Friday, October 10, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 284

A #shortcut is rarely "shorter" in the long run (though it can certainly deliver a "cut"). #QuoteADay #Day284 #edchat #edu #ASCDL2L

Who wouldn’t want to take a shortcut from time-to-time?

The invitation of potentially saving time, and getting something crossed off our “To-Do” list even earlier is an enticing one, indeed.

Yet, this is an invitation that comes with strings attached.

A shortcut, by its definition, is meant to reduce the time we spend, by making a cut to something (steps involved in a process, people who might play a role, planning time, etc.).  And cuts, by their very nature, are more often bad, than good (even tax cuts, which we all love, can have a negative effect later down the line. . . take a look at some of the impacts on school districts after New York State’s tax cap).

When we think about it then, a shortcut is better avoided than taken; it ends up rarely being “shorter” and often more “cutting” than we initially would have thought.

Instead of looking for a shortcut, we should become more effective planners and collaborators. Let’s look at why.

The best planners are able to map out not only the steps to take, but the “What Ifs” that could be a factor.  This type of comprehensive planning provides us with an opportunity to truly get a sense of time, and just as importantly a frame for when we can hope to complete our work.  The better our time estimate, the less likely we’ll need a shortcut; most of the time we attempt to cut time short when we haven’t planned for things to take as long as they are currently.

With collaboration, often the best partnerships provide the most efficient and effective work.  To make the most powerful partnerships, we have to delve into the data.  Who is best for this work?  What time do they need?  What support can be provided?  Shortcutting collaboration means we’re either forming partnerships that will be less effective, or we’re cutting short creative and innovative time (or even worse, cutting out potential collaborators from the mix).

It is important that we take our time in the work that we do.  Therefore, we have to be realistic with our goals and action plans.  It is better and more fulfilling to meet a number of long-term smaller benchmarks, then to erode support and relationships by trying to take a shortcut to a goal that we didn’t know would be so far out of reach.

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