Stop Doing Dumb Things – Available Here

Stop Doing Dumb Things is a deck of cards containing 48 thoughts and ideas designed to help you unlock creativity and make work better. To make it work you simply shuffle the deck, draw a card, then act on it or ignore it.

A set of cards costs just £20 plus £5 P&P and £5 VAT, a total of £30. £2 from the sale of every pack of Stop Doing Dumb Things is donated to the Arts Emergency charity.

Stop Doing Dumb Things is designed by Doug Shaw and inspired by many people, including Joe Gerstandt, Carole Shaw, Meg Peppin, Joe Strummer, Heather Bussing, David Zinger, Keira Shaw, William Tincup and John Sumser.

To order your cards, either visit the Paypal website and send the money using the email address doug[dot]shaw[at]wgalimited[dot]com, or contact me via the same email address with your order and I’ll send you an electronic invoice. In both cases, don’t forget to include a postal address. Cards will be shipped on receipt of cleared funds.

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How Are People Using Stop Doing Dumb Things?

Stop Doing Dumb Things was first designed as an antidote for people who get stuck in their work. Whether it’s writing a research paper, a sales proposal, an HR guide or a presentation – people often need a nudge when their thinking starts to go round in circles. And because of the way many of us work – getting stuck happens often. This also happens when we’re working in teams. For example, team meetings often fail to yield the desired results because people form and follow patterns that, as they repeat and reinforce, tend to exclude more creative, diverse thinking. In those environments – the cards are designed to break the circle by offering an alternative viewpoint, or a suggested action to take.

Since their launch in September 2013 Stop Doing Dumb Things are selling all over the world, to individuals and teams in the UK, Europe, USA, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. These are some of the many things people say they use the cards for:

Coaching
Getting unstuck
Trying something different
Adaptability
Exchanging ideas
Why not? (The intention is to make acting on the cards a voluntary process. So when people draw a card and don’t wish to act on it – what’s stopping them? This discussion yields interesting results about the way people work together).

People also use them a lot to support exploratory work around creativity and collaboration. The cards are a great aid to problem solving, getting to know one another better, changing perspectives – all kinds of things that people need, and often forget.

Stop Doing Dumb Things are a simple, helpful tool to help make change happen, and to underpin the idea that small things can make a big difference.

Stop Doing Dumb Things

Abdicate Responsibility

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece called ‘It’s Good to Talk’, which shared some interesting research from New York University and Chicago University on why email is not a good tool to use if you want to be understood. Building from that, here is reason number 256 why email sucks:

Abdicate Responsibility

I write some crap.

I press Abdicate Responsibility Send.

It’s your problem now, deal with it.

And if you don’t, I’ll copy a bunch of other folk in just to heap pressure on you, in fact, fuck it, I’ll do that right from the start.

Sound familiar?

Please – before you send that email, go and see the other person first, particularly if they are at the next desk, or on the same floor, or same building. And if they’re not, then call them. For the most part, email should be our last resort, not our first port of call.

Back to Back Meetings

Back to back meetings

Back to back meetings. Oh joy. Most people appreciate that back to back meetings and long meetings are a great way to kill productivity and boost terrible decision making, yet in a culture of presenteeism and busyness they not only survive, they thrive. For example, I recently spotted an online exasperation when someone found out they were booked in for back to back meetings from 8am until midnight. I agree this is an extreme example but how anyone – even the brightest spark – can be expected to be capable of good performance and sound judgment after that lot is anyone’s guess. Yet it goes on, a lot.

Important Stuff

‘We’ve got loads of important stuff to discuss.’ Really? Well good for you – and if it is that important then do your stuff some justice and make time to deal with it properly. You don’t cram a good meal chock full of too many courses then try and wolf it down in double quick time, that way lies indigestion and worse. So why treat your important work any differently? I’ve never understood the logic behind the maths of ‘this stuff matters so let’s rush it.’

Time Travel and A Tactic for Having Better Meetings

I was giving a talk at Louisiana SHRM conference a few weeks back when the subject of time travel came up. I suggested an extremely simple tactic that is often cited as a way for having more effective meetings. Why use this tactic? Well as HR leaders, in fact leaders of any kind, you help to influence and shape culture through leading by example. Here’s a two minute clip from the talk complete with a free technical blooper for your enjoyment.

I’ve got some important meetings later today, including a catch up with Joe Gerstandt and an interview with Jo Dodds on Engage for Success radio. I’ve planned in a gap between these two sessions so I can devote my time and effort to each one separately. In the meantime, seeing as it is such a nice day, I’m going to practice the flexible working message to the max and indulge in a short mountain bike ride. Right now.

Have an excellent day.