Tips, Rips, and Reviews
By Michael Dalton Johnson

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. - Albert Schweitzer

You set an example by looking, acting, and thinking like a leader. Work as hard, or harder, than your team members. You set a powerful example by occasionally rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty. Staying at the rear of the battle is not inspiring and sets a bad example. Leading the charge says in the most dramatic way, "I’m your leader. Follow me."

Keep your cool. Respond calmly to those big challenges that are sure to come your way. While you can’t know what specific problem will come knocking, you can anticipate how you react to it. A calm response is a strong example of your leadership skills, which will not be lost on others.

Develop first-rate communication skills. Never sugarcoat a problem or deliver an unclear directive. Tell it like it is. People are not afraid of the truth and will readily follow a leader who is direct. When you are honest, realistic and plain spoken, you’ll avoid misunderstandings and mistakes. A straightforward communication style is the hallmark of good leadership. Clarify, prioritize, and lead.

My book makes a great Christmas gift for any business professional. Excerpted from Rules of the Hunt. Available at Amazon.

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10 ways to get more done in less time
By Bob Bly

I am always quarreling with time! It is so short to do something and so long to do nothing. --Queen Charlotte

The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether it’s to read the paper, hike, jog, or play the piano.

Here are 10 ideas that can increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:

1. Master your PC. Every engineer or manager who wants to be more productive should use a modern PC with the latest software. Doing so can double, triple, or even quadruple your output.

Install on your PC the same software as your colleagues, other departments within your organization, vendors, and business partners use. The broader the range of your software, the more easily you can open and read files from other sources.

Constantly upgrade your desktop to eliminate too-slow computer processes that waste your time, such as slow downloading of files or Web pages. If you use the Internet a lot, get the fastest access you can. DSL is getting cheaper by the month and is well worth the money at its current price levels.

2. Don’t be a perfectionist. "I’m a non-perfectionist," said Isaac Asimov, author of 475 books. "I don’t look back in regret or worry at what I have written." Be a careful worker, but don’t agonize over your work beyond the point where the extra effort no longer produces a proportionately worthwhile improvement in your final product.

Be excellent but not perfect. Customers do not have the time or budget for perfection; for most projects, getting 95 to 98 percent of the way to perfection is good enough. That doesn't mean you deliberately make errors or give less than your best. It means you stop polishing and fiddling with the job when it looks good to you -- and you don't agonize over the fact you're not spending another hundred hours on it. Create it, check it, then let it go.

Understand the exponential curve of excellence. Quality improves with effort according to an exponential curve. That means early effort yields the biggest results; subsequent efforts yield smaller and smaller improvements, until eventually the miniscule return is not worth the effort. Productive people stop at the point where the investment in further effort on a task is no longer justified by the tiny incremental improvement it would produce. Aim for 100 percent perfection, and you are unlikely to be productive or profitable. Consistently hit within the 90 to 98 percent range, and you will maximize both customer satisfaction as well as return on your time investment.

"Perfection does not exist," wrote Alfred De Musset. "To understand this is the triumph of human intelligence; to expect to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness."

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