Bentzinger.com

© 2016

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The purpose of this website is to serve as a practical guide to practical things.  Everything here is free.  I have collected these thoughts from my family, my teachers and my friends.  This site is intended to honor those who have helped me along the way.  My hope is that this collection of thoughts can help others.  My parents taught me that is always good to share.  So if you find any of these thoughts to be useful, please share them. 

 

I don't have everything figured out.  Certainly, I don't know all of the answers.  Some of these reminders have helped keep me on the right track. 

 

This is a work in progress, so come back and visit. 

-Dan Bentzinger-

OUR FAMILY

 
 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The Basics

  • Know your brand.  Be willing to get feedback from your friends.  Your best friends will be completely honest with you. 

  • Stay organized.  Keep your desk clean.  Don’t make other people clean up your messes.

  • Don’t collect junk that you’ll never use.  It just adds unnecessary stress to your life.

  • Maintain a diverse set of friends.  You will need them.

  • Be a good friend to a diverse set of people.  They will need you.

  • Assume your parents are reading your text messages and emails.  In this day in age, nearly anything you do, say, or write can be transmitted around the world in seconds.   Don’t blow it.

  • Stay in decent physical condition.  Maintain a good diet.  Drink more water than soda.  Exercise.

  • Pick good friends that will keep you out of trouble and help make you smarter.

  • Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.

  • Big accomplishments are supposed to be hard.  Be willing to out-work, out-study, out-plan, and out–hustle your competition.

  • You get more power by giving information away.  Share what you know.

  • If you make a mistake.  Admit it. 

  • If you are the boss, you are responsible.  Take all of the blame for a failure and distribute all of the credit for a success.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • Call your Parents – even when you don’t need anything.

  • Marry for love.

  • Work for fun.

  • Don’t drink and drive.  Never.  Don’t do it.  One mistake can change can easily alter many lives.

  • Read.

  • Go to church.

  • Make deposits in your relationships – before you need to take a withdrawal.

  • When you are asked to complete an assignment, do a little extra.  Every assignment has the potential for extra credit … even if none is given. 

  • Know how to spell.  Proofread your work. Take the time to tidy up your document.  Appearance matters.

  • Always be on time, by planning on arriving early.  Don’t make people wait on you.

  • It is OK to say “I don’t know” … but always be willing to go find out.

  • If you say you are going to do something, do it.   “I’ll try” or “If I get around to it…” are not good answers.

  • Say “Please” and “Thank you” a lot.

  • Write letters.  Send thank you notes.

  • Be humble and modest.

  • Go to family reunions. 

  • Try not to miss funerals.  You are not going for the deceased.  You are going to pay your respect to the family.  You won’t know what to say.  Go anyway. You don’t have to say anything.

  • Know how to accept a compliment.  Smile and say thank you.

  • Stop to watch sunsets and enjoy every rainbow.

  • Don’t be late for work.  Don’t be late for dinner.

  • Ask questions.  Be interested in others.  It is more important to be interested than interesting.

  • Don’t just stare at your phone.   Be in the presence of those around you. 

  • Make eye contact.  Have a firm handshake.

  • Save a little bit of money from each paycheck.  Someday, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Every day won’t be easy.  Life is not fair. 

  • Take time to pray.

  • Count your blessings.

Running Projects

  • Nothing costs a million dollars or takes a year.  The effort should be broken down into manageable chunks. Any larger effort is not a project at all; it is a “quest”.

  • All ideas are not valid projects. We have to walk away from some ideas.  From the beginning, outline the conditions for declaring victory.  Plan the Finish.

  • It is acceptable to be over budget on the planning phase of your project.

  • All projects are a compromise of Quality, Duration and Cost.  You can only select two factors; the other one is determined by your selection. Good, Fast, or Cheap. Pick two.

  • Fail Fast.  Create prototypes in a small controlled environment. Learn from those mistakes. Only after you have made a few mistakes, commit to a large-scale effort.

  • Do not make decisions based on sunk costs.

  • Hold vendors accountable for their promises.  There should be no distinction between sales and delivery.

  • The simple approach is always better, cheaper, and hardest to design.

  • In times of crisis, communicate your activity on a very frequent basis. In the absence of updates, people are left to assume that you are ignoring their problem.

On Management

  • Keep a good balance between work and home.  Recognize that your employees deserve the same.

  • Top 3 reasons why people like their job. 1) Boss 2) Peers 3) Project Challenges.

  • Manage by a summary of the facts.  Avoid making decisions based on anecdotes or a single data point.

  • No company has ever failed for a lack of good ideas, they fail because they are unable to select the five best ideas and implement them.  It is death by a thousand initiatives.

  • Everyone is in charge really means that no one is responsible. Always assign a single point of authority and accountability.

  • If the plan is in a binder, the binder is probably on the shelf and then you don’t really have a plan.

  • If you set low expectations, you will get low expectations in return.

Dealing with Executives

  • Make your point in the first 15 words of a conversation.

  • A two-page document is 50% less likely to be read than a one-page document. Any document over two pages will not be read at all.  However, a single picture (especially in color) will be studied.

  • Do not speak in terms of hours, full-time equivalents, or level of effort.  Their language is dollars and dates.

Your Career

  • Always be prepared to lose your job. It will make you more effective in the job you have.

  • If you aren’t adding value, suggest new responsibilities to your supervisor. 

  • Focus on the things that you really enjoy about your job and minimize all else.

  • Always seek ways to add new tools to your toolbox.

Direction for fathers

Being a Dad has exceeded every other challenge and expectation. I thank God every day for wife and family.  So much about being parents just has to be figured out on the fly. They don't arrive with instruction manuals. Each child and each situation is unique and different. What worked for one kid, may not work for the other. Here are some good things to remember...

 

  • The best gift to give your children is time.  Not quality time.  Quantity time.  Lots of it. Stop being busy. Stop buying things. Put down the phone. Turn off the TV.  Stop going places. Stop running.  Sit on the floor.  Read books.  Draw pictures.  Watch.  Listen. 

  • Pay attention. Don't miss anything.  Take lots of pictures.

  • Eat dinner together, as a family.

  • Be a coach, a 4-H leader, or a class room volunteer.

  • Learn about their hobbies and interests and make them your own.

  • It is easier to learn how to ride a bike in the grass.  The soft grass removes the fear of falling.  It is easier to try new things when you have the loving support of your family.  The soft hugs remove the fear of failure.

  • Teach them about God.  Pray together.

  • Tell your kids that you are proud of them.  Over and over again.

  • Make sure that your give your wife a vacation from being a mom.

  • Make sure your kids will come to you when they are hurt or just want to talk.

  • Schedule one on one time with each member of your family. Do something that they want to do.

 

Direction for husbands:

 

  • When we surprised my mother-in-law-to-be with the news of our engagement, her simple advice was to "keep surprising each other". I will never forget those words.

  • Flowers on Valentine's day are nice, but expected. Flowers on a normal, regular, run of the mill day are awesome.

  • Little notes can be better than big gifts.

  • Have date night. Spend a weekend together without the kids.

  • Love is not trying to figure out how much I can get out of a relationship.  Love is trying to spend part of each day figuring out how I can make that other person’s life better.

  • Don’t keep score.

 

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