When Things Become Unbearable

When you’re getting up in the morning to prepare for work and you’re really preparing for battle.  You hate it, you dread it, you can’t stand it, you want to quit but you can’t afford it…it all feels impossible.  You become inward, you talk less, you become paranoid, doubt is constant, you think it’s you, everyone else seems fine, no one wants me here, I’m doing the wrong job, these people think I’m weird, I don’t fit. Everything is worse and everything is bottled up.  There’s too much to do, not enough time, everyone is pulling at me.  I get it – I’ve been there more times than I realize.  One thing consistently got me INTO these places – I closed down and stopped talking to people about how I was feeling.  I believed the negativity that no one wanted to listen to me whine and no one wanted to hear my woes. 

One thing consistently got me OUT of those places – talking.  I think I heard someone call it ‘Talk Therapy’.  It’s up there with aromatherapy, shopping therapy, movie therapy, and our favorite sugar therapy.  EVERYONE needs a chance to vent, whine, complain… get it off our chests.   Think of it as an onion – the outer layers are the annoyances, the moles we grow into mountains.  If you can get those out of the way, they reveal the bigger issues that are the real issues. Maybe we don’t feel valued, maybe we are in the wrong position, maybe the office is too toxic – you can’t even look at those unless you vent and whine and complain.

Talk therapy. People see different parts of us and different parts of our situation – they can provide real insight. Or bullshit – it’s up to you.  It’s not only therapists (although they’re pretty good at it).  Even water cooler conversations can lead you into some great conversations. 

Example: If you are not sure if you’re the only one frustrated – use open ended conversation starters….  “I was surprised at how <<the boss>> handled that call yesterday.”  You don’t have to say you were happy or sad or disappointed or disgusted.  Find out what the other people feel – the more people in the group the better.  Your use of ‘surprised’ will be the perfect opener to make the others feel like you agree with them – whatever they feel.  You will most likely find people who agree with you that you can commiserate with – it will help BOTH of you feel a lot better.  And maybe you’ll find a new friend at work – the best possible outcome.

2018 in Review 2019 Plan

2018 review….2019 plan…  

2019 is my time to apply everything I’ve learned in my life – personally, professionally, and what I’ve learned from others.

I’ve been in transition for years now – 2018 isn’t that much different than 2017 or 2016 professionally.  Understanding who I am, what I’m good at, what I I see, how that helps, why it matters…It’s been an amazing, sometimes painful, journey.  I value friends more, I value myself more, I value connections more, I value chance encounters more, I value people more.  I value different looks, different perspectives, lots of tolerance, and listening – as well as hearing. 

I’m willing to change my stubbornness for the common good. I’m willing to sit still and just be.  While I’ve been insistent on being the first to admit when I’m wrong, I’m now willing to be wrong.  I’m willing to trust my instincts which makes them stronger.  I’m willing to ask more questions.  I’m willing to hear the answers and modify my thoughts accordingly. 

I’m ready to fly – truly fly.  Help people.  Help increase our chance of success.  Help grow.  Help nudge.  Lead.

Culture

I was told once by a consultant who specialized in culture, that when she looked around everything pointed to culture as the problem and the solution.  I didn’t believe her.  I thought everything was about being productive and working together because that’s what mattered to me.

When I looked at what, how, why I do (Thank you to Simon Sinek), I found a system: What = Same Road, Same Time, Same Direction. How = I manipulate the fabric of team dynamics.  Why = Create Accountability.

When I put it all that together and saw the system I create – you can’t have a system of positive accountability unless you have a positive culture that supports it. 

The reason I can turn projects around, even ones that are going up in flames, is that I change the micro culture of the project and create a system of accountability.

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Project Manager is an Orchestral Conductor

Large projects take on a life of their own.  They are unwieldly with lots of moving parts and issues coming at us from all sides.  It’s a lot to hold on to so these usually become ‘programs’ and we hire a group of project managers to keep track of all the details.  That’s all well and good – details matter.

Having been responsible for this type of project before but on my own, it’s tough to take a step back from the details and look at the project as a whole.  Where is it heading?  Are we going off the rails with all the problems? Are these ‘normal’ problems and we are continuing in our forward momentum?  Are we going awry?  Is there one cause or one person who is a bottleneck?  Is there a department that is always behind or a person making things overly hard?

I’ve talked about the ART of project management and this is where the rubber hits the road.  This is where the expert resides.  Finding the answers to these questions is being the conductor – looking around at your orchestra, seeing patterns and seeing the difference between symptoms and the real problems.

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Case Study: B2C Troubles

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
I started with a retail supply company shortly after they had lost their good standing with Amazon for 5 days, costing them approximately $80,000. B2B had been their bread and butter and was operating normally through their warehouse. Their B2C dropship channel was in dire straits. Their core physical problem was their order process required a manual interface between the vendor and the warehouse. For B2B orders that are one order for thousands, this was manageable. But dropships are thousands of orders for one item and that became too cumbersome. Automation was attempted but was unsuccessful. Their core strategic problem was there was no strategic thinking.

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