Jeffrey’s notepad has moved

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Over the weekend Jeffrey’s notepad moved to a self-hosting WordPress site (AKA “”).

I did this so I could have greater flexibility in tweaking the HTML and CSS for the site. One of the (few) unintended consequences was that if you were using the RSS feed on this site, it won’t update you with additions to the new site.

Please update your RSS reader with this new feed!

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Yes, and . . .

Yes! (and . . .)How many times have you said “Yes” to a request, only to regret it later?

Many of us like to please our coworkers (and especially our bosses), but always saying “Yes” to a request puts you on the fast-track to being needlessly overburdened and overworked.

And yet when you say “No”, the listener almost always stops listening immediately and prepares for a fight.

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Unexpected Slack

Slack (book cover)

Slack, Tom DeMarco

I’m re-reading Tom DeMarco’s Slack again at the moment, this time with the purpose of providing a thorough review for the bookshelf. It’s such a good book, it might take me several entries to get it all covered. Right now, though, I’d like to write about the weather. And slack.

It’s snowing in northeast Ohio at the moment and although not much has hit the ground yet, plenty is predicted. Cancellations poured through. First it was my noon appointment, then it was the afternoon ones and finally, at the time of this writing, everything scheduled for today was cancelled or postponed. My nearly-full day suddenly became wide-open.

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A Charles Dickens Management Lesson

"Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball", from A Christmas Carol

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a ghost grants Ebenezer Scrooge the chance to look back into his past and see a company holiday party that Fezziwig, his employer at the time, threw one year. Scrooge observes Fezziwig and his family, the employees and their families, the apprentices (including himself), the household employees and even some of the neighbors as they prepare, arrive and celebrate.

For nearly four hours this party rages on and on. There was dancing and cake and food and beer and music. Scrooge observes every minute of it with glee. He “acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were in the scene, and with his former self. He corroborated everything, remembered everything, enjoyed everything, and underwent the strangest agitation.”

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Stages of Team Development

The stages of team development are already well-described in various places and so going into great detail here would serve little purpose. I will, however, provide a brief overview since I think more leaders would benefit from being aware of these stages and because I’d like to use these terms in future posts.


New teams travel through four stages of team development before reaching high levels of performance. The different makeup of each team means that no two teams progress through these stages at the same rate (or with the same result). There’s no guarantee that progress will always be forward: it is possible for teams to regress back to an earlier stage due to some conflict or upset in some balance. And some teams may never reach a state of high performance.

Each stage must be passed through before tackling the next. Some teams will be able to spend less time in some of the stages, but it’s not possible to just jump to the end and skip the beginning stages.
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Dear Readers:

Management. Leadership. Administration. Hiring (and Firing). Performance reviews. Interviews. Teams (building, growing, leading). Projects. Managing up, Managing “down”. Authority. Responsibility. Communication. Delegation. Career growth. The list goes on and on.

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Getting over the hump

Getting Over the Hump

Getting Over the Hump (apologies to Jessica at

I had lunch with a colleague this past week and the subject of long, large-effort projects came up. Projects with a big “hump” keeping you from finishing easily and quickly. (see graph)

He manages a small team of folks who are all pulling toward the same goal. He articulated where he was in relation to the goal and what was needed to get there.

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