Sunday, January 02, 2011

Notes to self - 001, Always put up a visible agenda

Each working day I learn something new - or relearn something old.

=====8<---------- Start of note-to-self 001, Always put up a visible agenda ----

Today I recalled a lesson from AYE - When facilitating a meeting with different personality types it helps everybody to set up a visible agenda and adhere to it - as log as it leaves enough room for deviation.

Some people need a clear picture of where the discussion is going while others are comfortable by "going with the flow". While it doesn't do harm for the latter if you put up an agenda - as long as the topics are liberal enough - it enables those who are in favor of the clear picture to focus on the topic at hand without worrying to much about what might come next.

The fact that the agenda might be helpful for the facilitator as well might be noteworthy as well - for example as a tool to direct the focus or as a tool to postpone the discussion to a later topic. Mixes well with a 'parking lot' to keep track of topics/issues to cover. But of course YMMV

[And of course "Always" should always be used with caution - in this case it is
meant to be read as "Whenever it is applicable, use common sense"]

=====8<---------- End of note-to-self 001, Always put up a visible agenda ----

What are these notes-to-self?

As Alan WeiƟ' calculation "if one improves 1 percent a day, one will be twice as 'good' in 70 days" shows the possibilities for self improvement are enourmous. (according to Kn = K0 * (1 + (p/100))^n => 1 * ( 1 + (1/100))^70 => 1.01 ^ 70 => 2.0067633... it is even a little bit more...)

But in my experience that math doesn't compute - or at least not for me.
Although I do work on getting better every day there also is a constant loss going on with me. I forget things, I don't apply learnings to new situations, I fail in the application some piece of knowledge that I posses and so on.

When (and if) I realize these events I have a chance to get my 1 percent for that day. (Nah - not really - make it 0.1%)

Up until now I tried to make a "mental note" of these learnings - both old and new. But after only one year it's hard for me to go over 365 purely mental notes, so I thought I should explicitly put them somewhere.

Starting today I'll try to pick the most important one of these aha-effects for each working day (no correlation to business days - I work freelancing) and put it down here. Each note-to-self will consist of the note itself plus a short explanation of it's meaning and context, as can be seen above in the first one.

Topics might be from a very wide range - don't expect notes on CxO level if I spent the day knee deep in code. I guess I'll cover:

  • very low level (like: Note to self: ci in vim is important or Note to self: make sure you're laptop is in powersave if you give a presentation in an hour)

  • development related (like: rvm helps with the descendants of the dll hell)

  • coaching related (Note to self: What looks like resistance is often lack of safety)

  • Facilitation related (see above)

  • Or something that I haven't yet thought of.

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