Category Archives: 2014 ABC Resolutions

Sailboats_abc_resolutions

ABC Resolution: sailboats

SAILBOATS

What if you could pilot work like a sailboat, in any water or weather?

During our great Industrial Age, huge ships were the image of success. From ocean liners to oil tankers, big was better. Load them full, crank the engines and set them on their course. But as the Titanic is the perfect metaphor for the supposed unsinkable as sinkable, its inability to perceive a problem, in time to change course fast enough, is a lesson for us all.

Lo, the lowly sailboat. More maneuverable and swift, a sailboat can easily change direction in a windy business climate. Smaller-to-small has many advantages. Steer a small boat and your chance of evading obstacles, like icebergs, is greater. You are forced to tack and make course corrections more often, thereby plotting strategies and visiting outcomes regularly. On a small boat, everyone on board counts. Each role is evident. Contributions to success are clearly identifiable and everyone is of value and important.

There are many types of sailboats. Some are easier to rig and some easier to sail. Some carry extra sails to unfurl before the wind. Others have the ability to keep choppy waves from breaking over the sides and some are better balanced for calmer waters. Smaller, easily maneuvered boats are best for the flexible, agile and mobile work of today’s businesses. Pick your boat’s style and rigging with conscious intent. The set sail. The tide has turned.

resolve to: catch the wind

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Using sailboats as an analogy is an old, but still valid tool. Besides choosing the boat style, rigging and sailing the boat, sometimes the most important and hardest part of any voyage is the point where you set sail. Continue reading

Risk_abc_resolutions

ABC Resolution: risk

RISK

What if taking chances were well-rewarded and everyone took them?

We risk every day. We risk when we walk out the front door, drive to work, put food and water in our mouths and breathe the air. We risk just being alive. This is what life is – Risk. Risk in in our DNA.

Some risks have good results, some bad. Our modern-day world has evolved complex systems of governance that define bad risk and protect us from harm. Our tax dollars at good work. Yet for all our protections, we can still be at war, drink bad water, buy harmful products and eat chemically poisoned food. We now see our modern world of well-intentioned actions killing us and our planet. Ending the very existence our risk mitigation processes are meant to safe-guard.

We now operate as if all risk is bad and anything to stop risk is good. Fear has hi-jacked our common survival senses. Assessing risk is innate to all entities on the planet. But as humans, we have seemingly ignored the risk imperative. Choosing to eliminate all risk and die a slow death in faux safety — a uniquely human ability. Fear and die. Or risk and live. The choice is ours.

resolve to: Step Out

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Risk is a reflexive word. I have seen people Continue reading

Query_Egg_jpeg

ABC Resolution: query

QUERY

What if ‘what if’ mattered?

Query, to simply ask questions. Recent human development research states children no longer ask ‘why?’ as early as age six. Unfortunately, most children have been so ignored, disregarded, shot down, shut down and even punished for being their natural, curious selves, they have learned that asking questions is a really bad thing. But by query is how humans grow. Simple curiosity allows our species to survive and thrive.

It appears rote learning and memorizing has left most of us devoid of curiosity. So much so, we appear to be devolving, just as the hue and cry to evolve and innovate has become deafening. Flipping learning on end, we now seem to value the right answer over the provocative question. We have forgotten, as important it is to know of something that occurs, it is exponentially more important to know why.

The next time someone ask ‘why?’, whether young or old, support their curiosity. Listen and ask questions in return. Encourage and reward critical thinking and conversation toward mutual validation and respect. Keep all discussions open-ended. Most importantly, don’t lead others to your predetermined hypotheses, assumptions and conclusions. Query is what leads to invention, continuous learning and the ongoing evolutions of people, business and society. We are designed to never stop learning and exploring.

resolve to: be curious
Open_Unbox

ABC Resolution: open

OPEN

July 16 – July 29

What if the tops of  all your boxes had no lids?

We build business boxes to keep things in, both literally and figuratively. Boxes consciously designed to keep people, systems and processes completely contained, efficiently repetitive and carefully controlled to produce predetermined and anticipated outcomes. No new processes unless fully researched, tested, measured and approved. No new people hired unless fully interviewed, vetted and liked by everyone. Six sides that too often insulate, isolate and ultimately stagnate.

From the Internet to Social Networks to Crowd Sourcing and onward, our new work is different. Connected and creative, this different work requires us to reach outside the box so we can experience different things and develop different thoughts. To think up, found and grow different businesses and accomplish this work with creativity and innovation, we must structure our business boxes in different and lasting ways.  We must open our windows and let in fresh air. Open our doors and keep walls from becoming cages. Open our locks and keep controls from getting out of control. Open our minds and keep cultures from becoming cults. Open our boxes and keep becoming.

resolve to: LET IN NEW OUTCOMES
NewWorkPlaces

ABC Resolution: New•Work•Places

NewWorkPlaces

July 2 – July 15

What if work had no place?

A coffee shop, cafe, train, plane, automobile, library, park, park bench, under a shade tree, in a hotel, motel, business office, home office, company office, at a distance, in the cloud, connected, distributed, flexible, mobile, local, global, in a satellite space, virtual space or outer space — any place you do work is your workplace. NewWorkPlaces are a state of mind.

NewWorkPlaces are more than a site, more than the physical walls that house furniture, equipment and people, more than a collective legal entity or set of company policies and procedures. They are the places where you think, communicate, engage, interact and produce. NewWorkPlaces exist wherever and whenever work is accomplished.

To create NewWorkPlaces, first look around you. Find and tear down the walls of your personal and organizational silos. Unbox yourself and your work, and innovate processes to create new business-as-usual models. Create new programs and skills to support this new way of working. Develop the business infrastructures and support systems, whether physical, mental or virtual, needed to support, advance and enhance the work of today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Work in new ways. Work in new places. Make this ability a business asset and a personal attribute. Work is different, so do work differently.

resolve to: work anyplace

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This NewWorkPlaces picture is of the Tully Community Branch Library in San Jose, CA. Many people’s first reaction to this association as a NewWorkPlace is a library is not a workplace. I beg to differ. Your librarians are people who work and this is the place in which they do their work. Other people go there to also do work such as homework, home office work, regular office work, mobile office work and on the road work, et al.

This library is a new library. Like new work places, it provides access to information through the traditional world of the printed book. In addition, it opens up, more than can be contained by its four walls,  the larger world of knowledge through technology. Many libraries have now broadened their access in this manner. What this library goes beyond is embracing a new version of how people interact, not only with the physical entities of books, place and technology, but additionally, and more importantly, with the people inside. Continue reading

moving sidewalks

ABC Resolution: moving sidewalks

moving sidewalks

June 18 – July 2

What if you needed help and knew where to find it?

Moving…motion…mobile. We are assailed by forces that demand we stay in action, as if constant motion should be our natural state of perpetual bliss. Yet many are dying to slow down or quit this fast paced existence. Should we? Or not, for fear of losing our place in line? Are stop or go our only choices?

Consider moving sidewalks. Moving sidewalks assist intermittently. We are already in motion when we step onto one as they take us from point A to point B. Once there, we step off and can then choose to pause or stop to check our position and reassess the journey, then saunter forward under our own power. This may be to the final destination. Or on to catch the next moving sidewalk, there to carry us further.

resolve to:  glide onward

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We are most familiar with moving sidewalks in airports. Designed to ease the long trek to distant terminals, we typically think of them as useful tools get us somewhere faster. The concept of sailing past others simply walking under their own steam is an easy concept to adapt to work. Jump on and jump ahead of the competition.

But consider other options.  Continue reading