Always Go For ‘Extra Credit’

(credit: Steven S. via Flickr}

(credit: Steven S. via Flickr}

Remember when we were in school and there would be “extra credit” test questions? Or we could do an extra credit project if we thought we needed a boost in a class — something we’d do that was more than expected to earn bonus points. I underestimated the importance of doing extra credit in all areas of my life until later.

I have no clue whether “extra credit” still exists in schools — but it should. Doing a bit of extra credit in the things I do is one of the top ten reasons why I’m now an improbable millionaire. Consciously doing “extra” is a good thing. Doing it subconsciously is even better.

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The Power in Teams

(credit: USGA-Humphreys via Flickr)

(credit: USGA-Humphreys via Flickr)

When I was working at Texas Instructions back in the early 90s, I had a chance to go to a training seminar on “teaming” put on by North Texas State University.

Using teams in business was thought innovative at that time, and my organization at TI was an early adopter of the concept.

Now, of course, teaming in business is standard and expected. This is a great thing! I loved when my title was changed from manager to team lead. Leading teams is so much more fun than managing people, although the skills are similar.

I’m still a team lead, though I no longer work in a corporation. Building teams is what I do best and it’s my team(s) that help(s) me get things done in the best, quickest, and most cost effective ways. There is no way I could do what I do without my teams.

There are lots of rules to building teams. One is to hire the very best people. How do you find these people? It’s easy. You ask for them.
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Owning Responsibility

(credit: MarkScottAustinTX, Flickr)

(credit: MarkScottAustinTX, Flickr)

The cool thing is when something happens and it is someone else’s fault, I don’t have to solve the problem, right?

Ah, if that was only true.

Unfortunately, when a problem belongs to someone else, it doesn’t always get solved. And a problem that doesn’t get solved rarely goes away.

In fact, it often festers and grows and gets really stinky. Problems are much like dead fish — best gotten rid of as quickly as possible.

This morning I was out walking the dogs as I do most mornings, but I got out of bed fifteen minutes late, so our routine was a little off. On our way back to the house, there was a man headed towards us on his bicycle, riding on the sidewalk for some reason rather than using the bike lane. I moved the dogs over as far as I could to get out of his way, but he was angry and shouted obscenities at me, as he passed by. I had no idea what I had done to rile him.

Then I got it.

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Do What Your Say You’re Going To Do… 100% Of the Time

(credit: Polish Ministry of Public Affairs, Flickr; cropped.)

(credit: Polish Ministry of Public Affairs, Flickr; cropped.)

In every area of my life I do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it. If I find out I can’t do what I’ve committed to doing, I let the people who are affected by the change know immediately. No exceptions — ever!

Sticking to this single principle is probably the number one reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve done in my life, contributing more to my financial and personal well being than anything else.

Since new information or surprises or different priorities pop up all the time, it’s okay when I find I have to change the details of what I’ve committed to IF  I let the people affected know when and why I felt I had to make the change as soon I make it.

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eBay: Comparison Shopping and The Importance of Reputation

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.32.14 PMeBay is often where I go first to buy things. I check the price of an item on eBay, then go to Amazon to see if the price is better. I’ve bought toilets, rugs, even bathroom sinks to refurbished houses, books, clothes, furniture — anything you can think of  — on Ebay.

The two Miata’s I bought on eBay are still in the family. And 99.9 percent of the time, the transactions have been great. The other .01 percent of the time, when there was a problem, eBay resolved the issue.

(Actually each of the problems offered interesting stories in themselves, perhaps for later blog entries.)

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