Posted by: kerrywills | January 18, 2019

Decisions, decisions

I had a work meeting in Philadelphia this week. One of the nights my coworker, who lives there, took us to do the famous cheese steak challenge. This is where we sample some of the local steaks and determine which is best. So, we tried a few steaks at each of the most famous places (Pat’s and Geno’s)


This was a classic decision making process which we see at work many times. We had to understand out options, evaluate them and make a recommendation based on a set of criteria. In this case, my criteria was softness of the bread, taste, cheesiness and value. I weighed each option and came to the conclusion that Geno’s was the best. Interestingly, my colleagues had different recommendations based on this criteria.

This demonstrates that different people could come up with different recommendations, even when using the same criteria. This is also why identifying who the primary decision maker is important.


Posted by: kerrywills | January 11, 2019

Winter weather and risk management

It is Winter in New England where I live and that means unpredictable weather. Some mornings may have snow, some ice and some slush and, while the state does a good job and handling the weather, the roads can sometimes be tricky. I have a 45 minute commute to work every day and this means when there is bad weather, I have to perform a risk assessment.


In these situations I consider the number of meetings, the location of meetings (in-person or virtual) and the attendees and perform a risk assessment against the weather. In some cases, if I have important meetings and the bad weather starts in the morning I may leave super early to get into work. In other cases I may leave later or even work from home.

This is a classic risk assessment to compare the risk of an accident or being stuck against the impact to meetings, reputation and work progress. As I have gotten older and less interested in risking an accident I opt for the safer option of staying home.

Posted by: kerrywills | January 4, 2019

Clarity of Accountability

I believe that the clarity of accountability is critical as teams and projects become more complex. This sounds simple and everyone reading that sentence would agree. However, oftentimes, there are meetings with dozens of people in attendance and every one of them has an opinion and feels the need to articulate it. While involvement is important, work can not be a republic of people with equal says and votes.


Accountabilities need to be clear so that it is understood who can make decisions, who can influence, who can contribute and who will do the work. We know that everyone has an opinion (I think there is a saying about opinions being like a part of the human anatomy) but that is not sufficient to get work done.

Leaders should clearly define who has accountability and then those people need to drive the work as such. Those people should solicit input into decisions, but that approach is very different than one where everyone shows up and states their opinions. In that model you only leave the meeting with a collection of opinions. But, that’s just my opinion….

Posted by: kerrywills | December 28, 2018

Holiday cleaning

Every year during the holidays we clean out the entire house. We spend the entire year accumulating things and don’t even think about it too much. In fact, I do not even notice it any more until this time of year when I step back to see it. By the end of the year we have amassed a lot of clutter in our house and some of it needed to go. This year we threw out about 5 bags of garbage, packaged up 7 bags of donations and gave away 2 large bins of clothes to relatives.



It always feels good to clean out everything and start the new year on a “lighter” note. I am also feeling the same way about work. We spend all year “amassing” things at work – responsibilities, accomplishments, relationships, disappointments and sometimes some drama. We should step back and deliberately “clean out” a lot of this so that we can start the year fresh with minimal garbage from the prior year. This means letting go of some of the challenges and anxieties that have worried us and focusing on how to make the new year a successful and happy one.

So, with that I will wish everyone a happy holidays and clutter-free New Year

Posted by: kerrywills | December 21, 2018

How can I help?

I get most of my information from individual meetings as opposed to status reports or large sessions. As a result, I have many meetings with team members and colleagues. I make it a point to end every session with the question “how can I help?” to solicit ways that I can make each of them successful.


While many of these people do report to me, it is clear to me that they are the ones doing most of the work and my role is to enable them to be successful. So it is important for them to see me as someone who is approachable and who can help them as opposed to just someone who they present status to.

So my advice to you (even though I haven’t asked you how I could help…but assume reading this blog is a solicitation of nuggets of wisdom) is that you should seek out ways to help your team members. It is a surefire way to improve the likelihood of success for everyone and to build credibility.


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