Tag Archives: Forbes

Daily Thought 5/8/12: The Enemies of Greatness and Happiness

I recently stumbled upon a piece in Forbes that seems to explore Jim Collins‘ matra that good is the enemy of great. This article provides a quick overview of the six enemies of greatness (and happiness).

  • Availability- settling for the “low hanging fruit”
  • Ignorance- limitations based on what you know
  • Committees- bureaucratic bull poop
  • Comfort- inability to stretch yourself
  • Momentum- getting stuck in a rut
  • Passivity- not engaging all the way

Instead of diving into why each of these traits make achieving greatness difficult, I thought it would be valuable to think of creative ways to overcome them. I won’t claim to be a expert but it is always important to get creative and think your way out of a problem.

  • Availability- set your sights on a goal that takes a little bit of effort but will make your project great
  • Ignorance- always seek advice and help from others, you can never ask too many questions
  • Committees- give everyone a specific task and deadline, hold them accountable and push forward
  • Comfort- is it just me or is it a lot more exhilarating to stretch beyond your comfort zone and get a win because of your efforts?
  • Momentum- just like getting stuck in a rut, success breeds success
  • Passivity- find something that you are truly passionate about and you will never be passive
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Daily Thought 1/18/12: Admitting “I Don’t Know”

The other day, Forbes published an interesting blog post: 4 Things I’ve Gained from Admitting “I Don’t Know.” This is a really interesting insight about when it is appropriate to stay guarded and when it is time to be candid. I personally have a tendency to be candid, almost to a fault, and have often been taught to be a little more guarded and use “the party line” as the article suggests.

There certainly is value in admitting you don’t know something as suggested by the 4 benefits in the article: Ideas, Direction, Space, and Confidence. However, I would argue that a good leader should use discretion when saying “I don’t know.” I agree that there is a lot of inherent value in sharing this candid response, and most of the time it is the correct thought to share. There are also times when it may be beneficial to remain a little tight-lipped before spilling all of the beans. This is certainly an interesting thought. When do you think it is appropriate to admit “I don’t know” and when should you avoid that statement?

I’ve come to recognize that it’s far more important to be confident in my ability to make good decisions than it is for me to be confident in any one answer or solution. So now, instead about worrying whether any given initiative is a the best answer or a “home run,” I instead trust that I will know when to invest more or when it’s time to pull the plug, once I have more information. And recognizing this has made it a whole lot easier to talk with others about an initiative or project I’m not sure about yet.

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