New WLK Logo

The blog has a new logo that I created a couple of weeks ago.    I don’t have much creativity, but I tried my best to design something that looked like what I wanted.    I used Powerpoint to create the image.   Nothing fancy, but way better than having Work Life Kaizen written in plain text at the top of the blog.

If there are any graphic artists out there that want an opportunity to get their work published, ping me!   Otherwise, let me know what you all think of the new logo?

–  Jason

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Training…Slow and Steady Wins the Race

So my last post which was far too long ago was about my entry into the Louisville Derby Mini-marathon.   Since I registered, I’ve been working on “working” off those extra pounds consumed during the Holiday break.    I’m running 2-3 times per week and playing basketball at least once per week and feeling a little better as I’ve been able to lose a few pounds.

I ran 10 miles last weekend with one of my buddies in the neighborhood and it was rough.  Why?   Well, for obvious reasons I haven’t been building up my mileage like I should so you could say I ran much farther than my body was prepared for.   The other reason was mental.   No matter what distance I’m running, I always have to fight the negative temptations to stop running.   That’s during a run and usually I can convince myself to keep going because I’ve forced myself to run an out and back and to keep getting farther away from my house so that I don’t have a choice.    More often though, the negative thoughts win out to keep me from even stepping foot on the road or treadmill.   I used to have more will power and drive to get up early, but lately I can’t make myself do it.    I’ve followed a few tricks to put my clothes and shoes at the foot of the bed so I don’t have extra excuses for reasons to get up, though this still hasn’t helped.

I want to know from other runners out there how do you fight the voices telling you to ‘go back to bed’ or ‘you can do it later’?    If you have any tips and tricks, please share!  Race is quickly approaching, only 27 days left!

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Committed to 13.1

I did it. I just registered for the upcoming Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-marathon on April 24th in Louisville, KY.   The commitment to run 13.1 miles requires lots of training, time, and determination to see it through to the finish.   I’ve completed this race over a handful of times over the years, and I’ve always been more of a natural runner where I can go out without putting in the miles, but no longer.   As I get older, I’m realizing the body can’t perform like it used to and I shouldn’t ask it to either.

I’m excited about this race because I see it as a milestone for getting my body back into shape.  I have roughly 3 months to train.  Immediately I need to start running more consistently, following a plan, watching the foods I eat, and drinking more water.  Over the last 2 years I’ve gained 20 pounds and I’d really like to see 15 pounds lost before the race.   Can I do it?   I believe I can.   I’ll keep you all posted on my progress over the next 12 weeks or so.

While I’m off training, ask yourself a few questions…

What have you committed to lately?

How would your life be different if you did?

What would you benefit from by saying yes?

Jason (WLK)

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Introducing New WLK Weekly Planner

I’ve used various planners over the years; Franklin Covey, Time/Design, Moleskine journals and each had certain benefits that complimented how I go about processing my actions and commitments, but each also had drawbacks that didn’t leave me completely satisfied and really trusting it.

I decided to create my own weekly planner over the Holidays that would incorporate the mental and physical processes I go through to prepare for the week ahead and to track new commitments as they happen.  I wanted to share the weekly planner with each of you.

The first thing that is a little different is the planner template is on a 11×17 paper format.   I do a lot of work on 11×17 paper throughout the course of a work day.   The planner is organized so that if you fold the paper in half and then fold the top half again, each of the sections will be aligned with each of the creases.

The planner incorporates GTD as I’ve been an avid fan for years now and really like the framework and concept to get things out of your head and on to paper, so you will see lists for @Actions, @Waiting For, @Phone, and @Someday.  Other GTD related sections includes a Weekly Review for your Friday afternoon reflections and it includes a Weekly Priorities section so that after you perform your Weekly Review, you can list your top 3 priorities for the next week on your new planner sheet.

The planner  includes the Compact Calendar from David Seah (davidseah.com) so that you can quickly look at the days ahead and determine an appropriate due date for your actions.

After using for the last few weeks, I’m satisfied with the layout and how it is working out.   Only time will tell if I come to completely trust this format, but I’m super excited about having my own planning sheets versus relying on 3rd party products and spending the cash annually to renew.

Let me know what you think, if you feel it could be incorporated into your planner.   I’m open for suggestions, feedback, and other kaizen opportunities.


Available for download: Weekly Planner templatev2_WLK

Jason

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Which Road Do You Choose?

I just returned from a fantastic vacation with the family to Orlando, Florida to visit the friendly confines of Walt Disney World (WDW) for 6 days at the parks!

The time with the family was precious.  I believe we all realize this more and more with age.   This vacation to WDW had me thinking about the interactions I have with my family as a Dad and husband, but also the interactions of thousands of other families I witnessed while walking an endless number of miles from ride to ride.

Tower of Terror anyone?   I say this because if you’ve ever been on the Tower of Terror, you know that is takes place in a fictional Hollywood hotel in an old elevator that goes through a series of ups and downs that raises you out of your seat.  Family life can be much the same, a series of ups and downs.

I sketched the picture below to illustrate 2 roads; the high road and the low road.  I realize we all experience both roads at times, but I know I want my family to spend as much time on the high road as possible because of the great memories that have been created this past week.

Which road do you choose?

Until next time,

Jason

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Getting to the Point

I had a great experience recently @ work that I wanted to share. We learned about a new personality test known as Enneagram. I’ve had past experiences with Myers-Briggs and the DISC model, but never heard of Enneagram until recently.  So what is it?

The word Enneagram is of Greek origin and refers to a diagram with nine points or lines. “Enneagram” is the name of the system of knowledge as well as its symbol (see picture to right).

There are 9 Enneagram types and each represents personality and characteric types that are said to be about what type of person you are @ birth. It’s not so much about what you’ve become, rather giving you insight into the true type of person you are, very close to your core being.

From my experiences thus far, you can realize for each Enneagram type what types of values, innate strengths, potential liabilities, preferred and challenging work settings, and work styles you prefer just to name a few. This was an eye opener to see what type I was and what type my fellow team members were so that I can use this for my personal growth and to help when coaching my directs or dealing with others like my wife, kids, and friends.

I’m definitely going to reach out and learn more and I recommend if you haven’t heard of Enneagram that you do some research and take a free online test to see where on the 9-point scale you fall.

BTW, I was a 3-The Achiever. I’m testing the wife tonight to see if we share a connection in the symbol :)

Think about your day, reflect, and put your energy into making tomorrow better @ work, @ life!

Jason

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Value of Hourensou – What’s That You Ask?

Here’s an interesting Japanese term…hourensou. Ever heard of it? It’s a common term amongst those at Toyota, but really you can’t find much on it from the Web or from all the great published books on Toyota or Toyota Way.

The word hourensou is broken down into 3 meanings (hou = report, ren = inform, and sou = feedback).

So why a post on hourensou? I want to share my insights on the power of communication (verbal and written) in the workplace and how something perceived to be so simple can really be a visual key to separating your strong performers from your weaker performers.

What does it mean?

Hourensou means to report out to other’s frequently to keep those necessary informed of your work, while remaining open to feedback and direction from a peer or direct. This could be in the written form by using an email to communicate daily progress on a project to the stakeholders or in the verbal form to have short frequent walk-ups to a direct to share and get feedback on the progress of an assignment.

At Toyota, being able to communicate effectively is essential. Assignments are given with the intent that others will follow hourensou from start to finish. If an assignment will take 3 months to do, the expectation from working level to Executive management is that multiple (6-10) updates occur during that period. While performing hourensou, you are also performing nemawashi, a more common Japenese term meaning to prepare the roots or gain consensus. As you involve others in your assignment, you are obtaining their feedback and incorporating it so that the final product is the work of many instead of one.

Hourensou doesn’t equal micro-management

For those of you that have never heard of hourensou before may think it sounds a lot like micro-management of other’s work, but it is quite the opposite. In my opinion, micro-management is when you smother your team members and tell them what to do and how to do it. With hourensou, the team member has ownership of the assignment, makes decisions on his or her own, but by informing others frequently gets necessary feedback to keep the assignment progressing on schedule within scope, both key elements to reducing team member burden.

Whether you have heard of this term before or not, the key is the value of open communication is imperative to having a strong team working towards common goals.   Does your team value communication?

Jason

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