I need time to think.

There is a lot going on. At work, at home, all over, I seem to be in “go” mode. But I sometimes feel as though I am going without a lot of direction. Or maybe it’s that I don’t know where I am going, or where I should be going. And why. And how, and for how long, and in which direction, as determined by whom? This leads to a lot of confusion and some stumbling. It wastes time and needs to be changed.

These past few weeks at work I’ve discovered how incredibly busy I am, spending 35+ hours each week in meetings, and realizing that I am already behind on work that won’t really have an impact until two years from now. It’s blowing my mind. I also lead several different groups and am on the board for others. Without effective time management and planning, things seem to be falling through the cracks. They may not always seem that way to others, but they do to me.

So things are going to change. I am going to start blocking off “white board time.”

White board time. Not sure if I’ve heard that somewhere or if I just made it up. Either way, I am going to try to block time each day for thinking. To take what’s in my head and to write it down. To dissect my thoughts and to map out my ideas. I need to make sense of what’s happening inside so that I can effectively communicate it outside. And then I need to digest the responses I get and amend, adjust, update, and change what I’ve already thought through.

Thinking is an ongoing process (duh) but I want to focus on ideation – on creating and understanding my ideas and thoughts so that I can effectively communicate them, be more productive, and work better with others.

It takes time. But it’s a worthwhile investment.

Five Common Strategy Mistakes

Check out this great article from Harvard Business Review. I particularly find the following paragraph interesting/true:

Don’t confuse strategy with actions (grow, acquire, divest, etc.) or with goals (reach X billion in sales, Y share of market). Porter’s definition: the set of integrated choices that define how you will achieve superior performance in the face of competition. It’s not the goal (e.g., be number one or reach $1 billion in top-line revenue), nor is it a specific action (e.g., make acquisitions). It’s the positioning you choose that will result in achieving the goal; the actions are the path you take to realize the positioning. Moreover, when Porter defines strategy, he is really talking about what constitutes a good strategy — one that will result in a higher ROIC than the industry average. The real problem here is that you will think you have a strategy when you don’t.

Winter Quarter Class Summary

I’ve now completed my first week of Winter Quarter and am getting ready for the second week.  This quarter may be my most difficult yet.  There will certainly be a lot of reading/work.  Work at CME is also keeping me busy.  This quarter, we have the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, two programs I am planning with Thomas.  I am also doing a lot of work for the Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence (big expansion this year, held in May) with Johanna.

I am taking four classes this quarter.  Here they are with some initial thoughts:

Strategic Cost Management

This class has an interesting topic that I’ve never really though about before.  I’m hoping to get a more integrative understanding of managerial accounting.  My professor is a nice old guy who clearly knows the material.  However, I’ve already been lost in class and there is a ton of work for this class, most of which has to be done with a partner.  Luckily, I have a good one.

Ethics for the 21st Century Professional

This class is very interesting and multidisciplinary.  It covers leadership, management, law, public policy, etc.  I like my professor a lot.  It has a good amount of work and effectively utilizes Blackboard by dividing up readings, discussion boards, and quizzes into “learning modules”.  I know a lot of the people in this class so that makes it a lot of fun as well.

Strategic Management

My Professor is extremely knowledgeable and has great experience.  We will be covering a lot of material and fast.  It will be a lot of work, but I think I will really enjoy it.  We have several team case analyses and I have a good group with people I know.

Law and Public Policy

I’ve always been interested in this topic and now I get to take a class that also relates it to business.  A good fit.  We have a lot of reading for this one too and several longer papers/presentations on different cases.  My professor seems to be a nice guy.

Information Technology Strategy Class – Survey

So, I am working with a group on a project for my Information Technology Strategy Class on ink! Coffee.  If you have the urge, please take 30 seconds to fill out this survey.  Even if you have never heard of ink! Coffee, that is okay.  The more the better.  Thanks for your help!