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Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader

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Self Leadership

Daily Deliberation: 15 August 2017

I can still remember the day I defined my “why”. Throughout my whole life I have been a student of leadership and have had a passion for teaching others. I tried different variations of these two and had a great time, but it wasn’t until I married the two that I felt the fire. I started this site and will be working with civilians soon with this underlying purpose: “to serve others through mentorship so they can learn from my successes and failures and get at least one step further than I have.” What drives you each day? Not sure, feel free to connect with me and I would love to help you figure it out.

Daily Deliberation: 13 August 2017

Have you ever thought you weren’t good enough to do something? When you thought that, it probably crippled you with fear to try something new. I know I feel that way all the time, especially with trying to start a media company. “Who am I to think others want to read my posts or listen to my podcast?” Instead we need to stop worrying about all the people who might not like it; rather, worry about adding value to the one who will learn from us. If we can help just one other person get a little further along in life, I think that is pretty amazing.

Daily Deliberation: 6 August 2017

I love this concept about failing. We all fail. It is ok to fail. We look at failure as something terrible and as if we are losers. Failure means we tried something and fell short…that is it. Now, the important thing is what was learned from that failure to make us better for the next time. We have to ask what went wrong and how can we prepare for it better the next time around. Failure is merely feedback, it is not the end of the road.

Daily Deliberation: 2 August 2017

So this seemingly contradicts my Daily Deliberation from yesterday; however, it really doesn’t. Yesterday was about reclaiming wasted time used on pointless endeavors. This is advice from Lennon is about “wasting” time on something you are passionate about. For example, time spent on learning guitar or reading a book are not wasted. Even though they may be hobbies, they are still nurturing your soul. There is a difference between laughing at YouTube cat videos and something that fuels your spirit.

Daily Deliberation: 28 July 2017

“I am way to busy to get to that today.” This is something we all say a lot. We can’t perceive taking 15 minutes from our crazy schedules for something else. However, if our car broke down on the way into work, we would find a way to get that towed and fixed. This process may take hours and yet we find the time. Why? Because it became a priority. We ALWAYS find time to take of the things we make a priority. Those little fires that pop up where we drop everything to go and handle are our organization’s way of setting new priorities for us. It is not that you don’t have enough time, it is simply not a priority for you.

Daily Deliberation: 27 July 2017

Why are the things that make us better so hard to do? Getting a gym routine in motion, changing our diet, stop chugging sodas, read more, etc. take major amounts of will power even though we know they are the right things to do. Making decisions as a leader often are very difficult too. Even though they are the best choices for the unit or the person, we struggle because we fear the backlash or loss in social capital. However, in the long run tough decisions always feel better. I feel better after a workout or when I am eating healthy and my team feels better when I have the courage to do what is right. Are you facing a tough decision?

Daily Deliberation: 26 July 2017

We have more control over our time than we think. There are places we have to be during certain times, like the office from 0700-1600; however, what are we doing while we are there. I have met very few people who are productive from start to finish. There are those water cooler moments where you are discussing yesterday’s Game of Thrones or something else. Although, I have learned the best networks and bonds come from moments like these, there are missed opportunities to help others grow or to make a process better. Take control of the moments you have to invest in your area of responsibility.

How to Prioritize Your Day (Time Management Series: Part 3)

Have you ever felt like you are running from emergency to emergency all day long? You get home at the end of the day (late of course) wondering what you even accomplished. There is no real solid answer, but you know you have more of it tomorrow. It is time to set some priorities and take back your day.

We all know this guy: An airman of mine was tasked to inspect the right side of the aircraft. Two hours in, I went to check on him after I finished the left side and he was not there. About five minutes later, I saw him walking back from the tool crib with new clamps and Armor All. I asked him what was going on and he told me he wanted to replace some of the clamps that were “not perfect” and see how the Armor All would look on the aircraft tires. At first, I was impressed with his initiative. Then I asked him if he discovered any discrepancies on his inspection. “Oh, I haven’t finished. I stopped at the tires when I saw the clamps could be replaced.”

It all comes down to having the correct priorities. Most people show up to work wondering what the day will hold. When they get there, they are greeted at the door with someone else’s emergency. When they check their email, they are tasked with someone else’s emergency. Basically, they spend the whole day as a firefighter and get nothing of worth accomplished. Because of this, tomorrow will once again be filled with fires. When we prioritize our time and efforts, we are much more productive and effective.

To do this:

Create your to-do list. We all have a list of the things we need to do and want to do. Most of us keep these in our heads, however. Get them written down on paper, a spreadsheet (my favorite), phone app, or whatever else works for you. You need to get them out of your head and on a list. This alone takes away the burden of trying to juggle all of them and frees up your mental RAM. I always tell those on my team to share their problems because once they are on the outside we become bigger than the issue. If we let these items rattle around in our heads, we assign false priorities levels to them.

Keep this to do list visual for the first couple of weeks and add things to it that you do regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). For starters, it keeps your head clear and organized. It also helps you to see what needs done. And it makes a great tool to use for continuity for the person you turn your job over to in the future.

Break up into categories. Now that you have this list, you need to categorize it. This is very simple; just use the following categories below:

Category 1: AFI of Suspense Driven. This is something that is time-sensitive or something a regulation spells out as a responsibility for your position. These are the things that have to be done to keep the lights on and you out of jail.

Category 2: Local demands. These are the things you do for your boss or for your unit. For example, prepping for the staff meetings or fulfilling local checklists. You won’t go to jail for not doing this, but you might get a stern talking to.

Category 3: Value-Added Items. Here are the things you do to stay ahead of the game or the “over and above” items that are done to care for your team. If you didn’t do these, nothing would happen. However, by doing them you prevent multiple future fires.

Work the list. It doesn’t take a genius to point out what order these tasks need to be completed in. However, there is a touch of common sense. I am not going to do all of the Category 1 tasks for the whole year next Monday. I still have to space them out so that I can do the other things required of me on a daily basis. I do need to have a plan to how I will meet the intent of the AFI and beat the suspense. Some days I only work on the value-added things and that is fine as long as the other stuff is on-track. Just like the person I mentioned in the beginning of the post who does HUGE value-added items, but they are not doing the basics of their job.

I like to plan my top 3 priorities for the day. Before I leave for the day, I look at tomorrow’s schedule and my ‘to do’ list. I write down the most important thing I have to do the next day as number one and then the next two in line. When I show up in the morning, I work number one before I do anything else (most of the time even before opening email). Then I get up to speed with what is happening with my team and work the next two. Most of the time I do not finish all three; however, I get 5 items done each week that move the ball forward. This is more than most people get accomplished in a month of putting out fires.

When you know what is important and learn to prioritize, you will be much more productive and your daily life will be less stressful. (In case you missed it, see part 1 in the series here.)

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Daily Deliberation: 20 July 2017

I wonder how many of my “goals” became wishes. As a young Airman I had big goals that were changed as I grew due to reality and shifting priorities. I am ok with not accomplishing these; however, some died because I was lazy. To reach our goals, we need to find a way to hold ourselves accountable to achieving them. When I have a friend or mentor checking in on my progress, I am motivated to not waste their time and to conquer this goal. What goal can you be working on today?

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