My Three Words for 2012: Care, Simplify, Share

[Originally posted on Google+ Jan 1, 2012]


I'm not much of a New Year's Resolution guy. The end of the year is a good time to take stock of the past year and plan for the next, but they idea of letting the calendar dictate when to create REALLY BIG GOALS never made much sense.

A little more than two years ago, I was inspired by a post from Chris Brogan describing how he invested time creating a theme for his year.

My three words for next year are Care, Simplify, Share.

Care. It's not that I didn't care last year. Nor was "careless." But I was pulled in a lot of directions and spent precious time on things that I didn't truly care about. This year I need to ensure my time and resources are spent on important things I truly care about. I need to do things that make the most difference. Before committing myself or others to do things, I need to understand the goal of the activity well enough to know when it's "done enough" or when it's just not worth doing. That will require me to ask better questions, particularly of those who want my time. I need to care enough to ask hard questions of myself and others. For things that aren't worth caring about, I need to simply say, "No." I'll do work I care about and do it well.

Simplify. I will simplify my work. [CAUTION, this may make sense only within my work group. ] I need to help my team focus like a laser on only what needs to be done to deliver software in short intervals. I need to help them say "No" and do only the work needed to ship product. I need to focus them on the work this year of doing a technology refresh of ALMIS using COTS software to meet enterprise requirements. I will help them radically decrease the amount of acquisition and software documentation produced to that which is absolutely necessary. One of the most important ways I can exert leverage is to keep the project as small as possible. Small enough to succeed.

Share. I need to share more in 2012. I will create an environment where there is transparent sharing among the three groups responsible for implementing the COTS software package: the folks doing the configuration, the folks hosting it, and the HQ project office responsible for it. To succeed we must share everything: vision, requirements, water cooler discussions. I spent some time over the last month of 2011 purging paper-based stuff accumulated in my office over the past few years on the project. Through that process, it hit me like a brick upside the head that any plan or idea that lived on a piece of paper inside a folder or a binder in my office wasn't doing a bit any good. It had ceased to be useful once it was stored away in a single place where only I could get to it. And I rarely needed it. That experience convinced me that I need to work to make sure neither me nor anyone on my team creates stuff that isn't really needed. If shelf-ware is useless, why make it in the first place? Anyone can see it's useless after the fact. This year I'll try to be smart enough not to let it be created in the first place. For artifacts that are born digital, I'll lead the team to create them in a way that is shareable. I will also make new connections through sharing. Now that we've chosen the software package the team will be implementing, I will connect to other users to share lessons. This sharing is critical to forging the most direct path from shrink-wrapped software to useful tool that provides business value. The most important connection I'll focus on in 2012, however, is with my family. Last year provided a reminder for me of what is truly important. The focus and simplification of work will provide me the space I need to share a deeper connection with family.

The specifics probably make no sense for you. And that's okay. The list is for me more than it is for you.

If you think this kind of introspection is something you might find useful, I encourage you to head over to Chris Brogan's blog.

Here's a link to the 2009 post that first caught my eye:

And here's his post from today with his list for 2012:

Happy New Year!