Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Tool is 1/3rd of the Battle…

iPad con dock y teclado inalámbrico

Image via Wikipedia

Two of the more popular posts recently have been about the software/services and hardware tools that I use.

But buying new technology alone is not going to make you more productive.

This is true on the individual level as well as the organizational level.

Yet, it’s a mistake I see made often…thinking the tool is the “silver bullet.”

Leaving out the absolute necessity that you must make the commitment to learn, play, familiarize yourself with the new technology, there are 2 other components to successfully “jumping the curve” in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

  1. Strategy: What are you going to DO with them?
  2. Execution: Actually doing it

Now, when it comes to execution, you can be cajoled or whatever, but it boils down to self-discipline. At the end of the day, you have to “Just F’in Do It!”

The Strategy is easier (it usually is), but you need to think about the big question of: Exactly WHAT am I trying to accomplish?

For me, it’s pretty straightforward.

From a business perspective….At every moment, I want to be doing the most productive thing that I can to increase my value as a consultant.

Here’s a recent example from Spring Break week.

  • Got on the treadmill in the morning, used the Windows Media Center (Tivo-like) to watch a CNBC documentary on J.W. Marriott (objective: improve my entrepreneurial skills)
  • Drove to an appointment with my doctor and listened to 4 TED talks on my Zune. I trust TED to curate good content so any talk is something I think will broaden my perspective. All of them did that, but 2 of them, in particular, including this great one from Johanna Blakley.
  • My wife wanted to go to the gym for a bit, so I was “on point” with the kids. They wanted to read, so we all sat in the family room, reading together. I used the iPad to
    • read an entire book (Do the Work !)
    • get caught up on my blog reading
  • Later that afternoon, I ironed some shirts and listened to 2 fantastic podcasts from HBR on the iPad.
    One of them, in fact, was so good that I used the “record a note” feature on Evernote to save it as an action item for later.

The point here isn’t “hey, look at me.”

The point is to say, “the tools can take you to a new level in terms of knowledge and career improvement, but you need to understand what each tool does best and use it for that. Then, have a plan for using them and the discipline to follow-through on the plan.”

For many, this is 2nd nature, but I’ve had enough conversations recently that made me think it was worth it to share these thoughts.

Hope this helps.

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