Concentrate on the little jobs, and the big ones will tend to themselves

I love this Dale Carnegie saying. It is concentrating on the small jobs and the big ones will tend to themselves. It is like all of the effort dealing with small jobs will make the big ones almost solve themselves, automatically.

Is it possible that the smaller jobs are easier? Possibly. Is it that you can maximize your effort on the bigger jobs by breaking them down into smaller chunks? Possibly. I believe that even though some jobs are smaller and some jobs are bigger, the effort to accomplish them may not be proportionate. In fact, the effort to accomplish a small job may be more than dealing with a big job. It may only seem smaller.

I recall when I was managing strata condominium complexes. My portfolio would be a mix of large buildings, 100 residential units or more, and smaller buildings less than 30 residential units. Strangely enough, the amount of effort in managing a smaller condominium strata building took more or the same amount of effort to manage a larger complex. You would think the effort would be proportionate, when in some cases it was the opposite.

This same rule applies to small and big jobs. The effort on a smaller one may be more than a big job, however, concentrate on the small jobs because the bigger ones will tend to themselves.

Do not be a shoulder shrugger


Have you ever dealt with someone and when you were expecting a response, all they did was shrug their shoulders? Nothing drives me crazier than a shoulder shrugger. They may be thinking, “I do not know”; but their body language is saying to me, “I don’t care”. If you are unsure of the answer, there is nothing wrong with saying you do not know the answer.

Shoulder shrugging is a lazy and disrespectful response when dealing with business matters. Socially, it ia acceptable to be a shoulder shrugger, but be wary of your body language when doing it. It can set people off – like blowing cigarette smoke in someone’s face.

Perhaps I am a little touchy about shoulder shruggers but I have dealt with my share of them. Instead of doing it, admit you do not know the answer and discuss how you will find the answer. To me, shoulder shruggers are saying I do not know, I do not care and I am out of here. Do not be a shoulder shrugger.

Recognize that someone else can do the job


There are many times I believe that I am the only person who can do the job. It is a bit self aggrandizing, but when the rubber hits the road, there are others who are just as capable. Do managers, et al have this impression that they are the end-all be-all at work?

It is presumptuous to think that this is so, but we as managers all have this feeling that the world will stop spinning if we do not have our fingers on the pulse of what is going on. The problem is if you do not let go and delegate, you will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Staff will come to you for every answer. They will not make any decisions. It will be up to you to solve every problem. This will stress you out.

In order to not be the Wikipedia for your department, you as the manager need to recognize that there are also people in your department who can also answer the questions and also do the work. It is nice to think that you can be used as a resource, but not letting your staff make the decisions on behalf of the department takes something away from teamwork.

While the responsibility ultimately rests with the manager, it is nice to know staff have the autonomy to make decisions and be thinkers for the department – providing you as the manager is willing to allow them to do it.

There is a reason there is an instruction manual


Recently, I was flipping through the electronic instruction manual on my iPad for the universal remote control for my television’s digital video recorder. Now, I like to think that most electronics are user-friendly and they should be usable right out of the box. However, that is age dependent – if you have older parents.

However, I digress. The DVR has served me well for the last year and I have been operating it in the most primitive of fashions – pressing buttons until I get what I want. The majority of the time, I can fumble my way through the buttons, as they are intuitive. I am able to search, record and flip through all of the digital channels.

A couple of days ago, the skip feature on the remote did not work, but I managed to liberate another unused remote control from my uncle. In reading through the electronic copy of the instruction manual on my iPad, I had an uh-huh moment.

Let me step back a bit. Before, I would have to turn on and off the television separately from the DVR. There was no quick start instructions so I believed that it was part of having a new DVR. However, in reviewing the electronic instruction manual, there was a feature which allows the user to program one button to turn both the TV and DVR, on and off. No separate buttons, anymore. The moral? Read the damn instruction manual…there is a reason they give you one.