The “More Excellent Way” Experiment

Yesterday I challenged you to ask the question “What is the more excellent way?” at three decision points. I mentioned that I would take the challenge as well, and report back here on the results. I actually asked myself the question more than three times, but I’ll give three examples here.

The first example was an e-mail. I dash out these things so quickly that I rarely take the time to read them over more than once. But this time I thought carefully about what I was writing, who I was writing it to and why. I took to the time to make sure I was clear, that there were no incorrect spellings and word choices, and most of all, I made it as short as I possibly could, to respect the time of the readers.

The second example was in a meeting that I was holding. It was a meeting I really didn’t even want to have, but I took the time to find out why we were holding the meeting and prepared accordingly. I tried to be direct and to the point, and I listened carefully to each comment in the meeting without interrupting. I took notes, and I followed up on the comments.

In the last example I had some code to write for a system I manage. It was simple code, but I thought about the point of it, wrote it as well as I could, commented it properly and even included – gasp – error handling!

Now, does everything deserve our utmost effort and time? No. If we went to the detailed level on everything, we’d kill our productivity and possibly drive other people (who might be waiting on us) crazy. But simply asking that question - “What is the more excellent way?” – allows us to be more professional, and to choose when and where we apply a higher level of detail. It’s helped me, and I hope I can stay in the habit of keeping the question in mind.