An Unconventional Guide to a Meaningful Work Experience

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Is it possible to accomplish work without humans?

Even artificial intelligence requires the hands of a human to make work happen. Keep work human is an awkward thing to say if you think too hard about it.

It begs the questions:

All great questions that I am seeking to shed some light on from my own experience as a 10-year veteran…


Communicate Your Way to Greater Efficiency

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One of the biggest wastes of time in any context is looking for things that are lost.

Have you ever lost your keys? How much time have you wasted trying to find them?

First, you look to common surface areas, tables, desks, or maybe on a chair. Then you go into panic mode and search in the strangest places. I’ve looked inside my shoes and under the bananas. I just felt better if I was moving and looking. Surely I just forgot that I put them under the bathroom rug.


Get in front of project delays with Dan Sullivan’s Impact Filter

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The two biggest drivers to delay in projects are:

These two drivers can show up anywhere that a project team needs to make a decision. They rear their head in planning, risk, dependencies, scope, estimates, etc.

What do these have to do with a project being on track?

Everything.

If a team is not on the same page, it opens the door to thrash. Decisions get made and then unmade. Work starts and then quickly stops…


How to bring your team along on the change ride?

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Change management feels like a sunshower. You know when it’s raining and the sun is still shining. The pain of the status quo beckons the rays of hope in a new change. At the same time, critics are quick to rain their criticism down.

Please make it better, but don’t mess up my world.

Blech. Can’t we just agree that change requires…change?

As a change leader, I work hard to balance the disruption that change can bring.

I’ve made three common mistakes when introducing change amid a sunshower. …


Are you in the game? Are you playing?

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When I was four, I was a member of “The Sharks” pee-wee soccer team. We were green, white, and a force to be reckoned with.

I liked to pull my socks up past my knees to get them as close to my shorts as possible. I should have just worn pants.

Outfit aside, I played mid-fielder. Although in pee-wee soccer, kids orbit around the ball and chase it from point to point on the field. Positions are irrelevant.

Goals happen, but I would attribute them to random instances of the ball escaping the pack of players hyper from their halftime…


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I signed up for two new SaaS products in the last day. Both of them won me over as a customer in the first 24 hours. They both did one simple thing immediately.

They showed me they knew my journey.

I use and try a lot of different SaaS products. The most common thing I experience is an ask for my biggest challenges.

Rarely, I feel immediately understood when I’m being onboarded. Instead, I get interrogated. I feel as though I’m being placed in a bucket so I can be marketed to more effectively in the future.

My experience with…


Are best practices really best?

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In every position I’ve held someone at some point utters the phrase:

We need to document best practices.

I see it in job descriptions. I hear it in team meetings. I hear it on the internet.

Best practices are a “generally” accepted way of doing things because they produce “superior” results.

Here is the thing, superior for who and generally for what?

This is the problem with best practices. They worked for someone at some point in some context that is entirely different than yours.

They travel from company to company like this:

At my old company, we used to…


Your roadmap has too much detail

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As a project leader that works closely with product teams on a daily basis, the one tool that everyone needs and obsesses over is the product roadmap.

It’s your mechanism for getting alignment on your team and across your company. It communicates intent. It communicates priority. It’s the foundation for connecting your strategy with reality.

Roadmapping is a funny thing. They are kind of like belly buttons. Everyone has one, but if you look too close you are likely to find some “yunt ya”. That’s southern for dirt in dark places.

I’ve seen my fair share of them. Everything from…


Remove the fear of sharing in public from your employees

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As a manager at a high growth tech company, I didn’t put my work out in public. I was afraid of mis-representing the company or my team.

I was afraid to put my ideas and reflections on any social media channel for fear of losing my job over an opinion or an observation.

I shared the occasional “look at this awesome thing my company did” or that I was hiring, but rarely did I share reflections on my actual work.

I played it safe or just didn’t play.

Now that I have stepped away from the corporate environment for a…


What to do when your team wants you to change a process without their input

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Who came up with this plan? It makes no sense.

If you are an operations person and you are responsible for helping to define process and procedures for your organization, involve the people who will be impacted by any process.

Obvious, yes, but be forewarned. In fast moving companies, process adjustments are low on the priority list for everyone but you.

This is the dilemma.

You are on the hook for making things better. Your team has no time for you because they have to talk to customers, work with their teams, and build a product. They want things to…

Justin Zack

Write about keeping work human and turning points. Building theproductjournal.com.

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