New Ideas

There is a problem with trying to bring new ideas into the World.

The problem is the resistance.

The resistance tries to wear you down, so you will stop trying.

At first glance you may think that the resistance is only on the outside.

Systems.

Organizations.

Power.

Resources.

Surprisingly the biggest resistance may not be outside at all.

There is a group on the inside trying to stop you.

The resistance committee of fear, failure, shame, and pessimism do a fine job of wearing you down, and shutting down the new ideas.

The resistance committee wants to keep you isolated.

The resistance committee wants you to think that your new ideas are stupid, silly, and will never be welcomed.

The resistance committee wants to convince you that the World will never embrace you and your new ideas.

But the resistance committee is wrong.

The World is waiting to embrace you and your idea.

The World has Systems that will help you get off the ground.

The World has Organizations that need your new ideas.

The World has Power to move things forward and Power to share.

The World has Resources to invest in you and your new ideas.

Don’t let the resistance committee keep you isolated.

Don’t let the resistance committee convince you that the World is the enemy.

You have new ideas.

The World needs new ideas.

The World needs you.

The Leadership Crockpot

crockpot-step-1

(Images courtesy of Family Fresh Meals)

“Leadership is a lot like cooking in a crockpot.”

“What do you mean?”

“You put all these little things together, but it takes time for them to connect and combine. Eventually you have something.”

The Leadership Recipe is not a quick stir fry.

You don’t become a great leader by reading one book.

You don’t become a great leader by applying one principle.

You don’t become a great leader by learning a little about yourself.

You don’t become a great leader because you own a business.

You don’t become a great leader when you have people to supervise.

crockpot-step-2

Leadership is a long slow process.

Becoming a great leader is the result of many individual items, when combined over time creates something new.

Below is a partial Leadership ingredient list:

  1. Continual reflection on your style: when does it work, and when does it need to be modified.
  2. BPTT even when, or especially when you are busy.
  3. Overcoming Fear and overcoming Fear.
  4. Combating your Narrator.
  5. Understanding differences between people.
  6. Daily discipline.

crockpot-step-3

As these items simmer, you add a few more.

Eventually you have something.

But unlike soup, the Leadership Recipe continually requires additional ingredients.

A dash of understanding.

A pinch of flexibility.

A little spice – to make it interesting.

A healthy few cups of feedback.

Do you want to be a great leader?

Be prepared for a lifetime in the Leadership Crockpot.

P.S. Leave a comment on the key ingredients in your Leadership Crockpot.

Yes

Yes

Yes.

But I am tired.

Yes.

But I want to rest.

Yes.

But I would much rather [insert distraction here].

Yes.

But it will be hard.

Yes.

But I may fail.

Yes.

But people may laugh at me.

Yes.

But I am afraid.

Yes.

But I am not qualified.

Yes.

But I am not ready.

Yes.

Learning to say Yes while wading through the obstacle swamp our minds and bodies create for us may make all the difference.

Pipelines and Pails

PipelinesA2

A friend recently told me a story about pipelines and pails. They learned about this concept in reference to creating a business that pays off in the long-term. The story compares two people one who carries two pails and gets paid for every pail. The second carries pails while spending time building something larger, something greater (a pipeline to deliver water).

If you search the concept you get a nice little cartoon about the difference.

But the concept resonated with me in a different way. I began to think about organizations and processes. I began to think about leaders, managers, and their employees. I began to see how all organizations carry buckets and how some have pipelines.mini-rusty-buckets-6-2

Pails may be a single task, or many tasks combined together. Pails have shape and volume, and specific processes. Pails may be self-generated, or were handed down by the one who came before you. Pails are efficient when the goal is to move a small amount of something from one place to another. However, as a company grows, pails are not enough.

Pipelines are introduced to automate, streamline, and carry more something in the same amount of time. Pipelines allow a company to grow and develop and scale. But sometimes pipelines replace people or at least make them fear their presence.

Trouble may arise when you move from pails to pipelines. At first that change is tough. People got used to their pails. They painted their pails. They stenciled their name on their pails, and their kids helped decorate the little handle. They were used to pails.

The pipeline brought change.

The pipeline brought fear.

The pipeline brought loss.

The transition to pipelines from pails is not always easy. We don’t always give pail carriers time to adjust to the pipeline, or explain why they are needed.

Sometimes explaining “why” helps, and moving slowly towards that new process or procedure or method.

But pipelines do not continue without care and maintenance.

Sometimes pipelines are broken.

Broken pipelines make everyone reach back for their pails.

Sometimes people find a way to shut off the valve, and go back using pails even when they are not broken.

Sometimes that old method, process, or way returns almost without notice.

One day you are standing at the end of a broken pipeline watching people fill their pails.

Think about your organization.

Where are the pails? Where are the pipelines? Where would pipelines better serve the need? Where have pails returned? Why did the move towards the pipeline fail?

I find my mind looking for pails and how to move, scale, change, or break the status quo to ensure pipelines and their impact can be built.

To my friend: Thank You for the perspective. 

Decisions versus Feelings

Whether running or life in general, I have noticed a pattern. Feelings can interfere with our decisions

Feelings can disrupt us.

Feelings often provide the much desired excuse to stop moving forward.

Recently I have just been observing how often I hear myself or others verbalizing how feelings have the veto power over our decisions.

Here is what I found: we say these things all the time.

“I am not sure if I will feel like running later.”

“I will let you know how I feel before I decide.”

“I don’t know if I feel up to doing 6 miles today.”

“Let’s see how we feel before we say yes.”

Who gave feelings this power over us? Who said feelings are ahead of everyone else in the line of importance? I understand that feelings are part of the mix, but when did feelings take the chair at the end of the table? The corner office? When did feelings start running the show?

After noticing this pattern during a recent conversation, I couldn’t help but bring it up.

“I heard you say multiple times that this decision is dependent on how you feel. What is preventing you from making the decision now?”

“Multiple times? Really?”

“Yup.” (I know, I know, great follow-up.)

“Well, I guess it is really fear. Fear of not being able to do it. Fear of not being successful after I put myself out there.”

Fear.

One of the most disruptive of feelings. Fear seems to be elbowing its way to the front of the feelings line.

There is a little secret to put feelings in their place.

Decisions.

Decisions to go for that run ahead of time.

Decisions to take on the project.

Decisions to take a risk.

Decisions to push yourself.

I heard a great quote about feelings:

“Feel what you feel. But do not trust them as objective reality.”

When feelings start elbowing their way to the front of the line, try making a few decisions to put them back where they belong.

P.S. Our little running team made the decision to run the other day when it was below 20 degrees and dropping almost a degree every 15 minutes.

Among Giants

Among Giants

I have a project. An exciting, new project. A project that I have been talking about for months. A project that partners me with another person (someone who is extremely intelligent, organized, and a deep thinker). We met on the project a few times, took notes, and had a game plan with various assignments.

This project has been on my plate for a few months. I started some research, then stopped. I opened the file to start writing, then stopped. I took the folder out of my briefcase, only to put it back in. For whatever reason, I could not “Ship It” or make progress.

Something was triggering this procrastination. I tried to pin down the reason, but could not find the words.

I took a risk and called this partner. We decided to meet.

“I have to confess. Despite the excitement around this project and our discussions, I have not made any progress on my part.”

“Well, to be honest, I have had the same struggle.”

Another risk. The real risk.

“Ok, here is the thing. I am a little intimidated working with you on this project because you know this material and have studied it in more depth, and are so smart, and so…”

“What? You are intimidated by me?”

The reason for the mutual procrastination was revealed. We both viewed the other person as more competent, intelligent, and suited for this project. I am sure some it stems from the “Less Than Default Switch” and this setting skews our perspective of others.

Our conversation continued.

“It is almost as if I am among giants, when I compare myself to others.”

“Exactly, but I am still surprised you feel that way. I understand why I feel that way, but not you.”

Among giants. Our perceptions of others, their abilities, their accomplishments, their status can warp our own self-perception. This distortion can create the fear and insecurity that holds us back from trying, shipping, or stretching ourselves.

They are not actually giants. They are fellow travelers on this journey. But this problem seems older that just me and this project. Older than you and your project, idea, or journey as well.

“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about” Cassius

(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)