Archive for April, 2010

Your View of Options


In a recent blog post by well-known thinker and author, Seth Godin, he provides recommendations for how to deal with options when you find them overwhelming.

He’s talking about the difference between MBTI Judging (J) and Perceiving (P).  J’s seek closure and decision-making while P’s prefer options and openness.

Depending on which is your preference, it is valuable insight into how you move forward and make decisions.  Seth provides some simple, yet helpful recommendations, including:

“If it’s thrilling to imagine the wide open spaces, go for it.

“If it’s slowing you down and keeping you up at night, consider artificially limiting your choices. Don’t get on planes. Don’t do spec work. Don’t work for jerks. Work on paper, not on film. Work on film, not on video. Don’t work weekends.”

I agree with him that, whichever your preference, you just need to do whatever it takes to keep on moving.  Additionally, understanding what your preference actually IS will provide powerful insight you can reuse over and over again.

Happy Journeying!


How Ideas Spread – Insight from ROWE Movement

April 29, 2010 1 comment


Results-Only Work EnvironmentI’ve been following the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) movement for a couple of years.  This workplace philosophy is based on holding associates accountable to results, not to how they achieve those results.  It’s not about creating a virtual work team, but about no longer equating the amount of time a person is at their desk with the actual results they produce.

  • Some people are more productive in a home office
  • Others get the most done at 6 AM in the office when things are quiet
  • Still others wake in the middle of the night with brilliant thoughts they can move forward with

I wouldn’t characterize the spread of ROWE as viral (see original post).  Still, I thought it would be interesting to see how it has been successful in breaking through organizational barriers.  Most recently, ROWE has grabbed governmental attention with a ROWE implementation to take place in the U.S. Office of Personnel Mgmt – creating an opportunity to shape national policy in the future.

Michael Barata - ROWE Zealot

I was fortunate to meet Michael Barata who is a “ROWE Zealot” now getting paid to spread this movement – a dream come true since as he believes it to be the future of work.  I spent a dynamic hour on the phone with Michael laughing and enjoying exploring the characteristics of this movement together.  Following are the key findings from this inspiring conversation about what helps and hinders the spread of  ROWE.

Facilitates Spread:

  • Everyday people are passionate about ROWE – staff level are most common followers.
  • It affects their very lives and livelihood.
  • Spread happens when leaders become interested in something other than the status quo.
  • Adoption of  is not limited to a common set of organizations (mid to small, non-profit, Best Buy, Government, technology).
  • It’s optional.
    • “If you start forcing [ROWE] upon people it can be just as toxic as the current status quo – it just becomes the new status quo.” – Mike Barata
  • Social media (access to information, people, and stories) helps build courage in people who want to make change happen.
  • People find out about it from other followers (in addition to the founders and leaders of the movement) – see How to Start a Movement….
  • Success stories are a powerful way to spread the movement (especially when coupled with social media).

Barriers to Spread:

  • Organizational policies (& even labor laws) do pose a significant barrier that must be broken down.
    • “Many of the beliefs people carry aren’t really their own, it’s what they’ve come to believe by others.” – Mike Barata
  • Opponents who are as loud or louder than supporters (regardless of how logical or illogical the argument)
  • Key stakeholders who don’t buy-in.
  • Some people never really realize that just because something is different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
    • Classic change management principle.
  • When people aren’t willing to stick-it-out through the challenges … there WILL be challenges.
  • The more people & processes required to change in order to spread the idea, the more barriers there likely will be.
    • It’s much simpler to spread ideas that only require individuals to do something (ex: reusable grocery bags).

Find out More about ROWE:

Categories: Idea Spread Tags: , , ,

Living the Question and/or Defining Your Life – Can You Do Both?

April 8, 2010 1 comment


A great conversation with inspiring and thoughtful peers tonight brought forward an interesting dichotomy.  A contrasting set of questions was asked and I found it interesting to look at these questions together.

On the one hand – How are you living in the present?

Are You Living the Question?

It’s a focus on living in the uncertainty of the present and doing so the fullest to see where the journey takes you.  A very “P” perspective (MBTI) that is open to possibilities, that soaks up the process of being open.

On the other hand – How do you define your life?

What’s Your Sentence?

Dan Pink asks this question of 9th graders.  What sentence would you write to define your life?  Can you write this story in 6 words or less, Hemingway style?  This approach is much more “J” oriented (MBTI) in that it focuses on closure, putting a stake in the ground.

What’s Your Dash?

Every tombstone has two dates separated by a dash “#### – ####”.  This question focuses on the dash between the beginning and the end of this life.  Also more “J” oriented.

Is it possible to be present, to be living (and thriving) with the question AND to define your life by writing your sentence or defining your dash?  I am finding that I can write a 6 word story (my sentence) AND am thriving with the question as it shapes the journey to that story.  What space are you in?

Can You Tell Your Story in Just 6 Words?

April 7, 2010 3 comments


My attention was caught by two-month long discussion on the LinkedIn group:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

It was posted by Kway Yu and has generated 610 comments as of today.  The premise of his invitation for folks to tell the story of themselves in just 6 words is based on a statement by Ernest Hemingway, master storyteller, that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

This discussion has inspired hundreds of people to share a story of themselves in just 6 words.  My story right now might look something like:

Compelled to become who I am!


Inspiring change through interaction about ideas.

In an earlier post (The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media), I shared how the use of fewer words is a discipline presented to us by several great historical works (73 words) and one that we are forced to develop through use of modern communication technology and social media such as Texting (160 characters) and Twitter (140 characters).  It is also a discipline developed by those who successfully communicate with corporate executives and by those who give excellent presentations.  Some of the best presentations I’ve ever seen are on where no presentation exceeds 18 minutes.

Storytelling inspires emotion and placement of oneself into the story – it becomes personal.  Steve Denning, storytelling advocate, has had a huge influence on my belief in the power of storytelling (or use of narrative) in business settings in recent years.  Is the art of storytelling making a resurgence?  It’s definitely going through an evolution and technology is helping us to think completely different about it.  I know most of you are at least learning to or mastering the art of communicating in just 140 characters, but can you tell your story in just 6 words?  I invite you to comment &/or Twitter your 6 word story, use #6story.

What is your 6 word story?

While searching for an image of the #6 to include in this post, I came across another blog post from 2008 about a teacher who gave this assignment to his students … check it out, too!

How to Start a Movement, in less than 3 minutes!

April 2, 2010 2 comments


Following is an outline of what Derek Sivers shows in a video during his TEDTalk explaining How to Start a Movement in less than three minutes:

1.  A leader needs the guts to stand out from the crowd and be ridiculed

  • Leadership in a movement is actually over-glorified

2.  It must be about the followers

  • A leader must embrace and nurture the first followers as an equal
  • The first follower is what transforms a known nut into a leader
  • If you see a lone leader doing something great, have the guts to stand beside and follow!

3.  A movement must be public.

  • Three is a crowd and a crowd is news!
  • If you really want to start a movement, have the courage to be a follower!

4.  Must show the followers, not just the leader.

  • New followers emulate the followers, not the leader.
  • If you really want to start a movement, have the courage to teach others how to follow!

5.  Momentum of followers – now we have a movement!

  • The tipping point
  • The more people that join in, the less risky it is
  • They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry

6.  The movement becomes the crowd.

  • Once enough people have joined, the movement becomes the crowd
  • To NOT participate is to risk being ridiculed
Categories: Idea Spread Tags: , ,

FaceBook is Using Info About You, Are You?

April 2, 2010 1 comment


An article in FastCompany, Why Facebook Personality Tests Are Hot with Jung-sters, tells the tale of how a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator-based personality test in FB is seen as a fun and interesting activity for youngsters. (Note the clever play-on-words used in the article title referencing Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist, whose findings serve as the foundation for the MBTI.)

It results in a huge sample size of data being used by Nottingham University student David Stillwell to study how MBTI type impacts a person’s social network an other behaviors of particular interest to marketers.

Talk about a creative use of social media to further research (and solve the sample-size problem that plagues so many researchers) and provide meaningful and useful information in the end.

This story may cause you to say,

Hey!  What are you doing with information about ME?

My response to this reaction is:

Hey!  What are YOU doing with information you know about yourself?

What do you know about yourself?

  • Do you understand your natural communication style?
  • Do you know how you re-energize?
  • Do you know your preference for closure vs. options?
  • Do you know how you feel loved or valued?
  • Have you put into order your preferences to be inquisitive vs. organize vs. create things with your hands?
  • Do you understand how you prefer to interact with others (individuals and teams)?
  • Have you noticed the activities that energize you and those that drain you?

If you did know the answers to these questions, think about how you could use this information to (see also Making the Most of How You are Wired):

  • shape the way you interact with people in your current job,
  • identify the next work you’d like to do,
  • re-shape the way you interact with your own family,
  • redefine the work you do currently,
  • and confidently step forward to something that may seem like a “leap of faith” to those around you, but makes all the sense in the world because it leverages everything you know about yourself!

Proceed boldly, my friends!

Following are just a couple of free or reasonably priced resources that can help you get started to better know yourself:
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter:  Based on same psychological theory as MBTI – provides your type  – 15-20 minutes to complete online (FREE)
  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham – based on same research as StrengthsFinder (test that provides your top five talent themes), but results in information about which current activities in your life are energizing (strengths) and draining (weaknesses) and helps you to re-shape your work to spend more time living in your strengths.
  • True Colors – The book Showing Our True Colors helps you to understand the order and brightness of the four color types for you. This book helps you to understand how others might perceive you and puts words to what you’ve already known about yourself, but might not have been able to articulate.  I even used this with my 12 year-old and it was a fantastic conversation that helps her know herself and has helped to improve the way we interact with each other, too.

ROI of Social Investment … Beware of No “R” on the “I”

April 1, 2010 8 comments


So, I’m learning to be more disciplined in the careful use of word choice, but I also can’t help but be aware of how this “head-first-dive” is also sucking and draining my time.  Here I sit, since 3:15 this morning (it’s now 5:57) with full intentions to work on my final paper for a class, but I’ve probably only mustered 15 minutes worth of work on that priorityprocrastination!

Ok, so maybe I did learn some new things about and via Twitter, I did find some new interesting people to follow, and added some new LinkedIn connections….but it’s NOT what I planned to do this morning, NOT why I set my alarm for 3 AM!  (hubby hates it when I do that)

DigitalTonto recently posted an example of ROI of using social media, sharing the cost of time invested by Pat, the Artist.  We see how Pat obtains value from his social investment (ex’s: overall sales and even selling a piece to Barack Obama) .  What I’m now cautious about is the drain on time and therefore cost.

I often find myself describing time as a commodity:

  • Spent it wisely!
  • People will “spend” their time on what they value.
  • Every spend is a trade-off for something else we could be doing:

Do I workout in the wee hours of the morning or do I write a blog post, or do I get some laundry done?

We must watch out for Investment without Return and find an appropriate balance to leveraging social media – taking control of these tools without losing control.

Categories: social media Tags: ,