Life In Fast Forward: The Blog

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/28/09

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Today’s Quote: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” - William Shakespeare

Today’s Question: Are you living up to your full potential?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 8:49 AM   0 comments
Friday, February 27, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/27/09

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Today’s Quote: “The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened.” - Saki

Today’s Question: Do you remember things as they actually happened?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:10 AM   0 comments
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/26/09
Today’s Quote: "If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?" - Scott Adams

Today’s Question: Are you afraid to ask the right questions?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:41 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Positive Reinforcement Is Not Good For Negative Behavior

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Nothing is better than hearing a ‘Good job’ encouragement from co-workers when you are struggling through a troubled project. Gaining a sense of admiration from those whom you slug it out with in the trenches daily is often all the motivation you need to convince yourself all the trouble you are going through will actually be worth the painful amount of effort you have put into your project.

Noting is worse than giving a co-worker a ‘Good job’ encouragement that frankly isn’t doing a good job. You end up doing the same thing that people who keep giving their dogs treats after they keep peeing on the carpet do—giving positive reinforcement to negative behavior.

Motivation though positive reinforcement is awesome, but make sure you're not motivating someone to continue to do something you rather have them change. If a subordinate is doing a horrible job producing after-action reports, don’t give him kudos for at least getting the report turned in on time. If your teammate is bringing down your department with sarcasm, don’t encourage him by telling him his jokes are consistently funny.

You do want to raise the spirits of the long suffering and struggling employee. You just don’t want to raise their hopes beyond a level of reality. Do not give positive reinforcements that would suggest a negative action is acceptable, especially if it is just to raise up a person's spirits.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 12:31 PM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/25/09

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Today’s Quote: "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it." - Malcolm X

Today’s Question: Can you distinguish between right and wrong with unfiltered eyes?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:25 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
As Interesting As I Can Get: A Few Steps Toward Momentum

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In celebration for reaching his 3,000th blog post, Seth Godin asked his readers to either start a blog or post something really interesting today.

Since I've already overdone the former, I'm stuck with the latter. But frankly, I haven’t been feeling all that interesting lately. Hence my lack of posting to the blog, working on the business, and connecting with the outside world.

It’s more than just writer block, or lack of time because of deadlines at the day job, or lack of progress in the side gig, or even the burden of the combination of all three put together. But there is not real word or explanation for it.

But there is a simple fix: momentum.

I am at the point of completion to a few products that have the potential to catch on and grow. I have plenty of new ideas I just need a little time and a lot more resources to flesh out and make good. I have a lot of one-foot-after-the-other plans that are ready for that first step to get the plan in motion. But sometimes, when you are at a complete stop, the hardest thing to do is to stand up and take that first step. But once you do, its makes it much easier to take the next step, and the next step, and then to pick up the pace to a fast walk, jog, run…that is momentum.

What do you do to keep your momentum going? What do you do once your momentum is broken?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 10:43 AM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/24/09

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Today’s Quote: "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s Question: How solid is your faith?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:05 AM   0 comments
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/21/09
Today’s Quote: "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." - Michael J. Fox

Today’s Question: Are you a perfectionist?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:12 AM   0 comments
Friday, February 20, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/20/09
Today’s Quote: "It's not the hours you put in your work that counts, it's the work you put in the hours." - Sam Ewing

Today’s Question: What can you do to make efforts immediately smarter?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 7:44 AM   0 comments
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 2/19/09


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Today’s Quote: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." - George Best

Today’s Question: What activities are you wasting your time with? Why?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:11 AM   0 comments
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Do Tell Them How To Do The Job, Just Let Them Get The Job Done

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A lesson you learn pretty quickly in the military is that when the people who are supposed to take care of you take care of you, you focus on the results achieved and not the method used, because sometime you really don’t want to know.

I picked that up as a young Air Force officer, and was blessed to have dedicated staff of enlisted airmen and civilians that knew how to get things done and how to keep me out of trouble. I just had to give them the outcome preferred, a list of resources I knew I had available, and a timeline I wanted to pursue. Then, I could just sit back and let the experts at their jobs do their jobs the best way they knew how. I was really blessed early on to have teams that rarely failed, noting that that they actually overachieved about 85 of the time.

When I took me first position that allowed me to really take point on projects, I got a reinforcement of the basic tenants of ‘I got it done, but don’t ask me how.’ I now had a general presenting me his plans that he wanted executed, along and the desired outcome. His staff, knowing the general, stressed the importance of following his plans. Twice I follow the general’s plans for a project given to me, and presented the results that were well below the expected level of results. The first time the plan was blown off, but the second time, the general asked me why I would follow such a stupid plan in the first place. As tactfully as possible, I let the general know that I was given the rough parameters that I had to follow, although I really wanted to say he had given me the stupid idea that I knew wasn’t going to work, but was told has to be followed anyway.

From that point on, I stopped listening to ‘orders’ and starting listening for ‘outcome.’ Whenever that general offered up a plan, I ignored the plan completely, but I made sure that what the general said he wanted and what the troops in the field were expecting were one in the same, and deliverd that. I would put a plan into play that was solid, and ensured that I had over performed on the task when it was time to present. And I always gave the general credit for ‘his director in the formation of our plan of attack.’

I was able to impress myself with the ability make things happen when left to my own devices, and learned quickly to respect the output you can receive from subordinates when you give them a mission and then just let them achieve it with constantly meddling.

Since leaving the military, I have worked for several different managers, some good and bad. I am constantly amazed by managers who push a personal agenda that from the outside looks like a losing campaign. Their insistence on having high achievers do it ‘their way’ quickly becomes a problem, and the projects and tasks almost always come up as failures. And if the manager is spiteful, they’ll usually destroy the moral of the high achiever for failing to live up to some loftfull standard, even thought that standard is wholly unachievable, and should be blatantly obvious to most. If the manager is just foolish, the high achiever will usually ignore that person until they are replaced, or just leave the company to suffer their own fate without him.

If you’re a manager, do yourself a favor. Give your veterans and high achievers their assignments and then back away and let them do amazing work for you. Give your rookies a little guidance and instruction on a way to get their work done that works, but assure them if they find a better process, give it a try.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:29 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Filling The Bottom To Make Room For Movement To The Top


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It’s a little bit of a gimmick when you see senior executives pulling espresso shots behind the counter at Starbucks or having Michael Dell taking customer service calls from a cubicle at the Dell help center. But it does give a boost to morale to see the upper echelon at least have some working knowledge of what it takes to slug it out in the trenches every day.

Now here’s a question to think about: do your senior leaders need to have a mastery of the jobs that those that report to them perform every day? The obvious answer to that question is no. But the snarky and the smart answers to that question is, “Isn’t that why they have you there in the first place?”

I made up a fable from bits and pieces of stories I have heard over the years about a janitor in a company with the right amount of corporate experience and knowledge that when the executive board stumbles upon his existence, they immediately plug him into their vacant CEO position, only to demote him back to janitor the next day after company wide complaints of the waste paper baskets not getting emptied as quickly as before.

The moral of the story is that sometimes it is easier to find a boss than a worker bee, and the value of either may not be properly weighed. The point of the story, and overall point of this post, is that you can’t have any logical upward movement inside of your organization if you can not fill the lower level positions and responsibilities that are left vacant.

This goes a step beyond the adage that indispensable employees are the last ones to get the promotions and growth opportunities because the company would literally fall apart if they were to leave their positions. This actually is meant to speak to stagnate growth at both end of the spectrum: cushy executives whose fear of innovation and mobility crush any hope of a natural progression and the failure to hire enough talented new prospects willing to go through the attrition process at your company.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 6:58 PM   0 comments
Monday, February 2, 2009
Defense Protects, But Offense Makes The Win Possible

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Last night’s Super Bowl between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to go down as one of the greatest championship games in the history of the league. And despite fourth quarter and final minute heroics from both teams, the fact remains that the team that scored the most points in regulation time won.

The game ending play was an interception by the Steelers, leaving 5 seconds left on the clock to run out before they could officially start their celebration. The Cardinals’ dream season ended right there. Had they not given up an interception for the longest touchdown in Super Bowl history two quarters earlier, the outcome might have been different.

Then again, if the Steelers didn’t cause a penalty on themselves, giving up a safety instead of getting a first down, the score might not have been that close.

Arizona knows that they put forth an effort they can be proud of, but they know that they lost the game because they we’re unable to score enough point FIRST, and allowed the Steelers to score more points than they did SECOND.

There is a saying that most will stick to in football that defense wins championships, but your offense has to do its job and get the ball past the goal line to make the points.

Look at your business and compare your offense to your defense. The way you play on both sides of the ball is important, but you’ve got to make the moves to advance your business, even with our current economic crisis, or your defense won’t mean much. Make sure you are not only working on your best defensive moves (saving cash, cutting spending, working toward more lean and flexible operations), but you have the most powerful offense plays you can execute practiced and ready for game time (recruiting fresh talent, prospecting new businesses, putting your money in early for the right emerging technologies).

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:58 AM   0 comments

Welcome to my new blog. This is where I will chronicle the next phase of mis-adventures of my life. Thank you for staying on the ride, and for you newcomers to the inside of my mental mania, I will do my best to make sure the trip is both entertaining and educational.

Life In Fast Forward: The Blog is still a bit of a work in progress. Keep checking in for new posts and site updates.

21 Great Ways to Live to be 100

About Blog
This blog supports some of the thoughts and interjections from the folks at Fast Forward Business Properties. Our ideas, things we test, and a few random thoughts will show up here.

  • Name: J. Cleveland Payne
  • Home: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
  • About Me: News is my profession, so it only fits that I am a news junkie. I'm a radio show/segment producer for a news/talk radio station in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • See my complete profile
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