Dealing with the expected

First, an introduction from an old Nonsense At Work radio/podcast piece:


Dealing with the unexpected is said to be the most difficult aspect of business life. My experience has taught me the opposite. The most difficult thing to manage is the expected.

Let’s face it, business is boring.  It’s the same nonsense over and over, day after day. It’s like driving the same car on the same road to the same destination at the same time every day. You must do it. And if you take your eye off what you’re doing, bad things can happen.

The most successful managers I have worked with were the ones who had the discipline to focus on the same detail, over and over, day after day.


Back to the same old same old questions:

  1. What did you succeed at or achieve this past week? (Why does it matter? How does it make a difference? Who cares?)
  2. What had you planned to do or to achieve this week, but did not? (Why not? Must it still be done or can it be forgotten? If so, why? Do you see a difference between “planned to do” and “want to achieve”?)
  3. What did you fail at this past week? (What were the consequences? Was it private or public? What lesson did it teach you? Why does the lesson matter?)
  4. What surprised you, or caught you unprepared, this past week? (Why were you surprised? Why were you unprepared?)
  5. What important or mutually beneficial relationship changed this week? (Why is this relationship important? In what way is it mutually beneficial? Did it change for better or for worse? In what manner?)

Bonus Question: What had you worried or concerned, but never happened? (Why were you worried or concerned? Was it something you could control (in your power) or were you truly helpless (a pawn)? Did it trigger guilt or fear or both?)