“Are you getting results? …”
Over Christmas break, I committed to finishing the writing for a book that I expect to change a lot of people’s lives. It’s my first non-technical book. The working title is, Getting Results the Agile Way. It’s all about getting results in work and life. It’s the playbook I wish somebody had given me long ago for finding work/life balance, managing time, playing to my strengths, and making the most of what I’ve got.
Why Getting Results
The world is a tough place. Between layoffs, the economy, and simply the unknown, a lot of people are having a really tough time in their lives. There are constantly new challenges at a pace that’s tough to keep up. Worse, I don’t think you learn a lot of these skills in school or on the job, except through the school of hard knocks.
This is my playbook for you. For more than 10 years at Microsoft I’ve tested and evaluated ways to get results. I’ve had to find things that not only work for me, but that could work for the people I mentor inside and outside the company, as well as for large teams around the world. I’m a big believer that everybody can get great results if they have the right know-how.
What Sorts of Problems Does It Tackle
The book is a system and a playbook for some of these common challenges:
- How to find work / life balance
- How to shift from tasks and activities to meaningful results and outcomes
- How to use stories and scenario-driven results to carve out value in your life
- How to overwhelm your challenges with fierce results
- How to defeat perfectionism
- How to avoid analysis paralysis and take action a simple story at a time
- How to find your flow state for more engaging work
- How to find your passion and purpose
- How to play to your strengths for more energy and better results
- How to conquer fear and avoid learned helplessness
- How to motivate yourself in ways that make you feel you can move mountains
- How to focus on what really counts
- How to prioritize more effectively
- How to create more value for yourself and others
- How to spend more time on what you want, and less time on what you don’t
It helps with a lot of things because mostly it gets you spending the right time, on the right things, with the right energy, the right way. This is the key to your best results.
When I first joined Microsoft, it was sink or swim. I saw a lot of people fail. Among the chaos, I also saw many people thrive. I wanted to know their secrets. I started with people on my team, but the next thing you know I was studying success patterns around the company. If somebody was known for getting results, I hunted them down and studied their ways.
I learned so many simple things that actually worked. For example, instead of managing time, the real key is managing your energy. I’d rather have four power hours, than a week of just going through the motions. The secret of work life balance is setting up your own artificial boundaries, whether it’s "dinner on the table at 5:30" or "no work on the weekends." Finding your passion can be as simple as connecting to your values. For example, I use metaphors to make my project an epic adventure and I have the team create the movie poster of what great results will look like. How’s that for wanting to show up and give your best every day knowing you’re working on blockbuster results?
What is Agile Results?
You’ll hear me talk about Agile Results quite a bit. It’s the name I gave the system that serves as the foundation for the Getting Results guide. Agile is all about responding to change. It’s agility in action. It’s all about making progress while the world changes under your feet.
My Agile Results system borrows the best principles, patterns, and practices across a variety of disciplines from sports, positive psychology, personal productivity, Agile development, Scrum, project management, time management, leadership skills, and strengths-based development. It’s more than a mash up — I’ve tested and honed the system to work for individuals and teams while refining it over years of deliberate practice. To me, great results for the team, always starts with unleashing an individual’s best. Having fun is contagious and getting results spreads like a wild fire.
Agile Results in a Nutshell
Here is the Agile Results system at a glance:
- The Rule of 3 – You can apply the Rule of 3 to work and life to avoid overwhelming yourself while carving out value, a day at a time, a story at a time. See The Rule of 3.
- Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection – This is a simple weekly pattern for results. On Mondays figure out your 3 compelling results for the week. Each day, figure out your 3 best results for the day. On Fridays, identify 3 things going well, and 3 things to improve. See Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection.
- Hot Spots - This is your heat map. Hot Spots are a simple lens to look at your life as a portfolio you invest in: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun. It’s under-investing or over-investing in these areas that can get in the way of great results. See Hot Spots.
How to Get Started
Getting started is really easy. If you write down 3 results you want for today, you’re doing Agile Results. Is there more to it? … Sure, but take it at your own pace. Here’s a one-page guide for getting started with Agile Results.
How To Follow Along for the Ride
You can read Getting Results for free online in HTML. I’ll continue to shape the guide over the next several weeks based on feedback. I’ll also be making March a focus on getting results so if you’ve been looking for a jumpstart for your life, this is a great month to make it happen. I’ll be sharing nuggets for getting results at my effectiveness blog, Sources of Insight.
If you’re not getting the results you want in your life, you just need the skills. Use my guide to stuff your bag of tricks with some new tools that will change your game and help you unleash your best.