eat my own dog food

Do you “eat my own dog food?”

I eat my own dog food and like it!

I write about leadership, management, business skills all aimed to increase margins, performance, productivity, effectiveness.
“Yes, yes, yes. Got it.”
I write for others’ benefit, often from my experiences.  “Yes, of course, got that too.”
So, I asked myself a question over the weekend, “How much do I eat my own dog food?”
If you’ve been in business for awhile you’ve probably heard this statement, “do I eat my own dog food?” If you haven’t heard it, it means how much do you practice what you preach, use what you sell, experience your own services.
I eat my own dog food for awhile now. I use SMART goals daily. I truly do believe in the process…for myself.
Lately, I’ve been putting SMART goals to use in team environments with people who are not familiar with the process. I am eating my own dog food in a new way.
I have to say the whole experience has been interesting, frustrating, useless, useful, inefficient and highly effective.
I have some takeaways…

Start with the right person and stay persistent to get a crisp goal. All else is a flipping waste of time. Don’t rush this. This thing alone will determine how much time is spent reworking, redoing, running down dead ends and doing useless activities. It is crucial in setting the foundation for prioritizing and ultimately being effective.

Be patient.

Recognize some people are just not strategic thinkers … accept it and the fact they are impatient with planning. Include them later. Be mentally prepared they will still want to add their two cents. Let them. Put their suggestions to the group and see what holds water. After a while the group will find out who adds value and who doesn’t.

Be even more patient.

Don’t let people jump to the end too quickly … often the urge is irresistible to jump to activities. This is the fun part after all. It can lead to conversation and email “Whac-a-mole” game. Avoid falling into this trap. This can be a huge time sink and waste everyone’s time.

Be really patient. Take a KitKat® break if you need. Let things sink in over a few minutes, hours, days and then come back to the project.

On preachiness. If you believe in the process, resist with all your might to get preachy. (Yes, that one is for me.)

Watch for the nay-sayers, the devil’s advocates. Pointing out obstacles is great when you get to that point in the process. Pointing out obstacles too soon leads to Whac-a-mole conversations during a meeting. Acknowledge it, capture it and get back on track. Pointing out fears based on some past experience is not useful. Move on as quickly and graciously as you can.

“Patience my padawan learner.” -Master Yoda

Stick with the process and be inventive along the way to get back on track.

Recognize when you’ve got enough, declare the plan is in place, and move on. If the team disagrees or unleashes new issues you’ll find out soon enough.

Oh yes, be patient and observant.
So it really is about eating your own dog food. There is no conundrum after all.
You know you’re doing planning right when it gets messy. That must be where the patience comes in.
Can you say, “I eat my own dog food, and I like it,” with a straight face?

“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”