What’s your real problem?

Whats your problemAsk anyone in your organization to create a list of company problems and you will find many willing participants, and a list of problems a million miles long. Identifying problems is an easy skill; one that far too many people spend far too much time perfecting.

Ask people to come up with one or two solutions to company problems and nothing but silence may follow.

Anyone can tell you the problems.

The best people, the most valuable people, are those who offer solutions.

You want to be more valuable to your organization – be a “Soltion’ist”!

Don’t be a problem taker (or maker).

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2017 Bucket List

2017-bucketlist

My theme for 2017 is Fitness, Fun, & Family. Not necessarily in that order.

  1. Track my workout routine for 60 days
  2. Complete three 100 Pushup Challenges
    • 100 pushups in 24 hours
    • 100 pushups in 5 minutes
    • 100 straight pushups
  3. Bench Press 225 lbs.
  4. No soda for 60 days
  5. Family trip to Hawaii
  6. Attend Las Vegas 7’s Rugby Tournament
  7. Go skiing or snowboarding
  8. Go golfing
  9. Go clay pigeon shotgun shooting
  10. Go stand-up paddle boarding
  11. Go camping with the family
  12. Go snorkeling
  13. Hike Timpanogos Cave
  14. Attend a cultural festival
  15. Coach a youth sports team
  16. Visit an Aquarium
    • Feed penguins
  17. Attend a professional work conference
  18. Attend a trade show
  19. “Read” 8 books
  20. Start a Travel site
    • Reach 100 followers
  21. Write 30 articles / posts
  22. Reach 1,000 Twitter followers
  23. Reach 300 Instagram followers
  24. Spend 1v1 time with each kid, each quarter
  25. Go on a weekly date with Melissa
  26. Take a trip with Melissa
  27. Go on a mini-getaway with Melissa
  28. Visit somewhere new
  29. Help Melissa compete in a triathlon
  30. Help someone achieve their goal or Bucket List item
  31. Attend a play, musical, or concert
  32. Attend a Real Salt Lake soccer game
  33. Attend BYU football games
  34. Visit each of my siblings:
    • Brother in Northern Utah
    • Brother in Southern Utah
    • Sisters in Arizona
  35. Try 12 foods from different cultures:
    • American BBQ
    • Brazilian Churrascaria
    • Chinese
    • El Salvadorian pupusas
    • Food Truck!
    • Greek
    • Indian
    • Sushi / Japanese
    • Thai
    • Italian (non-chain restaurant)
    • Vietnamese
    • Something else?
  36. Do something spontaneous
  37. Go to bed earlier to get more sleep

Bonus Item: Take a trip to Brazil

3 Ways to Separate Yourself

separate-yourselfEach summer I attend my sons’ youth soccer games. Little kids’ games are extremely entertaining. They play what I call “the huddled masses” soccer, where a herd of children swarms the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch.

Parents shout at their child to “kick harder” and “run faster”, hoping their kid can separate the ball and themselves from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this feat he or she generally is seen racing toward an open net and for an easy GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!

Businesses face a similar frenzy, getting lost in the masses while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or quality service isn’t enough; you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.

Here are 3 ways to separate yourself:

Understand the Business You’re In

Years ago I worked for a minor-league sports team. We started with the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong. As a sports team, we competed against movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks, miniature golf and other sporting events. We were in the entertainment business.

We needed to convince customers to spend their money attending our games over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, our marketing improved, each game became an event, and eventually ticket sales increased.

Be Known for Something

What do you want to be known for? What makes people think of you first?

When I want sushi, I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. To me, they are the best value for good sushi. There are cheaper sushi restaurants. There are higher quality ones too. Simply Sushi decided they would be known as the best value. This definition often wins my lunch money.

McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They offer other menu options, but they’re known for one main thing.

Trying to be all things to all people may result in not being known at all.

Be Social

Many professionals and businesses still struggle to know what to do with Social Media. It’s okay to start simple and build your strategy from there. Social Media should be used to entertain, educate and engage.

Think of social media as another communication channel. Yes, it requires an investment in time, resources, and creativity. Your investment will be part of what separates you from your competition. Find ways to be different. Be interactive. Be memorable.

 

What other ways have you found to separate yourself?

– DJ

5 Lessons Learned from Working Out

5-lessons-learned-from-working-outOne year ago I started working out at the gym. A first for me… ever. I’m proud to say I’ve stuck with it all year.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

Results Take Longer Than Expected

My first three months I focused on eating healthy eating, cardio and strength training. Initial results came fast, then became more difficult. The next nine months were a battle, but I stuck with it. I learned to measure success differently, beyond just weight loss. I measured success by lifting heavier weights, by doing more repetitions, and increasing cardio endurance.

Changing how I measured success enabled me to continue to see results.

It’s Still Not Easy

Waking up at 6 am is both a habit and a struggle. I often wake up sore and fatigued. I thought that would pass. It doesn’t. In the beginning, I was sore beyond imagination. Now it’s a good sore, but it’s soreness nonetheless. Furthermore, I’ve dealt with various injuries: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and a sore shoulder rotator cuff. Muscles heal, injuries pass, but new ones arise.

Bottom line, it’s still not easy.

“Easy” was never the goal.

It’s a Journey, not a Destination

Every fitness goal achieved come with a deep sense of accomplishment. Which is not the same as feeling like I’ve “arrived”. There is almost more to achieve. While I focus on reaching milestones, I learned to enjoy the journal.

The destination is merely another level, that leads to a curve in the road and another challenge to conquer.

Support is Crucial

Surrounding myself with supportive people has been extremely beneficial. Alienate yourself from detractors and negative people.

Some days I couldn’t have done it without great friends and family cheering me on!

It all Depends on You

Yes, this seems contradictory to the Support point. While support is vital, your success is 100% dependent on you – your attitude, your drive, and your efforts.

It’s all on you!

– DJ

Tchau 2016

qogm32016 has been a challenging year, to say the least. While every year has it’s ups and downs, this one takes the cake.

The good news is that it’s about to end.

2017 represents a fresh start. Sure, it’s nothing more than a flipped page on a wall calendar, but a new year always brings new hope.

So I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year!

May 2017 be a year of celebrating accomplishments and enjoying the journey!

This picture of my son reminds me that not every triumph should be measured by games won or even home runs hit.

It’s okay to celebrate just getting on base.

The Enemy of Good

enemy-of-goodMany of my favorite movies involve epic battles between good and evil. I enjoy cheering for the good guys and relish seeing the bad guys fail. After all, evil or bad is the enemy of good.

In a recent meeting, I learned that “Good” has a more sinister nemesis. I was presenting on a project that took more than four months to complete, twice as long as projected. A colleague of mine asked why the project had taken so long. He said a month earlier he’d seen the project and thought it was completed. I explained that while it was quite good at that time, several individuals gave feedback on multiple ways to make it better; resulting in the delay.

“Ah yes, always making things better” he commented.

Better is the enemy of Good,” he said.

It got me thinking “Were the changes worth the delay?”. Even more troubling “Was it even better, or was it just different?”

I believe in continual improvement. However, this colleague brought up a good point:

How often do we get bogged down trying to make it better, when in fact, we’re just hindering results without truly knowing what improvements to make?

In 2017 let’s do good work! Let’s generate good results. Then let’s make smart changes to drive greater results!

3 Holiday Work Traditions that Should Go Away

holiday-work-go-awayThe holiday season is full of fun and exciting traditions. I truly love family traditions at Christmas time.

Holiday traditions at work… that’s a different story.

Call me a Grinch, but here are 3 all-too-common work traditions that should simply go away!

  1. Ugly Sweater Contest
    • I’ll never forget one year when an older woman in the office received the prize for the Ugliest Sweater Contest. To the horror of HR, they learned she was unaware of the contest – that was simply the sweater she wore to work that day.
  2. Pajama Day
    • Do I really need to explain!?
    • It’s hard to take a grown man serious after you’ve seen him in a full-size one-piece pajama with footies.
    • Not to mention the individual who shows up in scantily clad PJs that borders on lingerie.
  3. Gifts to Coworkers
    • Gifts are a kind gesture. When gifts and treats start to pile up however, anxiety builds and peer pressure to give quickly spews through the office. And what if you forget to give something to every single person… heaven forbid!
    • If your team feels inclined to share holiday joy, consider a treat table where anyone can place a plate of goodies to share. It doesn’t require everyone to participate, nor add worries about exclusions.

Holiday parties, team lunches, and decorating cubicles and office – I’m fine with those things. Just keep it professional and don’t create added anxiety to what can already be a stressful time of year.

Do you disagree? What about any other holiday work traditions that you think should be abolished?

happy-christmas