Posts Tagged ‘business’

Harvey, a client of mine for over four years, lives and works in LA in the television industry. Brilliant, creative and kind, he makes everyone feel appreciated by his character and presence. Harvey has finally arrived at his dream. Not only does he have the dream job for himself, he’s also getting paid what he’s worth. He is in the groove!

Harvey grew up in the bible belt of Texas. Allowing himself to be worthy of a salary that reflects all of what he brings to his career was a huge undertaking since it went against the primary tenets that money is evil, and that we shouldn’t want material comforts. The underlying conflict between being spiritual and making enough money to thrive has been an underpinning of Harvey’s financial demise for all of his adult life. Now, in his mid-forties, he’s taken the steps required to receive the full benefits and reap the rewards of all he brings to his work life. Success!

This all within the past two months; so Harvey has been adjusting to a whole new reality – money, prestige, a new BMW motorcycle and more. And …

What I love about Harvey is that he is very much awake when it comes to seeing that having arrived at his desired destination doesn’t mean the journey is over; he knows that in many ways, a new journey has just begun.

I was unsure what would show up in this coaching conversation once Harvey fully owned his worth, asked for a raise, got it and so much more. What did arise had me breathe a sigh of relief; for what Harvey brought to light was the realization that the money, the position and the motorcycle does not bring an individual to a sense of fulfillment but for just a few brief ecstatic moments.

To see that the striving for more money, prestige and power as just that, takes a breaking through of a reality that we believe to be the only reality. To see the striving as a spiritual practice changes the attachment to the outcome to something that is accumulative and builds something greater over time; we find ourselves with more wisdom, clarity and strength.

It’s not the destination but the journey

Harvey certainly wanted to enjoy the increase in income, prestige and position, as we all do; but the significance was what he had to shift in himself in order to bring this level of success to fruition. He had to dig deep beyond bible belt beliefs and family circumstances in order to truly honor his gifts. It required him to recognize all of what he brings to the workplace – just as he’s always wanted and provided for others. He had to reframe spiritual tenets to see that it’s not about the money or about worthiness; it’s about breaking through belief systems that don’t serve one’s awakening. He had to think outside the box of a very seductive context in order to realize himself more fully.

Now that he has come to this part of the journey he asks: “What do I have to do to feel comfort and security? I don’t see it as a possibility for myself.”

I wanted to ask: “Why did you get this raise and position if it wasn’t for the comfort and security that comes along with it?” It wasn’t a question to be asked out loud, not yet, because to Harvey, there was so much more going on.

Up until this moment, the edge of Harvey’s comfort zone had been receiving equal payment for the value that he brings to his work. Now that he has expanded his comfort zone to include this he is now, once again on the edge of his comfort zone – how do I allow myself to actually enjoy my life, experiencing the comfort and security I’ve created for myself. This is a whole new world he is opening up to, because he was able to get the value/worth dilemma complete – at least to this point.

There’s a point where one realizes that there is no end or finish line. Those who pretend this is so tend to mask the physical discomforts that arise when living inside a box that will consistently feel smaller and smaller. What’s the point if we never arrive at our final destination – we never get to fully reap the rewards of our labor? Why not just settle for less – less stress, less effort, less personal abuse …?

The questions lead us to ask: What is success? What is fulfillment? What’s it all about? If it’s not about stuff and winning, then what’s worth the effort?

For many people, especially men, the crisis in the mid-life crisis means coming to the edge of one’s reality, peering over, and saying “there’s nothing there!” Illnesses, job loss, collapses of the economy all bring us to these same moments of realization that reveal there’s no security, there’s no money, there’s only nothing! What’s that about?

Big dilemma!

Go forward – there’s nothing.

Stop  – and there’s nothing.

The reason so many of us choose to not choose is because, whatever dilemma we face, choosing to choose brings us to the edge of our comfort zones. It requires that we be uncomfortable, that we be open to seeing ourselves and our reality different and that we be willing to explore and experiment with the countless facets of the achievement we’ve come to be, already, in this life. The edge of nothing is the same edge as thing. The practice of walking both sides of this edge, fearlessly, well, it’s pretty darn scary.

Harvey has gone forward, found that it’s not about the money, about winning or about things. He’s now onto his next big adventure, knowing that whatever he finds, it won’t be about that either. Fortunately he sees the humor in it all and we both laugh our heads off. Being in business is a very fun venture!

Resilience Engineering #30: Balance and Perspective

by Gary Monti on January 18, 2012

Maintaining balance and perspective is key to leading complex, constrained projects. In the last blog regarding keeping one’s wits, the need for discipline was the first step mentioned. Below is a simple method I’ve used to help establish discipline and maintain balance and perspective.

Risk Analysis: A Traditional Approach

Normally risk is viewed negatively, i.e., problems in the present and threats out in the future. A common communication and discussion tool is the chart below.

Probabilities range from low, medium, and high, as do impacts. This is a good chart. The question is, though, “What would it take to make it better?” That gets to the issue of balance and perspective. It is out of balance because only one aspect of risk is being addressed, the downside. Risk management also has an upside with windfalls being events in the present that are adding constructively to the project and opportunities being future constructive events.

People are very visual. When they only see the downside and then talk to the positive balance can be missing. In other words, this chart will work better if it were expanded to include the good along with the bad and ugly (forgiveness, please, Mr. Eastwood).

Risk Analysis: A More Comprehensive View

In the chart below a better approach is shown.

Let’s look at how this works. (Before getting started I want to point out the vertical axis for negative events is flipped from the previous chart, i.e., really bad events are at the bottom rather than the top.) “Insufficient resources” is the negative event we will focus on. The flow of the conversation in dealing with this goes like this:

  1. “Insufficient resources” is a definite threat to the project with both a high probability and high impact;
  2. “Add resources” is an opportunity that will neutralize the threat and it, too, has a high probability and high impact;
  3. “Integrate additional resources” is a threat projected by the opportunity “add resources.”

Look at what this approach does:

  1. It provides balance by presenting potential opportunity AND the ripple effect in terms of a threat that this opportunity poses. The team gets a chance to have a more integrated conversation – one that leads to more cohesive actions and interactions;
  2. Perspective has been added. The visual is more balanced. We’ve built something that reflects that. Again, people are visual and pay attention to what structures they can feel, touch, and deal with, and;
  3. This is a more disciplined approach. (Remember the previous blog about keeping one’s wits?) The entire picture is presented.

Working in this manner helps dampen the types of conversations that would end at “adding resources.” If this were to happen, after the meeting people might start talking something like this, “Well you know, someone has to take care of these resources. Where are they going to sit? Who’s going to bring them up to speed?” Talking in this manner risks poisoning the underlying conversation and undermining the credibility of the project and project manager.

With the leader bringing as much as possible out in the open for discussion the chart gets increasingly robust by avoiding being naïve and overplaying the opportunities as well as avoiding promotion of only a “downside” frame of mind. It also challenges people to participate and stop reserving comments for the gossip mill. The leader is in a better position to promote participation and a healthy sense of responsibility. Those who are realistic, positive and forward looking get a much-needed boost.

I deny aspects of me that I know to be true – those dark shadowy aspects that if people were to find out about – well, it could mean rejection, humiliation and annihilation. It’s best that I pretend they don’t exist.

On the other hand I have a knowing of certain things to be true, yet I deny myself these knowings too. I live in doubt and uncertainty as strategies that diminish my potential power in the world, diminish my light and visibility. In past lives, I’ve probably been murdered or tortured for standing out beyond the norm. “Won’t do that again,” we say; yet living within the protective cocoon of our disguise and pretending is also torturous.

Many of my executive clients over the years have gone through a 360 degree evaluation process, whereby they ask for feedback from lots of people they work with and live with. An enormous about of information is generated, assessed and then returned to my clients so they can see how they show up, what they bring and what they perhaps want to consider bringing to the party.

These 360 processes are really valuable, and yet, my clients share that most of what is said isn’t new to them; they are already aware of what they do well and what they need to enhance, grow and develop.

I always find this fascinating that we know what we know, yet live and work as if it weren’t so. We wait to have our internal wisdom, knowledge and experience validated by the external world. WHY?

When people are doing bad things and are caught and brought to justice, they say “I knew it was wrong and is punishable, but spare me, please.”

This is crazy making; that we have the wisdom to know right from wrong. We have a knowing beyond what makes sense in the reality of the cause and effect world; we know this and yet we choose to deny our culpability and our God-given powers to be the fullest expression of the gifts of our being.

I finished a novel last week by Michael Sky, called Jubilee Day – A Novel. It is about our current circumstances regarding those who hold the power in the United States, how they use that power and the opportunity to choose differently. It’s a brilliant book!

Most of us use our power for egoic gains. We don’t stop ourselves. We also use our power to distract ourselves from the internal knowing that, if nothing else we are violating our own integrity and the dignity of our soul. We know and we pretend we don’t know.

The Dilemma

For those of us who attend church every Saturday and Sunday, hearing over and over the importance of using our power in support of all people, not just our little ego self, too often we ignore opportunities to practice what we preach when we enter our Monday through Friday Church of the Almighty Dollar.

We are faced with a dilemma.

Do I do what I know to be in the highest good of all – my company, employees, my own soul, or do I act in alignment with my personal desire for safety, security and control.

There is so much at stake!

Each individual is teetering on the brink of personal devastation. It is only a reflection of the devastation that we witness in all aspects of our Global system. Where current and flow of the Universal and natural unfoldment is ignored, diverted or stopped, in service to our insatiable hunger to be powerful and invulnerable in every way imaginable, we will come face to face with the consequences of our choice-making. Funny how it works that way!

If you’ve ever been around adolescents, you’ve noticed that they have that attitude of invulnerability, impenetrable to attack – They have become a super power unto themselves. As parents of adolescents, hopefully we remember our own teenage years when we knew that we knew everything, and no one could tell us any different. As adults we know it’s a stage in the learning process and that someday there will be a day of reckoning when these teenagers will fall off their pedestal and realize they are just human, just like the rest of us.

I think about the European Countries who have been around far longer than the US. In their youth they built their empires and been super powers; and all have been demolished, have fallen into ruin, only to be rebuilt from a more mature perspective. I see the more dignified and wise one’s smiling at the US, knowing of our youthful attitude of “no-one will take us down.” It is part of the process of maturing that we lose what we’ve not rightfully gained, in order to cultivate right-relationship with our currency of resources – the earth, our people, all of it.

The dilemma we face as individuals is that we are committed to holding onto our super power ideation, yet, at the same time being conscious of the cost of ignoring that fact that we can no longer build skyscrapers in the air. We hope we’ll get away with it, but …

Pretending that choosing to choose not to choose will keep us invulnerable to our human frailties is adolescent thinking at best. Inevitably, our commitment to avoiding mature and wise choice-making will lead us to a phenomenal human experience called despair. Despair is when we realize that the reality of our own creation – our skyscrapers in the air, are coming down, detonated by our own ignoring – not ignorance.

All of us face dilemmas that inevitable puts us in the line of fire of our own humanity. It’s your call to make life-choices consciously or unconsciously. From my point of view, it’s far more fun to powerfully engage in life fully awake, conscious and mature – willingly acting from a ground of wisdom and knowing … you already know what I’m talking about. Enjoy the adventure!

Dilemmas of Being in Business #4: Growing Pains

by Rosie Kuhn on November 23, 2011

A client of mine, Hui Zhong, called me yesterday somewhat distressed. She is in product management as an information analyzer for an international corporation headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA.

A few months ago Hui Zhong, pronounced hoy-zong, began reading a book by Robin Sharma – The Leader Who Had No Title. She began practicing some of the exercises, which allowed her to stretch and expand her comfort zone to include more of her authentic leadership style. The dilemma though, is that as she exercises and stretches to expand her repertoire, she’s experiencing growing pains that bring with them discomfort, uncertainty, fear and insecurity. She is finding it distressful and uncomfortable to shift the way she is showing up in her work, uncertain if it will make her more attractive for promotions and all that goes along with them. She knows she’s on the right track with regard to cultivating greater professionalism and effectiveness, yet she is has doubts whether these traits truly make a difference in the corporate world where flash and charm often win the promotion. Is she really doing the smart thing if she’s wanting to gain more visibility and be acknowledged for what she brings to the role of leader? She’s in a dilemma.

As we change and grow – as we discard what no longer serves, we find ourselves in the midst of a leap. It’s very exciting and disconcerting at the same time; with practice, the long term rewards will be ease and agility in growing and in evolving in to the person and the leader we say we want to be.

There are those who expect that with the right education and the right connections it will be easy to rise to the top. There are those who play the game the right way and anticipate that the right way will get them the outcome they want. No one really knows for sure, and too often we lose our souls in order to find out.

As Hui Zhong lets go of her suitable education, connections and playing the game appropriately in service to exploring authentic leadership styles, she is getting triggered and collapses into feeling anxious, weak, vulnerable and unworthy. In the first few moments, she can hardly stand. She reports though that she recovers in a matter of minutes.

Hui Zhong is a model of resiliency. There are many who cannot stand being triggered into feeling vulnerable, weak and inadequate, and they do whatever they can to avoid this experience. Their unwillingness to cultivate and strengthen this essential capacity will suffer from the effects of no promotion. Hui Zhong is taking personal and professional risks, that on the inside feels, sometimes, like she’s failing and will never recover. It’s a debilitating momentary feeling, yet she knows that to do it any other way is out of integrity.

This intense practice develops muscles required for the type of leaders most organizations are truly hungry for. What’s at stake for Hui Zhong is her personal identity as a winner and as a perfectionist. She’s putting it all on the line because she knows the degree to which her egoic-self is influencing her choice-making, which doesn’t serve her team or her organization in the way that has her feel like a real leader – one who puts aside their own personal needs and desires for the sake of the people she works with and works for.

Even though there are tons of books on the market about leadership development, so few people actually take up the practice of shifting their personal perspective to something more. Personal gain vs. professional integrity; the experience and angst of cultivating self-awareness while developing leadership capacities that inevitably do lead to mastery; while eliminating manipulations and political motivations, which are inconsistent with corporate visions and statements of integrity.

I suggest to Hui Zhong that she herself to be the experiment – an exploration. What makes her valuable to her company, in my mind, is that she is willing to be in the “I don’t know,” finding out what’s beyond the games, and political motivations and manipulations that actually limit possibilities within most organization.

She is learning that she isn’t supposed to know or have the easier or right way to move through a transformative process such that she is in – She is only to observe, witness and assess, noticing what works and what doesn’t; then make slight shifts in how she is being and what she is doing; and then, again notice, witness and observe. This is the path to mastery, innovation, inspiration, freedom and selfless leadership.

As anyone of us, like Hui Zhong, cultivates the resilience to move through this process we’ll be developing not only the wisdom and mastery but we’ll be able to empower others to explore, witness, and experiment too. This to me is the most powerful form of leadership – making space for others to explore, experiment and discover for themselves innovative styles of leading.

The dilemma – that choice-point between one type of success and the other, are each pulling Hui Zhong and keeping her on the fence, though this happens far less so than before. What she is currently practicing – where she is putting her attention, will inevitable bring her into the light, because she is acknowledging and honoring her highest truth. My belief is that this is the sustainable, healthier and more effective way to lead and will inevitable be recognized for its value – growing pains and all.

This is not an easy path, nor should it be. We will not cultivate strong and innovative leaders by having them travel the well worn path. To truly be a great leader, each of us will need to become the experiment, embracing the moments when our findings are thrilling and monumental in their effects.

Self-Published Authors Need Developmental Editing, Too!

by Roger Parker on October 31, 2011

Self-published authors need developmental editing as much as authors working with trade publishers. No one is immune to the need for a fresh perspective and reality check by an experienced editor.

Unfortunately, many self-published authors don’t get the developmental editing help they need…and their book deserves. There are several reasons for this:

  • Don’t consider it important. Sometimes, self-published authors, especially subject area experts, may feel their experience working in their field eliminates the need for developmental editing. Often, this belief is coupled with offers from family members and friends to “proof” their book for free. A willingness to accept professional input is often based on a misunderstanding of what developmental editing is all about.
  • Don’t know where to get it. Many first-time authors don’t know where to locate developmental editors or how to find a local editor. Even if they search on Google and explore some of the websites that appear, they don’t know what to expect, what to ask, or how to evaluate candidates.
  • Can’t afford it. Finally, many developmental editors simply can’t afford an experienced editor, and avoid the whole issue—rather than exploring what they can do on their own.

What is developmental editing?

Let’s start by analyzing what developmental editing isn’t, and, from there, explore what it is.

Developmental editing is not:

  • Prooreading. Developmental editing isn’t searching for spelling errors, incomplete sentences, misused words, or misspelled words.
  • Checking for grammatical errors. Developmental editing also isn’t grammar checking, i.e., checking for agreement between subjects and verbs, run-on sentences, passive verbs, or overuse of exclamation points! g)
  • Fact checking. Developmental editing also doesn’t get involved with verifying details, ideas, or suggestions.

So, what is developmental editing?

I view developmental editing as pre-publication, multi-step search for coherence, or alignment, between:

  • Books & author goals. Nonfiction, brand-building books aren’t written for creative expression. They’re written to establish the author’s credibility and contribute to future profits. Developmental editing can provide a reality check increasing the likelihood that the author’s writing and publishing goals will be achieved.
  • Books & reader needs. Readers don’t buy business and personal-growth related nonfiction for entertainment or writing style. Books are purchased to solve problems and achieve goals. Developmental editing provides another reality check that tests the ability of the book to help its intended market.
  • Books & their competition. Developmental editing provides an independent perspective on the other books competing for reader attention. The goal is to identify the “missing book,” or the book that’s wanted, but hasn’t been written yet.
  • Coherence within the book. Finally, development editing provides an fresh perspective on how the contents of the book, and its various parts, work together serving the author and reader’s needs.

Basically, pre-publication developmental editing provides a “big picture view” to replace the myopia that authors face writing about topics they know and love.

Developmental editing provides focus and saves time and energy because avoiding mistakes is a lot more efficient than fixing them after they show up.

Developmental editing process

The goal of developmental editing is to save you time, reduce stress and sell more books by working as efficiently as possible. It involves making the right decisions as you plan and write your book.

The best developmental editing approach involves asking, and answering, the questions associated with the 7 key areas involved in writing, marketing, and self-publishing books:

  • Goals. What are your writing and self-publishing goals? How are you going to profit from your book?
  • Readers. Who are your ideal readers, firms and individuals you want to build lasting relationships with?
  • Competition. What are the leading books that your book will be competing with?
  • Position. How can you make your book distinctively different from existing books on your topic?
  • Efficiency. What’s the easiest and fastest way you can get your book into your reader’s hands?
  • Demand. How can you build demand for your book…while you’re writing it?
  • Profit. What are some of the ways you can leverage your book into new opportunities and profits after it’s published?

The power of questions. Questions are powerful developmental editing tools because each time you answer a question, it’s likely to lead to additional questions… This forces you to question your assumptions and explore new options and alternatives.

Do-it-yourself developmental editing resources

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy the benefits developmental editing if you’re not ready to work on a 1-to-1 basis with a developmental editor, or take advantage of the benefits of group coaching.

  • Free do-it-yourself resources. Many developmental editors offer free checklists, podcasts, worksheets and white papers containing valuable ideas. While its still available as a proof, you can also download a copy of my 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-publish a Brand-building Book. This hands-on PDF workbook provides a step-by-step framework to answering the questions that must be addressed before you start planning and writing your book, guiding you as you create a content plan and business plan for your book.
  • Premium developmental editing resources. There are numerous free online resources that you can search for using terms like “book coach,” “developmental editing,” or “help writing a book and getting published.” You’ll probably find that the problem isn’t locating resources, but keeping track of them, and implementing the ideas you encounter. There are also low-cost, paid online resources that provide a “guided tour” approach to the tasks involved in planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a book. Often, these resources include online group coaching for subscribing members. 500 pages of articles, checklists, author interviews, and worksheets.

All books require developmental editing

Self-published books need developmental editing as much as books written for large trade publishers. Whether you do the work yourself, or engage a professional developmental editor, you’ll find that developmental editing before and during writing will save you time, reduce stress, and increase the likelihood of your book’s success. What have been your experiences reading self-published books by others or self-publishing your own books? Share your experiences and questions below, as comments.

Dilemmas of Being in Business

by Rosie Kuhn on October 26, 2011

The intention of this series is to introduce you to a way of thinking that empowers you to see more clearly how you choose to choose what you choose in regard to the work you do, the people you work with and with yourself. While in your work environment there is never a time when you are not in relationship with these three. You are always juggling, prioritizing and reprioritizing in order for you to feel a sense of balance, fulfillment and in charge.

How you choose to balance and prioritize is based on your hierarchy of commitments. Your top commitment is usually what you say out loud. At the same time, the other commitments, especially the other top three or four are also vying for attention and hence become more often than not, conflicting commitments. What this feels like to many of us is that we are stuck, frustrated, not getting ahead, anxious and stressed. Progress is happening too slowly and you haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause.

When we are able to distinguish the many aspects of life and work we are committed to, then we are able to make sense of the competing factors that have us feel pulled in at least two directions at once. This puts us in a dilemma. Normally, for most of us we don’t know what to choose or how to choose to choose, and so we sit in this dilemma, at the choice-point, waiting and hoping for something to steer us in the right direction. Regardless of your position on the corporate ladder, you are most likely sitting at this choice-point – waiting and hoping.

This series, called the Dilemmas of Being, will explore a number of aspects of corporate and business life, which will allow a deeper investigation of what could be conflicting commitments in your life and how to navigate this choice-point in service to your highest truth and the highest good of your organization and all of those associated with you.

I will share with you my model, from which I clearly distinguish the reality or circumstance as it appears on one level (Domain of Circumstance); the way we choose to act, think and be, regarding our circumstance (Domain of Self-Empowerment); the aspect of being that has us either feel inadequate, unworthy and unlovable, and continually on alert that we will be found out, and the aspect of our being that knows without questions that we are brilliant, creative, lovable and visionary – this aspect is continually pushing for our highest and fullest expression of self (Domain of Humanity). I also include the Domain of Universal Source/Oneness, from which we’ve all come and with which we are ongoingly relating. Also known as our higher power, God, Goddess, etc, it is that which we pray to, talk with, or, or for some, ignore and deny any relationship at all. It’s the unknowable, mystery.

Understanding that we are not our circumstances, we are not our choices, we are not even our humanity, gives us an opportunity to be with the questions – “If I’m not that, then what am I?”

It’s not as though this conversation isn’t going on inside you without your knowledge or consent. It actually never stops! It’s just that your hierarchy of commitments may have you ignoring and distracting this ongoing conversation you are having with yourself to the degree that it’s barely a whisper among the din of noise of circumstances, survival needs and pleasures sought.

I am a life and business coach. What I’m sharing with you here is much of what I share with all of my corporate clients. I empower them to empower themselves to acknowledge the current dilemma that has them have to choose between what they say they want and the conflicting commitments, which they want but not so much as their spoken commitment. How to choose to choose what they choose while at this choice-point is no different than how many of you choose to choose what you choose. Over the next six months we’ll have fun begin curious, exploring and experiment with the dilemmas of being – you in business.

What do you do when there is never enough time to do everything thoroughly? In resilience engineering (RE) there is a concept called the efficiency-thoroughness trade off (ETTO). What does one do? Let’s look.

First thing required is identifying the environment. This is easily done when talking with a new hire. If you find yourself saying or hearing something like the following you are in an ETTO environment:

“It will take a while but you’ll get the hang of it. We have plenty of policies and procedures. The trick, though, is knowing which ones to apply on any given day. Things change around here pretty rapidly and you’ll have to learn how to keep up.”

That daily change can lead to erratic behavior. Why? What is defined as “efficient” changes from day-to-day based on what goal management is chasing. One day the focus is on everyone getting his or her documentation current. On another it is billable hours. Still another the focus is on proposal generation. It goes on-and-on and end dates never move.

So why write about something so obvious? Simple. I’ve found that in technical environments the organization can be biased heavily towards task-oriented people. What this means is there is inherent insensitivity towards the politics of the situation and the shifting priorities. There is something else that occurs that is rather insidious.

“Those who are task-oriented can run the risk of being so close to the work they have a very short time horizon. This leads to inability to look ahead and confront early potential trade-off situations where thoroughness is so lacking that rework and additional expense are guaranteed.”

In my practice probably the most common thing heard is, “I hate politics.” To tell the truth, I do too. I came to it kicking and screaming. “Just let me build my brainchild,” was my mantra. Others can do the politics. Now, the huge payoff associated with understanding and using politics is obvious and a big part of Center for Managing Change’s work. By understanding politics one can get a feel for the ETTO and how to manage the situation.

Look at it this way. List all the work-related issues you talk with peers about at the lunch table or over coffee. See if you can take the conversation further by brainstorming ways to approach the people and situations that are so frustrating. When you do this you’ll find that personalities start coming into play almost immediately. This is where the work begins.

List your frustrations regarding ETTO. See if the group can brainstorm what key players’ hot buttons are. Determine how those hot buttons can be pushed to get the movement you want (which is usually more time and resources to get the job done right the first time.) Then take it up a notch. Try connecting all those hot buttons and see if a strategy can be developed for talking with your stakeholder population so they will see the benefit of giving you the time to be sufficiently thorough. That last phrase, “sufficiently thorough,” is the key. It’s not about perfection. It’s about getting enough time to give the customer what they need and not have to revisit the deliverable in order to get it right.

So, remember. If you want the time do the politics.  Now, if it were only as easy to do as it is to say!

Leader driven Harmony #39: Do the Crappy Little Jobs FIRST!

by Mack McKinney on September 9, 2011

It is so easy when running a business (or office, branch, etc.) to put off doing the crappy little jobs.  You know the ones:  the monthly payroll report to the state revenue office; the weekly income spreadsheet update; the logging of business expenses into a spreadsheet; in short, any minor task you dread but that can BITE if it is NOT done.  Here are four tips for keeping up with the niggling little tasks that you hate to do.

  1. Do it first thing, right when you think of it.  Don’t put it off for even an hour.  Just do it and be done.  Then reward yourself with a walk outside, or an apple, or anything else you find pleasant and that takes very little time from your day.
  2. Work on it for only an hour and no more.  If it isn’t finished in an hour, set it aside until tomorrow and finish it up.
  3. Get help:  If someone could read a list of figures to you, for example, thereby speeding up the job, ask them to.  If the job will be easier with three people, get two others to help you.
  4. Set a calendar reminder in Outlook, etc. and when it dings, stop and do the task.  Right then.

When you have something that must get done and you procrastinate, by putting off the inevitable you pay a hidden price – – – WORRY.  You are renting that task some space in your head!  This is not healthy.  It pushes other ideas out and can keep you from fully engaging with others.  You won’t be able to live in the moment because deep in your mind is that little nagging reminder about the task remaining to be done.  You won’t be able to fully relax because that THING is stuck in your brain.

Not getting these things done also adds to your total stress level and ANY amount of stress adversely impacts your heart.  So keeping the small tasks caught up is key to staying healthy.  Who knew that not paying bills on time, or failing to order key office supplies on time could tax your heart?

So in summary, do what your parents taught you: Work before play.  Get the annoying little tasks done when they are due!  Then you can focus your attention on getting the BIG things in your life organized and arranged – – – the family issues and the career training and education you need to schedule; get that book started that you’ve intended to write; call that old friend you haven’t seen in years.  Remember, BIG ROCKS FIRST!  But you cannot focus on those big rocks if an irritating piece of gravel stands in the way.  Keep your mind clear and unencumbered by dealing with the crappy little tasks before they cause bigger problems!

As the Paradigm Shifts #T: Turbulence

by Rosie Kuhn on September 7, 2011

To state the obvious, there’s no question we are living in turbulent times. The winds of change are creating upheaval and instability, leaving chaos and confusion in its wake. The almighty dollar upon which we’ve built just about all of our institutions, including religion, as well as a sense of security and stability is rocking and rolling like those areas around the planet that are experiencing earthquakes. Everything is getting shaken up.

In the workplace, job security is getting to be a bankrupt concept. And, if you manage to keep your job, most likely you’ve taken on the work of those who have lost theirs. More stress and fewer fulfillment.

Naomi, a client of mine in San Francisco used to love going to work every morning. Now, with a new CEO pressuring the very small staff to produce way beyond their capability, the strain is such that she experiences overwhelm, frustration and, what we normally call depression. “What’s the point?” Naomi asks, rhetorically.  “I used to love my work, but now I’m thinking of leaving. It’s all too much?”

As a sailor who crossed the Atlantic Ocean, I could see the changes on the surface of the water that tells us whether we’ll be experiencing turbulence or calm seas. We could see miles off in the distance any sea change that was coming our way. We could prepare appropriately and settle in for any turbulence.

Though I fly frequently, I am disconcerted by any turbulence we experience in the air because it is invisible, generally speaking. I look out the window intending on discovering that which is the catalyst for my discomfort. As an analogy, I find that these instabilities we are currently experiencing is much the same; where or what is the instigator of all of this turbulence in all of our institutions, our solar system, in the Universe at large? I find it fascinating!

The invisible catalyst is a known entity to those who know. For most of us though we feel victimized by the unseen forces that have wreaked havoc to our lifestyles, our sense of security and stability. We are losing our ground of being that we thought was us! Every aspect of life is getting a good shake up. The question I pose is what is our role in this shake up? How do we be with the devastation of our life paths that lay in ruin? Is there a way to create stability in an unstable environment?

Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide!

In any work environment, each of us brings with us, on a daily basis, a sense of un-assuredness. And, with that comes stress, worry and perhaps a less then calm and serene demeanor. We feel helpless and powerless in the face of these turbulent times. Like Naomi, the heads of institutions are bringing in the sails, battening down the hatches, throwing access baggage overboard. We are always wondering if today is the day that we walk the plank.

So what’s the solution? Well, since, on a spiritual level, there is no problem, then there’s no solutions required. What is required is remembering who you are in the first place. Who were you before you were a business person, a member of a cultural or religious tradition; before you were a man or a woman? It takes a lot of sifting through the myriad identities that we’ve overlaid upon our essential nature, however, by remembering who you really are, you come to find the calm sea within, realizing that, like Shakespeare says we are merely players on this stage we call THIS LIFE. We can leave the behind our roles, identities and characters. In doing so we come back to the “me” underneath it all.

I googled spirituality in business, again, and found more articles and blogs that share the degree to which business people are engaging in spiritual conversations in the workplace.  I’m not making this stuff up, attempting to convince you of the paradigm shift within which we are immersed. I am encouraging you to see how disempowered you can believe yourself to be in this moment, or, you can cultivate awareness and awaken to how empowered you are to empower yourself and others.

Our business institutions are the spiritual centers now. It is where we practice the essential truths of our religious and spiritual traditions. Its where we practice acceptance of what we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference; its where we practice compassion, for there but for the grace of God go thee; it’s were we deliver ourselves from evil for the sake of well-being of every being on the planet as well as the planet herself; its, as Mahatma Gandhi said – being the change we wish to see.

Turbulence? You bet. It gives us the opportunity to discover clarity of knowing there is nothing to fear but fear itself (I’m so grateful for all of those who’ve created these incredibly wise statements.). Discovering, recognizing and acknowledging this Truth is essential to the journey. With this in mind, enjoy the adventure!

I was visiting with one of my friends on the phone this morning.  He told me about a former client, Jill, who had won the lottery.  The after tax payment to Jill was a lump sum of $13,000,000.  Where I grew up, that’s a sizeable lump.

Before I could say, “Yeah, but you know most lottery winners are worse off two years after they win the lottery than they were before,” my friend said Jill had told him the lottery curse was complete nonsense.  Almost 10 years after winning the lottery, Jill and her husband were living fun and fulfilling lives.  They didn’t buy mansions and they didn’t adopt any bad habits.  Each year they harvested 6% income from the $13,000,000 (which according to my math is closing in on $800,000), they traveled and they did pretty much what they damn well pleased.

That story got my friend and I talking about the question:  How much is enough?  How we answer that question has a profound impact on the joy and satisfaction we experience, and perhaps even on the level of success we attain.  My friend also shared some advice from a source he didn’t name (or that I don’t remember).  It went like this:

“Give away the first 10% you earn.  Save the next 10%.  Pay taxes and live on the balance.  If you do this, you’ll never be sorry and you’ll never be broke.”

That simple suggestion and its remarkable promise took my breath away.  Of course, many religions teach the practice of tithing and charity toward others.  And we’ve all, no doubt, received the admonition from one of the many financial gurus to save, save, save.  Both of which are sound ideas to my mind.  But when you add the promise, you’ll never be sorry and you’ll never be broke – somehow that ramps the power of these ideas up exponentially.

What if we followed this practice in our businesses?  What if we donated the first 10% – to the church or school of our choice, to the many wonderful private agencies that serve the disadvantaged, to an incubator for new business start-ups, or to the arts?  And then, what if we saved the next 10%?  What would it be like, after a time, to be sitting on a stack of cash?  Wouldn’t that allow us to weather the inevitable storms?  Wouldn’t that allow us to make decisions based on what was really best for our business – without feeling like there was a gun to our head?  Wouldn’t we feel better about ourselves and sleep a bit more soundly at night?

But then I wonder, what would it take to give away the first 10%save the next 10%?  Do we have the will, the generosity, the courage?  If not 10%, how about 5%?  If not 5%, how about 2%?  Could it be this idea is better than winning the lottery?  I’m not sure.  But I am 100% convinced it is more likely than winning the lottery and that the payoff could be huge!