With Patrick Mosher
When I was a new executive in consulting, I built reputation for transforming the way we delivered our change management engagements. At that point, change management work centered mainly on documenting procedures and developing training for large systems implementations. It was a cash cow for a consulting company that delivered big expensive customized systems.
Although I developed proficiency in those areas, I didn't do my masters' work in organization communication and doctoral work in organization behavior to write shipping procedures for warehouse management systems.
I wanted something more.
One project was the turning point for my career and perhaps altered the trajectory of how change management work was conducted.
A Wisdom Story
Near the end of one of these big warehouse management system implementation projects, I got an idea. Why don't we pitch the job and organization design work to the client? After all, if the workflow is transformed,...
I love to take walks in the woods. It's refreshing and yanks me out of my routine.
Yesterday, I walked on a trail. Slightly uphill so I stopped to catch my breath. Due to my COPD, I have a recovery routine. I close my eyes. Focus intently on taking deep breaths. I feel my heart slowly backing down to a normal heart rate. I open my eyes and continue onward.
As I contemplated my Recovery Routine yesterday, I thought about other Recovery Routines in my life.
I don't have enough of them.
High Performers want to GO. I see Recovery Time as simply the time between Task A and Task B. Shorten the Recovery Time and efficiency improves.
Get to know your Recovery Routines! How much time do you need? What do you do to optimize recovery to get back in the game?
Here's the tricky part: with any spike in activity, how do you recover physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
My maternal grandmother was a hard woman. German by descent, Mims grew up on farmland, now a suburb of Chicago.
I have very few memories of "Mims." Visiting "Mims and Papa's" home in Lake Forest, Chicago, I remember the house being spotless.
Just look at them in their home!
Mims and Papa
The house looked clean. Smelled clean. Felt antiseptic. Everything belonged in its place. It felt like everything stared at you with disdain that you were even THINKING of touching it.
And how tempting is THAT?!?
"Don't touch anything" is a tough request for a curious 5-year old.
But I was a good kid. In fact, some would say charming.
As hard as it was when I went to Mims and Papa's house, I 'colored within the lines.'
I have one poignant memory of my grandmother in that house. My brother and I were sitting on the back steps facing the small grassy backyard. Tall hedge on the right which provided privacy from the close sidewalk....
The pandemic is slamming our world. My neighbor said that just as World War II was the defining event for our fathers, THIS is the defining event for our generation.
That means The 2020 Pandemic is more defining than the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, PacMan, personal computers and the rise of this thing called the World Wide Net.
And here we are, the year of The 2020 Pandemic.
Why is this awful virus defining us?
The 2020 Pandemic impacts every person on the planet. We monitor websites with tallies of Coronavirus cases and deaths. We self-quarantine. We debate masks or no masks. Laws are passed. Schools open, close, open and kind of open. We venture out. We come back in.
These personal decisions can have fatal consequences. We lack reliable and vital information to make life and death decisions.
But still I ask, why is The 2020 Pandemic defining...
Are you an entrepreneur, executive, small business owner?
You have a great product or service, but prospective clients keep saying your prices are too high.
You're inclined to drop your price or provide a deep discount.
Pricing wars happen with commodities. Are you selling a commodity?
Before considering a price drop, examine four strategies to unlock the intangible value of your terrific solution!
Strategy #1: Get in the Head of Your Client
Your prospects are moving away from something and moving towards something better. They want to move painlessly, with little risk and with joy in the journey.
What are your clients most worried about? Link your value to mitigating their Big Risk and you win.
What does your client hope happens when they get to that future better place? That's what's motivating them to act. Call this their Big Why. Link your value to their Big Why and you win.
Strategically linking Big Risks...
I was standing in front of the room with over 60 seminar participants' eyes on me. I had just given my 45-minute presentation on Organization Strategy and Design and a participant asked me this,
"Given your expertise in designing organizations, what do you believe is the most effective organization structure?"
I stepped back and took a deep breath and dropped my head.
I knew the answer but wasn't sure I wanted to say it aloud.
He was looking for a typical textbook answer like functional organization, product-centric, customer-centric structures. Or maybe even the consultant's favorite answer to that type of question,
I looked up. Made eye contact with as many people as I could and my eyes came back to the man standing midway back in the center aisle.
There was an audible gasp.
I carefully expounded. Think about YOUR team or organization. How does your team effectiveness measure up using these criteria?...
I live in Minneapolis Minnesota. In the last two months, my hometown became the epicenter of international attention on the Black Lives Matter movement. When I say this movement hit close to home, I mean literally. My friend, his wife and two sons went to bed to the smell of tear gas in their apartment. Our community has been rocked with protests. Been showered with random acts of kindness. 111 people shot and 7 people murdered since May 25. Beautiful murals painted. A mixture of kindness and outrage!
Our city is boiling. Moving.
Fed up with my own apathy, I reached out to 5 friends. People of Color. Black.
I asked them what we can do as allies to fight for racial equality and justice.
Their answers were respectful and direct. One said she considered not responding to me just so I could feel better about myself. Pause.
Yes, that truth hurt.
In one form or another,...
I was standing at the end of the conference room. Four professors staring at me from around the conference table. Defending my Masters' thesis. Orals Defense. One professor just asked a question about a body of literature in Leadership which I did not include in my thesis. In that exact moment, I realized I had a gaping conceptual hole you could drive a truck through.
This is the moment I feared when I walked into the room 35 minutes ago, shaking their hands with my clammy palms.
I didn't know when, who, what or how it would come up. I prayed it wouldn't happen. Somehow I knew it would happen. As I walked into the room, I imagined this moment was tortuously designed to evoke exactly this specific fear.
I was stumped.
More on that story later…
Fear is one of my least favorite topics. I have two core philosophies regarding Fear:
COVID-19. Pandemic. Ventilators. Social Distancing. Coronavirus Tests. George Floyd. Riots. Police Brutality. Racial Injustice. Political Divide.
Are you screaming, MAKE IT STOP?!
This is … The Attention Economy!
Grab your attention and your time follows.
The most precious resource you have from cradle to grave is your TIME.
Precious Time. More precious than gold, silver, diamonds, uranium, or even astatine (look it up). Yes, even more precious than a yet-to-exist flu vaccine!
We passively sit back on our couches or on our smartphones and let computer-generated algorithms grab our attention.
Media conglomerates use "Breaking News." Fortune 500 and Entrepreneurs use "Pain Marketing." Politicians use "Mudslinging," Rip the other guy to shreds so you don't have to address the real issues. We watch debates to see who drops the most memorable...
A friend of mine recently sent me a text asking for my opinion about Quaker Oats removing Aunt Jemima from their product line. She shared an article with me which was most insightful:
The world knew her as "Aunt Jemima," but her given name was Nancy Green and she was a true American success story. Born a slave in 1834 Montgomery County, KY, she became a wealthy superstar in the advertising world, as its first living trademark.
While in Kentucky, Green was employed by Charles Walker, then an attorney and later a distinguished Circuit Judge. She moved with the family to Chicago just after the Great Fire in 1872.
Walker heard that a friend was looking for a model for the Aunt Jemima character, and he suggested Green who, by that time, had served the family for many years. She was instantly recognized with the characteristics the guy was looking for... charisma, humor, and a fantastic cook.
Green was 56-yrs old when she was selected as spokesperson for the new...
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