Business change is tough. Just try it at Cloud speed, and you’ll know what I mean.
That said, digital business transformation is reshaping companies and industries around the world, at a rapid rate.
If you don’t cross the Cloud chasm, and learn how to play in the new digital economy, you might just get left behind.
Sadly, not every executive has a digital vision.
That’s a big deal because the pattern here is that successful digital business transformation starts at the top of the company. And it starts with digital vision.
But just having a digital vision is not enough.
It has to be a shared transformative digital vision. Not a mandate, but a shared digital vision from the top, that’s led and made real by the people in the middle and lower levels.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share how successful companies and executives drive digital business transformation through shared transformative digital visions.Employees Don’t Always Get the WHY, WHAT, or HOW of Digital Business Transformation
You need a digital vision at the top. Otherwise, it’s like pushing rocks uphill. Worse, not everybody will be in the game, or know what position they play, or even how to play the game.
“The changes being wrought through digital transformation are real. Yet, even when leaders see the digital threats and opportunity, employees may need to be convinced. Many employees feel they are paid to do a job, not to change that job. And they have lived through big initiatives in the past that failed to turn into reality. To many, digital transformations is either irrelevant or just another passing fad. Still other people may not understand how the change affects their jobs or how they might make the transition.”Only Senior Executives Can Create a Compelling Vision of the Future
Digital business transformation must be led. Senior executives are in the right position to create a compelling future all up, and communicate it across the board.
“Our research shows that successful digital transformation starts at the top of the company. Only the senior-most executives can create a compelling vision of the future and communicate it throughout the organization. Then people in the middle and lower levels can make the vision a reality. Managers can redesign process, workers can start to work differently, and everyone can identify new ways to meet the vision. This kind of change doesn't happen through simple mandate. It must be led.
Among the companies we studied, none have created true digital transformation through a bottom-up approach. Some executives have changed their parts of the business--for example, product design and supply chain at Nike--but the executives stopped at the boundaries of their business units. Changing part of your business is not enough. Often, the real benefits of transformation come from seeing potential synergies across silos and then creating conditions through which everyone can unlock that value. Only senior executives are positioned to drive this kind of boundary-spanning change.”Digital Masters Have a Shared Digital Vision (While Others Do Not)
As the business landscape is reshaping, you are either a disruptor or the disrupted. The Digital Masters that are creating the disruption in their business and in their industries have shared digital visions, and re-imagine their business for a mobile-first, Cloud-first world, and a new digital economy.
“So how prevalent is digital vision? In our global survey of 431 executives in 391 companies, only 42 percent said that their senior executive had a digital vision. Only 35 percent said the vision was shared among senior and middle managers. These numbers are surprisingly low, given the rapid rate at which digital transformation is reshaping companies and industries. But the low overall numbers mask an important distinction. Digital Masters have a shared digital vision, while others do not.
Among the Digital Masters that we surveyed, 82 percent agreed that their senior leaders shared a common vision of digital transformation, and 71 percent said it was shared between senior and middle managers. The picture is quite different for firms outside our Digital Masters category, where less than 30 percent said their senior leaders had a shared digital vision and only 17 percent said the shared vision extended to middle management.”Digital Vision is Not Enough (You Need a Transformative Digital Vision)
It’s bad enough that many executives don’t have a shared digital vision. But what makes it worse, is that even fewer have a transformative digital vision, which is the key to success in the digital frontier.
“But having a shared digital vision is not quite enough. Many organizations fail to capture the full potential of digital technologies because their leaders lack a truly transformative vision of the digital future. On average, only 31 percent of our respondents said that they had a vision which represented radical change, and 41 percent said their vision crossed internal organizational units. Digital Masters were far more transformative in their vision, with two-thirds agreeing they had a radical vision, and 82 percent agreeing their vision crossed organizational silos. Meanwhile, nonmasters were far less transformative in their visions.”
Where there is no vision, the businesses perish.You Might Also Like
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” -- Zig Ziglar
Here is my collection of 101 Proven Practices for Focus. It still needs work to improve it, but I wanted to shared it, as is, because focus is one of the most important skills we can develop for work and life.
Focus is the backbone of personal effectiveness, personal development, productivity, time management, leadership skills, and just about anything that matters. Focus is a key ingredient to helping us achieve the things we set out to do, and to learn the things we need to learn.
Without focus, we can’t achieve great results.
I have a very healthy respect for the power of focus to amplify impact, to create amazing breakthroughs, and to make things happen.The Power of Focus
Long ago one of my most impactful mentors said that focus is what separates the best from the rest. In all of his experience, what exceptional people had, that others did not, was focus.
Here are a few relevant definitions of focus:
A main purpose or interest.
A center of interest or activity.
Close or narrow attention; concentration.
I think of focus simply as the skill or ability to direct and hold our attention.Focus is a Skill
Too many people think of focus as something either you are good at, or you are not. It’s just like delayed gratification.
Focus is a skill you can build.
Focus is actually a skill and you can develop it. In fact, you can develop it quite a bit. For example, I helped a colleague get themselves off of their ADD medication by learning some new ways to retrain their brain. It turned out that the medication only helped so much, the side effects sucked, and in the end, what they really needed was coping mechanisms for their mind, to better direct and hold their attention.
Here’s the surprise, though. You can actually learn how to direct your attention very quickly. Simply ask new questions. You can direct your attention by asking questions. If you want to change your focus, change the question.101 Proven Practices at a Glance
Here is a list of the 101 Proven Practices for Focus:
- Align your focus and your values
- Ask new questions to change your focus
- Ask yourself, “What are you rushing through for?”
- Beware of random, intermittent rewards
- Bite off what you can chew
- Capture all of your ideas in one place
- Capture all of your To-Dos all in one place
- Carry the good forward
- Change your environment
- Change your physiology
- Choose one project or one thing to focus on
- Choose to do it
- Clear away all distractions
- Clear away external distractions
- Clear away internal distractions
- Close your distractions
- Consolidate and batch your tasks
- Create routines to help you focus
- Decide to finish it
- Delay gratification
- Develop a routine
- Develop an effective startup routine
- Develop an effective shutdown routine
- Develop effective email routines
- Develop effective renewal activities
- Develop effective social media routines
- Direct your attention with skill
- Do less, focus more
- Do now what you could put off until later
- Do things you enjoy focusing on
- Do worst things first
- Don’t chase every interesting idea
- Edit later
- Exercise your body
- Exercise your mind
- Expand your attention span
- Find a way to refocus
- Find the best time to do your routine tasks
- Find your flow
- Finish what you started
- Focus on what you control
- Force yourself to focus
- Get clear on what you want
- Give it the time and attention it deserves
- Have a time and place for things
- Hold a clear picture in your mind of what you want to accomplish
- Keep it simple
- Keep your energy up
- Know the tests for success
- Know what’s on your plate
- Know your limits
- Know your personal patterns
- Know your priorities
- Learn to say no – to yourself and others
- Limit your starts and stops
- Limit your task switching
- Link it to good feelings
- Make it easy to pick back up where you left off
- Make it relentless
- Make it work, then make it right
- Master your mindset
- Multi-Task with skill
- Music everywhere
- Narrow your focus
- Pair up
- Pick up where you left off
- Practice meditation
- Put the focus on something bigger than yourself
- Rate your focus each day
- Reduce friction
- Reduce open work
- Reward yourself along the way
- See it, do it
- Set a time frame for focus
- Set goals
- Set goals with hard deadlines
- Set mini-goals
- Set quantity limits
- Set time limits
- Shelve things you aren’t actively working on
- Single Task
- Spend your attention with skill
- Start with WHY
- Stop starting new projects
- Take breaks
- Take care of the basics
- Use lists to avoid getting overwhelmed or overloaded
- Use metaphors
- Use Sprints to scope your focus
- Use the Rule of Three
- Use verbal cues
- Use visual cues
- Visualize your performance
- Wake up at the same time each day
- Wiggle your toes – it’s a fast way to bring yourself back to the present
- Write down your goals
- Write down your steps
- Write down your tasks
- Write down your thoughts
- Work when you are most comfortable
When you go through the 101 Proven Practices for Focus, don’t expect it to be perfect. It’s a work in progress. Some of the practices for focus need to be fleshed out better. There is also some duplication and overlap, as I re-organize the list and find better ways to group and label ideas.
In the future, I’m going to revamp this collection to have some more precision, better naming, and some links to relevant quotes, and some science where possible. There is a lot more relevant science that explains why some of these techniques work, and why some work so well.
What’s important is that you find the practices that resonate for you, and the things that you can actually practice.Getting Started
You might find that from all the practices, only one or two really resonate, or help you change your game. And, that’s great. The idea of having a large list to select from is that it’s more to choose from. The bigger your toolbox, the more you can choose the right tool for the job. If you only have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.
If you don’t consider yourself an expert in focus, that’s fine. Everybody has to start somewhere. In fact, you might even use one of the practices to help you get better: Rate your focus each day.
Simply rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is awesome and 1 means you’re a squirrel with a sugar high, dazed and confused, and chasing all the shiny objects that come into site. And then see if your focus improves over the course of a week.
If you adopt just one practice, try either Align your focus and your values or Ask new questions to change your focus.Feel Free to Share It With Friends
At the bottom of the 101 Proven Practices for Focus, you’ll find the standard sharing buttons for social media to make it easier to share.
Share it with friends, family, your world, the world.
The ability to focus is really a challenge for a lot of people. The answer to improve your attention and focus is through proven practices, techniques, and skill building. Too many people hope the answer lies in a pill, but pills don’t teach you skills.
Even if you struggle a bit in the beginning, remind yourself that growth feels awkward. You' will get better with practice. Practice deliberately. In fact, the side benefit of focusing on improving your focus, is, well, you guessed it … you’ll improve your focus.
What we focus on expands, and the more we focus our attention, and apply deliberate practice, the deeper our ability to focus will grow.
Grow your focus with skill.You Might Also Like
I revamped my positive thinking quotes collection on Sources of Insight to help you amp up your ability to generate more positive thoughts.
It’s a powerful one.
Why positive thinking?
Maybe Zig Ziglar said it best:
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”Positive Thinking Can Help You Defeat Learned Helplessness
Actually, there’s a more important reason for positive thinking:
It’s how you avoid learned helplessness.
Learned helplessness is where you give up, because you don’t think you have any control over the situation, or what happens in your life. You explain negative situations as permanent, personal, and pervasive, instead of temporary, situational, and specific.
That’s a big deal.
If you fall into the learned helplessness trap, you spiral down. You stop taking action. After all, why take action, if it won’t matter. And, this can lead to depression.
But that’s a tale of woe for others, not you. Because you know how to defeat learned helplessness and how to build the skill of learned optimism.
You can do it by reducing negative thinking, and by practicing positive thinking. And what better way to improve your positive thinking, than through positive thinking quotes.Keep a Few Favorite Positive Thinking Quotes Handy
Always keep a few positive thinking quotes at your fingertips so that they are there when you need them.
Here is a quick taste of a few of my favorites from the positive thinking quotes collection:
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Herm Albright
"Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?" — Dennis and Wendy Mannering
"Be enthusiastic. Remember the placebo effect – 30% of medicine is showbiz." — Ronald Spark
"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet." — Mahatma Gandhi
"If the sky falls, hold up your hands." – Author UnknownThink Deeper About Positivity By Using Categories for Positive Thinking
But this positive thinking quotes collection is so much more. I’ve organized the positive thinking quotes into a set of categories to chunk it up, and to make it more insightful:
Adaptability and Flexibility
Anger and Frustration
Appreciation and Gratitude
Attitude, Disposition, and Character
Defeat, Setbacks, and Failures
Focus and Perspective
Hope and Fear
Letting Things Go and Forgiveness
Love and Liking
Opportunity and Possibility
Positive Thinking (General)
The distinctions you can add to your mental repertoire, the more powerful of a positive thinker you will be.
You can think of each positive thinking quote as a distinction that can add more depth.Draw from Wisdom of the Ages and Modern Sages on the Art and Science of Positive Thinking
I've included positive thinking quotes from a wide range of people including Anne Frank, Epictetus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Napoleon, Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, Voltaire, Winston Churchill, and many, many more.
You might even find useful positive thinking mantras from the people that you work with, or the people right around you.
For example, here are a few positive thinking thoughts from Satya Nadella:
“The future we're going to invent together, express ourselves in the most creative ways.”
“I want to work in a place where everybody gets more meaning out of their work on an everyday basis.
I want each of us to give ourselves permission to be able to move things forward. Each of us sometimes overestimate the power others have to do things vs. our own ability to make things happen.Challenge Yourself to New Levels of Positive Thinking through Positive Quotes
As you explore the positive thinking quotes collection, try to find the quotes that challenge you the most, that really make you think, and give you a new way to generate more positive thoughts in your worst situations.
In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
You can use your daily trials and tribulations in the workplace as your personal dojo to practice and build your positive thinking skills.
The more positivity you can bring to the table, the more you’ll empower yourself in ways you never thought possible.
As you get tested by your worst scenarios, it’s good to keep in mind, the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald:
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."
I’ll also point out that as you grow your toolbox of positive thinking quotes and you build your positive thinking skills, you need to also focus on taking positive action.
Don’t just imagine a better garden, get out and actually weed it.Don’t Just Imagine Everything Going Well – Imagine How You’ll Deal with the Challenges
Here’s another important tip about positivity and positive thinking …
If you use visualization as part of your approach to getting results, it’s important to include dealing with setbacks and challenges. It’s actually more effective to imagine the most likely challenges coming up, and walking through how you’ll deal with them, if they occur. This is way more effective than just picturing the perfect plan where everything goes without a hitch.
The reality is things happen, stuff comes up, and setbacks occur.
But your ability to mentally prepare for the setbacks, and have a plan of action, will make you much more effective in dealing with the challenge that actually do occur. This will help you respond vs. react in more situations, and to stay in a better place mentally while you evaluate options, and decide a course of action. (Winging it under stress doesn’t work very well because we shut down our prefrontal cortex – the smart part of our brain – when we go into flight-or-fight mode.)
If I missed any of your favorite positive thinking quotes in my positive thinking quotes collection, please let me know.
In closing, please keep handy one of the most powerful positive thinking quotes of all time:
“May the force be with you.”
Always.You Might Also Like
How has the Cloud changed your world?
One of the ways we challenge people is to ask, do you want to move to the Cloud, use the Cloud, or be the Cloud?
But to answer that well, you need to really be grounded in your vision for the future, and the role you wan to play.
The Cloud creates a brave new world. It enables and powers the Digital Economy.
Businesses need to cross the Cloud chasm (and some don’t make it) in an effort to stay relevant and to be what’s next.
Businesses need to re-imagine themselves and explore the art of the possible.
Business leaders and IT leaders need to help others forge their way forward in the Digital Frontier.
And it all starts with a story.
A story that inspires the hearts and minds so people can wrap their head around the challenge and the change.
I think Satya says the Microsoft story for the Cloud in a very simple and compelling way:
"We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more." -- Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
That’s a pretty simple and yet pretty powerful and compelling story of why do we do what we do.
It’s a great way to re-imagine and inspire our transformation to a productivity and platform company in a Mobile-first, Cloud-first world. And, it’s a very simple story around productivity and empowerment that inspires and drives people in various roles and responsibilities to co-create the future in a profound way.
What is your simple story for how you re-imagine you or your business in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world?You Might Also Like
I was reading the IT Showcase’s page on the Cloud platform.
I really liked the simple little story around why we are moving to the Cloud:
“Three words: Agility, economics and innovation. Cloud technology satisfies the CEO's desire for greater business agility, the CFO's desire to streamline operations, and the CMO's desire for a more innovative way to engage customers.”
Some people move to the Cloud because they see an ROI play. Others move because they see opportunity cost. Others move simply because they don’t want to be left behind.
The most common reason I see is business agility and to stay relevant in today’s world.
In all cases, these transformations lead to business-model innovation and new opportunities to create and capture value.
Value is a moving target and the Cloud can help you stay in the game.
Are you in the game?You Might Also Like
When you need to make things happen, motivational quotes can help you dig deep and get going.
I put together a very comprehensive collection of the world’s best motivational quotes a while back.
It was time for a refresh. Here it is:
Imagine motivational wisdom of the ages and modern sages right at your fingertips all on one page. I included motivational quotes from Bruce Lee, Tony Robbins, Winston Churchill, Waldo Emerson, Jim Rohn, and more.
See if you can find at least three motivational quotes that you can take with you on the road of life, to help you deal with setbacks and challenges, and to unleash your inner-awesome.Getting Started with Motivational Quotes
I’ll start you off. If you don’t already have these in your personal motivational quotes collection, here are a few that I draw from often:
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
“When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.” -Henry David Thoreau
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”— Howard Thurman
How’s that for a starter set?Build Better Motivational Thought Habits
You can train your brain with motivational mantras. Our thoughts are habits. If you want to build better thought habits, then feed on some of the best motivational quotes of all time.
“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Positive thinking won’t let you do anything but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” -– Zig Ziglar
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you train yourself well, you won’t entirely eliminate motivational setbacks, but you’ll be able to defeat procrastination, and you’ll be able to bounce back faster when you find yourself in a slump. Motivation is a skill you can build, and it will serve you well, in work and life.You Create Your Future
The most important motivational concept to hold on to is the idea that you create your future. Or, as Wayne Dyer puts it:
“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”
So go for the bold, and get your game face on.
If you need some help kick-starting your fire, stroll through the motivational quotes a few times until something really sinks in or clicks for you. Life’s better with the right words, and there are just the right words already out there, just waiting to be found.
Enjoy and take your time sifting through the Motivational Quotes – The Great Motivational Quotes Collection.
Also, if you have a favorite motivational quote that I don’t have listed, let me know.You Might Also Like
I think of inspiration simply as “breathe life into.”
Whether you're shipping code, designing the next big thing, or simply making things happen, inspirational quotes can help keep you going.
In the spirit of helping people find their Eye of the Tiger or get their mojo on, I’ve put together a hand-crafted collection of the ultimate inspirational quotes:
If you’ve seen my collection of inspirational quotes before, it’s completely revamped. It should be much easier to browse all of the inspirational quotes now so you can see some old familiar quotes that you may have heard of long ago, as well as many inspirational quotes, you have never heard of before.
Dive in, explore the collection of inspirational quotes, and see if you can find at least three inspirational quotes that breathe new life into your moment, your day, your work, or anything you do.The Power of Inspirational Quotes
Inspirational quotes can help us move mountains. The right inspirational words and ideas can help us boldly go where we have not gone before, as well as conquer our fears and soar to new heights.
Or, the right inspirational quote can simply help us roar a little louder inside, when we need it most.
Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. And work can be an incredible challenge. And sometimes, even our best laid plans, go up in flames.
So having a repertoire of inspirational quotes and inspiring mantras at your mental fingertips can help you roll with the punches and keep going.
One of the most important inspirational ideas I learned early on goes like this:
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
It helped me turn trials into triumphs, and eventually learn to take on big challenges as a way to grow.
Another inspirational idea that really helped me find my way forward is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, it goes like this:
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Whenever I went on a new journey, down an unfamiliar path, it helped remind me that I don’t always need a trail, and that many times, it’s about blazing my own trail.
The power of inspirational quotes is their power to light a fire inside and fan the flames until we go and blaze our trail that leaves our self, and others, in awe.What Lies Within Us
Perhaps, the greatest inspirational quote of all time is another amazing quote by Emerson:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
It’s an awe-inspiring reminder to not only do what makes us come alive, but to realize our potential and unleash what we are capable of.It’s Better to Burn Out, then Fade Away
So many inspirational quotes remind us that life is short and that we have to go for it. But maybe George Bernard Shaw said it best:
“I want to be all used up when I die.”
One quote that I think about often is by Seth Godin:
“Life is like skiing. Just like skiing, the goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill. It’s to have a bunch of good runs before the sun sets.”
It’s all about making the journey worth it.When It’s Over
What do you do when it’s over. It all depends. Dr. Seuss has an interesting twist:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
But the one that I find has true wisdom is from Dave Weinbaum:
“The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.”
Here’s to new many more beginnings in your life.
Enjoy and be sure to explore The Inspirational Quotes Collection to soar or roar in your own personal way.You Might Also Like
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of love quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I gave it a good revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of love quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Lucille Ball, Shakespeare, Socrates, and even The Princess Bride.How I Organized the Categories for Love Quotes
I organized the quotes into a set of buckets:
Broken Hearts and Loss
Falling in Love
Fear and Love
Fun and Love
Love and Life
Significance and Meaning
The Power of Love
I think there’s a little something for everyone among the various buckets. If you walk away with three new quotes that make you feel a little lighter, put a little skip in your step, or help you see love in a new light, then mission accomplished.Think of Love as Warmth and Connection
If you think of love like warmth and connection, you can create more micro-moments of love in your life.
This might not seem like a big deal, but if you knew all the benefits for your heart, brain, bodily processes, and even your life span, you might think twice.
You might be surprised by how much your career can be limited if you don’t balance connection with conviction. It’s not uncommon to hear a lot of turning points in the careers of developers, program managers, IT leaders, and business leaders that changed their game, when they changed their heart.
In fact, on one of the teams I was on, the original mantra was “business before technology”, but people in the halls started to say, “people before business, business before technology” to remind people of what makes business go round.
When people treat each other better, work and life get better.Love Quotes Help with Insights and Actions
Here are a few of my favorite love quotes from the collection …
“Love is like heaven, but it can hurt like hell.” – Unknown
“Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.” — Dan in Real Life
“There is a place you can touch a woman that will drive her crazy. Her heart.” — Milk Money
“Hearts will be practical only when they are made unbreakable.” – The Wizard of Oz
“Things are beautiful if you love them.” – Jean Anouilh
“Life is messy. Love is messier.” – Catch and Release
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Unknown
For many more quotes, explore The Great Love Quotes Collection.You Might Also Like
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of personal productivity quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of personal productivity quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Lee, Peter Drucker, Tony Robbins Voltaire, and more.Productivity is Value Divided by Time
My favorite definition is a simple formula from Steve Pavlina:
Productivity = Value / Time
I like the formula because of it’s simplicity and because of the insight it provides. If you want to increase your productivity, then you can increase the value or reduce the time it takes, or both.
One of the things I remind my colleagues in the halls of Microsoft is that value is the ultimate short-cut. If you know what’s valued, you can eliminate or reduce all the waste in between.Productivity Hot Spots
To organize the productivity quotes, I use a simple frame of productivity Hot Spots:
Action, Approach, Efficiency / Effectiveness, Energy Management, Failure, Focus, Goals, Improvement, Motivation and Mindset, Planning, Opportunity, Self-Awareness, and Time Management.
I find these buckets are useful for organizing principles, patterns, practices, and even quotes. There are a lot of productivity quotes, so using this frame helps group the quotes into more manageable themes.The Ultimate Formula for Personal Productivity
It sounds so simple when I say it now, but it took me a while to figure out the ultimate formula for personal productivity. Here’s the formula:
Work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy.
In other words, start with the right things. Trim your tree of opportunity and focus on the right branches and leaves that will bear the most fruit. Work on these things at the right time. It’s easy to miss windows of opportunity and time changes what’s valued. We also have better times in the day to work on things than others. Work on things the right way. This is really about using better techniques. If have the wrong technique, then throwing hours and effort at something will just waste your time. Lastly, work on things with the right energy. Your energy is your force multiplier since you won’t get more time in the day.
A simple way to think of the way to optimize your productivity is to use your best energy for your best results.
I share a simple system and a comprehensive set of proven practices for personal productivity in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way. (It’s been a best seller in time management, and it helps you master productivity, time management, and work-life balance.)Productivity Strategies
Believe it or not, quotes are not just neat and fun little sayings. The right quotes are actually pithy ways to share strategies and insights. They can completely change your game.
Here are a handful of some of the strategies that I’ve learned for improving productivity and many of these strategies are echoed in The Great Productivity Quotes Collection:
Less is more.
Focus on quality.
Quotas and quantity can help you achieve quality. (If you learn from your process and apply it.)
Value is in the eye of the beholder and the stakeholder.
Find better techniques to multiply your results.
Enjoy the process.
Spend more time in your strengths, and less time in your weaknesses.
Pair up to amplify your talents and capabilities.
Focus on continuous improvement.
Manage your energy, not time.
Reduce the time you spend and you’ll innovate in your process.
Use timeboxing to invest time more intelligently. (Set limits and boundaries so you don’t over-spend in the wrong areas of your life.)
Work smarter, not harder.
Change your approach when it’s not working.
Test your results.Productivity is Power
There are many ways to think about productivity. I like to think of productivity as power. I think of power as the ability to take action. When you exercise your ability to take action and concentrate your effort and your focus, you can make amazing things happen in work and life.
Productivity is a powerful tool in your toolbox for personal empowerment.
As with anything, make sure you use the right tool for the job. And that’s why I continue to fill my toolbox with several tools. Otherwise, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.You Might Also Like
“Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” -- Lao Tzu
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of personal development quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of personal development quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Buddha, Covey, Emerson, Gandhi, Robbins, Ziglar, and more.Personal Development is a Way to Realize Your Potential
Personal development is a process for life where you improve your awareness, your skills, your abilities, and your potential. Personal development shapes your growth by developing your strengths, reducing your liabilities, and expanding what you’re capable of.
You improve your potential through self-awareness, habits, practice, and feedback.Awareness is Half the Battle
A big part of personal development is simply awareness. For example, when you know your Myers & Briggs Personality Type, you gain insight into whether you outwardly or inwardly focused, how you prefer to take in information, how you prefer to make decisions, and how you prefer to live your outer life.
Aside from better understanding your own patterns, you can also use it to understand other people’s behavior preferences, and you can adapt your style. If you see somebody staring blankly at you during your presentation, it doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged. They might just be an introvert processing the information in their own quiet way.
If you know your Conflict Style, you can tailor and adapt it to the situation, as well as better understand the mode that others are operating in.
There are many models and tools for self-awareness, but the goal is the same: learn how to be more effective in more situations based on your individual strengths, abilities, and experience.Action is the Other Half
Personal development is a verb. You need to take action. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t apply it. Even thoughts are habits that we haven’t learned how to measure. When you apply what you learn, you can adjust what you learn based on feedback and results.
If you keep in mind that personal development is about continuously improving your thinking, feeling, and doing, then it’s easier to stay focused and to evaluate your results.
You can also approach personal development in a number of ways. Just like martial arts, there are hard-styles and there are soft-styles. In my experience, it helps to balance and blend hard-core skill building along with building the soft skills, especially interpersonal skills and your emotional intelligence.Personal Development Requires a Growth Mindset
If you want to grow, you have to believe you can.
If you adopt a Growth Mindset, you can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area of work and life.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Carol Dweck shares a lot of science and stories around how our mindset limits or enables our growth. If we believe that our abilities are fixed traits, and that we are either good or bad at something, then we have a Fixed Mindset.
If, on the other hand, you believe that you can get better through skills development, then you have a Growth Mindset.
If you’ve ever been in any sort of elite training, or specialized skills development or had a great mentor that provides deep feedback, it should be more than obvious to you how much growth and greatness is possible.Adapting is the Key to Personal Development Success
So if you have a Growth Mindset, and you practice personal development, and you develop your self-awareness, then what will hold you back?
Simple. The inability or lack of willingness for you to change your approach.
Darwin taught us that nature favors the flexible and Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
And yet, how many people get stuck in a rut or hold themselves back through limiting thought patterns or behaviors?
One of the greatest things you can possible do for your future success is to learn how to change your approach with skill.
I could say so much more about personal development but at this point, I’d rather share what some of the greatest giants in personal development have had to say.
Use The Great Personal Development Quotes Collection to stand on the shoulders of giants, and see further, as you look inward and upward.
And if you want a jumpstart in agile personal development, check out my best-selling book on productivity: Getting Results the Agile Way. It’s a simple system for meaningful results, and it’s a way to use personal development to think better, feel better, and do better in all areas of your life.
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of leadership quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of leadership quotes and includes lessons from the likes of John Maxwell, Jim Rohn, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and more.Leadership is Influence
John Maxwell said it best when he defined leadership as influence. Tom Peters added a powerful twist to leadership when he said that leadership is not about creating followers—it’s about creating more leaders.
I like to think of leadership in terms of incremental spheres of influence starting with personal or self-leadership, followed by team leadership, followed by organizational leadership, etc. Effectively, you can expand your sphere of influence, but none of it really works, if you can’t lead yourself first.Leadership is Multi-Faceted (Just Like You)
I also like to think about the various aspects of leadership, such as Courage, Challenges, Character, Communication, Connection, Conviction, Credibility, Encouragement, Failure, Fear, Heart, Influence, Inspiration, Learning, Self-Leadership, Servant-Leadership, Teamwork, and Vision. As such, I’ve used these categories to help put the leadership quotes into a meaningful collection with simple themes.
I’ve also included special sections on What is Leadership, Leadership Defined, and Leading by Example.Sometimes the Source is More Interesting than the Punch line
While I haven’t counted the leadership quotes, there are a lot. But they are well-organized and easy to scan. You’ll notice how the names of famous people that said the leadership quote will pop out at you. I bolded the names for extra impact and to help you quickly jump to interesting people, to see what they have to say about the art and science of leadership.
I bet you can find at least three leadership quotes that you can use on a daily basis to think a little better, feel a little better, or do a little better.Leadership is Everyone’s Job
For those of you that think that leadership is something that other people do, or something that gets done to you, or that leadership is a position, I’ll share the words of John Maxwell on this topic:
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” — John Maxwell
In fact, if you’ve never seen it before or need a quick reminder that everyone is a leader, this is a great video that makes the point hit home:
It’s one of those cool, simple, cartoon videos that shows how leadership is everyone’s job and that without that philosophy, people, systems, organizations, etc. all fail.
The world moves too fast and things change too much to wait for somebody at the top to tell you what to do. The closer you are to where the action is, the more context you have, and the more insight you can use to make better decisions and get better results.
Leadership is a body of principles, patterns, and practices that you can use to empower yourself, and others, with skill.
Just like a Jedi, your force gets stronger the more you use it.If You Want to Grow Your Leadership, Then Give Your Power Away
But always remember the surprise about leadership – the more you give your power away, the more power that comes back to you.
It’s not Karma. It’s caring. And it’s contagious.
(As Brian Tracy would say, the three C’s of leadership are Consideration,Caring,and Courtesy.)
Well, maybe it is like Karma in that what goes around, comes around, and leadership amplifies when you share it with people and help everyone become all that they are capable of.
Stand strong when tested, and lead yourself from the inside out.You Might Also Like
I've completely overhauled my collection of happiness quotes. It was time for a revamp. Hear what Charlie Brown, Dale Carnegie, Aristotle, Confucius, and more have to say about the art and skill of happiness.
Here is the new collection of happiness quotes fresh from the press:
Happiness Quotes (Sources of Insight)
It should be a lot easier to read and a lot easier to use. And it’s exhaustive, so you’ll most likely find at lead a few quotes you’ve never heard before. While I have some general quotes on happiness, I also organized my happiness quotes collection into key themes: What is Happiness, Skilled Happiness, and the Pursuit of Happiness.Why Happiness Quotes?
Well, life happens. And life has it’s ups and downs, whether you’re an executive, an IT leader, a Program Manager, a developer, or you name it.
As the world changes faster around us, our thoughts shape our work and life.
When people aren’t happy, they don’t work well. You can argue it’s the job, but a study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology showed that it’s the other way around:
Happiness leads to job satisfaction.
They found that the causal relationship between subjective-well being to job satisfaction was stronger than the causal relationship from job satisfaction to subjective well-being.
It helps explain why one person’s treasure is another’s trash.The HOW of Happiness
If you arm yourself with a great set of happiness quotes, you’ll find ways think better. Some of the quotes are actually profound wisdom distilled into a sentence. Some are just entertaining.
Sometimes it just helps to validate your thinking. For example, are you worried that every time you start to feel happy that something will go wrong? You are not alone. Charlie Brown feels the same way:
"I think I’m afraid to be happy, because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens." – Charlie Brown
I think you’ll find a great deal of wisdom within the quotes and they will help you find your own personal HOW of happiness. While happiness can be a team sport, it’s really an individual skill that you learn to master over a lifetime. While you may not end up as a shiny, happy Pollyanna, you can find ways to raise your frustration tolerance, enjoy more of your moments, and bounce back faster when life throws you the proverbial curve ball.The Secret of Happiness
While some might say that the secret of happiness is finding your one thing, I think it’s more than that. As a mentor at Microsoft, I coach a lot of individuals on personal effectiveness, and a big part of it, is figuring out how to do what makes you come alive.
But there’s actually more to the story.
The ultimate way to find your happiness is to treat happiness like a verb, right here and right now, and find ways to spend more time in your values, while in the service of others or some greater good. And, as Zig Ziglar would say, “Enjoy the price of success.”
And, that my friends is deep happiness.
Dig deeper.You Might Also Like
What is Agile Results all about? What are the most important keys to using Agile Results to master productivity, time management, and work-life balance?
If you've ever wondered what Getting Results the Agile Way is all about, or want to know how to make the most of the book, this is it. I answer these questions and more in my interview with The Entrepreneur's Library on Getting Results the Agile Way:
In this interview, Wade Danielson, the creator of The Entrepreneur’s Library, asks me the following questions:
- What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
- What makes this book different from others regarding this same topic?
- If the reader could only take one concept/principle/action item out of the entire book, what would you want that to be?
- Do you have a favorite quote from your book?
- If there was only one book you recommend to our listeners based on the way it has impacted your life, what would that be?
Wade also gives me a chance to give a walkthrough of the book, Getting Results the Agile Way, where I explain how to make the most of the book, and what each section is really about.
It’s a unique chance to get the philosophy behind Agile Results and why it’s really a personal results system for work and life. It’s not a system that you break yourself against. Instead, it’s a simple system for meaningful results that supports you and the way you work. It helps you optimize your productivity by focusing on the wins that matter, playing to your strengths, and using your best energy for your best results.
An amazing thing happens when you become more focused and productive …
You get more out of life.
And you can get more done in a day than other people get done all week.
Bandita is one of the most amazing leaders in the technology arena.
She’s not just technical, but she also has business skills, and executive presence.
But she didn’t start out that way.
She had to learn presence from the school of hard knocks. Many people think presence is something that either you have or you don’t.
Bandita proves otherwise.
Here is a guest post by Bandita Joarder on how presence is something you can learn:
It’s a personal story. It’s an empowering story. It’s a story of a challenge and a change, and how learning the power of presence, helped Bandita move forward in her career.