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Pamela E Wiedenbeck

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Member Since: Apr, 2010

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Blogs by Pamela E Wiedenbeck

The Tao of Tsau: Are you doing the right thing?
6/21/2010 11:18:12 AM
"Pam, you not doing job."

When my phone rang at 6:30 a.m. and the first thing I heard was "Pam, you not doing job", I had no doubt who was on the other end of the line.  Yung had probably been cooling his heels for a couple of hours due to the time difference between LA and Chicago to get my attention.

Often, I was baffled since I knew that I was working hard on whatever project was on my plate.  When I heard this early morning greeting, I always had a suspicion that my priorities were not correct.  Yung was one of those rare managers who could almost instantaneously rearrange project priorities based on very subtle changes.

As I thought back over my career, I realized that many of us work very hard every day.  We come to work expecting to do our best.  However, we don't question our tasks or how much time we are spending on them.  When I was a newly minted manager, I had a very talented employee who was always spending 10 or 11 hours a day.  However, I was never quite sure what he was working on.  Often he would complete tasks with very low priorities while letting high priority tasks age into emergency status.

It is human nature to want to clear the easy things off of our plates first.  Remember that crossing things off your list releases endorphins which make you feel good.  (I know that you have all put completed tasks on your lists so that you could cross them off and get that endorphin rush!)  The more we need the endorphin reinforcement, the more likely we are to do the easy things and leave the hard things for later.

So while working hard, we are really not doing our jobs.  Project managers need to guard against this tendency since project managers not only have to prioritize their tasks, but also those of their team, and occasionally their stakeholders.

I don't think that there is any place in the Tao that directly deals with this talent for prioritization and doing what is most important first, but the following lines from Verse 12* perhaps come close.

"So the Sage is led by his inner truth
     and not his outer eye
He holds to what is deep
     and not what lies on the surface"

*Tao Te Ching, The Definitive Edition, Lao Tzu with Translation and Commentary by Jonathan Star, Jeremy P Tarcher/Penguin, 2001, page 25



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More Blogs by Pamela E Wiedenbeck
• Life Interrupting Writing - Saturday, March 19, 2011
• NaNoWriMo Day 26: 50025 words - Friday, November 26, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 25: 48776 Words - Thursday, November 25, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 24: 47072 Words - Wednesday, November 24, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 23: 45313 Words - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 22: 43022 Words - Monday, November 22, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 21: 40973 Words - Sunday, November 21, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 20: 39285 Words - Saturday, November 20, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 19: 37,423 Words - Friday, November 19, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 18: 35478 Words - Thursday, November 18, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 17: 33714 Words - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 16: 31977 words - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
• NaNoWritMo Day 15: 30109 words - Monday, November 15, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 14: 27162 Words - Sunday, November 14, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 12: 23087 Words - Friday, November 12, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 11: 21941 words - Thursday, November 11, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 10: 20201 Words - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 9: 18516 words - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 8: 16883 Words - Monday, November 08, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 7: 15198 words - Sunday, November 07, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 6: 11754 words - Saturday, November 06, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 5: 10122 Words - Friday, November 05, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 4: 7198 Words - Thursday, November 04, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 3: 5471 words - Wednesday, November 03, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 2: 3483 Words - Tuesday, November 02, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 1: 1767 Words - Monday, November 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Effect of Your Decisions - Monday, August 30, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Sense of Humor - Wednesday, August 18, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau - The Learning Journal - Tuesday, August 17, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Are you on the right bus? - Wednesday, August 11, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Progress - Tuesday, August 10, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Timing - Monday, August 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Flexibility - Thursday, August 05, 2010
• The Tau of Tsau: Living - Wednesday, August 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Vacation - Friday, July 16, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Knowledge - Wednesday, July 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Attitude - Tuesday, July 13, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Urgency - Monday, July 12, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Collaboration - Friday, July 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Patience - Thursday, July 08, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Common Sense, The Sequel - Wednesday, July 07, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Deadlines - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Leaving a Legacy - Friday, July 02, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Status - Thursday, July 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Conflict - Wednesday, June 30, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Micromanagement - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Low Priorities - Thursday, June 24, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Creative Panic - Wednesday, June 23, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: My Punishment - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: The Island of Dreams - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Listening - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Winter - Monday, June 21, 2010
•  The Tao of Tsau: Are you doing the right thing? - Monday, June 21, 2010  
• The Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: In Memoriam of Lauretta Delisle who died May 16, 1910 - Friday, June 18, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Servant Leadership - Friday, June 18, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Boy's Dream of Thanksgiving - Thursday, June 17, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Business - Thursday, June 17, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Farewell to the Brook - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Surprises - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Forget-Me-Not - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Common Sense - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Summer Maid - Monday, June 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Ongoing Communications - Monday, June 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Scope - Thursday, June 10, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Durocher: Nothing at All - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: An Epitaph - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Satisfaction - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Tools - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Kiss - Monday, June 07, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Priorities - Monday, June 07, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: My Little Man - Friday, June 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Second Chances - Friday, June 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Knowing - Thursday, June 03, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Commitment - Wednesday, June 02, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- On Teamwork - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- The Unexpected - Friday, May 28, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Value of All Work - Thursday, May 27, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Consulting Engagements - Wednesday, May 26, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Productivity: Persistence - Friday, May 21, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Productivity: Others - Thursday, May 20, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau - Centering - Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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