Painful Scenes …


This little video has been making the rounds over the past few days, but I just managed to squeeze in a look-see on Sunday afternoon … and it left me wishing a few things …

I wish I had passed it by … watching this was one uncomfortable and even painful experience.  I was almost immediately overwhelmed

I wish I could say that this is just humor … but like most truly humorous things, it has the absolute ring of truth about it.  I found myself putting real names to the characters as the story unfolded.

I wish that this was not the way meetings, planning, and collaboration between groups goes, but I know that it all too often is exactly how things go.  I can almost taste the discouragement that we are not further down the road in listening to each other, understanding and analyzing problems, and in leadership.

The man in the middle is the one for whom I reserve special enmity … he is the epitome of a poor leader and the worst aspect is his total obliviousness to his own inability to effectively lead.  Never gets the reality of what is being discussed, is clueless regarding how to manage discussions effectively, and does not respect those whom he leads.

Sorry, I had been expecting a cute little video about silly things that happen when workers get together.  Instead I got a strong dose of reality … and a refreshed resolve to get busy doing something about this.

I just don’t want them to need to make more videos like this about real workplace life in the Heartland ….

John

 

Book Review: The Idea-Driven Organization by Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder


 

IdeaDriven_3dCover-300x300There is nothing new in this book …

 

Yep … the authors talk about the same things that many of us have been talking about for years and even decades …  Here’s my “nutshell” synopsis of what Robison and Schroeder have to say:  

Many employees at the lower levels know much more about how parts of the business works than their managers .. and the further up the food chain, the more true this is … Many managers do not use or even ask for the wisdom of their employees …

Many little ideas implemented can add up to huge savings and awesome improvements in business operations … and individually take less effort and resources than “flavor of the month” showy, but temporary efforts …

Soliciting good ideas is not an event, but a cultural shift in the organization that requires careful planning and constant nurturing … it’s a lifestyle, not an initiative.

If you do not implement employee ideas, employees will learn not to share their ideas with you, no matter how good they are …

Our own hubris as leaders and managers is the problem and we have to learn to be humble …

It’s all about trust … leaders trusting employees and employees trusting leaders, which is not always easy or quick  …

I have heard this all before in several different places at many different times.  These are ideas we have discussed and reflected on in professional gatherings and informal sessions over a beer. 

So why bother reading this book?   The ideas are not new and many of us know this is how we ought to be leading and managing.  What makes this leadership book so darned different from all the others?

One simple reason …

Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder are not just commenting on what we all should be doing.  They have been and are doing it … and their book is a brand-new and valuable roadmap …

The Idea-Driven Organization does not just exhort us once again to do the right thing … it provides detailed and useful examples of how organizations around the world are already doing it, along with an adaptable and results-oriented framework to do it in your organization.

Let me just say that within one day of starting to read this book, I was quoting it to the leader of an organization in which we are engaged in a profound reorganization of the structure, our mission, and our culture … and I was extremely grateful to have it at hand on the table during the discussion.  

I would share more, but I want to get back to devouring this excellent book that is speaking to the heart of my own and other’s experiences.  If you really want to jump-start your empowerment with a solid business-based model, here you go … I promise you will not regret it, unless you are so anchored in top-down leadership that you cannot let go.

Loving yet another solid and valuable collection of results-based leadership thinking in the Heartland ….

John

 About the Authors

Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder are award-winning authors, consultants, and educators. They are the co-authors of the bestseller Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations. Between them, they have advised hundreds of organizations in more than twenty-five countries around the world on how to improve their creativity, innovativeness and overall performance. Their first book, Ideas Are Free, was voted the Reader’s Choice by Fast Company magazine and selected as one of the 30 best business books of the year by Soundview Executive Books. On March 31, 2014, Robinson and Schroeder will release their second book together, The Idea-Driven Organization (available on Amazon). Follow them on Twitter – @alangrobinson and @deanmschroeder and visit their website – idea-driven.com.

Usual Disclaimer:  I received a preview copy of this book … and I am very happy that is so.  If I did not believe what I say above, you would never see this post or anything else about this book with my name attached.

“Insightful” … Or Not


Reflection“When we are able to see ourselves as we really are, we should take time to be thankful for a sense of humor.”

Via Anonymous, who just gets smarter every time I stumble across one of their sayings …

The Business Insider recently posted about “The One Interview Question That Reveals How Candidates See Themselves.” 

No, it was NOT “Where do you see yourself in five years?” …

The challenge they posed is to describe yourself in one word …

One word that sums up “You”, in all your complexity … 

One word that describes the most important attribute of how you view yourself …

One word, upon which the success of your interview and indeed your very life, might well hang …

… Or not. Continue reading

Epic …


Sigurd kills Fafnir by Arthur RackhamHow many of us aspire to a truly epic life?

 I’m talking about heroic deeds, slaying dragons, taking on the important issues … casting aside personal comfort, safety, and well-being to fight the good fights.

Some of us are wired to see the big challenges, the global problems, the truly dangerous things in this world … and moved to do something about them.

… or do most of us just want to live in peace, with reasonable comfortable and success, for as long as we are allotted to live?  Some of us desire the quiet and uneventful life of peaceful daily living, small joys, and a consistent pace.

There is no right or wrong answer here … the world needs and has some who hunt dragons to save the village or the kingdom and others who seek only personal peace.

Well, most of us do not have to choose between fighting dragons and sitting by the fireplace.  Our lives are a combination of behaviors both heroic and mundane.  The difference is in the mix … most of us are not so tightly focused that our energy and abilities are only pointed in one direction.  Most of us live moderately epic lives, where the dragons sometimes appear, but at other times, we sink into a comfortable complacency.

Some of us do aspire to be dragon-slayers, others are content to watch films about dragon-slayers, and others could care less about dragons, slain or alive.  Sometimes the situation creates the opportunity or the need to move from one to the other, but more often we choose consciously.

The call to be is a strong one and when we listen, the message is usually unmistakable, whatever it tells us.

The real issue here is being okay with our choice … doing what we are called to do, whatever that might be, and doing it to the best of our abilities.

So, … are you sharpening your sword or settling in for a comfortable night with family and friends?

Thinking about what I really feel like I was born to do in the Heartland ….

John

Consistency …


Optimist both

Anonymous, but apparently a positive-thinking dude …

Mornings are easy …

The day is brand new and my energy is on high … helped in no small measure by copious amounts of hazelnut-flavored coffee.

The lists (To-Do , Must Do, Shopping, Errands, Bucket, whatever …) loom ahead, challenging, but ultimately doable.   I relish my coffee and fall into a fantasy about how I will tear through the items which await me with energy, verve, and an impressive amount of sheer talent …

Eventually, the cup is empty and I realize I have spent the first and freshest part of the day dreaming about what I might do, and not actually doing any of it.

I set in feverishly, carefully selecting something I enjoy doing, while ignoring any comparison of what might really be important, and not just enjoyable.

I need a few quick victories, some low-hanging fruit, the buzz from being able to cross something off my list …

Facebook and LinkedIn beckon, with a dizzying array of shiny objects to consume my attention and energy, while providing me with a nice, albeit false perception that I am actually getting something done.

Eventually, the mundane duties of the day call, and meal planning, some shopping errands, and a gym run make quick work of any remaining and potentially productive time.   Some days, I add in a leisurely drive through rush hour traffic to pick up my beloved and then home again.

Now I’m tired, sort of hungry, and the television sits, waiting patiently … it knows with complete confidence that once on, it will stay on for hours, until I creep raggedly to bed.

The day is done and so am I … whether I actually accomplished anything of significance or not.

However … tomorrow IS another day:)

Being optimistic and forward-looking in the morning is easy … the trick is to keep it up through the evening, and the next day, and the next … in spite of what gets done or not today.

Trying to find the sweet spot of getting the important things done in the Heartland ….

John