Archive

Archive for May, 2011

Embracing Procrastination AND Developing Discipline

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In my quest to better understand how people are uniquely wired so as to better leverage gifts / talents / strengths / type, I learned that chronic procrastination can actually be attributed to certain personality types.  (Ahem … yes, including my own)

 Wow!  It is actually part of how I am wired and that can’t make it wrong, right?  I embrace my procrastination, fully!!!

Yes, there can be benefits to understanding one’s procrastination.  For me, I am EXTREMELY efficient AND effective and even quite creative under the “healthy” tension created towards the end of that procrastination cycle.  I have also come to understand that some behaviors I previously thought were attributed to procrastination in the way I work actually are not.  For example, I cannot just sit down and begin to write or create, I have to learn, think, and talk about it A WHOLE LOT before I’ve formed the idea well enough to begin writing.  Because of the way I mentally process in this way, when I do sit down to write, the ideas are more fully formed and that is part of the reason why I can knock it out so very quickly.

This is just one personal example related to my own unique wiring.  It makes me wonder about others’ and how their unique wiring mixes with procrastination behaviors in different ways.

But what about discipline?  Does a correlation exists between the two?  Do all extreme procrastinators, also consistently lack the ability to develop discipline in all aspects of life?  It can affect home, relationships, health, sleep, spirit, and just about anything else you can think of.

Nothing [is] so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
–William James

After searching for resources on the development of discipline, I failed to find anything connecting the two together.

So, the question becomes:

How do procrastinators embrace the creative attributes that lead to procrastination while also developing discipline capabilities to better work towards and achieve goals?

Maybe there’s another way to look at it, another word besides “discipline”.  This reminds me of the process I use when leading teams through the Go Put Your Strengths To Work process by Marcus Buckingham.  After identifying your weaknesses, look at them through the lens of your strengths.  How might you re-frame weaknesses or use your strengths to accomplish the desired outcome as a way to skirt those weaknesses?

In the same way, how might you analyze your procrastination through the lens of your unique strengths?  How might you even leverage your strengths / preferences / type to overcome some of the negative affects of procrastination while still harnessing some of the creative benefits?

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The Intersection of Social Media, Organization Change, and Complexity Science

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An interesting intersection exists in organizations between social media technology and practices, knowledge management programs (including communities of practice), learning strategy, change leadership, and organizational philosophy about the use of each.

Social media can be leveraged internally in organizations in the form of collaboration systems, learning management systems, blog and tweet tools and social networking tools (whether they are exclusively behind the firewall or leverage public spaces such as FB, LI, and twitter).  Use of these tools in conjunction with a change initiative can also have reciprocal value in that it can increase utilization / adoption of the social tools and processes as well.

Change initiatives within organizations absolutely should consider the social fabric that currently exists, the technology currently available and used within an organization, and the informal leadership that have significant influence via the social network. These should be considered as part of the overall change plan and included explicitly in the form of communication plan tactics and tactics to help identified stakeholders and stakeholder groups to transition along the change curve.

Change management / leadership consultants (whether internal or external) should become familiar with social / organizational network analysis (SNA / ONA), types of web 2.0/3.0 and social technologies available and used within client organizations, and understand how the world of social networking is a critical element of organizational culture and change behavior.  Conversely, the use of social tools and processes in conjunction with a change initiative should be considered in conjunction with an overall organizational social media strategy.

The social world we now must understand and leverage does add a layer of complexity to our work. Understanding organizations as complex adaptive systems (via complexity science) can be an extremely helpful lens as we (consultants) analyze current state and develop change plans accordingly. In the end, it’s all about creating environments where positive change can emerge and social networks often (maybe even always, now) play a central role.

The Perfect Storm for Happiness at Work

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Are you happy at work?  Do your clients speak of their own happiness?  Do your clients increasingly express interest in finding meaning and happiness in their work?

We may just be in the fortunate position to witness and thrive in a Happiness at Work Perfect Storm; a set of conditions that makes workplace happiness possible in partnership with organizational productivity and outcomes.

At the Fall 2010 Colorado Career Development Association conference, Mark Guterman shared about the Changing Paradigm of Work.  He spoke of how work in the late 20th to 21st century is all about mind and heart coordination compared to emphasis on eye & mind coordination or hand and eye coordination from earlier in the 20th century.  Several conditions contributing to this new paradigm can be observed.

A more foundational condition relates to how the chasm between traditional science and spiritually opposing perspectives is shrinking.


Recent scientific explanations about how the brain works speaks to many of the same concepts as spirituality and holistic human views have long demonstrated.  For example, the 2004 award-winning documentary, What the BLEEP Do We Know draws from quantum physics to demonstrate the power of the brain to understand and even influence reality (scientific perspective).  In comparison, the best-selling book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne describes the law of attraction, the power of the mind to attract wealth, health, and happiness (spirituality perspective).

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