Zachary Aldwin Milkshake in the Boardroom
LAST weekend a friend of mine, who is studying at a local university, asked me for help in preparing for her exams.
I was familiar with the topic (Statistics) but decided that a little brushing up was in order. I sat with my friend and her notes, and began surfing the web for useful sites to help with explanations.
After going through three sites I came across a web page that resembled – word for word – the class notes her lecturer had prepared. I was dumbfounded. The lecturer had passed them off, unreferenced, as her own material.
I decided to take my investigation a little further; I entered questions the lecture had given in tests and exams into Google. Sure enough, the questions that had been “set” popped up on my screen, word for word, together with model answers.
I looked into other subjects the lecturer had taught; every single one of her slides was lifted directly off the Internet, every question asked had been designed by someone else. I was disgusted. When did the standard at a university become so low that it was an acceptable practice to plagiarise entire lectures and pass them off as your own.
Now academia thrives and encourages the review of someone else’s work, but only if you give credit that it is not your own when you present it.
There would be no fault if the lecturer had stood at the front of the class and said; “Hey here are some useful sites to get information from. I’ve used them in coming up with material for your lectures.”
Instead what we have is someone looking for a short-cut to the task of understanding a subject, preparing your own teaching material, and creating unique exam questions. We all are looking for short cuts and quick fixes.
Especially now, when things are a little tough, we want a quick fix to our financial woes, to our business problems, to our family. You just have to look at overflowing churches where congregations are looking for a miracle; a divine quick-fix that will make everything wonderful in their life.
If you are looking for a miracle make sure you are not just looking for it in an effort to avoid the accountability for doing something in your life.
We love to study “overnight successes” forgetting that often there is an entire lifetime of preparation and practice that facilitates that success.
Even winners of talent shows that suddenly find themselves in the limelight often have a history that includes years dedicated to training. The same winners have to sustain their success by the continuing to work hard at concerts, albums, marketing appearances.
There are very few quick fixes in life. Google “quick fixes in business”, the first few pages of results deals with writing for business rather than actual business solutions. Change it and type in “there are no quick fixes for business” and a Pandora’s box bursts open basically telling you that there is no substitute for hard work.
It is time to stop looking for the quick fix. There may be some solutions to problems that are easier to solve than others, but they are still going to require effort and possibly finance to fix. Here are a few “non-quick fixes” that you may find useful at this time. Rework your routine and stick to it.
If you are overwhelmed by things to do, then create routine times to tackle certain key tasks. I schedule meetings for the morning, when I am done with them I deal with emails for an hour, then I deal with calls. Once that is out of the way I normally focus on other tasks without any interruption.
Too little to do? If business is slow or you find yourself unemployed the principle of sticking to a routine still stands.
Wake up at the same time, find tasks to fill your day (look up James Altucher’s list of “things to do if you lose your job” for ideas), structure it and do it.
The small successes of daily tasks will help alleviate depression that sets in when idle. Busy or slow, it takes daily effort and work to stick to a routine.
Read and write. Daily read something (preferably more constructive than a tabloid). Daily write something; a blog post, a journal, a book.
This is not about having something to publish at the end, but about stimulating your creativity and helping you set your thought patterns down. You may discover something useful to use (I am currently using previous articles as teaching points for a series I am running).
New to the writing game, then let me recommend James Altucher’s idea machine generation challenge (look it up on his blog), but in summary write down a list of 10 business ideas every day (seriously go look it up on his blog, it makes way more sense when you read the whole concept).
Develop relationships. You cannot grow a relationship overnight (any boy or man who has ever had to pursue a girl or woman should know this). Reach out and interact with someone. A text, a call, an email or better a face-to-face coffee will do the trick. Invite someone over for dinner. Share a good bottle of wine. Find a project you can work on with someone, even if there is no financial remuneration at the end.
Stick with it, work through the arguments and heated discussions. When trouble comes it is solid relationships that will help you through.