Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Show me results

When we lived in Romania it amazed me to discover that most stores did not open until 9 or 10 and most people didn’t really go to work until 10ish. Culturally Romanians focused first on relationships and events while efficiency was not that high on the priority list. I learned this the hard way when I tried to teach a time management class. I even went so far as to give my students a day planner. I think it is safe to assume most did not use it! Fair enough. We can write off these differences as cultural differences and as I’ve said I don’t think all these differences were bad (I even miss many of them). After all how many of us work a solid 9 to 5 anyhow? But if culture is their excuse, what’s our excuse for poor productivity? I think it’s safe to say they may accomplish as much in a work day as we do anyhow.

As I said in my last blog, I’m reading a book called It’s Called Work for a Reason, by Larry Winget. Winget’s no nonsense approach to work has really captured my attention. Many would frown at other cultures for their "work ethic" while standing on our pedestal as though we were the "working force that makes the world go round." Winget on the other hand would disagree. He says, "What difference does it really make what people are doing as long as what needs to get done really gets done?" He goes on to add, "Don’t measure busywork. Don’t measure activity. Measure accomplishment. It doesn’t matter what people do as much as it matters what they get done."

This reminds me of a good friend I had in college that would cram the night before an exam and make the same grade if not better than I would after studying for two weeks. It drove me crazy but in the end the teacher didn’t care how much we studied. He just wanted to see how well we knew the information. The same is true in the workplace. We are not measured on how hard we work each day, we are measured by what we accomplish. Like it or not, there will always be those that can put in little effort and have great results, while some will put forth lots of effort to show the same results. I guess we just have to know our abilities and our limits.

After reading my last blog I realized I might be putting myself under a microscope. I’ve taken the risk of being known as the biggest hypocrite in the world by blogging on work if I don’t let my actions speak for themselves. Fortunately my wife is the only one that reads my blogs. Unfortunately she knows my work ethic around the house! It’s the end result honey, not the effort! So I guess that is my disclaimer. I’m not blogging on work in an effort to even attempt to sing my own praises but rather to just plant a few thoughts in the one or two minds that read this blog. But, more than anything maybe I’m just planting thoughts in my own mind. If nothing else, maybe I’ll think about all this the next time I try to skate by with little or no effort at work or attempt to just look busy! After all, the great John Wooden even said, "Never mistake activity for achievement."

I better get back to result producing work! Aspire to new heights.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Get to Work

A friend and colleague gave me a book she said “I had to read!” The book is titled It’s Called Work for a Reason. If I didn’t know my colleague so well I would think she was trying to send me a message (so RG are you?). After reading more about the author, she may be trying to tell me something. You see, the author, Larry Winget and I have a lot in common, most notably we tend to, “let our mouths overload our butts,” as my high school football coach called it. In this book Winget tells it like it is. Not only do Winget and I both shave our heads, we obviously don’t mind sticking our costly boots in our mouth!

I’ve just started reading this book and I can’t put it down. Winget’s fluff cutting antics inspire me. Right off the bat he strikes a cord with me when he fires, “The bottom-line answer to every problem in business is this: People aren’t working!!” Preach on brother.

I’m a worker. I’ve always been a worker. My father instilled this mentality in me. I don’t know very many people that work any harder than my father and his brothers. They grew-up in a day and age on a small West Texas farm when you worked to make a living. You milked the cows before school and you drove the tractor until dark (while getting an education in-between). I know my life was far from difficult like theirs, but one thing my dad did expect was hard work. From nine to five he worked at a bank. So we primarily worked on the farm and ranch on the weekends and any time the bank was closed (Labor Day had an entirely different meaning in my family). In the summer we either got a job or we worked on the farm. Vacations pretty much amounted to a long weekend trip to Dallas to watch the Ranger’s play and a day at Six Flags.

I guess this is why Winget’s book really hits home with me. I love to read and I’ve read multiple leadership books, all of which have been somewhat helpful but they also contain hundreds of ideas (or fads) on how to be successful. It’s kind of like the diet craze. Each time a new book comes out containing a fad diet, millions buy it. Everyone is looking for the quick fix whether it relates to work or health. The last thing we want to hear is that we have to work for success.

The nice thing about hard work is that you don’t have to be the smartest man on the block, you don’t have to be the most educated, and you don’t have to be the most experienced. You can cover miles and miles of “resume red flags” with good old solid nine to five labor. Just don’t get discouraged by the occasional floater that rises to the top via other means. After all, even turds float! (look for my book on this leadership phenomenon in the future).

I can’t wait to read more of this book. I hope you don’t mind me sharing with you some of Winget’s rantings, and a few of mine. If nothing else I’m sure you’ve grown to expect it from me! Sorry again for the lapse in blogs. Hope to at least have one a week in the future. Work before blog, right?!! Aspire to new heights.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humble, Radiant Hogg (Pig)

I apologize for my recent hiatus. This has been an eventful month both at home and at work filled with sickness and increased workload. I could do without the sickness, but I’m enjoying the busy schedule. To be honest I poured myself into this blog during a time when I needed the therapy. Now I find myself rolling again, but I don’t want to neglect the joy I’ve found in writing my thoughts; just probably not as often as before. With that said, here goes nothing!


When my daughter Brynlee gets hooked on a movie she watches it until the DVD no longer functions. Right now she is on Barbie princess movies. Before that she was consumed by CARS. But before all the other movies there was Charlotte’s Web. Lucky for me this was during the time when we drove back-and-fourth from Lubbock to Houston for the holidays. I think I can quote this movie verbatim and I’ve never actually visibly seen the movie. You know you can learn a lot from a spider. After all she’s the one that said, “People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.” That’s why I blog!

In her search for words to describe Wilbur, and save him from ending up on a plate at the breakfast table, Charlotte tabs Wilbur as “humble.” Charlotte says, “Humble has two meanings. It means ‘not proud’ and ‘close to the ground.’ That's Wilbur all over.”

That’s who I want to be, a radiant, humble, Hogg! (Can you be radiant and humble?)

I’ve been reading a book by Stephen M.R. Covey called The Speed of Trust where he describes a humble person as someone that “is more concerned about what is right than about being right, about acting on good ideas than having the ideas, about embracing new truth than defending outdated position, about building the team than exalting self, about recognizing contribution than being recognized for making it.” Wow, what a mouthful, but what a statement to live by. Covey goes on to say,
Being humble does not mean being weak, reticent, or self-effacing. It means recognizing principle and putting ahead of self. It means standing firmly for principle, even in the face of opposition. Humble people can negotiate intensely. They can drive hard bargains. They can express themselves firmly and clearly in intense situations in close personal relationships. But they do not get caught up in arrogance, bravado, manipulation, or win-lose power plays….Humble people also realize clearly that they do not stand alone, but rather on the shoulders of those who have gone before, and that they move upward only with the help of others.

Man I have a lot to learn and a long ways to go! I know who a few, and I mean a few, of my faithful readers are and I know they ALL agree with me, especially when it comes to being right (even though I’ve never been wrong!). To be honest I’m not sure I’m not everything negative in Covey’s first statement. I like to be right. I like to have good ideas. I like to stand by my beliefs. I like to be recognized. Ouch. The scary thing is we will all be humbled at some point in time. As Jesus said in Luke 14:11, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

So, starting today, I’m going to strive to be “more concerned about what is right rather than being right.” I’m going to focus more on action rather than ideas. I’m going to be open to new ideas. I’m determined to be more about “we” than “I”. And I’m going to recognize contribution from others and not worry about personal recognition.

I hope you will join me. Aspire to new heights!