Don’t depend on anyone else to bring the coffee

“There’s nothing worse than starting the day at a meeting where they don’t provide coffee. It’s better to have two cups than none.” (A)

When I returned to MBA/ MPH/MPA teaching five years ago, after a 40 year intermission, this was the first LESSON LEARNED I shared with each of my classes. Students had to submit three Lessons Learned a week, and share them with the class on Blackboard, with the notion of making LLs a career-building exercise. (B)

Here are some more of my personal management LLs:

“Read the health care related newspaper headlines on your way into work. You don’t want to be surprised when you hear news in the coffee room. Especially if it’s about your organization.”

“Almost every challenge can be stated as a problem or an opportunity. It’s always better to be positive than negative.”

“Keys to success. Be consistent, persistent and innovative.”

“If you raise ten great ideas at a meeting, no one will remember any of them. Be prepared by doing your homework and raise one sensational idea at a meeting, and everyone will remember.”

“Take a risk and jump right in when you have a unique, interesting idea. How many times have you held back, only to have someone else hit the ball out of the park with your idea?”

“Don’t edit yourself out of opportunities.” (from Joe Welfeld) For example if a job ad has 7 requirements and you have four, go with those four. No one has all seven.

“Find a mentor – don’t expect a mentor to find you.”

Three baseball umpires are at a continuing education program on Barbados, the subject “What’s a ball, and what’s a strike?” The rookie umpire says “There are balls, and there are strikes and I call them as they are.” The mid-career umpire says: “There are balls, and there are strikes and I call them as I see them.” The veteran umpire, about to retires, says” “There are balls, and there are strikes and they ain’t nothing ‘til I call them.” (source unknown)

“Never, never give up.” (Winston Churchill)

And my final LL in every course:

“Character is how you behave when no one is watching.” (attributed to John Wooden and others)



(B) “A lesson learned is useful project management information gained through experience that your organization should retain for future use and that can be relevant to other organizations. Depending on the lesson, it could be a valuable technique or an outcome that you wish to repeat or it could be an undesirable result you wish to avoid. Often, identifying your lessons learned is as simple as asking the question, “What worked well or what didn’t work so well?”

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