The Wisdom
Exchange

With Patrick Mosher

Wisdom from Creaking Rocking Chairs

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Imagine the sound of a creaking door, slowly opening.

Got it?

I was out on our Pine City Property yesterday.  My monthly escape from the bustle of my work and home.  My self-imposed GLORIOUS time out.

Next to me, I hear the crackle of my campfire.  Occasionally geese fly overhead with their honking as they migrate. 

It's the stillness I notice.

And the sound of creaking doors.

An old branch blowing in the breeze, makes the sound of a creaky door.

I stopped for a second to listen.  More than one.  Not constant.  Just …. occasional.  I count four in different directions.

I close my eyes.  Pause.  Waiting for the next creak. 

My imagination drifts with the pause.

I see a grandmother, rocking in her chair.  A loose board in the floor creaks as she rocks forward.  She's doing close work with her glasses pulled down her nose.  Needlepoint or...

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The Impact of a Random Act of Kindness

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I'm dating myself with this story.

I walked out of the restaurant and into the corner phone booth.  If you don't know what a phone booth is, search the internet for it.  The Smithsonian reported in 2015 that a phone booth was put on the National Register of History Places.  Sigh.

On with the story.

There I was in the phone booth.  Completed checking my work voice mails.

Ready to push through the phone booth doors and I stop.  I turn around and decide to put a quarter on top of the phone.  A simple Random Act of Kindness (RAK).  Someone may not have pocket change to make an important call.

Fast forward 6 weeks.

My friend Chris is telling me about a terrible night he had.  Everything was going wrong that day.  You know how those days go.  One thing piles up on another.  That night, he gets hopelessly lost trying to visit a friend and his car gets a flat.  Chris...

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What Do You Want to Be Known For?

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Standing in front of the room of about 30 consultants, I carefully considered how to answer the question.  I had a couple options.  One way to answer the question, I would help these young professionals feel good about their work.  The other answer, probably the more authentic one, would invigorate a few in the room and possibly alienate the rest.

Have you ever faced that kind of dilemma? 

You know the authentic way to go, but there's a clear cost.

At that time, I was a manager in our change management practice.  About six years into my career, I had gained a reputation for doing what we called Change Navigation work.  Most of the change management work was documenting procedures and writing training for large systems implementations.  Change Navigation work was more strategic.  Yes, it included the standard work of documentation, training and communication plans, but more...

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One Sure-Fire Tip for Engaging the Hard Stuff

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My Accounting professor laid my mid-term exam on my desk.  A big fat red "C" on top. 

Did you know you can "C" out of an MBA program?  Yep.  Just one "C" in one class and they can drop you like a hot potato.

I hated going to my accounting class.  Boring stuff.  Zero motivation.  I was in the PhD program for Organization Behavor & Human Resources.  That's the fun stuff.  The exciting stuff.  The dynamic stuff.  People and decision making.

Accounting was just counting and tracking beans.

Ugh

As I stared at that "C," I realized it was staring back at me. 

It was pissed.  Did I just hear it ask, "What are you doing?!?!?"

I took the mid-term exam home and just looked at that "C."  Not at the exam.  Not at the problems.  Not at my incorrect answers.   Just that "C."

"I see you, but what do you want?"  I was almost screaming.

I was...

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The Best Project I Didn't Do

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,...

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Beauty in the In Between

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.

Fabulous! 

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?

YIKES!

I don't...

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7 Up and Nilla Wafers

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!

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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....

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This Message Will Alter the Course of Human History!

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.

Wow!

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...

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Selling Intangible Value

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.

DON'T!!!!

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...

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What Makes an Effective Team? You May Not Like the Answer!

2003.  

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,

"It depends"

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.

"Terrorist Cells"

There was an audible gasp.

I carefully expounded.  Think about YOUR team or organization.  How does your team effectiveness measure up using these criteria?

...
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