Does owning a camera make you a photographer?

March 13, 2012
Just because you own a camera, it does not make you a photographer.
Just because you know where Home Depot is located, it doesn’t make you a General Contractor.
Just because you own a car and you know where the hood release is located, it doesn’t make you a mechanic.
And just because you own a computer and set up your wireless network at home, it doesn’t make you an IT professional, much less a CIO.
There is a difference between a hobby and being an expert in something.  Novice vs professional.
Do you know how to do it right?  And why it’s “right?”
Do you know the dependencies and the trade offs?  The gotchas?
Have you spent the time to get the education and put in the hands-on the job time required? Have you put the time in to become an expert and are you ready to put your name (or more) on the line?  We all have opinions, depending on the subject at hand, some of those opinions mean more than others.
Let the professional do their job, watch, and see what you can learn.
And, for the argumentative out there, just because you own a camera, it does not make you a photographer, it means you can take a picture.  It doesn’t mean you know composition, lighting, depth of field, etc. – it means you can click the shutter.  And we’re proud of you, it’s a start, now go learn from an expert…
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Should I even be doing this?

August 3, 2010
Everyone I know is too busy.  Work is crazy!  Too much to do and not enough time.  Heck, that is true for life in general now!

The question (that I don’t ask myself enough) to ask is “Should I even be doing this?”
Why am I doing this task in the first place?  Am I doing this because it is a habit now? Or, the last person in this job did it?
Who is consuming the output of the effort?  Do they derive a value equal or greater then the effort that goes into doing the task?  Or does it end up an unread email in someone’s inbox?
Is there someone better suited to do this?  Either better skilled? Or at a more appropriate pay grade (up or down)?
Can I make it more efficient?  Am I attending a regularly scheduled weekly hour long meeting? That is 50 + hours a year!  Can you honestly answer the question of “what is the value you bring to yourself, your team, or to the meeting?” Do you like the answer?  If not, why are you going?  Can you just stop going?  Will anyone notice?
Ok, maybe you can’t just stop going…  But is there an agenda?  I bet there isn’t.  Can you ask the leader to create one from now on?  Can you attend just part of the time? Or actually, do everyone a favor – is there a way to make the meeting only 30 minutes?  I have learned that meetings expand to fit the time allotted.  Allot less time!  Can you do the meeting in 15 minutes? How about 10?
I have said it before – email isn’t work.  Turn off your email client and get real work done!  You might be surprised at how much you can do when you aren’t distracted!  Try checking email just on scheduled intervals – maybe first thing in the morning, lunch, mid-afternoon and then right before you leave.  Instead of spending half your day on email, you are now only spending 30 minutes to an hour a day.  You just gained 2 – 3 hours!
Do you have an agenda of what you want to accomplish each day?  You are pretty much guaranteed not to get it done if you haven’t thought through what it is you need to accomplish.  It is easy to spend your day in endless meetings and checking email if you don’t have a clear picture of what you really need to accomplish.
So next time you think you are just too busy and it is impossible to do all the work you have, ask yourself “Should I even be doing this?”
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Does your company have too many people paid to say “No?”

August 2, 2010
Does your company have too many people paid to say “No?”

Is it harder then it should be to get simple things done?  Have employees been trained that it is impossible (or at least hard) to make change or to improve things so they have given up (think most Federal Government jobs)?  Talk about killing innovation!  When it is hard to even get your job done and to make incremental change, why would anyone be crazy enough to try to innovate?
Some companies just seem to slide into a culture of No.   “No” is safe.  It is easy to say “No, you can’t do that. Convince me why we should.”  They exert their power.  They may even get patted on the back for saving the company money (at least in the short term).  Good thing you shut down that crazy idea.
Soon everyone becomes a road block. The company is able to cut short term expenditures, but there is no growth.  Even if the leadership talks about grand vision and goals, if they don’t change the culture of No it will never happen. That vision will be killed by 100 little No’s from everyone “just doing their job.”  Then management will wonder why that grand idea didn’t come to fruition. Must have been a failing on how it was implemented, right?

Maybe it’s time to convert some of those “No” people into “How can we do that?” people?

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