Nonsense At Work

#109: July 2016 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift


July 2016

Two-Faced Without Content Forget Dream

When leaders should be two-faced, and when not

janusAccording to ancient Roman religion, Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He is the god with two faces, because he looks in two directions at once, the past and the future.

Do you want to be an effective leader? Then become two-faced. Two-faced leaders see the connection between our obvious past and our probable future. They guide us through the transition by helping us end the past and begin the future.

It is exciting to follow a leader who sees a better future. However, there is one small problem. The more successful a leader is at seeing a vision by being two-faced, the more the leader runs the risk of becoming two-faced, namely hypocritical.

Powerful leaders often feel entitled to a different moral code. Hence, they are more likely to behave according to “do what I say, not what I do.” But that’s two-faced in the wrong direction.


Without the right Number Two you won’t be Number One for long

conflicting ideasSinger Joe Jackson wrote a song beginning with “Won’t you be my number two? Me and number one are through.”

Romantically, this makes sense, but not in business. In business, the CEO is always number one, with or without a number two.

I once consulted to the top two people in a company. They were polar opposites. Supposedly, opposites attract. But in business opposites are competitors. And yet, these two were successful because they understood that what made them different apart, made them great together.

If your number two is a yes-mouth, then you are obviously not competing with each other. But the risk is that you won’t be competing successfully where it matters.

Your number two should complete you, not compliment you. Get someone who balances you with opposites and who will speak up against you when needed.

Without the right number two you won’t be number one for long.


Match your content with context, else all the world becomes a self-indulgent stage

fat-expectationI joined LinkedIn in 2004. Back then it was a business networking site. Now it has morphed into yet another social site. Why?

Because we so easily confuse content with context and platform with stage.

If you want to act a part or show off, then use a stage. If you want to build a solid foundation for a concept or a career, then use a platform for support. Have you guessed which site is a platform and which one a stage? Good for you!

Now, if you have lots of trivial content aimed at anyone and everyone, then scattering it like sand in the wind makes sense. But if your content has meaning for a focused, like-minded group, then offer it carefully, somewhat like planting seeds in the right soil.

Please match your content with context. If you don’t, all the world becomes a self-indulgent stage.


Remember to forget to change

change old youngDo you find it more difficult to adapt and change as you age? Blame it on time.

Although time helps us make sense of events by framing our experiences as past present future, time also traps us into linear thinking.

Our memory of many yesterdays creates the comfort that there will be a tomorrow. And there’s the problem. Memory creates the illusion that the future will be a continuation of the past.

The more yesterdays we accumulate, the more we approach tomorrow expecting continuity, not disruption. No wonder we find it difficult to ‘start over’, to ‘begin anew’.

Babies don’t have many yesterdays. To them, every day is a blank slate. Change would be so much easier if every day was a clean slate. But the older we get, the more it seems that a clean slate is only possible if we remember to forget.


Think big thoughts to dream big what matters

summer-in-elysiumAnd with your clean slate ready, you will be able to dream new dreams based on new beliefs.

Do you believe in something big? I don’t mean religion, although that does qualify. I mean anything that means more to you than life itself. Or almost more.

Shakers and movers all have big beliefs. For example, at his treason trial in 1964 Nelson Mandela said that freedom for his people was an ideal for which he lived, but if needs be, he was prepared to die for it.

Many people are determined to live and die for things that are bigger than themselves. Simple things like family and friends. Strangely, there are also many people who are willing to live for a car-too-fancy, a house-too-big, a phone-too-smart and a physique-too-sexy. Or to die getting there.

This summer I hope you are able to take some time to think big thoughts, to believe in big ideas and to dream big dreams. I hope you then come back to reality clear on what really matters to you.



Want to be my number 2?



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