What’s on My Phone: HBR IdeaCast

The HBR IdeaCast is a podcast that I have registered with my iPhone Podcast App. It’s published by the publishers of the Harvard Business Review and features leading ideas and commentary from leading thinkers in the business and management arena.

The HBR IdeaCast is part of how I “sharpen my saw” and keep myself fresh.  You might find me listening to this podcast on a commute or on the plane.

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Healthy Habits: 6 Elements of a Powerful Morning Routine

Each one of us develops habits throughout our lives. Some of these habits are healthy habits – they help us to stay on top of our game and live the integrated life.  Others work to our detriment and sabotage our efforts.

One of the most powerful healthy habits that I have found is developing a consistent morning routine. I find that what you accomplish in the morning helps to set the tone for the rest of the day.

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Your Number 1 Priority: Teamwork

The results of a team are greater than the sum of the parts.

In your professional life, working with forming developing and creating a high-performing team is your number one priority. If our goal wasn’t to work together with a team, to create something greater than what each of us can do individually, then there would be no reason for us to incorporate and to work together.

So many people focus on vision, strategy, planning, tactics, execution, and forget that each and every one of those things is nearly impossible without great teamwork and high-performing teams.

Those who focus on execution may have a leg up because they realize that to execute, to truly execute, you need the entire team going in the same direction. But high-performing teams embrace the concept of teamwork as their number one important item to focus on throughout the entire experience of work.

Teamwork is working together, growing in the same direction, collaborating with others, and ultimately generating results that exceed the sum of the parts. Great teams have been documented to go through multiple phases of collaboration.

Many of us have heard about the forming, storming, norming, and performing lifecycle of a team. But how is it that you expedite that process? How is it that you take a team deliberately from one step to the next?

Let’s look at four ways to focus and build your number 1 priority, teamwork.

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Perseverance vs. Insanity

Perseverance vs. Insanity

In Episode 81 of his podcast “This is Your Life,” one of Michael Hyatt’s listeners asks this question:

…you were reciting a quote from John Maxwell that was something in the way of “quitting is the only way to fail.” But then I was thinking about the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So where’s the line between the two? Because I want to believe that fighting the good fight and fighting your way through the hard times and trying to do different things to make my business work is going to be the way to success while all my competition goes to the wayside, but then again I have to think, how long is too long? When is it time to quit? … How do you identify between the two? … How do you identify when it’s time to quit or when you just keep fighting through because you know you’re going to win someday?

I think a finer point can be made on Michael’s answer, which had to do with listening to your own heart and following your passion, as well as questioning whether or not you’re called and remembering that a little perseverance goes a long way.

There are two key differences between those who persevere and those who are insane.

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Electronic Circuit Board

Our Dangerous Misunderstanding of Minimum Viable Product

In a recent post on TechCruch, Bill Aulet writes that the tech community has come to have a “dangerous obsession with the MVP [minimum viable product].”

While I agree with him that over-pursuing minimum viable products can be the fastest way for a company to “go broke saving money,” I also believe we are at a point in time where something more damaging than an obsession with MVPs is the case.

There now seems to be dangerous and widespread misunderstandings of what a minimum viable product really is, some of which are perpetuated in the post. It’s essential that our industry come to a proper understanding of what an MVP is and is not in order to put it in its rightful place.

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What’s on My Phone: Favorite Song

Toby Mac’s “Favorite Song” (and, in reality, any other song featuring Jamie Grace) is one of my eight-year-old daughter Catherine’s favorites.  She’s a God Girl and loves to sing joyful songs that express her love for God and life.

When I’m in the car with her, I love nothing more than to turn this song up and watch her sing.  Her eyes light up, she sings out loud, and her smile lights up the car and my life.

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Night view at St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, Italy

How I Got “All the Way” Away on Vacation

I just got back from the longest trip away I have ever taken. I was in Europe for ten days with my wife. The first two days were spent visiting our 3Pillar office in Romania. The balance of the time was spent on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi with a nonprofit organization that I support.

How was it that I was able to get this time away? How was it that I was able to break away and get away to refresh myself?

Not only was I away physically, I was away mentally. I was able to check out and immerse myself in the time with my wife and my pilgrimage and with an organization that’s close to my heart.

Here’s how I managed to get “all the way” away on vacation…and how I think you can, too.

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Four Tips for How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

Communication is hard, especially when you’re communicating to an organization. How do you communicate effectively in your workplace? Here are four tips I’ve found that I use as principles for my communication at 3Pillar.

Communication within 3Pillar is especially challenging for me. Not only is it a large organization of over 600 employees, but there are multiple cultures, many types of people, and various demographics. It is probably greatly more diverse than most organizations. We have offices in five different cities in the U.S. and four different countries throughout the world, all with varying backgrounds.

For example, we serve India and Asia, Romania in Eastern Europe, the U.K. in Western Europe, and then five cities in the U.S.

Those cultural differences alone make it difficult to communicate effectively.

I’ve found over the years the principle that you have to communicate seven times in seven different ways is very true, yet I’ve also found that some simple guidelines can really help to optimize communication.

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