Good starts

We think we see good starts all the time, but most of the time we see wrong. Most of the time what looks like a good start – of a work day, a career, a diet, a business, a life – most of the time what looks like a good start is a long way into the story, the business-end…

Move it on

We eat elephants of different shapes and sizes. But most of the time, doing most of the things that matter, we’re eating elephants: learning a new skill growing a friendship running a household recovering building an organisation bringing up children staying married serving a country paying off a mortgage writing a novel being a neighbour It’s easy to feel stuck…

Just in time (2): “I’ll just…”

There’s another kind of just in time. This is the kind when you lie to yourself: “I’ll just squeeze this extra thing in, and I’ll get there just in time.” Pro tip: things that start with “I’ll just…” cost more than you think. “I’ll just…” jobs usually end up taking longer, or they leave you dissatisfied because you didn’t do…

Just in time (1)

There’s a good sort of just in time. We plan something, know what needs to happen and how, know what we need to do it well, when, where and with whom. This kind of just in time feels great, with the right amount of tension for whatever it is we’re doing. Good training events feel tight like the skin of…

Byproduct

Tobi Lütke (@tobi) is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shopify. In 2004, Tobi began building software to launch an online snowboard store called Snowdevil. It quickly became obvious that the software was more valuable than the snowboards, so Tobi and his founding team launched the Shopify platform in 2006. He has served as CEO since 2008 at the company’s headquarters…

Passionate about their beliefs

This familiar phrase gave me pause when I heard it on the radio recently, used in praise of a cast member who passed away. It was a tribute to a loved colleague, but I thought to myself: “I hope they don’t say that about me.” Intensity can be a virtue. Passionate commitment can change the world – but direction matters.…

Trust

Make your systems strong. Have a clear process: where does the money come from, where does it go? Account for it transparently: how are movements of money planned, approved, recorded, tracked and evidenced? Have checks and controls: Who sets things up? Who approves payments? Who checks? Who checks the checker? Minimise temptation and opportunity. But at the end of the…

Debt to society

If you want to talk about our debt to society – the question of what we owe the other people who share our culture, and share the planet with us – it’s helpful to start with this: without other people, you’d be dead. Even if you’d somehow managed to be born on your own, without other people you’d never have made…

Attitude: something to share

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands,that they may have something to share with those in need. Paul of Tarsus – Letter to the Ephesians Two thoughts: Integrity in our work is a baseline and an enabler – a starting point. The end of work is not merely to…

Riches: second best coffee press

I broke the glass on our cafetiere / coffee press this morning. You’re rich when you react to the breaking of the glass by saying, “Never mind – we’ll get some new glass.” You’re really rich when you can add, “And in the meantime, we’ll use our second-best best coffee press.” We live near the top of a vast, thousands-of-years-in-the-making…