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  • Guest Post – Self Organizing Agile Teams: The Fine Line Between Freedom and Chaos

    Posted on September 8th, 2011 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    I recently wrote a guest post for Check it out:

    Self Organizing Agile Teams: The Fine Line Between Freedom and Chaos

    As always please feel free to leave me your comments here or on the site as well. i love feedback.

  • Success: A Road Map … It’s Not What You Think, or Maybe it is.

    Posted on January 26th, 2011 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    Disclaimer: None of these are my ideas and the full document can be found here: Quick MBA, I just wanted to capture a summary of these for future use. It’s based on the #1 bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. My summary is actually a summary of a summary, I goal is to distill this information to it’s core. Call it laziness, call it efficiency… call it karma Ray.

    Call it Karma Ray

    The Seven Habits move us through the following stages:

    1. Dependence: the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us.
    2. Independence: the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves.
    3. Interdependence: the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently.

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are:

    Habit 1:  Be Proactive

    Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.

    Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

    Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.

    Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

    Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a “win/win” deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make “no deal” may be the best alternative. In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertently rewarding win/lose behavior.

    Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

    First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening emphatically for both feeling and meaning.

    Habit 6:  Synergize

    Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person’s own solution.

    Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw

    Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.

  • What If You Received $86,400 Everyday

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    Imagine that your bank credited your account with $86,400 every day, and every night they canceled whatever funds were left over that you failed to use during the day, from the account.

    What would you do? Surely you would strive to spend every cent, every day! Or go find another bank that would do the same thing but let you keep the balance ;)

    Here’s the thing, everybody has this account. It’s the “TIME” bank, and every morning it deposits 86,400 seconds in your account. Every night it withdraws and writes-off whatever you failed to invest. Your balance is never carried over, no matter what the excuse and you have no overdraft. Each day a new account is opened, and each night the bank’s records are destroyed. You are the bookkeeper of your equity, experiences and knowledge. If you fail to use the funds, the loss is your responsibility.

      Live in the ‘now’ and seek to obtain the highest return on investment possible. By facing your pains, the injustices you’ve been dealt, your mortality and the challenges of your past, you’ll realize the true value of your “TIME” bank and look for ways to improve your ROI on future time investments.

      Time Perception:

      • 1 millisecond = the difference between who won silver and gold at the Olympics.
      • 1 second = the difference between someone who just survived an accident and some one who didn’t.
      • 1 minute = the difference between missing or catching your plane.
      • 1 hour = the difference between some one spending time with their family or missing it.
      • 1 day = the difference between a working or calling in sick if you’re on minimum wage, and have 5 kids to feed.
      • 1 week = the difference between a prisoner being released from their sentence.
      • 1 month = the difference between  giving birth to a premature baby or a healthy baby.
      • 1 year = the difference between passing or failing the exam.
      • 1 lifetime = the difference between realizing that you could have done better if you invested your time wisely.

      Can you hear the clock ticking?

      There’s always time to ask yourself can I start using my time better.

    • Attention Please! How to Increase Your Productivity

      Posted on July 16th, 2010 Nelson Bodnarchuk 1 comment

      Yes, you too can avoid distractions and get more done in less time. According to a study from the University of California-Irvine, people switch work tasks approximately every three minutes, switch projects every 11 minutes and require up to 23 minutes to return to a task if interrupted. Those are some interesting statistics when one thinks of their personal work day. It comes back to Multi-Tasking not being about doing more things at once but doing one thing and then skipping on to the next, like a stone skipping on the surface of the water, you never really get to get involved deep enough mentally to commit to making a positive change in the work you’re performing if you’re constantly switching tasks.

      You may have the idea that most distractions are external. However, the research also found that nearly 44% are self-initiated, and these distractions are found to stem from anxiety in four major areas, that affect most everyone: money; time; relationships; and decision-making. The study shows that when we’re feeling stressed we have trouble focusing and waste time on non-value added behaviour, such as excessive e-mail checking or taking that third five minute break to catch-up with your Facebook news feed.

      To avoid this, as I have caught myself several times over the past few years in this situation, I have set times during the day when I read and respond to emails. I also turn off message and IM alerts and have downloaded the necessary apps on my smart phone so I can checkup on my social media accounts anywhere, the key is to limit myself to once per day I prefer checking email in the morning after my daily 5 min goal setting routine & calendar review, just before lunch around 11 AM and near the end of the work day prior to my daily 5 min progress review in preparation for the next day.

      There’s also the classic “Time Thief” that adds to the mix. You can avoid letting others hijack your time with phrases like: “Do you have a minute?” Most of the time my response to this is “one moment please.” and then I ask if a minute will do the trick or if we should schedule a meeting. This technique weeds out the “Time Thief” from the people with a legitimate issue.

      Leveraging the daily, or weekly, “scrum” meeting so employees & co-workers know when they’ll have a chance to discuss issues with you helps them feel less inclined to interrupt your time. Another technique that I’m a huge fan of is empowerment, if you train your employees, if you have them, to make decisions on their own, and hold the scheduled scrum meeting(s) to ensure that the organizations goals are being worked toward in the most efficient way possible then you’ll free up more time within your day to focus in deep on hitting the big fish with those rocks you were skipping.

      It doesn’t really matter when you perform these tasks during your day, just as long as you set a schedule and stick to it. Doing this type of time compression consistently and keeping to it until it becomes routine will allow you to get more done in less time.