I Have Learned…

I have learned…

  • When you give love, it's permanent.
  • The process is infinitely more important than the outcome.
  • Fairness will be addressed on the other side of eternity.
  • Life without risk is impossible, a risk-free life is death disguised as living.
  • When your race is finished, the mirror will provide 90% of the answers to the why questions.
  • Your heart will determine the size of your shadow.
  • No one remembers a manager.
  • The best leaders avoid embracing the "manual."
  • Every human needs a great quest, just like air.
  • Pain shapes a heart like nothing else.
  • Time goes by quickly, better value it more than gold.

Speaking To The Future

Are the leaders you're following having a hard time speaking to the future?  Is there an atmosphere of fear and reaction in your offices?

The best leaders are willing to go out on a vision limb and speak to the unseen.  In doing so they understand the following might (often does) happen:

  • Rejection
  • Misunderstanding
  • Anger
  • Ridiculement
  • Apathy
  • Denial
  • Sabotage

It's not so much that the best leaders are brave (even though that can be true).  The these men and women have an unwavering desire to lead and change the world.

But be careful in giving your trust away.  A leaders vision of the future should always be  rooted in reality and integrity.  In other words, the leader is always clear.

Everybody’s Self-Employed

As I caught today's announcement of December job numbers, I began to think about how serious things are.  Mind you, I didn't just start thinking about the seriousness.  But I thought about it differently today.

We are self-employed…whether we know it or not.

The fairy tale of retirement, security and prosperity has truly been the poison pill.  What's tragic is the pill was given to us slowly (intravenous like) over time.  Makes you wonder how careerists will find a new life.  A new life that looks different from the one they know today.  Your employer is moving on even if your office chair is still warm. 

Shouldn't you do the same?

I see things as permanently changed.  What looked stable yesterday has now been disrupted.  I'll save you the analysis of what I consider to be the catalysts/disrupter's (mind-numbing government debt, the over supply of money, leadership voids, fear) of what we've come to know.  I used to think life would be better is it were predictable.  I even, in a past life, tried to manipulate circumstances to try and block the threats (change).  The reality is we're better for a life that sometimes gives us smelling salts.

So how do you if you're a self-employed careerist?  Consider the following:

  • When you get to the end of your story, who will stand beside you and give a detailed report?  I have the answer; not your company, just you.
  • On the whole, who is paying/paid for all of that schooling you took?
  • Your employer requires some type of at-will agreement/contract.
  • Your share of health insurance premiums has grown significantly over the last 20 years.  This trend will continue, or your employer will get out of providing this benefit all together.
  • You carry a lot of risk working for your company.  This applies whether unemployment is 5 or 7%.

I could go on, and maybe you have some other ideas as well.  But one of the biggest reasons we're all self-employed is the implication of ownership.  You should be the owner of your career because you already are.

Don’t Institutionalize Everything

The cause of many of the ills your organization may be facing are rooted in the process of institutionalizing.  This is a process of making rules, creating procedures and locking down the process.  In some cases, institutionalizing is smart business (profit or non-profit).  For example, the idea of no hand guns permitted or firing an employee for falsifying documents would be something to institutionalize.

Unfortunately, it seems we've swung the pendulum way too far.  I would even argue we've done this in our relationships.  Think about your marriage, your business partner(s), your church, the homeless guy you pass on the way to the office. 

Let me unwrap this a little further.  In certain arenas of our culture homelessness and poverty is looked at as inevitable (this idea is part of the institutionalized mindset).  When you view people (magnificent art designed by a wonderful God) as "inevitable" you will easily look the other way.  But what if you looked at people as magnificent artwork?  Kind of hard to look past a Michaelangelo, no?  And yes, some people are bad/evil and will never change.  That's ok (not really), everyone makes their own choices.  My gut tells me that many just want to be seen as valuable and worth a fight.

The above describes how you can take an institutionalized view and change it to a liberated/fluid view.

Here is a list of some things organizations and people should not institutionalize:

  • People (see my thoughts above).
  • Policies and procedures.  Far too often this is a place of insanity in many organizations.  Creating these are often practices in fear management.
  • New ventures.  Don't think that what is new will look like what is old.  Be willing to be fluid.
  • Business relationships.  We've got to stop networking as a part of our business plan (another form of institutionalizing).  Network because you believe in sharing, giving and changing the world.  If the idea is great you won't feel compelled to take.
  • Marriage.  Fall in love and keep falling.