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Lila-Mae White, MBA, CHE, PMP


"Your way is not the only way!"

Posted 2/10/2024

I am a naturally born efficiency, productivity and LEAN process practitioner. When I say that I mean that I have always thought of daily activities in terms of organizing things to only touch something once, taking few steps to do something or batching work to get more done. Examples of this include emptying the dishwasher by limiting the bouncing around the kitchen or planning my errands to limit left hand turns and parking in a location that I can allow me to optimize my travel between my car and the various stores I am headed to.

Of course, over the course of my education and career I have taken course/training covering these topics, but it is also an innate part of my personality. Knowing this about me gives you a clue to my first reaction of indignation when two different people I was working alongside gave me the feedback that my way was only one way to approach the work in front of us. Well perhaps my way is not the only way, but it is the most efficient and effective way! Ha! As you might imagine I did not say it, but I did think it! But then I began to think about what the outcome would be if I did not try to apply the efficiency/LEAN practices to the process.

Deep breath and let go of my tight grip of the process.

Did we spend a bit longer at the task? Yes, but we also had more time to talk and invest in the relationship. Was the outcome of lesser quality? No, in fact by going a bit slower we discovered new information in the material we were working with. Will the person be more likely to want to do a project with me again and will they be willing to speak up to share their opinions and ideas? Yes, and yes!

And full disclosure – it was the Toad who was one of the people providing me this life lesson…. the other my Dad!

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Looking Forward - The Word of 2024

Posted 12/31/2023

On the eve of the winter solstice, I found myself on a plane with no digital source of entertainment distraction. I even drafted this blog with a pen and paper – totally kicking it old school! I had a physical book, but my attention span is about the same as a gnat so only able to read and absorb in short sound bites. It is not lost on me that is in part because of always having a source of digital distraction.

I have been pondering my renewed (or new) accountabilities for the first quarter of 2024 – the 3 or 4 things (habits) I am going to focus on to try and embed into my routines and schedule. This last quarter I had a target number of steps, a target about purposeful connections and a new activity out of my comfort-zone target. I was pleasantly surprised that by being very specific, stating the targets out loud and daily tracking, how motivated I became to try and get that checkmark on the calendar. Yep, says a lot about my personality I know.

As I am pondering the next quarter, I cannot help but think of a theme for 2024 and my word of the year. If you recall I set an optimistic, inspiring word for the coming year and work to live into the word or notice things in my life that fit the theme. Past words of the year have included fearless, resonance and wonder. Last years word was FLOURISH and it was the perfect word for both Toadie and I as we launch into and learn through new life stages together.

My list of words for 2024 includes: convergence, synergy, acceptance and serendipity. I am happy for you to weigh in on these or suggest others! What is your word for 2024?

Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas!

Posted 12/23/2023

Best wishes for a holiday season that is filled with peace, love, and joy.

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When you are no longer at the front of the curve

Posted 11/17/2023

Full disclosure – I have never been an early adopter of new technology. My self-assessment would have placed me near the front of the rising slope of the bell. Recently I had an a-ha moment – I have slid a little further back on the technology adoption curve. For clarity I am not a laggard or a luddite, but I now recognize that keeping pace with technology change is taking me more time and more focussed efforts on my part. I still get to the outcome of using technology – it just comes with a few more curse words, a bit longer sitting with the instructions and a few more frustrated paces around the office.

That confession aside, I am improving my prompts as I experiment with AI…. And for the record I wrote this without any AI help!

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Efficiency vs. Creativity

Posted 10/2/2023

Did you know the development of mNRA vaccines was launched forward by a chance meeting of 2 scientists at the photocopier?

Now think of all the ways serendipitous meetings have been curtailed over the last few years. … we work remotely… we grab lunch and eat at our desk… we commute solo or with earbuds firmly planted in place.

Do you read widely outside of your field?

Now think of how curated all our media feeds are. The chance of stumbling on something of interest (or value) outside of your customary view is slim at best – unless you are purposeful.

The next time you have a fleeting thought about something being a “waste of time” reframe that to be a potential for a creative collision!

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The Downside of Workaholism and the Upside of Weekend Vacations!

Posted 9/17/2023

An article I read this week outlined that workaholism is actually an addictive behaviour and like drugs, alcohol, sex, and shopping can be used as a distraction from hard to face life challenges or to self-medicate to dampen the impacts of a larger mental health issue (depression, anxiety etc.). In the past it was often thought that extreme work hours were the cause of many mental health problems – something the article turned upside down with the notion it was a salve to and not the cause of this mental distress.

Another article I read studied the impacts of treating a regular weekend like a vacation. This study looked at two groups – 1 which treated their weekend as they normally do with chores and obligations along side a group who were purposeful in carving out the weekend to be a vacation/staycation. The vacation group spent slightly more money than the other group but even accounting for this the positive impacts felt by the vacationing group, both mentally and physically were statistically significant. These vacation weekends could be as simple as strolling through a downtown area to window-shop or grabbing a cappuccino on the patio.

Note to self – STOP hiding behind work and START planning a vacation weekend!

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Life Long Learning!

Posted 9/4/2023

I am a perpetual student and I love learning. This is my most recent formal education adventure complete! Never stop being curious and wanting to learn!

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My personal social experiment

Posted 7/16/2023

About 10 years ago I spent several months developing my own personal mission statement. I did some reading, I asked family, friends and colleagues key questions and asked them to validate my own perceptions.

I have used this mission for a decade – to help me find my footing, to help me make decisions and to be my north star. The statement is on my desktop and bulletin board, and it is always referenced on my annual vision boards. My statement is below:

As a Mother, I am on a journey of discovery and adventure together with my son. My goal is to raise Toadie to be a man who is resilient, compassionate, self-aware and confident with a conviction of faith and the ability to see many truths.

As a Friend, I am on a journey through life together with the people I care about. My goal is to be a source of enduring support and encouragement to the people I love. I want to live my life with the grace and acceptance of Gran, living into her legacy of roots and connectedness.

As a Leader, I am on a journey creating the future with my colleagues. My goal is to make a difference to clients, staff and the system through the work I do (what) and the way I bring myself to that work (how). I want to be a leader who is mindful of complexity, who honours past accomplishments and facilitates change happening in a generative and integrated way.

I do not want to change my mission statement, rather my experiment is to help calibrate and discern how I will live into my mission more intentionally in the coming years.

My experiment was launched with an email to about 25 people – family, friends and colleagues. I asked them a single question:

If you could take control of my life tomorrow , what would you change? (credit to James Clear)

The responses have already started to come in and I am so excited to get this feedback from which I can launch. Stay tuned for what I learn and how I will use the experiment results!

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Is micro-stress tapping your well of resilience?

Posted 6/26/2023

I have been observing myself, my colleagues and my friends over the last while and am noticing how close to the edge we all seem to be managing at. One little thing tip us over, one small aggravation gets on our very last nerve and a change in the plan crashes everything. Up goes the hands, down goes the head and for me there is often an expletive – or two.

Everyone knows about big stress and what it  does to our bodies. The pump of adrenaline, the flood of cortisol all getting us to fight, flight or freeze mode. Your body also adapts after the big stress response to allow you to recover and return to “normal operating mode.” Micro-stress is different in that your body does not register it in a way that activates a response and a recovery and therefore your body and brain are not protected in the same way. This means that the reality of cumulative micro-stressors is often much harder on you than we give credit or allowances for.

So, pay attention to the little things you and others are dealing with in life and offer a little more grace to yourself and others as an antidote to micro-stress.

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Word of the Week

Posted 6/17/2023

Word of the Week – Procrastiworking

No definition required! The word perfectly describes situations in which I decide to clean out my desk drawer despite a lengthy list of to dos or situations where I am “busy” doing my emails and re-writing even when I know there are important things that deserve my attention.

Planning and preparation are useful until they become a form of procrastination. - James Clear.

James, that is just cruel!

It may be rationalizing, (and feel free to call me on it) but I believe that sometimes when I slow the hamster wheel and do something calming yet “productive” – such as writing my lists or cleaning out my email, I create space for other, deeper thinking about the more important issues I need to attend to. I think the busyness of organizing staves off a feeling of guilt about wasting time while the brain that might otherwise ruminate is used (and soothed) with my lists.

Anyone else catch themselves procrastiworking this week? Have you looked at why?

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