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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bucket Filling - Four Ways to Improve your Projects

One key to success in projects and life is "Bucket Filling."  The phrase comes from the metaphor described in "The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket" by Donald Clifton.

The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket 

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Each one of us has an invisible bucket.  It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us.  When our bucket is full, we feel great.  When it is empty, we feel awful.

Each of us has an invisible dipper.  When we use that dipper to fill other people's buckets ~ by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions ~ we also fill our own bucket.  But when we use that dipper to dip from others' buckets ~ by doing or saying things that decrease their positive emotions ~ we diminish ourselves.

Like the cup that runneth over, a full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy. Every drop in that bucket makes is stronger and more optimistic. But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and undermines our will. That's why every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us.

So we face a choice every moment of every day: We can fill one another's buckets, or we can dip from them.  It's an important choice ~ one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.

Using this simple metaphor - here are four ways to improve your products

  1. Model bucket-filling behavior
  2. Staff projects with natural bucket-fillers
  3. Reward bucket-filling behavior on your project (Meta Filling?)
  4. Call out behavior that unnecessarily dips from a team member's bucket

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