I have been talking all day with people about how.

There have been some conversations about what, and part of a conversation about whether, but underlying it all have been conversations about how.

How to decide, how to respond, how to understand, how to sort through.

I talked with a good friend this morning.  We talked about how to survive when more people want your input. It is, of course, possible to tell them what to do. Eventually, however, you run out of time and strength and even desire. And the more you are about caring for people, the more likely it is that you will begin to look uncaring.

So I said, “make a list of the basic things that are how you decide. Bullet points, not essays. List the things that are on the notecard in your head when you weigh choices, when you think through how to answer a question.”

photo with sign saying focus means picking one thing at a timeAnd then, as often happens, I walked into another conversation to test my own assignment. I found myself saying, “Get a bid from the place across the street. If it is within $100 of the place 25 minutes away, take it. Your time and the disruption of your time, is worth way more than the $100. Sometimes the opportunity cost is more important than the dollar cost.”

“But what about yesterday?” he said. “Why did you say to check at the further place and then send me to save only $40?”

So I explained. (One trip yesterday and shorter. Two trips for today’s project, and the need for another driver to pick him up and deliver him.)

He understood.

And I had taught two things: how to weigh costs and how to respond to someone who reports to you.

I knew I was teaching how. I had been reminded of the importance of teaching how an hour before. I knew that I had to do the thing that I said to do. And I realized that I should have explained how yesterday.

And now I’m on my way to making a list of some other principles of how.

Make sense?

More on this soon.


One response to “principles

  1. This was good for me to read today. Sometimes I feel pressured at my job to explain only the “what” when my deeper desire is to communicate the “how” and teach someone to fish. But having a basis for each “how” seems like a vital starting place now…