Disregard Complicated and Challenging Things

Ever come across something difficult to figure out? Ever encounter stubborn challenges? I don’t — because I have mastered how to disregard what I don’t understand or don’t want to do. And you know what I’ve discovered? If you ignore things enough, they either fade away, take care of themselves, or come back on their own.

This is not to imply that you shouldn’t be aware of and in control of everything that goes on in your company — that remains vital. This does, however, free you from the need to comprehend and follow through on certain complex and difficult tasks.

Things are going to fall off the plate; that’s going to happen no matter what. All I’m suggesting is you let the difficult and complicated things fall off your plate instead of the simple, easy-to-handle things.

Disregarding is all about protecting you as the leader. Your time is extremely valuable, as are your efforts. Simply put, one way you can free up time and energy is to completely disregard what confuses you or sounds really annoying. Take marketing strategies, subpoenas, taxes, and anti-virus software, to name a few examples.

If you don’t understand something, how important can it really be?

When in doubt, disregard!
— W. Albert Jameson, IV

Lastly, if things are really important, won’t they just pop up again eventually? By that time, one of your employees will probably know how to take care of it or will be foolish enough to step up to the challenge. Good for them!

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
Things will definitely fall off of the plate. However, leaders must be very intentional when choosing which tasks they disregard and which they accomplish. More to the point, leaders must know where they want to go and only accomplish tasks to that end. Long term planning and choosing unimportant things to fall off the plate both allow you up to do what only you can do: LEAD.

Fast and Furious Wins the Race

Slow and steady will never meet the rigorous demands of the urgent! Fast and furious wins the race.

My regional director has been bearing down on me lately, so I quickly passed on that pressure to all of my underlings. I then made it my number one priority to watch them closely to help them make progress on their individual tasks. One of my strategies is to ask for a status update every single time I see them. Alice, one of my employees, is working on a particularly difficult task. She is young and unfamiliar with best practices and needs a good mentor, so I have chosen her to be my “mentee.” Now I prod her endlessly, which helps her focus on tying up all of the loose ends so our product will work as promised. Though I have to go out of my way to mentor her, I am more than happy to assist.

Alice, We Have a Problem

A few days ago, I saw Alice in the hallway. “How is your progress?” I asked abruptly, being conscious of our time by avoiding all small talk.

“Slow and steady,” she replied in a quiet, reserved voice.

Her response gave away how little she understands about the urgency of the situation. She would not respond that way if she fully realized the gravity of the situation.

My Analysis of the Situation

  1. The all-important project must be completely finished very soon.
  2. We all need to rush around like Nigel to show our busyness and productivity.
  3. Alice will never win at life with her “slow and steady” perspective.

In a terse, impatient voice, I said, “When is it going to be fast and furious?”

I wondered about Alice before, but now I seriously doubt her commitment to winning at our company after an immature answer like that. Fast reactions and furious activity I know she is young and all, but really — what are they teaching kids these days?!

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
Consistent incremental progress eventually triumphs over fast and furious activity for the sake of looking busy. In the children’s fable, the tortoise uses his strength of persistence to win the race against the fast and eager hare, who is drunk from short term success.Be patient and persistent to win the race of endurance in business. Slow and steady wins the race.

Andrew’s Note: The circumstance and dialog are based on an actual event. *sigh*

Look Busy to Show You Work Hard

Look busy so your coworkers know you work hard! Carry papers and rush everywhere to show how productive you are.

I once knew a man named Nigel who was excellent at this concept. Nigel’s desk was always overcome with strewn paperwork and overlapping sticky notes. He could not stop sweating profusely, which added to his persona of busyness and being an extremely hard worker.

The best word to describe Nigel’s work habits? Frantic.

Every decision was stressful, and every action was really a knee-jerk reaction breeding chaos.

He was continually late for his next appointment, so he rushed up and down the halls. Always in his hands were several papers and on his face a worried, stressed look. Predictably, Nigel’s car was filled with trash and gadgets, and his apartment looked like a hurricane had blown the contents of an office supply store into loose piles everywhere.

Nigel is an excellent worker. Why? He is awesome at being busy and working hard. Be like Nigel!

As the boss, you absolutely MUST look busy to teach those underneath you how to work hard. You must “out-work” others to raise the bar of excellence. You must always have your calendar booked. You must come in rushed — or very late, to show that you were “working from home” — and call out demands while running around the office. Always have documents in your hand to show employees how to be busy and work hard, even on your way to the restroom.

To be even more effective, talk on your cell phone constantly. Even while walking around with papers and giving orders to others. This is the ideal model of busyness and efficiency.

If you seem calm and organized, you are giving off the wrong impressions. Just think about it: How can anyone be calm and productive at the same time?!

If that describes you, you’re doing it wrong.

You don’t have to actually be the hardest worker in the office, but you must look like it. To be the best, make sure you out-work everyone else. Be like Nigel.

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand….
Busyness is NOT productivity; busyness is when you are not intentional about your priorities. Slow down, prioritize on paper, and plan your week’s activities to not just work hard, but smart.

Pearls of Wisdom

NO ONE may question your wisdom. Your decisions are final. You are in charge.

I remember restocking shelves at a grocery store as a youth. I had very little authority over anything, and it was dreadful. I had to take orders from idiots that were only able to give them due to their “authority”  in the grocery store chain of command. During my shifts, I studied inventory levels and came up with an ingenious idea. We should stop carrying any perishables items. They were always going bad and we were losing money on this lost inventory. I literally threw away several bananas each day. I presented this idea to management and they completely disregarded my wisdom.

That is why I just couldn’t wait to get into management, honestly. I wanted my wisdom and ideas to have significant mass in the company. I wanted to have the final say, and not waste time on the petty thoughts of those beneath me. I was tired of having my valuable pearls cast aside just because I was not in charge yet.

Now that I am a manager, no one can go over my head. Still, though, my employees think they know more than I do on the odd topic! I’ve been doing this for a long time, but a guy in his late twenties just suggested that we start using “social media” to advertise. What a twerp! “Social media” isn’t even a real thing! I definitely will not be wasting the company’s resources on anything with “social” in the title. Anyhow, I am still in charge, I make the decisions, and I promptly reminded him so!

And likewise, if others question my decisions, especially those beneath me, I lose all of my patience. I am the only one wise enough to run the company. Others don’t have my goals, my drive, or expertise. I have earned my way to the top and should not be questioned. 

Several other leaders — my peers, mind you — have occasionally given me what they call “advice,” but what I call unwelcome criticism). Unfortunately, though, they just don’t see things as well as I do. They are at a disadvantage because they do not sit in my chair. (No one is allowed to sit in my chair, for that matter). I must thus disregard their counsel, since my pearls of wisdom are clearly wasted before these swine.