decision making

Techniques: To fit everything in make sure you prioritize “rocks” over “pebbles” - the famous example by Dr. Stephen Covey

Steven Covey studied the habits of high performers and published his results in the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” In this video, he shows how important it is to choose to do the big, important things first.

To do this, he uses an analogy to make his point about avoiding “getting bogged down in the thick of thin things.”

In the analogy, he uses a jar to represent our available time. Our activity is represented by pebbles and most important projects are represented by rocks.

He then has an audience member come up to run an experiment. There are two examples here of how to get everything in the jar.  

In the first example, we start with pebbles and get them all in first. The pebbles are the small, easy, less important activities. The jar (time) is then filled up so that the pebbles get in the way of fitting on all of the rocks - the important things.

In the second example, if we take the opposite approach, starting with the big rocks first (the important things) and then trying to fit in all of the pebbles, everything fits.

The point this makes is that starting with small activities that are not important will prevent you fitting in all the big things that are important. On the other hand if you start with the big things that are important, you can fit even small, less important things in as well as all of your big important projects.

The metaphor has been used as one of the foundations of the popular Entrepreneurial Operating System and many personal productivity systems.

Improvisation: The Power of "Yes... and..."

Improvisation: The Power of "Yes... and..."

We're often at a disadvantage when it comes to problem-solving because we think too fast, and our analytic brains shut off new ideas before they have even emerged. Improvisation, on the other hand, creates "a set of experiences that allow you to fine-tune and hone all of the necessary skills needed to think on your feet and simply react and adapt." So says Bob Kulhan who has been studying, performing and teaching improv comedy for nearly two decades.

Kulhan introduces the two key tools of improv, which are captured by the two-word phrase "Yes, and." Kulhan says "Yes" means accepting a certain idea or situation at face value. The "and" part involves taking that idea and building onto it, whether that involves taking the idea apart or approaching it from a different angle. Kulhan says this approach creates both openness ("Yes") and a bridge to your thoughts ("and") that will foster creativity and fearlessness, eventually leading to innovation.

Kulhan, who teaches improv techniques to foster creativity in business settings, says it is important to take our critical hats off and not be afraid to take a chance, or be afraid to fail. Once that kind of environment has been established, then it is time for our analytical minds to kick in and focus on convergent thinking.

Divergent thinking has delivered "a great collection of ideas." Convergent thinking, on the other hand, involves "separating the sand from the gold and the good ideas from the bad ideas, and you start editing those out." The key to improv is simply to not allow yourself to start editing too quickly.