick is to figure out who you want to be and what experiences you want to create … and embracing the ups and downs along the way.  I’ve found that life gets better with the right words, which is why I share a lot of quotes.  I’ve also found that life gets better with skills, and that we can improve our life by applying business skills, project management skills, and other skills that we tend to just use at work.  I’m also a big believer in driving a path of fulfillment and making meaning.   One of the people I know that’s very effective at this is Dr. K (Richard Kirschner), and he wrote a guest post for me on just this topic.  It’s How To Design a Fulfilling Life.  It’s a real gem.
    • Management – Management is anything related to management.  Peter Drucker teaches us that,“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”   In this category, I tend to put posts about managing the innovation, managing the business, and managing people. 
    • Marketing – Marketing is anything related to marketing.  In this topic, I focus on things like branding, positioning, market sizing, market evaluation, strategic marketing, and value propositions.
    • Motivation –  Motivation is anything to do with motivation.  I’m a fan of inspired action, and I write a lot of posts about how to make the most of your motivation.  All motivation is really self-motivation, and the key is to know how to push your own buttons.  I think it’s also important to understand the difference between motivation, drivers, wants, needs, self-discipline, and other concepts that help you know how to find your mojo.  At the end of the day, your most powerful tool for motivation is self-awareness and knowing yourself.  To fill your motivation bag of tricks, I include many skills, principles, and patterns for motivation, as well as inspiring people, inspirational quotes, and meaningful metaphors to help you get your groove on.
    • Movies – Movies is anything related to movies.  I watch a lot of movies, and it’s where I get some of my best insights.
    • NLP – NLP is anything related to Neuro-Linguistic Programming.  NLP is a set of principles, patterns, and practices to program your mind, body, and emotions to think, act, and feel your best.  Many executives, use NLP as a way to change their game.  The beauty is NLP is available to anybody who wants to use its methods and techniques, and there are many books on the topic.  My favorite book on NLP, is the book, Brilliant NLP: What the Most Successful People Know, Say, and Do.  I like this particular book because it’s simple to read and it focuses on the big ideas and keeps things both insightful and actionable.
    • People – People is anything related to people.  I use this category to make it easy to browse my posts about key people, some of which are personal heroes, and others are mentors or role models, or simply people I find insightful or inspiring.
    • Personal-Development – Personal Development is anything related to personal development.   I don’t really focus on the “self-help” niche of personal development.  Instead, I focus on the idea of continuous improvement and expanding your personal capabilities.  Basically, bringing out your best and making the most of what you’ve got.  I spend a lot of energy on creating, finding, sharing, and organizing techniques to be YOUR best.  One of my most important personal development guides is my free eBook, You 2.0.   Many people have shared their stories with me how this simple and short guide helped them build a firm foundation and unleash a better version of themselves, and get back on path, while the world changes under their feet.
    • Problem-Solving – Problem Solving is anything related to solving problems.  In this category, I share skills and techniques that help you make mince-meat out of your problems.  No matter what the problem is there are some key ways to improve your ability to solve them.  Some of the keys include reframing problems as challenges, clarifying the problem, modeling the solution by finding examples to learn from, asking better questions, and testing your solutions, and testing your assumptions.   One of my favorite quotes on solving problems is by Voltaire, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”  I find that’s true, and the real key is writing your problem down in a way that you can share it, and others can team up with you … because no problem can withstand the assault of collective thinking.
    • Productivity – Productivity is anything related to personal productivity or getting things done.  Personally, I’m not a fan of output or productivity for productivity’s sake.  That’s why I was very specific in one of the taglines for Getting Results the Agile Way … it’s “a simple system for meaningful results.”    I’m a fan of slowing down to speed up.  I’m also a fan of having compelling outcomes, and clarity of the end in mind.  If the *why* isn’t strong enough, then why do it.  At the end of the day, I believe the key to productivity, where you are both efficient and effective, is working on the right things, at the right time, with the right energy, the right way.  If you are a fan of making things happen, I think you’ll enjoy one of my posts from this category – Rituals for Results.  In the post, I share some of my favorite habits and practices for getting results.
    • Quotes – Quotes is anything related to quotes.  I have a lot of quotes, and I’m an avid collector.  I’m a big believer that quotes are one of the best ways to hare the wisdom of the ages and modern day sages.  You can browse my collection of Great Quotes.   I have a large garden of quotes you can waltz through so if you only choose to read one set, read my Inspirational Quotes.   If you’re having a bad day, chances are, these quotes will give you a new lease on life, or at least a fighting chance.
    • Relationships – Relationships is anything related to building, healing, or dealing with relationships.  While interpersonal skill is more focus simply on “people skills”,  Relationships is more focused on the relationships aspect of people in your life, including friends, colleagues, family, and love interests or loved ones. 
    • Strengths – Strengths is anything related to character strengths and talents.  I think of strengths as your natural thinking, feeling, and doing patterns, not necessarily what you are good at (since you can get good at things, but they go against your grain.)  I’m a fan of playing to strengths, while reducing liabilities.  I’m also a fan of spending way more time in your strengths than in weaknesses, and using your strengths as your force multiplier.  I’ve found this is the key to sustainable energy and amplifying your impact.  It’s also a way to differentiate in a Darwin world, and either compete more effectively, or better yet, stand out so uniquely that there is no competition … and unleash your unique combination of strengths, talents, skills, and experience to the world.  The challenge with finding your strengths is having a vocabulary to frame and label them, but lucky for you, there is a lot of research and books on just this topic.  In my post, The Language of Personal Strengths, you can explore some of the labels people use to identify, classify, and share their strengths.
    • Stress – Stress is anything related to stress.  Stress and anxiety are related but often confused.  I find skills, techniques, and coping mechanisms to help you Use Stress to Be Your Best.    Here are the keys:  If you can distinguish between stress and anxiety, and if you can master the relaxation response, and you can develop your emotional intelligence, then you can do wonders for stress management.  By default, “fight or flight” is easy, and it’s what gets us into trouble.  Learning how to deal with stress and use it to get our game on takes skill, but it’s worth the extra effort and it’s something you can use on a daily basis (unless you just happened to find that magical place where the unicorns run free and the rainbows shine bright, and the sun is always smiling.)
    • Time-Management – Time Management is anything related to managing your time.  Some way time is all you’ve got and it’s your most precious resource.  One of the most important questions you can answer in this life is, “What do you want to spend your time on?”, or “What do you want to spend more time doing?”    There are a lot of tricks to time management including managing energy, not time, and finding your flow.  There are basics to master, like prioritizing what’s important, making time for things, and actually scheduling things you want to have time for.  One of the most fundamental rules to know is Parkinson’s Law, which teaches us that “time expands to fill its container.”  One of your best weapons against time bandits in your bag of time management tricks is timeboxing.   Just that one method can help you suddenly find time for the things you’ve wanted, and help you keep your energy strong.
    • Values – Value is anything related to values.  One of the best ways you can live the good life is to spend more time in your values.  You can also use your values as a compass as you navigate your way through life.  You can also use your values as a way to motivate yourself, by connecting everything you do, back to your values.   For example, I value adventure.  So at work, I don’t do projects … I lead epic adventures.  The difference might seem small, but it’s powerful when every job I take on is a chance to make impact and make the journey an adventure the team can look back on and be proud of, while enjoying the journey, challenges and all, along the way.  Of course, the trick to living your values is you have to know what they are.  I have a post on Finding Your Values, but I’m going to have to elaborate on this topic more, because there are a lot of nuances to finding your values that matter the most.  The challenge, of course with values, is that they all seem “valuable”, so the trick is finding the vital few.
    • Videos – Videos is anything related to videos.  I share videos I find that are insightful, and I do plan to create videos too.
    • Writing – Writing is anything related to writing.  Writing is a skill you can use in so many ways whether at work or in life.  One of my favorite ways to think is to “think on paper.”  I also use writing as a way to share and scale expertise.  A big part of my life has been about writing guides to change the world, and my strength is writing prescriptive guidance.  I share what I learn, but I also share the wisdom and insight from others to help you write with might and improve your writing skills.

    Call to Action
    Share Sources of Insight with anybody you know that needs patterns and practices for improving effectiveness.   Send them to this page to subscribe to Sources of Insight.  There are already several hundred articles on Sources of Insight to help anybody you know get skills to pay the bills and lead a better life … and the best is yet to come.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Stevey's Google Platforms Rant

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    I’m a fan of lessons learned.   I especially like Stevey’s Google Platform Rant because it’s raw and it’s real, and it’s an insider’s lessons on what they think Amazon does right, and what Google does wrong, and how to fix it.  It’s a call to action.

    It did not strike me as a bash post (although it might feel like that if you’re on the receiving end of the rubber mallet Winking smile  )… but instead, I see it as a great wake up call by somebody with passion, conviction, and who actually cares about the great opportunity at hand …  The opportunity to build an amazing platform, and take a page out of the playbook from companies that do platforms well.  I’m a big believer that great change requires a sense of urgency, and that people are often so desensitized because of overload to what’s truly urgent (and important) … that the wake up call needs a bit of sting (and nothing stings like dabs of truth.)

    What makes this particular post truly insightful (and keep in mind it can be yanked from the Web), is that it’s from somebody who has spent six years at  Amazon and six years at Google.  (It really is an insider’s view.  In fact, the original post was not meant to be shared publicly.)  Steve has the benefit of contrast, and the benefit of seeing how strategies and tactics play out over time.  More importantly, Steve has the ability to tune in and surface the vital few surprising insights that count.

    Here is my short-list of key take aways from the post:

    1. “When software -- or idea-ware for that matter -- fails to be accessible to anyone for any reason, it is the fault of the software or of the messaging of the idea. It is an Accessibility failure.”
    2. “Amazon had transformed culturally into a company that thinks about everything in a services-first fashion. It is now fundamental to how they approach all designs, including internal designs for stuff that might never see the light of day externally.”
    3. “But they do services because they've come to understand that it's the Right Thing. There are without question pros and cons to the SOA approach, and some of the cons are pretty long. But overall it's the right thing because SOA-driven design enables Platforms.”
    4. “… the same way Amazon did it: all at once, for real, no cheating, and treating it as our top priority from now on.” (In reference to shift to a platform and service-first mindset)
    5. “a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product”
    6. “The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.” (Regarding how very few people in the history of software do this well)
    7. “We don't get Platforms, and we don't get Accessibility. The two are basically the same thing, because platforms solve accessibility. A platform is accessibility.”  (Regarding Google’s opportunity)
    8. “Any teams that have successfully internalized the notion that they should be externally programmable platforms from the ground up are underdogs.”
    9. “But making something a platform is not going to make you an instant success. A platform needs a killer app.”
    10. “The Golden Rule of Platforms, ‘Eat Your Own Dogfood’, can be rephrased as ‘Start with a Platform, and Then Use it for Everything.’ You can't just bolt it on later”

    The meta-lesson reinforces what I’ve come to believe to be true, which is that platforms and services win in the end, and that applications are the pull-through.  It’s the applications that make the platform’s capabilities meaningful, contextual, and relevant, and it’s the platform that makes the applications sustainable for the long-haul and consistent where it counts.  And the elegance of the platform is what empowers the ecosystem to takes things well beyond what anybody originally dreamed up … as a catalyst for innovation and possibility.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Personal Development Books Revisited

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    I’ve updated my Personal Development Books collection.   If you’ve seen it before, you’ll notice it’s a lot cleaner and easier to scan.  If you haven’t seen it before, hopefully it is one of the most complete lists of personal development books that you’ve come across.

    Personal development books hit a sweet spot for me because I’m a fan of continuous improvement and excellence.   I’ve found that books are the short-cut in today’s world.  While they don’t make up for having great mentors, they do provide a fast path to some of the best principles, patterns, and practices around.

    To make this list useful, while keeping it simple, I organized the personal development books into different buckets:

    • Achievement and Goals
    • Body
    • Career Development
    • Character and Attitude
    • Communication Skills
    • Decision Making and Choice
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Focus
    • Habits, Principles, and Practices
    • Happiness and Feeling Good
    • Interpersonal Skills and Relationships
    • Intuition
    • Leadership
    • Learning
    • Motivation and Self-Discipline
    • Positive Thinking and Optimism
    • Productivity
    • Purpose and Passion
    • Self-Awareness
    • Spiritual Intelligence
    • Strengths
    • Stress
    • Thinking Skills and Intelligence
    • Wealth
    • Work-Life Balance

    It’s also worth noting that I spend a few hundred dollars on books each month, so I tend to cover a lot of books.  Also note that I don’t really just books by their writing, but instead on their effectiveness for delivering prescriptive guidance.  I try to find books that solve problems and share useful insights and actions.  My main judge for a book is whether it teaches me something relevant that I can use and put into practice.

    I’m always growing my collection of personal development books, so feel free to share with me your personal favorites.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Now Available: Getting Results the Agile Way on Kindle

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    imageIt’s time to rattle the cage  People have been asking me for this, and now it’s finally here.  The Kindle version of Getting Results the Agile Way is now available.   It’s a personal results system for work and life.   Whether you want to find your mojo, or take your personal effectiveness to the next level, or simply have a better day, this book is for you, or somebody you know.

    People around the world have shared with me their personal stories and wins.   I know a restaurant owner that renovated his business using Getting Results the Agile Way.  I know a teacher inspiring her peers to get their game on using Getting Results.  I know teams of consultants using Getting Results the Agile Way to achieve better, faster, simpler results and it’s contagious.  Even my Mom used it to tackle a few big projects on her house.   You can read the testimonials and success stories on Getting Results.com.

    This books puts in your hand the same system I’ve used to create high-performing teams, help individuals flourish, and coach teams to unleash their best.

    Getting Results in today’s landscape is tough.  Our world changes faster than we can keep up.  Worse, we don’t always have the best practices for managing focus, managing our time, managing our energy, or even basic productivity.  Agile Results is a simple system for meaningful results that combines some of the best methods for thinking, feeling, and taking action.  To put it another way, Agile Results is a way to help you make the most of work and life.

    You are the author of your life.  I created this system as a way to put it all together and help you write your story forward.  By using three wins to drive your day, your week, your month, and your year, you take charge of your life and live life on your terms.  By spending your time on the right things, with the right energy, with the right approach, you unleash your best.  As you learn and respond, you build momentum.  This momentum carries you forward, supporting everything you do.

    This is the playbook I wish somebody gave me.  Now, I’m sharing it with you.

    Key Features of the Book
    The book has several compelling features for slicing and dicing the personal effectiveness body of knowledge:

    • Principles, patterns, and practices.   It’s a rich collection of proven practices, smart success patterns, and timeless principles.   Because it’s a principle-based system, you have wisdom of the ages at your finger tips.  It’s wisdom in action.
    • Meaningful results.   It’s not about getting more things done.  It’s about meaningful results.  By getting clarity on you want to accomplish, you
    • It’s a system.   It’s more than a book.  It’s a system.  With the system on your side, you automatically build better habits and practices that bring out your best.
    • It’s simple.  By simple, I do mean simple.   There is no other system like it.  If you simply write down three wins for your day, you’re doing Getting Results the Agile Way.  More importantly, if you fall off the horse, it’s easy to get back on.
    • It’s flexible.   It’s incredibly flexible and it stretches to fit your needs.  Rather than hard and fast rules, it’s a platform of principles, patterns, and practices that you can easily adapt or modify to suit your personal style.  It’s YOUR personal results system.

    Contents at a Glance
    The full Getting Results Guide is available for free on Getting Results.com in HTML.  This is the contents of the guide at a glance:

    Chapters

    Getting Started
    I’m a fan of making it easy to get started.  Like I said, if you simply write down three wins for your day, you’re doing Getting Results.  But to help you get started fast, here is the one-page guide on Getting Started with Getting Results.

    The Knowledge Base
    The Getting Results Knowledge Base picks up where the book leaves off.   It’s a serious collection of patterns and practices for improving your focus, motivation, time management, and more.   The knowledge base includes:

    By the way, these are no ordinary guidelines in there.  For example, somebody I know is using the focus guidelines to build coping mechanisms for ADD, as an alternative to drugs.  If you get a chance to explore the focus guidelines, you’ll see why.

    Watch a Short Video Story of Getting Results the Agile Way
    Ed Jeziersky hops around the world helping doctors and patients deal with large-scale disasters.  What does he use to lead his teams?  … You guessed it.  Here is Ed on Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Acknowledgements
    I have a lot of people to thank for helping me make this book happen.   In addition to my loyal readers of Sources of Insight, I’d like to thank the following people for helping me with this book:

    Adam Grocholski, Alik Levin, Andrew Kazyrevich, Andy Eunson, Andrea Fox, Anutthara Bharadwaj, Brian Maslowski, Chaitanya Bijwe, Chenelle Bremont, Daniel Rubiolo Mendoza, David K. Stewart, David Wright, David Zinger, Dennis Groves, Don Willits, Donald Latumahina, Dr. Rick Kirschner, Eduardo Jezierski, Eileen Meier, Erin M. Karp, Ethan Zaghmut, Gloria Campbell, Gordon Meier, Janine de Nysschen, Jason Taylor, Jeremy Bostron, Jill Heron, Jimmy May, John Allen, John deVadoss, Julian Gonzalez, Juliet du Preez, Kevin Lam, Larry Brader, Loren Kohnfelder, Mark Curphey, Michael Kropp, Michael Stiefel, Mike de Libero, Mike Torres, Mohammad Al-Sabt, Molly Clark, Olivier Fontana, Patrick Lanfear, Paul Enfield, Per Vonge Nielsen, Peter Larsson, Phil Huang, Prashant Bansode, Praveen Rangarajan, Richard Diver, Rob Boucher Jr., Rohit Sharma, Rudolph Araujo, Samantha Sieverling, Sameer Tarey, Scott Hanselman, Scott Stabbert, Scott Young, Sean Platt, Srinath Vasireddy, Steve Kayser, Tom Draper, Vidya Vrat Agarwal, Wade Mascia.

    Key Links at a Glance
    Here are the key links at a glance:

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Program Management Tip - Save Time by Working on What Actually Counts

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    One of the most valuable lessons I learned early on in Program Management at Microsoft, is that value is in the eye of the beholder.

    One common pitfall is throwing a lot of time and effort at things, only to find that when you’re done, nobody cares. If you keep feeling a lack of appreciation, then ask yourself, “Who was I doing it for?” If it was for yourself, was it what you most cared about, or could you have invested the same time in something else and felt like you made a more important impact. If you were doing it for somebody else, ask them whether what you’re working on is really the most important thing to them. If you’re working on a lot of low-priority items, don’t expect to get the rewards. In fact, a pattern is that the more you work on low-priority items, the more you become a dumping ground. The more you become a dumping ground, the busier you get; the busier you get, the more overloaded you will feel. Now the worst happens—you’re overworked, underappreciated, and no fun to be around. By failing to work on what’s valuable and by failing to understand and reset expectations, you’ve worked yourself into an unrewarding, high-stress scenario.

    On the flip side, working on the things that you value, inspires your passion, keeps you engaged, and builds momentum.  Balance that with things that are valued by others, and be deliberate.  Sometimes you have to choose you.  Sometimes you have to flex and bend.  Sometimes it’s “meet me in the middle.”  Sometimes it’s simply reframing what you’re doing in a way that speaks to others, or vice-versa.  Simply making mindful choices can help you dial up your passion where it counts.  It’s a force multiplier.

    To be a more effective Program Manager, start asking the question, “Who’s it for?” or “Who’s asking for that?” or “How important is that?” (and everything is always a trade-off.)

    Note -- This tip is from my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, a simple time management system,  and you can find more free time management tips in the Getting Results Knowledge Base.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Friday Links 2011-10-28

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    From the Archives
    Business Scenarios for the Cloud - While putting together lessons learned from our Enterprise Strategy cloud engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring business scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from a business perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    IT Scenarios for the Cloud - While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from an IT perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    From the Web
    Time Management Checklist - Here is a checklist for improving your time management skills.  It includes proven practices and time-tested strategies and tactics.  You can use the checklist to inspect and evaluate your time management skills.  You can also use the checklist as a simple set of one-liner reminders to draw from when you need them.

    Leadership Checklist - I’ve created a leadership checklist that should act like a hub and spoke of effective leadership practices.  The challenge is distilling effective leadership practices into one-liner reminders that are easy to evaluate the behavior, where possible.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Press Release for Getting Results the Agile Way on Kindle

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    The press release for Getting Results the Agile Way is now live at Time Management Tips and Time Management Strategies for Achievers.   I think the message hits a sweet spot – it’s a time management system for achievers.  (One interesting tidbit along those lines is that Getting Results the Agile Way was #2 on the Amazon best sellers list in Germany for “time management”.)

    Here are the opening paragraphs:

    Some say, “Time is all we have.” To master time is to master life. The secret of time management is to have a trusted system and a collection of time management tips and time management strategies to draw from.

    Getting Results the Agile Way, by J.D. Meier, now available on Kindle, is a time management system for achievers focused on meaningful results. The power of Getting Results the Agile Way is that it combines some of the best practices for thinking, feeling, and taking action into one simple system to help achievers make the most of what they’ve got.

    You can read the rest of the press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/10/prweb8914806.htm

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Getting Started with Getting Results Free eBook

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    Getting Results the Agile Way is a simple time management system for achievers.   Whether you are an underdog trying to make the most of what you’ve got, or you are simply somebody with a passion for more from life, you are an achiever in my book.  (After all, we are all an underdog at some point in our lives.)  This is a system to help you be YOUR best.

    As a time management system, Getting Results the Agile Ways is focused on answering two very fundamental questions about time management:

    1. What to do?
    2. How to do it?

    By figuring out what to do, you set the stage for meaningful results.  This is all about slowing down to speed up.  This also reiterates the idea that less is more.  Rather than spread yourself thin, the idea is to focus on what really matters to you, and create meaningful experiences.

    This is a very short guide to get you up and running fast with Getting Results the Agile Way …

    Download

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results: Free Time Management Training for Achievers

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    Getting Results the Agile Way is a time management system for achievers.  It combines some of the best practices for thinking, feeling, and taking action into one simple system to help you make the most of what you’ve got, and master your time management skills.  It draws from software development, project management, positive psychology, and sports psychology.

    Free Time Management Training
    As an introduction to the system, I created a free 30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results.   It's called a boot camp because it's hard-core.  It's a 30 day, self-paced time management training course.  If you want to take your time management skills to the next level, then take the 30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results.   Keep in mind that because it’s self-paced, you could do all 30 lessons in a day, if you choose to.  This may be one of the best time management training courses you ever take, and the price is tough to beat.

    Time Management Skills
    Here are some of the time management skills you will learn, tune, and improve as part of the time management training:

    • How to manage your time
    • How to focus and direct your attention with skill
    • How to spend more time on the things that really matter to you
    • How to be the author of your life and write your story forward
    • How to make the most of your your moments, days, weeks, months, and years
    • How to use a simple system to achieve meaningful results
    • How to achieve work-life balance
    • How to play to your strengths and spend less time in weaknesses
    • How to motivate yourself with skill and find your drive
    • How to change a habit and make it stick
    • How to improve your personal productivity and personal effectiveness

    You will learn time management tips and strategies as part of a system, each lesson can be used by itself or “better together” with other lessons.

    Time Management Training Lessons at a Glance
    Here are the 30 Lessons at a Glance that make up the time management training:

    • Day 1 – Take a Tour of Getting Results the Agile Way
    • Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
    • Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
    • Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
    • Day 5 – Hot Spots – Map Out What’s Important
    • Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve
    • Day 7 – Setup Boundaries and Buffers
    • Day 8 – Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
    • Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
    • Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long
    • Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
    • Day 12 – Productivity Personas – Are You are a Starter or a Finisher?
    • Day 13 – Triage Your Action Items with Skill
    • Day 14 – Carve Out Time for What’s Important
    • Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
    • Day 16 – Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
    • Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week
    • Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week
    • Day 19 — Who are You Doing it For?
    • Day 20 — Ask Better Questions, Get Better Results
    • Day 21 – Carry the Good Forward, Let the Rest Go
    • Day 22 – Design Your Day with Skill
    • Day 23 — Design Your Week with Skill
    • Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
    • Day 25 – Fix Time. Flex Scope
    • Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
    • Day 27 – Do Something Great
    • Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
    • Day 29 – Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
    • Day 30 – Take Agile Results to the Next Level

    Key Links

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Where the Focus Goes

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    It’s always interesting to see where people put their focus, as well as how their patterns show up.  Here are some patterns of focus, which reveal how people show their values on the job:

    • Some focus on the process
    • Some focus on the thing/results/deliverables
    • Some focus on the impact
    • Some focus on the learning
    • Some focus on the journey
    • Some focus on the score
    • Some focus on the beans
    • Some focus on directing
    • Some focus on doing
    • Some focus on thinking
    • Some focus on creating and innovating
    • Some focus on completing
    • Some focus on policing
    • Some focus on correcting
    • Some focus on aligning
    • Some focus on schmoozing
    • Some focus on excuses
    • Some focus on solutions

    … some focus on giving their best where they’ve got their best to give, finding their flow, lifting others up, and changing the game.

    Of course, we’re all hybrids, but it’s interesting to see where some people dominate and drive from.

    Knowing the patterns makes it easier to bridge and switch perspectives, spot problems, and uncork potential.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Double-Loop Learning and How Agile Approaches Change the Game to Thrive in Times of Change

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    All paths lead to the same town. 

    I love it when dots finally connect, or when we have a name, or label, or vocabulary to express a concept that’s been around for a while, that people intuitively know from experience.  It makes it easier to share with others that don’t.  Here’s a bit of interesting research that might explain why agile practices can have a profound impact on creating powerful, highly effective learning organizations, and high-caliber execution machines.

    In the article, Chris Argyris: Theories of Action, Double-Loop Learning and Organizational Learning, by infed, we learn about theories-in-action vs. espoused theory, and double-loop learning vs. single-loop learning.

    Single-Loop Learning vs. Double-Loop Learning
    If learning involves the detection and correction of error, then Single-Loop learning is about finding and fixing problems within a set of governing variables.  It simply looks to operationalize the values, goals, and plans.  That’s not a game changer.  Double-Loop Learning, on the other hands, looks to question the governing variables themselves.  Here is an elaboration from the article:

    • Single-Loop Learning – According to the article, “Single-loop learning seems to be present when goals, values, frameworks and, to a significant extent, strategies are taken for granted. The emphasis is on ‘techniques and making techniques more efficient.”
    • Double-Loop Learning – According to the article, “Double-loop learning, in contrast, ‘involves questioning the role of the framing and learning systems which underlie actual goals and strategies … Double-loop learning is necessary if practitioners and organizations are to make informed decisions in rapidly changing and often uncertain contexts.”

    Theories in Use vs. Espoused Theory
    Theories-in-use are what you actually use and do in practice.  On the other hand, espoused theory is what you say you do, which may be completely different.  Here is an elaboration:

    • Theories-in-Use – According to the article, theories-in-use are “those theories that are implicit in what we do as practitioners and managers … They govern actual behavior and tend to be tacit structures. Their relation to action 'is like the relation of grammar-in-use to speech; they contain assumptions about self, others and environment - these assumptions constitute a microcosm of science in everyday life'”
    • Espoused Theory – According to the article, espoused theory is “those on which we call to speak of our actions to others … The words we use to convey what we, do or what we would like others to think we do.”

    Model I and Model II – Theories-in-Use
    Theories-in-Use can either enhance or inhibit double-loop learning.  Model I inhibits.  Model II enhances.  Here’s a summary:

    • Model I – According to the article, “It involves ‘making inferences about another person’s behaviour without checking whether they are valid and advocating one’s own views abstractly without explaining or illustrating one’s reasoning’ (Edmondson and Moingeon 1999:161).  The theories-in-use are shaped by an implicit disposition to winning (and to avoid embarrassment). The primary action strategy looks to the unilateral control of the environment and task plus the unilateral protection of self and others. As such Model I leads to often deeply entrenched defensive routines (Argyris 1990; 1993) – and these can operate at individual, group and organizational levels.”
    • Model II – According to the article, “The significant features of Model II include the ability to call upon good quality data and to make inferences. It looks to include the views and experiences of participants rather than seeking to impose a view upon the situation. Theories should be made explicit and tested, positions should be reasoned and open to exploration by others. … Found in settings and organizations that look to shared leadership. It looks to: Emphasize common goals and mutual influence.  Encourage open communication, and to publicly test assumptions and beliefs, and combine advocacy with inquiry.”

     

    Model I – Theories-in-Use

    Model II – Theories-In-Use

    The governing Values of Model I are:

    • Achieve the purpose as the actor defines it
    • Win, do not lose
    • Suppress negative feelings
    • Emphasize rationality

    Primary Strategies are:

    • Control environment and task unilaterally
    • Protect self and others unilaterally

    Usually operationalized by:

    • Un-illustrated attributions and evaluations e.g.. "You seem unmotivated"
    • Advocating courses of action which discourage inquiry e.g.. "Lets not talk about the past, that's over."
    • Treating ones' own views as obviously correct
    • Making covert attributions and evaluations
    • Face-saving moves such as leaving potentially embarrassing facts unstated

    Consequences include:

    • Defensive relationships
    • Low freedom of choice
    • Reduced production of valid information
    • Little public testing of ideas

    The governing values of Model II include:

    • Valid information
    • Free and informed choice
    • Internal commitment
    Strategies include:
    • Sharing control
    • Participation in design and implementation of action
    Operationalized by:
    • Attribution and evaluation illustrated with relatively directly observable data
    • Surfacing conflicting view
    • Encouraging public testing of evaluations

    Consequences should include:

    • Minimally defensive relationships
    • High freedom of choice
    • Increased likelihood of double-loop learning

    What’s interesting in the article is that most people "say” they use Model II, but that’s simply “espoused theory”.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Praveen on Getting Results the Agile Way

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    People like to hear stories about how other people are adopting Getting Results the Agile Way.    Meet Praveen Rangarajan.  He’s a developer with a passion for more from life.

    Praveen is not a "process" guy, but Agile Results gave him just enough structure to support his everyday things. Using Agile Results he learned to improve his results at both work and life in a more systematic way.

    Here is Praveen telling his story of how he adopted Getting Results the Way …

     


    For a majority of my life, I had never been a "Process" guy except when it came to work. I always believed order was meant for the military. I wanted to be a free bird - doing things my way at the time of my choosing.

    When JD briefed me on his new book and the process he was working on, I volunteered and said I wanted to be a part of it. I am quite successful at work and wanted to improve it further. However, I wasn't too keen on adopting it for life. I thought it would restrict me a lot and clip my feathers. So, I adopted it at work and did a trial run for a month. It was much more successful than I thought. The Agile Results process has in more ways than one made me a responsible individual. The most important realizations for me at the end of it was

    • do not misuse time or take it for granted.
    • your mind is your best friend and your worst enemy.
    • the ideal world does not exist. You cannot achieve the best. There is always room to make it better. But the trick lies in identifying what works best for now. Be agile in determining the best.

    Starting with The Rule of Three
    I started by applying the Rule of 3. On the way to work, I decide on the three things I want to get done for the day. I restricted myself to one day only. I get distracted if I start thinking too far ahead. For the first week or so, I had trouble identifying the three best things for a day. I would either achieve it in the first hour of work or wouldn't be able to complete even 1 out of the 3. For example, I wanted to complete a module that would have been possible had it not been for a CR [change request] flowing in. Now, it would take me more than 2 days to finish it. My plan for the day went down the tube. Slowly, I began to realize that I had to be more granular. The granularity had to be such that it was independent enough to be completed in isolation and at the same time wasn't too small a puzzle to solve. For example, "complete and check-in functionality ABC in module XYZ". This way I'm assured of completing the three activities I want to perform. Also, I can add more if time permits.

    Timeboxing to Get a Handle on Time Management
    The next most important pattern was the Timeboxing a week. In other words, scheduling results for a week. Its a pretty simple yet strong pattern. Again, I misunderstood its importance when I started off. I used it more like a calendar. A reminder of bucket lists of sorts. Although it helps, there is something more that this pattern offers. JD was kind enough to point it out to me. He said to think of it like a strengths and weaknesses chart. It triggered a new way of thinking in me. I was now also looking at a week gone by and identifying times of the day, or days of the week where I was strong or weak, and displayed efficiency vs. laziness. And if this behavior was repetitive, odds are you have just plotted a pattern map. Ultimately this chart helps you make better use of your "Best" time, and look to improve upon your "Idle" time. Complementing the pattern above is the Mindsets pattern. JD uses the term switching hats or changing personas. This basically allows you to maximize the returns on "Idle" time by using them effectively in other ways. For example, I would be annoyed when someone disturbed me with something really stupid when I was doing great work. I would lose 10 minutes in the conversation and another 20 cursing the moron who started it off. After using the Mindsets pattern, I now use the 20 minutes of previously wasted time to walk out of my cubicle and stretch and relax. What it has allowed me to do is to concentrate on my exercise rather than the worthless discussion. Also, both my mind and body get a mini-refreshment.

    It’s How You Apply It
    I began to admire this [Agile Results] process because it was so flexible that I could take, leave or modify certain steps so that they fit my profile better. The goal is to understand the essence of the process and modify it to one's needs. I was pretty satisfied with the results and decided to do a trial run for life as well. A week later, the results came. It was a disaster. The worst part was when I couldn't figure out why it failed. I thought I must be doing something wrong and worked out the whole thing again. Another week went by and it was still not working. After giving it some thought and asking the right set of questions, I realized one fundamental part that I completely ignored in the application of this process to life - and that is setting minimum and maximum time to activities right from the most granular to the complete. Now, I re-did my strategy of application. In two weeks time I could see improvement. It was far from the final outcome. But bottom line, it had started to work. Now, it is unto me to make it successful. Like they say, success or failure lies in not what you have but how you apply what you have.

    Changing the Game a Practice or Principle at a Time
    Like I had stated earlier, the process works well even if I pick 1 out 10 steps as long as I believe it is going to be my game changer. You can add/remove steps any time. At the end of the day, you want your life to be better. And only you know what's best for you. In my case, the most important game changers were:

    1. Rule of 3.
    2. Monday, Friday reflection pattern.
    3. Timeboxing a week.
    4. Weekly results.
    5. Reward for results.

    Work Backwards from the End in Mind
    A very important by-product of this process is quick feedback. You get to know if you are on-track or tangential almost immediately. You can alter the course of your activities midway so long as you understand what you are doing and targeting. This is one of the very few processes that works its way backward, i.e. you look at the end and work your way back. This means you have a vision for what you want to achieve even before you start. This is a very positive way to look at things. The problem with thinking the other way is that my mind will give up very soon. It [Agile Results] is designed to choose the most optimal Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) algorithm. And if the time to achieve is long, it will deem it unimportant and a waste of my time.

    It Starts the Journey
    In summary, this process has not turned my life upside down in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. But it has paved a path. Adopting it has not been easy at all, at least for me. But the ROI has been well worth it so far. There's no denying that it will only improve as time goes by and I continue to keep doing things the right way. If there is one thing I have to tell others about this process, it is that do not follow it like a horse. It is a guide, a mentor. Like my mother always tells me, God will help you get you good grades in your exam only if you prepare well for it and put all your energy into it. You cannot expect him to perform miracles out of nothing. Same goes to this process as well. Put your best foot forward and the rest will follow.

    My Related Posts

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    What is the Meaning of Life

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    I don’t know that I answered it for you, but you can check out my take on what is the meaning of life in my interview on Evolving Beings.

    The simple answer is – you make the meaning.

    The longer answer is that’s what the journey of life is all about.

    What is the meaning of life is a question that has plagued sages and fools and every one in between for a long time.  Some people find their answer too little, too late.  Some people never find their answer at all.  Don’t let that be you, and you can start right here, and start right now, if you haven’t figured it out already.

    At the end of the day, you are the author of your life and you write your story forward.  The truth is, you even re-write the stories of your past, as you learn more about yourself and as you gain perspective and insight on things.  Your lens on life, and your lens on YOU are two ways you actively unfold your story.  As you grow, your stories change, and that’s why fate can’t hold a candle to you.

    For me, I found that to answer the question to “What is the meaning of life?”, you actually have to ask a different set of questions.  In fact, that’s one of the secrets of life, the first or obvious question isn’t always the right question, and the trick is finding the right question to ask.  Our brains are powerful and resourceful things … we just have to put the right challenge or question in front of it.

    I’ll warn you up front that the interview is long, but I will tell you this that if you want to jump to the punch line, you can hop to the end of the article, and the answers are my gift to you.   They may not help you figure out what is the meaning of life, but they can help you figure out what is the meaning of YOUR life, and that my friends, is what life is really all about.

    Enjoy my long and winding tail of trials, tribulations, and triumphs as I write my story forward, and continue to explore, What is the Meaning of Life.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Life Quotes

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    If you are an avid quote collector, as many continuous learners are, check out my collection of Life Quotes.

    I grouped the life quotes into key categories for easy browsing.  I used the following categories for my life quotes:

    • Challenges
    • Choices and Plans
    • Day to Day
    • Fun
    • Joy and Passion
    • How To Live
    • Learning and Growth
    • Life Is …
    • Mistakes and Regrets
    • Purpose and the Meaning of Life
    • The Good Life
    • The Value of Life

    I selected quotes from a variety of sources including Charles Shulz, Confucius, Emerson, Oprah, Tony Robbins, and more.  I’ll need to make another pass and find some life quotes from folks like Bruce Lee. 

    While there is always the idea of work and life, and the idea of work-life balance, I think that life is pervasive, and it permeates who we are and how we show up at work.  The line is a blur and I find the happiest people are those that can express their values on the job, and drive from their life style.  The opposite is also true.

    I rounded up the life quotes in a way that I think you will find to be very easy to scan and choose your favorites.  I do recommend first reading the the top 10, but then hopping around to find three that light your fire or wrinkle your brain in some way.  The best quotes hit a problem like a nail on the head.  The real beauty of life quotes though is that they take on meaning based on the meaning you give them.  It’s like when three people hear the same song, all have a different take away.  Quotes are like that.

    So please stop by, check out my Life Quotes collection, and share with me your favorite life quotes.  I’m always looking to fill my toolkit for life, and life really is better with the right words.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Personal Development Lessons Learned from Jariek Robbins

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    Jariek Robbins, son of Tony Robbins, shares his personal development lessons learned.   I asked Jariek to write a guest post for me on his best lessons learned in personal development, and he slammed it home.  In his article, “How to Take the Ordinary and Turn it into EXTRAORDINARY!”, he shares how to deal with mundane, boring, and routine tasks, as well as draining activities, and turn them into sources of power and strength.

    I’ve long been a fan of Tony Robbins and his ability to “design” life and shape destiny with hard-core thinking skills.  I actually first learned about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) from Tony Robbins which is basically a methodology for modeling excellence.   If you’re a developer, you’ll appreciate the idea of programming your mind by design, and changing your thoughts, feelings, and actions for your best results.  A lot of the Microsoft execs use NLP skills to improve their interpersonal effectiveness, from building rapport, to changing their inner-game, and reframing problems into compelling challenges.

    The other thing that Tony Robbins excels at his ability to ask the right questions.  Many people can just ask questions.  But there’s an art to asking the right questions, and getting deep insights with precision and accuracy.

    Jariek Robbins learned many of these skills from his father and uses them to shape his path forward, as well as to coach people and businesses to bring out their best.  By asking better questions and modeling success he can speed up results.

    Check out Jariek’s article and learn how to turn the ordinary into extraordinary.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    25 Strategies for Getting Results

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    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein

    What you don’t know can hurt you and knowing the right strategies is like knowing the playbook for getting results.

    Strategies are a big picture perspective while tactics are a small picture perspective. You can think of the strategies as guiding approaches: they guide your tactics while you pursue your goals. You can use strategies to help design effective approaches and to evaluate potential practices, methods or techniques. Mix and match strategies, but keep in mind that sometimes strategies support each other, while other times they are competing. Ultimately, you must map relevant strategies to your situation.  Rather than try to decide or buy into a strategy, find a way to test and judge it based on your results.

    Here is a collection of 25 Key Strategies for Results from the book, Getting Results the Agile Way

    • Strategy 1: Outcomes over Activities
    • Strategy 2: Goals Are Vehicles
    • Strategy 3: Know the System
    • Strategy 4: Know the Cycle
    • Strategy 5: Treat Time as a Valuable Resource
    • Strategy 6: Fix Time, Flex Scope
    • Strategy 7: Diversify Your Results
    • Strategy 8: Next Best Thing to Do
    • Strategy 9: Value Delivered over Backlog Burndown
    • Strategy 10: Make It a Project
    • Strategy 11: Have a Strong Week
    • Strategy 12: Know Yourself
    • Strategy 13: Team Up
    • Strategy 14: Factor Thinking from Doing
    • Strategy 15: Factor Practice from Performance
    • Strategy 16: Measure Against Effectiveness
    • Strategy 17: Know What You’re Getting
    • Strategy 18: Model the Best
    • Strategy 19: Test Your Results
    • Strategy 20: Ask Better Questions
    • Strategy 21: Enjoy the Process
    • Strategy 22: Link It to Good Feelings
    • Strategy 23: Make the Most of What You’ve Got
    • Strategy 24: Teach What You Need to Learn
    • Strategy 25: Pave the Way Forward

    You can read an explanation for each of these strategies at 25 Key Strategies for Results.

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