Machines in Motion

Last weekend the family had a mini-vacation day…. school starts Monday and we suddenly realized we hadn’t done much fun stuff this summer so we went to Bozeman to the Museum of the Rockies.

This show was amazing.  My six-year-old son was especially enthralled.  (My four-year-old daughter was just mad when she found out the drummers and singers in this exhibit were on the speakers and not really in the museum.)

Along the same lines…. I saw this bit about how machines work at kottke.org.  Click it… you’ll be amazed.

Machines in Motion

Goal Mapping in a Nutshell

From Adaptive Path 

Goal Mapping in a Nutshell

Step Zero: find a space and get focused

We found a room with a white board that we could commandeer for a few hours. No whiteboard? A big tabletop or some large sheets of post-it paper on the wall will work just as well. Just make sure it’s a space where you won’t be disturbed and where others won’t see what you’re working on if privacy is desired.

We grabbed sticky notes in different colors, some sharpies and whiteboard markers. Get what you need to be comfy – a latte, a beer, put on some music, do some jumping jacks, primal scream therapy – whatever gets you focused on the task at hand.

Step One: write down the now

With one color of sticky notes in front of me, and sharpie in hand, I asked my colleague to tell me all the things she was responsible for in her job right now. We kept it fairly general, but you can be as detailed as makes sense for you and your workplace (or any other area of your life). We generated about a dozen sticky notes. I put them in a column called NOW on the left side of the white board.

Step Two: sort into ‘love’ and ‘hate’

After we took a moment to look at all the things that make up her job right now, I asked my colleague to tell me what aspects of her current situation she liked and which (in a perfect world) she would like to stop doing. I wrote down what she said on more sticky notes.

When she was done, I made two new columns on the white board – LOVE and NO! She sorted her stickies into the appropriate columns.

Then we stepped back and looked at where things shook out and I asked her some questions:

• Are you doing too much right now?

• Is anything crushing the life out of you?

• Can you get rid of anything? Yes/No? What? When?

• Can you add anything? Yes/No? What? When?

• Is there anything missing from these lists? Something you are longing to do, but haven’t had the chance?

• Do you see any obvious patterns…things you can act on?

• What absolutely can’t be changed or removed for business reasons?

I wrote down new things that came up on different colored stickies and made notes on the white board as we worked through answering the questions above. Some things became really clear immediately.

Yes, she was feeling overworked. We identified two areas of responsibility where she could lessen her role in them permanently, creating some breathing space in her workday. I noted so on the whiteboard around the corresponding sticky notes. We also identified two areas where she was in charge unofficially and behind the scenes. We pinpointed where she could expand her role in those areas and really own them publicly. I made more notes on the whiteboard around those stickies. Then she came up with three totally new projects and responsibilities she was interested in exploring that would directly benefit the company and make her job more enjoyable in the long term. I added three new sticky notes with the three new roles to the whiteboard. Then we high-fived. It was awesome.

Step Three: map it!

By this point in the process, the whiteboard was covered in sticky notes, arrows and lots of scribbles. Out of that mess, came many possible actions. Our next task was to figure out when it would make sense for all these changes to happen (and if they could even happen at all) by mapping them to a timeline, taking into account all the aspects of her job that would remain constant. I made a quick list of the parts of her job we didn’t think needed tweaking, and then made three new columns (NEAR-TERM, MID-TERM, LONG-TERM) on the white board. We then moved the stickies into them as we talked through the best timing for each item.

Near-term (dec-jan): Because my colleague had too much on her plate and was feeling overworked, we decided that it was most important to reduce her workload a bit in the near term. There were two obvious areas where she could offload some duties and one of them – reducing the number of hours she spent on project management each week –would make a huge impact. We put those two sticky notes in the near-term column – giving her two months with a slightly reduced workload and a renewed focus on the rest of her work before we added anything new.

Mid-term (feb-may): We still didn’t want to upset the newfound equilibrium of her workload by adding too many new things in the mid-term. So, the first two months of this time period we devoted to expanding her role in two key areas she identified. The second two months of the mid-term are for exploring two new roles she was really interested in taking on, which build on her current responsibilities.

Long-term (jun-dec): The last six months of the year we earmarked as the point she’ll start thinking about and crafting a totally new area of her job that capitalizes on her unique strengths and the needs of our workplace. Win-win!

Once we had everything mapped out, we went back and added notes about what she might need to achieve her goals … where did she need more training or education, input or approval from others, time for thinking and planning, etc?

Once we finished mapping it all out, I photographed everything on the whiteboard, went back to my desk and created a one-page document for her – her goal map – that she can keep and refer to over the course of the year to see how she’s doing. And more importantly, recalibrate as needed.

Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to do goal mapping, and it can certainly be done for many things in your life, not just work. So, give it a shot and keep us posted

Goal Mapping in a Nutshell

Disaster Prep

My thermometer read -11 degrees this morning and the office parking lot is well-plowed but still icy in spots. I finally pulled out my real winter coat and snow boots.

In my email in-box this morning I found a nifty link from my co-worker. This is Montana’s Disaster and Emergency Survival Guide. It has some good things about winter survival and travel.

As many of you know, earlier this fall my family was placed on “evacuation notice” due to a wildfire on MacDonald Pass so the section on evacuation planning will be of real importance to me. I thought we were well prepared but I can see some places for real improvement.

Disaster Prep