Fast Learners: Look Both Ways

Don’t let today’s success make you blind to tomorrow’s perils.

In this fast economy, staying focused can be a challenge. The following resolutions for 2001 should help any fast learner — myself included — maximize today’s opportunity while keeping an eye on the future.


Embrace change. Evolution is the nature of business and provides the proverbial window of opportunity. Instigate continuous improvement, and help others develop a comfort level with change.

Sharpen trend-spotting skills. Stay current on what’s happening, and figure out what comes next. Track your success in predicting and maximizing hot new opportunities with the potential for tangible benefits. Don’t simply jump on the buzzword bandwagon.

Use the Internet. Harness the power of the Web to catapult your career to the highest level. Demonstrate that you’re e-savvy, with a solid grounding in sound business principles.

Narrow your focus. The best players in the field win because they know what game they’re playing and practice the skills that count. Be good at what you do — and know what you don’t do well. Don’t attempt to be all things to all people.

Engage in high-risk and high-return projects. Leaders gain notoriety for smart chances taken and hard victories won. Set the bar higher — and then clear it. Don’t fear failure. Focus on success, and enjoy a sense of satisfaction.

Emulate the e-business winners. Those who “get” the new economy are the ones who can provide the best lessons on how to make the most out of it. Identify the underdogs, and avoid their mistakes. Become a winner, and help others follow in your footsteps.


Be a good partner. Alliances aren’t just talk anymore. Establish your partners carefully, and be a consistent contributor to their business success — the benefit is truly mutual. Collaborate with them, and share in both the good and the bad times.

Pursue all-stars. Identify the best new hires in your organization, and reward them. Recruit more of them by implementing best hiring practices. Keep your standards high, and set the all-star example yourself.

Master interruptions. Dedicate your time to what’s important, and then spend time on what’s urgent. Know what’s important, and focus on it. Refuse to be ruled by emergencies.

Develop a good habit. Do something special for your significant other. Take your kids to lunch. Surprise yourself. Tell a joke every day. Leave work. Practice random acts of kindness.

Industry veteran Alan Naumann ( brings more than 18 years of technology-management experience in both the software and computer industries to Calico Commerce.