Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"The real reason the tortoise beat the hare"/ "get the job you want"

Sept. 7 "The real reason the tortoise beat the hare": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 13, 2013.  I like this article because it was inspirational and motivational.  Here's the whole article:

Tuesday Morning Coaching
By David Cottrell
(McGraw-Hill, 148 pages, $24.95)

We all know the moral of the fable about the tortoise and the hare – perseverance beats speed. But Dallas-based executive coach David Cottrell believes another important lesson can be drawn from the ancient tale.

After all, if the hare had run straight to the finish line, it would have won. Perseverance would not have beaten speed in that case. But the hare was so consumed with its talent that it forgot to use that gift, diverted by the prospect of a soothing nap. The tortoise never got distracted: It focused on the finish line.

“Successful people are not distracted by their success. They are focused on mastering a combination of several simple truths that – put together – create ongoing success,” Mr. Cottrell writes in Tuesday Morning Coaching.

The book is written in fable form, fiction with a message for business leaders, so those words come from Jeff Walters, an imaginary executive coach telling the story of his successful work with a burned-out executive who wants to reboot. They agree to meet every Tuesday morning for two months, at which eight approaches to getting out of the rut are shared and implemented:

1. Keep going, no matter what

Successful people accept responsibility and, like the tortoise, move on regardless. They expect distractions and obstacles to pop up, and make good choices to continue moving forward. They aren’t like a passenger in a car, looking around at the scenery, but instead like the driver, in control, focused intently on the road. “Success is not about luck or the economy. It’s about making a conscious choice that No Matter What, you will keep moving forward to your goals,” he writes.

2. Go the extra distance

Successful people do a little more than everyone else – they do what’s required, and then some extra. A sales person who commits to making one extra call a day above the norm makes about 250 extra calls in a year; if 20 per cent were to lead to customers, that translates into 50 extra clients. Successful people provide extra services – something unexpected that develops committed customers. They go the extra mile.

3. Stick to your word

Successful people do what they say they will. If they commit to something, you can consider it done. And done completely – no half measures – consistently. That integrity is central to their character. They have integrity, doing what’s right, regardless of the circumstances.

4. Go all in

Complacency is the root of mediocrity. Successful people know what is important in their life – what they value above all else – and make achieving those values and goals non-negotiable. When they make a commitment, they are “all in” – they don’t stop halfway through, leaving a problem unsettled. They move from one opportunity to another, always creating the next “above all else.”

5. Learn from failure

Successful people fail. Not everything they touch is golden. But when they stumble, they pick themselves up and move forward. They pledge from now on not to make the same mistake again and to learn from adversity. “I’ve found that many people are reluctant to learn from the past and move forward. Instead, they’re more interested in justifying why the situation is the way it is rather than making the situation better,” he writes. “It’s no secret that success rarely happens on the first try. It usually happens after trial and error, learning from those mistakes, prolonged effort and moving forward.”

6. See it, feel it, trust it, do it

To accomplish goals, you must see what you want to accomplish, feel within yourself the result of the action, trust what you are doing is the right thing, and then implement the plan. It’s like a golfer, imagining the perfect shot he or she wants to hit. Like that golfer, you should not focus on the negative (the water hazard, say), but rather on the middle of the fairway where your ball will safely land.

7. Focus inside your boat

Just as Olympic rowers ignore rain, strong winds or choppy waters because that’s outside their boat, you need to focus on the things you can control. In terms of time management, this means accepting that you can’t really manage time but you can manage your attention. Say no to low-priority items so you can focus on the truly important stuff.

8. Knowledge is power

The more you learn, the better your decisions will be and the greater your success. Remember, knowledge won’t come looking for you. You need to seek it out.

In the book, the formula works and the man being coached becomes reinvigorated at work, gets his marriage on track, and brings his golf handicap down. The author’s idea of eight simple truths make sense, and may help reorient you to new directions.


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"Do more than cross your fingers to get the job you want": I cut out this article by Eileen Chadnick in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 13, 2013.  Here it is:
 
THE QUESTION

I just finished university and I was hired as a temp in an entry-level position with a large local tech firm. It’s in my chosen field. Even though I’m not exactly doing the job I wanted and it’s not permanent, it’s good experience. The temp job could end in a month but I will have gained three months of experience. The pay is not amazing but definitely livable.

Here’s my dilemma: I have been offered a full-time permanent job with better pay and great benefits at a company that doesn’t interest me. The employer will train me but I will end up gaining no experience in my field.

Should I keep working at my temp job with continued contract extensions and cross my fingers that they hire me? Or do I take the better-paying, boring job just for the sake of paying off looming student loans?

THE ANSWER

Many young graduates would envy your position. That said, I understand your dilemma. Who wouldn’t want a permanent job with steady pay and benefits – but at the expense of what?

Your description of “better-paying, boring job” in comparison with working in your chosen field makes me wonder how long you would be satisfied in that role. It sounds as if your gut knows what you want but you are, rightly, acknowledging there is a risk you may not get a full-time role there. Ultimately, this has to be your decision but keep in mind that careers are marathons, not sprints. Reflect on how each opportunity might serve your longer-term goals.

Given your interest in the tech field and that you have a foot in the door of a large company, there’s merit in considering this option seriously. I’d encourage you to go well beyond “crossing your fingers” in hopes that they offer you a job. There’s more you can do.

First, have a conversation with human resources immediately to let them know of your situation. Share your interest in developing your career with this company and ask if there’s an opportunity for contract renewals or permanent employment. It’s okay to let them know about your other job offer – it shows you are valuable. But don’t present this as a threat, just a crossroads and a decision you need to make.

Be authentic in conveying your real desire to develop your career with this company. If they recognize your potential, this conversation might open doors. Regardless of HR’s immediate response, if you stay for the duration of your contract, make the most of the opportunity.

Show them your stuff

No matter how menial your tasks are, be seen as a keener. Take every task seriously; offer to do more; have a winning attitude; be a team player; make sure people like working with you. I’m sure you’re already doing this, but kick it up a notch wherever you can. When appropriate, ask questions about the company, show your interest and don’t be shy to let the right people know that you are keen to learn and develop, and would love the opportunity to stay on. Smart employers recognize the keepers.

Network strategically

Don’t wait to be noticed. Connect with the right people. Your supervisor should be an important source for a career conversation. And cast your net beyond your department. Are there other areas in the business about which you would like to learn more? Find out who’s who and ask if they can talk for a few minutes about careers within their area and in the field.


My opinion: That's some good tips to tell HR about the other job and that you really want to stay with this company.

However, these days I am willing to work at a good paying and boring job.  As long as it pays well, I won't leave.  I have a life outside of work and that's interesting. 

It brings me back to the Office Job.  After a few months, I thought it was kind of boring.  However, I knew how to do the job and it paid well.  I was never going to leave it. 

"Corporate culture the 'secret sauce' of success"

Sept. 3 "Corporate culture the' secret sauce' of success": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Aug. 26, 2015.  It talks about measuring business.  I have heard of the sayings:

"What gets measure, gets managed."
"What gets measured, gets done."

I tried to find out if it's from Peter Drucker.  However, there doesn't seem to be a reliable source that said he said it:


Here's the Globe and Mail whole article:


Beyond MeasureBy Margaret Heffernan
(TED Books, 107 pages, $21.99)
 
We’re told that nothing in business is beyond measure. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and it’s possible to devise metrics to drive efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of your operations. But Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur and former CEO of various companies has a new book provocatively titled Beyond Measure. It’s about corporate culture, a vital aspect of your organization that you must manage but can’t really measure all that well.

“We measure everything at work except what counts. Numbers are comforting – income, expenditure, productivity, engagement, staff turnover – and create an illusion of control. But when we’re confronted with spectacular success or failure, everyone points in the same direction: The culture. Beyond measure and sometimes apparently beyond comprehension, culture has become the secret sauce of organizational life: The thing that makes the difference but for which nobody has the recipe,” she writes.

A paradox of organizational culture, she says, is that it makes a big difference but is the result of small actions, habits, and choices. The behaviour that comprises your organizational culture comes from everywhere – the top and the bottom of the hierarchy, and inside and outside the company. It’s chaotic, and emerges of its own volition rather than your brilliant design.

“We may not be able to measure culture but we can measure the high rate of failure for programs aimed at culture change; that stands at around 70 per cent. So the idea emerges that culture is elusive, hard to manage, impossible to command,” she says.

It sounds a bit like Dante’s Inferno: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” But she is more optimistic, and offers lots of ideas. Since culture is a non-linear system, small changes can have big impact. She points to working in groups as a key element of corporate culture but says this is often impaired by the fear that many people have of conflict. Consultant Brooke Deterline told her: “You practise for auditions, for exams, to improve your tennis game. So why wouldn’t you practise the kinds of arguments and conflicts that are bound to come up at work?”

Ms. Heffernan stresses the importance of seeking contrary ideas. “If everyone brings the same knowledge, then why have five people in the room when you could just have one?” she asks. “Great thinking partners aren’t echo chambers – they bring well-stocked minds, new perspectives, and challenge.”

To keep your thinking agile, she suggests using a question that CIA analyst Herb Meyer liked: “What would we see if we were wrong?” When he asked that during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, wondering what he would see if the country was collapsing rather than a strong foe, he found all sorts of information pointing to its breakdown.

She tells us that thinking is physical. So if we’re in a thinking job, after 40 hours a week, studies show we’re toast. If your culture ignores that reality, your company will suffer.

“What is so striking about over a century’s research is that long hours specifically impair the talents we most need in business today: Thinking, insight, problem-solving, sharp analytic and imaginative skills. Distraction and fatigue deeply compromise our ability to test our decisions, reflect, and think again. Without the capacity to doubt, we will never gain the confidence we need to ask hard questions and articulate the values that define us,” she observes.

Harvard professor Leslie Perlow found software engineers’ time in a company divided between “real engineering” and “everything else.” So she devised a system where three days a week, from morning to noon, quiet time prevailed, and nobody could interrupt anybody else – they did real engineering. Some engineers estimated their productivity increased by as much as 65 per cent. For only the second time in the company’s history, a product shipped on time. A small change in the culture, re-engineering time, had a profound impact.

Research has revealed a Pygmalion Effect: If we have high expectations of someone, they will fulfill our belief. She wonders whether nominating someone as “high potential” and giving them special opportunities isn’t just a self-fulfilling prophecy. As well, she attacks the forced ranking systems that became the rage for a time and still linger, in which a work force is divided into three camps: The top 10 to 20 per cent who deserve attention, the bottom 10 to 20 per cent (who should be eased out), and all the rest. She says it leaves the huge number of people in the middle group stuck with nobody wanting to mentor them and the feeling that they don’t have what it takes to lead others. “Most organizations invest more in rooting out underperformers than in cultivating pervasive achievement,” she warns.

That’s an instance, of course, where measuring leads to trouble. You need to move beyond measure. It’s also an example of her willingness to challenge our thinking. This is a small book in page size and short in length, one of the first efforts in print by the TED folks, but like their tight talks, it’s provocative, thoughtful and inspiring.

POSTSCRIPT

Consultant Kerry Patterson weaves together anecdotes from his past to come up with homespun wisdom for today on work and life in The Gray Fedora (Vital Smarts Press, 176 pages, $19.95).

The 40, four-page lessons surprised me at times when I discovered where the story was leading but the message always hit home, although only for a short time – they weren’t memorable enough for me to recall a few days later, although perhaps that’s because I read it in one sitting.

The title comes from a story about the day as a youngster he feared his grandfather had died because a man with a grey fedora – the hat his grandpa always wore – was lying unattended in the street. The man turned out to be a wino. The lesson? If he put his grandfather’s grey fedora on a stranger, it transformed that individual into someone worthy of his care and attention.

"Mom's the word" by Drake/ Grant Gustin/ Adam Levine

Apr. 5 "Mom's the word" by Drake: I cut out this article by the rapper Drake in the National Post on Aug. 4, 2010.  He was also on the TV show Degrassi before he became a rapper.  I would say my favorite song of his is "Find Your Love."  This is a rather insightful essay about how he was raised.

Drake reflects on what it was like for his mother to raise a rap star

My dad used to play these little hole-in-the-wall gigs, and to prove himself as a father, he’d take me to his shows. That was the first kick I ever got out of music. Part of his routine became bringing me up onstage and letting me sing Ride, Sally, ride. It was a hard time for my family: What mother would want her child in dive bars performing for money? I was nine or 10 years old and I’d see people letting their emotions out through this outlet. That’s when music became intriguing to me.

My mom signed me up for dance classes, piano lessons. She was trying to do anything to keep me occupied. Her main objective was keeping me from being aimless, just wandering the streets. She signed me up for hockey, basketball, music, dancing. I tried piano, I tried guitar and I couldn’t stick with anything – until acting became my main focus.

When I landed Degrassi, I dropped out of high school. My calling had nothing to do with mathematics or history lessons. I felt like I was already capable of talking my way into or out of anything, and that was good enough.
 
At a certain point, acting became like a nine-to-five job. Actually, it was more like 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and it became a task, as music became my passion. I’d spend my nights in this studio in Scarborough (a suburb of Toronto) and everyone on-set knew you could find me in my dressing room, fast asleep, if I didn’t have a call time. In between breaks or when they’d cut for lunch, I’d hustle my music. I was working myself hard. I was 17 or 18 and I’d just met (producers) Boy Wonder and 40.

When they pulled the plug on our generation of Degrassi, that was the moment my life changed. I called my agent and said, “Look, man, I know you’re getting me lots of auditions, but I’m going to do this music thing.” I had met Lil Wayne.

My relationship with my mother at that point was changing. Today, she doesn’t trip about what I buy or what I’m riding in or what I wear – now I can afford it – but back then, after Degrassi, I was living way beyond my means at a time when my family had very little. I felt like part of being a rapper was to portray this facade. It’s like, “Everyone knows I’m out with Lil Wayne; I better get rich quick. If not, no one will believe me.”

I rented a Rolls-Royce Phantom from this old dude looking for loose money and my mother was upset. She had friends who were genuinely wealthy and thought it was embarrassing. She’d say, “Everyone can tell this isn’t real.” I thought I had to show people I was something I wasn’t. That was a hard time in my life: lots of yelling, lots of crying, lots of screaming. When I made So Far Gone, my family was in a very dark place.

I was never around Lil Wayne with a frustrated mindset. I was observant around him, watching everything that goes right and everything that goes wrong. I’ll never forget riding in his tour bus: Wayne being asleep, watching ESPN, and I’m looking at him like, “That’s actually Lil Wayne and I’m actually on his bus. I’m just a kid from Toronto.”

I didn’t get frustrated, though, like thinking that it had to happen real fast. I believed talent had led me to this moment. I believed my story wouldn’t stop on that bus.

There were a bunch of artists around Wayne at the time, looking for an assist, but I decided to prove myself first. I made a commitment to doing the mix tape and forgot about getting signed and a million-dollar advance. I didn’t know if it was going to work.

So Far Gone was an all-encompassing project. Its success was what I hoped for, but not what I expected. The mix tape turned into a commercial release. You could turn on a radio anywhere and hear my song. Now it was time to make an album.

My mother was with me when Thank Me Later debuted at No. 1. We’d been through so much: my dad trying to share some of the responsibility with her and us running out of money and me constantly spending. A lot of yelling and fighting went into this self-expression, but now, the surreal feeling’s turned into something different.

I refuse to celebrate this album. I’m happy for myself and the people around me, but I want success to last. When Thank Me Later came out, I wasn’t thinking about Thank Me Later. I was thinking about the next album. I sold 480,000 copies. I want to sell 800,000 copies like Eminem. I want to record another big single. I want to make the next Best I Ever Had.

I don’t feel like I did it on this album, and now I’m addicted to the feeling of people loving my music. I’m addicted to turning on the radio or going to a club in New York or Atlanta or Jackson, Miss., and hearing my record or seeing constant cars pass playing my song. When you do it, it’s euphoric – all I can think about is going back in the studio and getting that feeling again.


Oct. 12 Grant Gustin: I cut out this article "Suitting up for life in The Flash Lane" about the actor Grant Gustin who is the star of The Flash.  It was in the Metro on Oct. 7, 2014.

What stood out to me the most was when Gustin talks about Wesley Shipp (who played The Flash on CBS for one season in 1990 and now he plays the father in the new CW version): "We're both from Virginia and our birthdays are days apart.  (That's when) I started putting it out into the universe that I would get the part."

When he got the part: "Oh my God, I just booked this.  Now I'm gonna have to do it!"

Arrow Bloopers: Gustin is in one of my favorite parts of Arrow season 2 bloopers.  30 seconds in.  Cut to Barry (Gustin) and Felicity (Emily Brett Rikards) are walking away and Barry is rolling his suitcase. Diggle (David Ramsey) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) are standing by. 

There is a loud bang.
Amell jumps.
Gustin: Sorry.
Gustin had dropped the handle on his suitcase.


Oct. 19: My other favorite part is 1 min 3 sec in when Diggle and Felicity are looking at the tablet.  She looks at him and then the tablet.  He looks at her and then the tablet.  They do this back and forth a bit.

You hear a man's voice off screen, whom I presume is the director: "Now take a look together."
They laugh. 

Adam Levine meets 3 yr old fan: I needed a break from my job search so I went on Youtube.  I found this video.  3 yr old Mila loves Adam from the band Maroon 5.  She and her mom then meet him on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

It was cute.  Adam brought Mila a flower and lifted her up and hugged her.  Awww...

 
Oct. 25 Fun: Last  week I went out 4 nights.  On Mon. I went to this dance club at a church.  It was a small gathering where I met 2 people and we talked about TV and danced a bit for 1 hr.
 
On Wed. I went to a Filmmakers Meetup at a coffee shop.
 
On Thurs. I went to a Screenwriters Meetup at a coffee shop where we talked about a script that one of us wrote.
 
On Sat. I went to the church again and there was a dance.  I talked to a few people and was there for 25 min.

I would probably say Fall 2015 TV season week was more interesting.

http://badcb.blogspot.ca/2015/09/fall-2015-tv-season.html
 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Would an office without managers work?"/ "Make like Sherlock"

Sept. 3 "Would an office without managers work?": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Jul. 29, 2015.  My answer is: "Yeah, if you have an uneven number of people.  If you have to vote on something, there can never be a tie."

Here's the whole article:

 
Some companies are experimenting with constitutions, as bosses give up power – in some instances the absolute power of founders – in an effort to encourage engagement by staff, eliminate bureaucracy, and create greater flexibility. Prominent in their ranks is shoe and fashion website Zappos, where chief executive officer Tony Hsieh, fearing the loss of its entrepreneurial culture as the company faced dramatic growth, turned to an approach called holacracy. It empowered staff to operate autonomously whenever possible, within the bounds of a collaborative organization and an overarching constitution.

Mr. Hsieh was moved by the metaphor of a city and, on a broader scale, modern civil society. “As a citizen, you don’t require a benevolent dictator to ‘empower’ you to act autonomously; rather, the societal framework around you is designed to prevent others from claiming power over you to begin with,” Brian Robertson, the consultant who guided Zappos and other companies on their journey into this new land, writes in Holacracy.

In too many organizations, employees have to check things out with the boss before acting. Even in organizations known for empowerment, it’s the leader who liberates others, signalling where control lies. In a holacracy, the leader abdicates, managers become irrelevant, and space opens up for people to operate in the best interest of the organization, collaborating with colleagues under the constitutional framework. “The seat of power shifts from the person at the top to a process, which is defined in detail in a written constitution,” Mr. Robertson notes.

No, you don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to excel. A generic constitution is available as a starting point. At the grassroots level, what counts is the role – or, more accurately, the roles, plural – that you perform. Mr. Robertson fills about 30 roles at the HolacracyOne consulting organization in Spring City, Penn., including training, program design and finance. A role consists of three elements: a purpose; possibly one or more “domains” that the role has exclusive authority to control on behalf of the organization; and a set of continuing activities for which the role is accountable.

Role are dynamic, changing over time. They aren’t vague, like traditional job descriptions but clearly defined activities a person handles. They are the organizing structure of the organization.

A holarchy, the basic structure of a holacracy, he says, “looks like a set of nested circles, like cells within organs within organisms. In a holarchy, each part or holon is not subjugated to those above it, but retains autonomy, individual authority, and wholeness. So we’ve got a holarchy of roles grouped within circles, which are themselves grouped within broader circles, all the way up until the biggest circle, containing the entire organization,” he says.

Sometimes circles may be independent, just one person, but often a circle is composed of subcircles. In such situations, members of the larger circle appoint a “lead link” to represent its needs in the subcircle. At the same time, members of the subcircle pick a “representative link” to represent its interests in the broader grouping.

So within the social media circle, there may be a lead link bringing awareness about the broader marketing circle’s strategy and messaging, to ensure everyone’s aligned. The representative link listens to issues of concern and brings that to the attention of the marketing circle. These links are not managers with authority but connectors and listeners.

Meetings are needed to help deal with issues arising between different roles. But they are crisper than the meetings we are used to. Participants can raise issues for discussion. Each issue is essentially a tension the person has observed, something preventing the role from being effective. Holacracy tries to replace the terms “problems” and “solutions” with “tensions” and “processing.” Tension is seen as a more neutral term than problem – less threatening and pointing to an opportunity that can be grasped with some attention and processing.

A key rule is that the group must tackle one tension at a time – you can’t add your tensions onto mine, even if they are related, but must wait your turn on the agenda. The individual is asked what he or she needs, the group provides ideas, objections to the preferred direction are sought, and everyone must be satisfied it will work.

It sounds complicated – foreign terrain – but Mr. Robertson has found that groups adapt fairly quickly, as long as there is buy-in, notably from the bosses who must be truly willing to give up their power. There are a few aspects of the system that can be adopted to a traditional organization but it’s meant to be used in totality.

Much has been written about the need to ensure greater engagement and flexibility in organizations. Holacracy is an answer to that cry for change. It’s not an abstract theory but an active, accepted process in some pioneering companies. The book carries readers in systematic fashion through the elements of the system, giving you a good idea of how it might work in your situation.
  • Toronto-based journalist Jacob Stoller interviewed CEOs who are leading lean organizations and shares their lessons for improving your own company in The Lean CEO (McGraw-Hill, 332 pages, $39.95).
  • Jeanne Bliss, who pioneered the role of chief customer officer serving with various well-known companies for over 20 years, explains how to transform your customers’ experience in Chief Customer Officer 2.0 (Wiley, 271 pages, $34).
  • In The Disciplined Leader (Berrett-Koehler, 268 pages, $36.50) consultant John Manning shows how to concentrate on the vital few issues and activities that will make you effective.

Sept. 3 "Hunting for success?  Make like Sherlock": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Aug. 15, 2011.  I did watch the Canadian kids TV show The Adventures of Shirley Holmes:


Here it is:Inline image
Success is elementary, my dear Watson. At least, that’s the thesis of writer Matt Herron, who argues that if we want to be successful, we should deduce what’s needed from that fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. On Lifeoptimizer.org, Mr. Herron draws five lessons from the world’s most popular sleuth:

Details matter

Sherlock Holmes has an exacting eye for detail. When a woman walks into a room, for example, Holmes can deduce many things about her, from where she has been recently to the nature of her occupation. In the workplace, that eye for detail and careful observation might help you anticipate your boss’s expectations or the needs of a customer.

“It takes time to acquire the patience and the eye for this kind of deductive reasoning, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Not only will it be worth the effort, but it will certainly benefit you by making your job easier in the long run,” Mr. Herron writes.

Some mysteries are never solved

In many of Sherlock Holmes’s cases, some questions are left unanswered, despite the dazzling revelations by the detective. But Holmes doesn’t seem bothered that he can’t find the answer to everything. He enjoys the puzzles, and files away everything for future use.

Similarly, when you’re at work, your brain should always be grappling with puzzles, trying to find new creative solutions. The puzzles should inspire you, keeping your work exciting.

Partners are indispensable

Holmes is brilliant, but still likes to have someone to bounce his ideas off, the ever-present Dr. John H. Watson, a combination partner, assistant, camp follower and chronicler. Do you have a similar partner to help you in your work, occasionally point you in the right direction, and offer faithful support?

Your reputation precedes you

Often the Sherlock Holmes tales begin with somebody knocking on the door of the 221B Baker Street flat, drawn to the detective by his glowing reputation for solving the unsolvable. “Whatever you do, your work reverberates into the future. Whether you do good work or bad work, people will hear about it. If you do bad work employers and clients will avoid you. If you do good work, they will come looking for you,” Mr. Herron writes.

There is more than one way to approach a problem

Sherlock Holmes uses many problem-solving techniques, from heading off in disguise to ferret out information, to staying up all night smoking his pipe, to asking discerning questions. If one approach doesn’t work, he employs another – just as you should.