Management Lessons


If you would create something, you must be something. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ● A Jason Caldarera website

Multitasking Made Me Fat

It was one of those moments when you realize what you’ve been doing to contribute to the problem, to cause the problem.  It’s when you understand it isn’t “the world”, it’s me.

And this isn’t a commentary about losing weight.  This is me understanding that in a constant drive to produce, I lost the focus on the process.  I no longer enjoyed the doing, I validated myself with simply producing.

You don’t need to look very far to find considerable conversation regarding the internet’s, and more recently the iPad’s, impact on the need for instant gratification.  Our ability to quickly find unlimited information creates an expectation of unlimited potential.  Just as we seamlessly move from one internet article to the next, clicking links, opening new windows, we expect our lives to quickly move from one experience to the next.  And in my work, those experiences are projects.

It’s become more about the process of moving through a project and from one project to the next than it is about the art of completing and enjoying the finished project.

This behavior has become the norm, and I’ve carried it through to all I do, including eating.  It’s more about the getting through the meal, moving from one food to the next.  I do not take the time to enjoy the meal, much less the dessert.  I mindlessly and carelessly move through a meal as if it were another project.

At home and at work, it’s important to take time to enjoy the individual steps which lead to a finished project (or meal).

What items are you or your team working through at a pace which isn’t allowing time to enjoy the actual project, the individual wins?  Not taking the time to enjoy, understand, and learn from our process can lead to repeating mistakes.  Mindlessly, carelessly repeating mistakes.


Filed under: Setting Goals, teamwork

6 Thinking Hats

In his book, 6 Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono introduces a powerful tool for getting outside our comfort zones and seeing opportunities from new perspectives.

I was especially interested in how the 6 Hats style helps a team to align and approach a discussion or engage a new opportunity from the same angle. Using this style, teams avoid unnecessary conflict and promote creativity, implementation and sustainment.

The 6 Hats (briefly)

White hat – wear this hat when reviewing/discussing available data, status quo
Red hat – wear this hat when using gut instinct or intuition
Black hat – this is the hat you’ll use when playing devil’s advocate, searching for fatal flaws
Yellow hat – optimistic hat; use this source of positivity
Green hat – creativity hat; get crazy, go wild and innovate. What if nothing were stopping you?
Blue hat – the facilitator’s hat; wear this hat when you need to move the team through the discussion process, guiding the team to switch hats as necessary.

I’ve started using these hats even when it’s an independent decision. Often, when I’m brainstorming or thinking through something, my mind races, endless possibilities compete for consideration. The 6 Hats style helps me focus and achieve a more refined result. (It’s also a little fun giving myself the freedom to think differently.)

Try it out…

Filed under: leadership, Management Lesson, , , , ,

Springfield Sleepout 2011

It was a great night, an amazing cause, and had a deeper meaning than I realized. The Kitchen Inc. and Rare Breed Youth Services presented Sleepout 2011 to raise awareness of homeless youth. Serving hot chocolate and coffee to participants and volunteers was only the beginning. The evening culminated with the Sleepout on the Missouri State University football field. With temperatures at a 40 degrees and winds blowing all night, the comfort of the football field wasn’t a concern. (Who knew a pound of ground Starbucks Coffee could double as a pillow? “Pillow” is generous, let’s say “head prop”.)

I truly appreciate the chance to give my time and raise funds. The Youth presented art and stories telling their tales of struggle and championing the efforts of the Rare Breed program. I met children with strong spirits beyond their years. I learned a thing or two about myself by listening to their laughter and seeing their eyes, again full of more life and wisdom than their years would suggest.

I was fortunate to share my fund raising with friends and peers. Together, through direct and company matched donations, we raised $815 for Rare Breed. As the top fundraiser, I’ll challenge others to match my total next year.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your night, Rare Breed. And thank you to everyone who donated.

Learn more about The Kichen. Visit their website by clicking here.

Filed under: Life

Leadership Quotes

Filed under: leadership, quote of the day, videos

Employees sluggish? Unmotivated? Need some ideas….

Has the momentum of the holidays, the new year, the candies and hearts worn off?  Struggling to find the next idea?  the next inspiration?  the next focus that will save your company money?  Economic times have you down?

Now is the time to gather employee input.  Get an idea of where everything stands.  No, it’s not a gripe session, but it is a chance to find out how your people are feeling and discover any new ideas they might have.  (If it turns into a gripe session, don’t simply dismiss it.  The gripe might be legitimate.  If so, put your people to work on a solution that pleases everyone.)

During these times it is incredibly important your team realize they aren’t alone.  They need to feel you hear them, and they need to see you taking action. 

You are not in this alone and neither are they.  Realize and embrace you’re a team.  Generating their ideas, generates their buy-in, generates its own inspiration!

Filed under: Business, Employee Inspiration, employee motivation, Feedback, Follow-Up, Management Lesson, Management Training, Motivation, News, teamwork

Motivation, Inspiration…Barack Obama Rally under the Arch St. Louis, MO

100,000 came to listen

100,000 came to listen

Some were Senators

Some were Senators

Some were Gold Medal athletes

Some were Gold Medal athletes

others were CNN news reporters

others were CNN news reporters


Most were everyday people

Most were everyday people

the Message... Change, Hope and Faith tomorrow can be a better day.

the Message... Change, Hope and Faith tomorrow can be a better day.

He motivated and inspired.  We need to act.  Nov. 4, 2008

He motivated and inspired. We need to act. Nov. 4, 2008

Filed under: Barack Obama, Claire McCaskill, Inspiration, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Life, News, People, politics, teamwork, Time Management, , , , ,

User Driven Product Development… The New Business Model

While recently researching and looking for new ways to improve my current business and possibly start another, I recently began reading about a new phenomenon: User Driven Product Development.  Gone are the days of the old Research and Development models which were focus group and out sourced research based.  Welcome the new days, and it’s quite a novel idea; it’s simplicity is the key.  (Isn’t that the case with most great ideas?  It’s grounded in simplicity and it’s self propelling.)

The great idea is to let your customers decide what you sell.  Not only do they decide what you sell, they help design it.  It eliminates the agnst ridden launch of a new idea or product, wondering if you the customer will appreciate what you’ve done for them.  The nail biting as you hope the consumer looks favorably upon your invention.  Those fears are made obsolete when you take the guess work out of the equation.  If the person you’re targeting is the one telling you what they want and what they are willing to buy, then you’ve just avoided a lot of heart burn and many sleepless nights.

The question is, how do you incorporate this strategy into your current work?  It’s more than the old focus group, where the mom’s and teachers gather around to tell you the toys they need to develop healthy minds.  It’s more than that.  You cannot simply get their input, they have to be a part of the selling model.  Many companies are using User Driven Product Development in conjunction with User Driven Marketplaces.  What a glorious day when the person buying it is the one designing it, the one putting it on the market and then buying it.  You need not lose sleep at a product launch if all the guess work is gone.

It’s so simple it doesn’t require paragraphs of explanation.

Filed under: Business, Business Model, Business News, Customer Service, Exceptional Customer Service, Inspiration, News, Product Development, Research and Development, , , , , , , , , , ,

Situational Leadership Model

Those of you who haven’t taken the course and aren’t familiar, please let me know and I’d be glad to give additional comments, or answer questions.

Basically…. (most of this explanation is taken from Wikipedia)

Leadership styles are characterized into four behavior types S1 to S4:

  • S1: Directing/Telling Leaders define the roles and tasks of the ‘follower’, and supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely one-way.
  • S2: Coaching/Selling Leaders still define roles and tasks, but seek ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader’s prerogative, but communication is much more two-way.
  • S3: Supporting/Participating Leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions, but control is with the follower.
  • S4: Delegating Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved.

Of these, no one style is considered optimal or desired for all leaders to possess. Effective leaders need to be flexible, and must adapt themselves according to the situation. However, each leader tends to have a natural style, and in applying Situational Leadership he must know his intrinsic style.

Development levels

The right leadership style will depend on the person being led – the follower. Blanchard and Hersey extended their model to include the Development Level of the follower. They stated that the leader’s chosen style should be based on the competence and commitment of her followers. They categorized the possible development of followers into four levels, which they named D1 to D4:

  • D1: Low Competence, High Commitment – They generally lack the specific skills required for the job in hand. However, they are eager to learn and willing to take direction.
  • D2: Some Competence, Low Commitment – They may have some relevant skills, but won’t be able to do the job without help. The task or the situation may be new to them.
  • D3: High Competence, Variable Commitment – They are experienced and capable, but may lack the confidence to go it alone, or the motivation to do it well or quickly.
  • D4: High Competence, High Commitment – They are experienced at the job, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well. They may even be more skilled than the leader.

Development Levels are also situational. I might be generally skilled, confident and motivated in my job, but would still drop into Level D1 when faced, say, with a task requiring skills I don’t possess. For example, many managers are D4 when dealing with the day-to-day running of their department, but move to D1 or D2 when dealing with a sensitive employee “issue”

The development level is now called the performance readiness level (Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 2008). It is based on the Development levels and adapted from Hersey’s Situational Selling and Ron Campbell of the Center for Leadership Studies has expanded the continuum of follower performance to include behavioral indicators of each readiness level.

  • R1: Unable and Insecure or Unwilling – Follower is unable and insecure and lacks confidence or the follower lacks commitment and motivation to complete tasks.
  • R2: Unable but Confident or Willing – Follower is unable to complete tasks but has the confidence as long as the leader provides guidance or the follower lacks the ability but is motivated and making an effort.
  • R3: Able but Insecure or Unwilling – Follower has the ability to complete tasks but is apprehensive about doing it alone or the follower is not willing to use that ability.
  • R4: Able and Confident and Willing – Follower has the ability to perform and is confident about doing so and is committed.

Filed under: Business, Feedback, Life, Management Lesson, Management Training, Motivation, training, , , ,

Organize Your Desk Ergonomically… Move the Monitor!

What the heck is ergonomically? lol

Filed under: Business, Desk, Office Organization, Organization, Organize your desk, , , ,

Video – The Importance of Teamwork – Fun and Makes a Great Point

You’ve heard

There’s no “I” in Team…

No Man is an Island…..

No one of us is smarter than the whole…

Listen as they bring these points to life, with a bit of comedy.

Filed under: Business, Management Lesson, Management Training, Motivation, teamwork, training, video, , , , ,

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