Nonsense At Work

#97: July 2015 MindShift

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

 July 2015

Denying Smart Failure You Stop

Denying change creates innovation sickness time is travel time, so let’s talk about car sickness. Have you noticed how everything inside a moving car appears stationary? Only when you look out the window can you tell that the car is moving. What if you cannot see movement, but still feel it? That’s when car sickness happens.

The same thing happens in organizations. Some employees are aware of outside change and they talk about it. Others tend to ignore the outside world. Yet, they sense something is going on. Instead of opening their eyes, they make us sick by whining and complaining.

But the real risk happens when executives deny change outside by promoting stability inside. You cannot easily stop your kids looking out and seeing movement. Neither can executives stop employees noticing change when they are away from work.

Denying change that can be sensed, but not seen, creates innovation sickness.

Be smart – know GPS is a dot, not a direction

GPS-lostWhile we’re on the topic of motion sickness, let me tell you about my wife. She takes the long way home. She says that she likes driving. That’s nonsense. She gets lost, even driving home.

So I bought her a GPS. Surprisingly, it could not find home either, even though it’s been standing since 1949. I bought her a different make, which found home, but in a roundabout way. I discovered that it was set to direct her home via the nearest highways.

When I grew up, we used the tried and tested sun method to give us a general direction. No obstacle was really an obstacle as long as we did not lose our bearings.

Kids today, like my wife, are growing up with no sense of direction. When their smart phone is feeling disconnected, then they are lost in more ways than one. Minor detours become huge obstacles.

Me? I am seldom lost because when I was a kid, we had to be the smart ones.

How to decide between success and failure

dunceWe humans are so smart that we progressed from the abacus to the slide rule to the calculator to the computer, as beans became numbers became data became bigger data. And yet, decision-making has not changed much. Even with smart tools, executives must still weigh two key elements, namely personal values and performance numbers.

When the numbers predict success in harmony with our values, then the decision is easy to make. And when then numbers point to failure and our values are compromised, then the decision is also easy.

But when the numbers hint at success if we compromise our values, or if failure will follow if our values prevail, then what? How do we decide?

Deciding will be easy if you truly know what matters most to you – success or integrity at all cost.

Failure hurts less if you don’t compromise your values. But success at the expense of values always leaves a bitter memory.

Are you a projector or an extender?

ProjectorMemories and movies go together, don’t they? Well, we finally bought a television because I got tired of setting up the projector, the screen and the laptop just to watch a movie. Using a TV instead is possible now because the internet is easily extended.

No more fuss! This got me thinking about projecting and extending.

Projection is probably one of the first things they teach in acting school. How to project your voice to be heard; how to project your expressions to be seen. Projecting is about acting, often over-acting, to get your point across and your will accepted. Acting relies on projecting, not on extending.

Projecting is about what you want. Extending is about who you are. When you project what you want onto others, you are coercing them. But when you extend who you are, they are free choose how to respond. And to project, you must be present. But you can extend even when absent.

I wonder, what are you? A projector or an extender?

Don’t stop your to-stop list

dont-stopI like Fleetwood Mac because they have extended my memories. But I must admit, I like them except when they don’t stop.

(Allow me to enlighten the young, the I-like-my-music-to-sound-the-same generation. Fleetwood Mac is a rock band, one of the early super groups.)

We humans are mostly lazy (admit it!) and yet we create long to-do lists of things to do (especially when it comes to achieving goals we optimistically set ourselves).

I have a new strategy. It’s called Stop. Instead of a list of to-dos, I have a list of “to stop.” As a dreamer not a doer, I’m already halfway done.

You want examples? Don’t list things to do to lose weight; you need only one action step – “stop.” Stop eating so much. Want to be fitter? Stop sitting so much. Want to be nicer? Stop behaving badly.

Fleetwood Mac had a big hit with “Don’t Stop.” I aim to be a personal hit with “stop,” but it’s not that easy. You see, our culture is based on giving credit for doing something good, not for stop doing something bad.

 Would you like to extend your success?

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