From Training Magazine... Lou's note: Michael Michalko is also the author of one of my fave books "Thinkertoys", that book on your shelf that is well thumbed. Great to see he's still at it... BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE It Is Impossible Not to Make Connections The human brain cannot deliberately concentrate on two separate objects or ideas, no matter how dissimilar, no matter how remote, without eventually forming a connection between them, says Michael Michalko, author of "Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagaination to Work" (New World Library, 2011). According to his own story, Isaac Newton conceived of universal gravitation when he observed an apple falling and, at the same time, noticed the moon in the sky. These random simultaneous images inspired him to speculate on whether the same laws governed the falling apple and the moon orbiting the earth. This, in turn, led him to develop the laws of mechanics and establish mathematical analysis and modeling as the principal foundations of science and engineering. Newton’s conceptual combination created new science. This process can help you to get the ideas you need in the business world, Michalko says. James Lavoie and Joseph Marino, cofounders of Rite-Solutions, used that strategy to create a process that would get their employees to creatively invest in the company. "The word invest encouraged them to find ways to invest. One association was the New York Stock Exchange," Michalko writes. "Rite-Solutions combined the architecture of the stock exchange with the architecture of an in-house company stock market and created a stock exchange for ideas."
This reading today reminded me that prioritization starts with us choosing what we will pay attention to, rather than drifting with whatever is going on... Power in every choice Whatever fills your awareness most intensely is what you will bring to life. Instead of filling your awareness with excuses, fill it with passion. With your moments, your skills, your words and your actions you will change your world today. Choose to let that change be driven by what you love rather than by what you fear. Focus on the good things, on the possibilities, and on those dreams and values that are your most authentic. Make yourself the living embodiment of the best you can imagine. Your life is constantly shaped by the way you live it, the way you think of it and the way you feel it. Even the smallest things have an influence, and all those things combine together to build the life you experience. Every day is an opportunity to more fully express the unique beauty of who you are. Every situation is one in which you can choose to give rich substance and meaning to your world. Feel the power that exists in every choice, and in every moment. Use that power wisely and purposefully, and live life at its best. — Ralph Marston Read more: http://greatday.com/motivate/111024.html#ixzz1bhmQaqRJ
I'm fascinated by the concept of accountability. On one hand, we all believe that some people are accountable, and some people are not. Bad, good. On the other hand, we all believe that (and here's the kicker) for the most part, we personally are accountable. If everyone believes that, where are all the not accountable people coming from? Yesterday I posted some tweets from a great webinar I attended hosted by Target Training International (we distribute their profiles, assessments and products). I have met Steve and Jill, and we have begun a conversation around their work in accountability, because our work with project management and leadership is so dependent on people being accountable. Jill and Steve define accountability in a very concrete way: owning consequences of your choices in delivering the agreed to results and helping other people do the same. They are very specific about this - clarity of communication and agreed to measurements drive our ability to be accountable. Put another way, do we define lack of accountability as others not doing what we want? Are we sure we asked well? Here's a great quote from Jill "I''ll never trust you again because you didn't keep the agreement we never had." Project Management is all about Bad News Early. Fully communicate to get things down. Whether practicing leadership or project management, there is no way to control the chaos swirling around us. Our only hope for effectiveness is through others. Let's get clear and get accountable. Lou Russell Russell Martin & Associates www.russellmartin.com
Great exercise to learn about change. Crayons. Very surprising results. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 2:22pm via HootSuite Leaders must be authentic, but also must project optimism. Get away if you can't be, or get someone else to be. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 2:17pm via HootSuite Address their workplace motivators (WPM assessment #TTI). Very useful to predict how to build buy-in during an organizational change.... nolecture 2:13pm via HootSuite Cool chart about words people use, and what behaviors/ change 'temperature' that indicates. Where they are in the change. Mary Cook... nolecture 2:11pm via HootSuite Address barriers, but don't try to fix everything for everyone else. Hold accountable. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 2:09pm via HootSuite Why (business case), common vision, communication, barriers, progress, reinforcement = change. Which piece is missing? Mary Cook webinar... nolecture 2:06pm via HootSuite Stress behavior may seem like we are asking for something different than what we really need. We send mixed messages. Not them, us.... nolecture 2:01pm via HootSuite Acknowledge feelings, don't lie to yourself. Eyes wide open to see the future. Can't see if eyes are closed hiding. Mary Cook webinar... nolecture 1:59pm via HootSuite Moving to New Beginnings - what is some very tiny opportunity? Little pieces of hope, not huge Nirvana. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 1:56pm via HootSuite Wm. Bridges New Beginnings, may just visit a little and fall back but get further in each time back. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 1:55pm via HootSuite Wm. Bridges Neutral Zone - in between, let go of trapeze, not sure anyone will catch you. Mary Cook webinar #rma nolecture 1:54pm via HootSuite First step of transition: let go, acknowledge what you've lost. quote Wm. Bridges, Mary Cook webinar # rma nolecture 1:53pm via HootSuite External change feels worse at first. Change we choose surprises us when we feel disoriented. Mary Cook webinar # rma nolecture 1:49pm via HootSuite If you strive for stability, you set yourself up for change to look like crisis. Mary Cook webinar # rma nolecture 1:48pm via HootSuite Your reaction to change is within your control. Scary, but true. No one else to blame. Mary Cook webinar # rma nolecture 1:48pm via HootSuite Execs implementing change through strategy thought about it longer than the 'receivers'. Imp to remember. Mary Cook, webinar #rma
Here's an interesting thought for the day from St. Luke Methodist's newsletter (Indy): "Letting Go" Fall Theme Did you know that leaves don't really fall off trees? They're actually intentionally let go by the tree. Here's your shortened science lesson for the day: leaves make the food that helps the tree thrive. However, during the winter, growth slows down and the leaves no longer serve a purpose. If they stayed around, they'd die on the tree, and then when spring came around, there'd be no food for the tree and, well, you get the point. So instead, when the weather starts to turn, the tree produces a hormone that creates abcission cells -- or cells that basically cut. The connection between the leaves and the tree is weakened, a nice breeze comes along and, voila! The leaves fall, which then triggers the sale of trash bags by students across the country. Think about how and why letting go might be one of the healthiest things you can do.
http://tinyurl.com/3hl2pzp The free registration link is above. It seems I've been sending out links to November instead... sorry, multitasking and a good head cold. The topic is Leading through Jaw Breaking Change, starring leadership guru Mary Cook, and I'll be the MC. After lunch on Thursday, see you there! Lou Russell firstname.lastname@example.org www.russellmartin.com Insanity is Just a Project Constraint
My brother is an executive, father, serious runner and the writer in the family. You can follow him at:
This is good advice for new hires of any kind, and old hires who really would like to keep their jobs:
Here's his words:
Advice to graduates
When I was speaking with my student-helper-editor Sabrina she turned the tables on me and asked me what my top three recommendations would be for new graduates.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that companies tend to have the same personality as their chief executives. If the guy, or lady in charge is someone you could respect, who you could trust then the company culture is probably something you can thrive in.
That being said, most of the folks who start new companies are kind of crazy. If you choose to work for a start up you’re going to have to gauge your own tolerance for ‘crazy’. Sometimes crazy can be good. In risk there is great opportunity – but you have to go in with your eyes open.
The second thing I would say is it’s always better to work for a company that is doing well in an industry that is growing. There’s more opportunity and more money in healthy industries. There’s no money or future in buggy whips. Also look for industries that have decent profit margins – people who have to argue over pennies are always in a bad mood.
The third thing I would say is approach your career as if you are training for the CEO’s job. What are the skill sets that the owner of the company has to have? Make a list of these. You’ll find that they aren’t the specific technical skills. They are things like sales, marketing, hiring, personnel development, presentation skills, communication skills, etc.
You should approach your career in such a way that you can gain these skills. These are the skills that will keep you from becoming a commodity. These are the transferrable, transportable skills. Don’t get stuck in a technical skill set because eventually, unless it is incredibly esoteric, you will be at risk.
Finally , overall, have a good sense of humor about all this stuff. Approach the process with a smile and ask good questions. Being able to stay positive and happy is your choice. As hard as it is to believe your personal value, your mental well being is what you decide it should be and is not contingent on what you do for work. Most people have a hard time decoupling their ‘selves’ from their careers. That’s a bedrock skill.
Here's a cool list taken from . In full disclosure, I am a Zen Catholic, so my edits might not be the same as yours! Enjoy, and breathe.
Excerpt from the book, The Effortless Life, by Leo Babauta:
1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.
2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.
3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.
4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.
5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.
6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.
7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.
So, Gary says to me "do you know there are 800 people following you on Training Magazine Network?" and I said HOLY POOP! I'm being quite rude. And Gary said "Yes, you really should talk to them once in awhile" so here I go. Check out www.trainingmagnetwork.com for my virtual group discussions. If I forget, please email me and give me the dickens email@example.com Here are a couple of other ways to hear my virtual thoughts: @nolecture and my blog http://insanityconstraint.blogspot.com/
We're going to have another webinar this Tuesday which is about leading through change which is something we are all experts on. It's called:
Leading Yourself & Others Through Jaw Dropping Change
RMA thought leader Mary Cook we'll be our guest. We've changed the topic from accountability, in case you were wondering. We'll do that later. You will find this materials very powerful. Register at:
It's a rainy day here in Indy today and it feels right. Slow, dark and restful in a way. Washing away the leaves and likely the fake summer we've been having. It's been a tough emotional week since a dear friend lost a young son. And yet the world continues to spin and we are reminded of what matters if we only open our hearts and eyes.
Here's a cool exercise that Thiagi (http://www.thiagi.com/ ) taught me years ago. It's a tough one on a personal level, so don't try this unless you have 15 minutes or so to think it through. The activity itself is short, but very meaningful.
1. Rip a piece of paper into eight equal pieces (folding first helps)
2. Write the following, each on one piece of paper: 2 possessions that you value above all others, 2 people you love above all others, 2 strengths that you have that you are proud of above all others and 2 hobbies that you have that you enjoy the most. You should now have 8 little pieces of paper, each with one of these eight things written on it.
3. Here goes the tough part: pretend you have become ill and no one is really sure what's wrong with you but you are missing work, etc. You don't feel like doing the things you used to do. Pick out 2 of your pieces of paper and crumple them up.
Next, it turns out they are going to hospitalize you to figure out what's going on. Throw away 2 more of your pieces of paper.
Very bad news. You have an aggressive cancer that will require radiation and chemo. You are very weak. Crumple up 2 more pieces of paper.
Now take your remaining pieces of paper and find someone you like. Don't let them see what's on either piece. In our scenario, you are so weak someone else is taking care of you. Ask the person you have found to randomly pick one of the pieces of paper and crumple it up.
The power comes from thinking through your choices. We prioritize our focus all day every day. We choose no by the way we choose yes. And sometimes things are chosen for us no matter how hard we try for that not to happen.
I'd love to hear from you about what you think about this exercise! More to come! Peace.