Saturday, August 27, 2011

'Dale Chumbley' it. What I learned blogging everyday

A discussion at the office sent me on a personal trajectory to discover the answer.

I believe posting everyday, even if every post is not a home-run, builds website traffic and, as a by-product, an audience.

I didn't know the exact outcome at the beginning, but I'd seen enough analytics to believe I was right.

Yes, a level of quality needs to be established as a benchmark to evaluate success. And yes, you can summon all the research and all the yay-naysayers you can to support either side of the equation, nothing but quality, consistency is key. But if you stand on the principal that only quality should prevail, and  proceed by releasing nothing (until it's ready), that is like expecting a job offer without sending out any resumes.

Silence online means you don't exist.

Show me the perfect job
Trying to be great everyday is like trying to be the perfect parent, the perfect boss, the perfect child, or trying to create the perfect job. No one I know is perfect, and if they were, I doubt I'd like them all that much.

I like a stray hair that looks like it needs to be tucked behind an ear. A little lipstick gone awry means you're not spending all your time concerned first with self. And shoes that don't match communicate you couldn't wait to get to work and dressed in the dark. All those touches of personal human-ness breaks up our day and gives us a chance to connect on a real level. It gives us a chance to laugh at our imperfections. And we should be examining ourselves before criticizing others.

Like grandma said, “Clean your shoes before walking into someone elses house.”

Choose how you spend your time
Assemble the energy and resources to throw yourself into a project, but hold yourself accountable to the time you have at hand. Refresh yourself with a brisk 5-10 minute walk. Limit chats in the hall that take longer than a break. Invest some time to know yourself, subtract distractions and manage your pace.

At my previous management position, when I would wind up to whine about how much work I had, I would first try to ascertain how I actually spent my time. I devised an excel spreadsheet and input: email, customer interface, employee coaching, follow up with boss. While I was tracking, I became more aware of  mishandled time.

Today, resources such as RescueTime can reflect our activity more accurately than my primitive excel spreadsheet, which I could only maintain for three days. But either way, primitive or intense, track it before you weigh in on the 'I'm too busy' conversation. You may be surprised how you actually dole out your business day.

Don't hold someone else up
Is there something on your desk that someone else needs? If you are the bottleneck that creates an unnecessary emergency for the next person, get out of the way. Hack away at the stack on your desk. If a simple signature, review, 'check the box,' thumbs up or weigh in, could get the task onto someone else's desk do it. I heard that admonition in a seminar and remind myself of it constantly. I don't want to be the log jamb, and when I am, I feel bad. The lesson is to feel good by controlling your desk.

Feel good about blogging by getting those nagging items crossed off your list.

Great is the enemy of good
Does your creative output have to be perfect, or does it, right now, need to be good enough to meet a deadline or expected outcome? The answer may vary according to the project, to the assignment and to ongoing personal output. Open a dialogue with your boss on expectations and hopefully, clarity may prevail.

Give in a little bit. If your principals of perfection are getting the company no where, loosen up. Even Voltaire in the 17th Century understood that 'great is the enemy of good.'

Attempt. Proceed. Step back. Evaluate.
You'll learn something by doing, by seeking ways to become efficient. You'll hone your craft, learn shortcuts, become more efficient and increase your ability to become invaluable in the workplace. You'll learn where the sweet spot is for optimum results. Or, you'll complain about quality and artistic pursuits and how much they matter and lose your job to someone who'll figure out how to get it done.

'Dale Chumbley' it
Dale Chumbley, a Realtor® from Washington State, challenged himself to post something unique about his community EVERYDAY for a year: 365 Things to do in Vancouver Washington. Was every post high quality? Or was the man judged by the bulk of his work and the impact it made on his community and his influence thereof? The answer may lie after his adventure ended.

Chumbley received attention on Facebook, 15,000 fans, attention nationally -- invitations to speak at over a dozen seminars, conventions and workshops. Multiple news sites, Realtor resources, and  bloggers wrote about Dale Chumbley. I did a quick google check and found:



There's at least a hundred more. Someone should keep a list.

In the meantime, while you're trying to hone perfect quality, who's speeding past you?