jim@millikenproject.com

jim@millikenproject.com 207-808-8878 Our book "Life is a Project: How are you managing?" is now available!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Factoids, Junk Food of the Mind

     Seventy-eight point three percent (78.3%) of statistics are made up on the spot.
     How do I know that? I don’t. I just made it up. It’s a factoid – something that looks like a fact. You can’t call me wrong, because you don’t know, either.
     That doesn’t mean you have to believe me, but maybe you will.
     Numbers can be powerful convincers. They are so definite, so specific. They can be extremely reassuring or terribly frightening. Either way, they don’t taste so bad, and they go down easy. Just  if you don’t examine them too closely. Like junk food.
     That’s why we need to be careful around numbers – when we use them ourselves and when we read or hear them from others.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Project Attitude

     "You've got an attitude."
     Wait! Wait! Don’t get angry!  I don’t mean to insult you – I’m just describing you. Me, too, as a matter of fact.
     In the United States, we’ve come to interpret that word “attitude” in many contexts as meaning “BAD attitude.” And “bad” is not good.
     So we have an attitude about “attitude.” I have no doubt other cultures have theirs, too.

     The point of that little semantic jaunt is to encourage all of us to be aware of our attitudes. Let’s think about how they work and what they do for us and against us. And, of course, what we should do about all that. If indeed we can do anything about subsurface mechanisms such as these.
     When the slang dictionary says you have an attitude, it means you’re resentful and hostile. That’s the definition addressed in the opening lines above.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How You Get What You Deserve

     The two of us were standing at the bar this one time during a rare event at which we worker bees could socialize with our superiors.
     “So,” my manager asked me, “where do you want to go in this business? What job would you like to have?”
     I, a beginner, had no idea. I gave some generic reply, because I had never thought of anything like that. Didn’t think about it after that exchange, either.
     Until two or three years later when that manager was promoted. I put in for the job, and as far as I knew I was the only person in the place who did.
     Then weeks passed, and I heard nothing.
     I had a pretty good relationship with another senior manager, and I thought he might be in on the decision. Eventually, I asked him what was going on, and got a painfully noncommittal response.
     After a long hiatus, they brought in someone from the outside to fill the position.