What if you could find what you need in the people around you?
A waterwheel is a device that converts the movement of flowing water into energy. Moving water turns the waterwheel via its paddles. Each dip into the flow scoops up water and drops it onto the next. This action causes the paddle to move until, paddle after paddle, the whole wheel continually turns under its own power.
Gears attached to the water wheel convert this movement into energy to make other things go. Older waterwheels powered such things as flour mills. Newer waterwheels, like giant turbines, generate electrical energy to power just about every machine and tool in our businesses, and lives. Workwheels, like waterwheels, are put in motion by dipping into the flowing waters of a business’ people. Once in motion, the work gears convert people power into energy to make all aspects of the business, from small ideas to big organizational systems, go.
Old waterwheels and workwheels alike were location dependent, situated where free-flowing water was accessible. Today’s workwheels have no such dependency. The energy of people can be found flowing everywhere and accessed anytime and anyplace. The frequency of each dip and the paddle’s size and spacing determines the quantity of energy produced. A variable rate, this is the workwheel’s ROE — Return On Energy. The less often you dip into people’s energy, the slower the conversion of their work into power for growth and innovation. For more power, scoop often and scoop deep.
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.
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 →
What if you could respond to a work crisis of any type and size?
After each disruptive event, the new state is not automatically predetermined. In the immediate aftermath, there is a deep void of uncertainty. A brief period before the new shape is fully formed and outcomes are up for grabs. From this chasm of confusion and loss, the power of disruption can be acquired. Tap into its residual energy and you can turn fate into positive opportunity and survive misfortune with action. Disruption then becomes an empowered gift.
What if taking chances were so well rewarded…
that everyone took them?
The other day I was returning to my car after finishing a walk up one of our trails. Standing on the sidewalk of the freeway overpass were I was parked were two men, one with a camera and the other with a microphone. The camera man had his lens focused tight against something on the wire fence. This drew my attention to something I had not noticed before, a bunch of little padlocks, of all shapes and sizes, locked to the metal. The man with the microphone turned out to be our local reporter Kiet Do (btw, good video piece you did on it Kiet. Congrats!) who was there to do a story on the ‘controversy’. Controversy!? Well, yes. It seems, Continue reading →
What if you knew how to respond to a work crisis,
no matter how small or big?
HARNESSING THE ENERGY OF DISRUPTIVE EVENTS
In my upcoming book, Do Work DIFFERENT, I have a story about a high-tech company who went through another set of disruptive events – the dot.com bust and 9-11. The story illustrates how most businesses, collectively as groups and individually as the people in them, fail to connect the dots between internal and external events and their resultant combined effect on the work we produce. How in doing so, the disruptive events not only interrupt our short-term, everyday work momentum, they push us backward. Those who see the connection, acknowledge its effects and take immediate, proactive steps to recover are able to move on. Those who deny the influence of the events take longer to return to normal, and sometimes never recover. Continue reading →