Friday, March 30, 2012

What's Holding Back Your Creative Genius?

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done - then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. – Frances Hodgson Burnett

Even though the world is filled with brilliant people that have valuable ideas, this quote is the dilemma that every creative inventor faces. Perhaps this disbelief many idea collect dust on the shelves. 

When you have a new idea, people try to convince you that it is impossible. They tell you that you are wasting your time with nonsense. When they see your persistence and start to understand the benefits of your idea, they begin to have hope.

When all the pieces are almost together, they start to cheer you on. However, once it’s done, they look at you as though any one could have done it years ago.

If you are creative and have great ideas, never waste your time looking for agreement from the masses. If you wait for their approval, you may put off your greatest ideas indefinitely. Instead, take an unstoppable stand and implement knowing that there will be problems along the way. Nevertheless, know that you have the drive and ambition to work through them.

Good luck geniuses!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Should We Embrace Chaos or Fight For Certainty?

Peter Drucker had a profound way of looking at life and its encompassing complexities. He knew that business, government, societal structures, etc. were all intertwined to form a complex system. None of the elements exists independent of the others. Therefore, you cannot effectively provide solutions for one element without addressing them all. He uses weather patterns and quantum physics to demonstrate his point. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

J.C. Penney: Don't Discount the Importance of Setting Goals

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.” – J.C. Penney

In 1979, the Harvard MBA program conducted a study. In interviews with the graduating class, they found that 84% had no specific goals at all. Another 13% had goals, however, had not written them on paper. Only 3% had clear written goals and plans to accomplish them.

In 1989, the 13% with goals earned twice as much as the 84% without goals. The 3% earned a staggering 10 times as much as the entire 97%.

Going to Harvard gives you an edge in the job market. Except, without written goals and a plan to fulfill them, you could end up working in the stock room for J. C. Penney.

Your goals and plans are your personal road map for life. Do you have one? Or are you depending on luck?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How To Avoid The One Hit Wonder Trap

I often talk about creating breakthroughs. While it is fulfilling to accomplish a breakthrough, what do you do once the breakthrough is realized? Too often the thought is to do more, better or different of the same thing. This could be a strategy that has a high probability of getting you stuck in a rut.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can You Let Go of What's Most Important to You?

"The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." - Charles Du Bos

Unfortunately, for most of us, letting go of who we are is like dying. Far too many of us believe we will be nothing if we let go of who we are. Can you step out of the person you have always been and take actions that are uncharacteristic of you?  

One of the most difficult aspects of being a human being is that if you depend solely on what you know, at some point, you will experience tremendous restrictions in life. What we know directly impacts who we are. Why? We develop thought processes and behavioral patterns based on the information we have been given about life. That includes social constructs. In fact, we become attached to what we know and live with certainty that what we know and who we are is good enough. For some, there is the belief that there is nothing better.

At the same time, can any of us be so arrogant to believe that what we know is sufficient enough to handle what we don’t know we don’t know? There are possibilities in your everyday life waiting to be discovered. And what you know may not help you. The only obstacle to those discoveries will be what you know and who you have become.

Can you open your mind to the possibility that you can become a greater you without the you from the past? Be daring. Let go of past behavioral patterns you learned from your environment and explore the richness of the unknown greater you.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

The 90% Rule

If you are committed to working your way up the corporate ladder, you need to clearly demonstrate you have your job handled. However, you also don’t want to be the showboat who has all the answers. To meet that balance, the 90% rule should be part of your strategy. It is an effective way of managing relationships with your direct reports, superiors or board of directors.

Simply stated, it means that 85%-90% of your job is handled by you without input from your boss. In your next meeting with your boss, go into his or her office and say, “I have 90% of my responsibilities handled. I would like some input from you on the remaining 10%.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

Carl Rogers On What It Means To Be Educated

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” – Carl Rogers

While information gives you access to what is already known, it in no way guarantees you will know what to do with it. One action may be appropriate given certain information. Yet, the same information in a different situation may require completely different actions.

Unfortunately, many people take information and try to use it the same way in all situations. Take, for example, the notion that all men cheat. How is that information applied to men who do not engage in infidelity?

If a person has not learned how to learn and change, they may never experience the fact that all men do not cheat, even when they are with a man who does not cheat. If you do not develop the skills to learn and change, there are many possibilities in front of you that you may never experience.

Allow yourself to develop a new perspective. Speak openly with people who do not support your point of view and understand theirs instead of yours. Then find the common ground between the 2 of you. Learn subjects that have little interest to you and look for the relationship it has with what you already know. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are You This Manager? Don't Shoot the Messenger

Friday evening an elementary school buddy of mine called me.  He runs a branch of a company in the service industry.  He has been named manager of the year several times and he runs one of the most profitable branches. While he never brags about his accomplishments, he lets you know he has worked hard to achieve them and is appreciative for the opportunity to be where he is.

The conversation with my friend went something like this:

Friend:  Ted, I need to ask you a question. In the past, I know I have resisted many things you have said to me. However, I need you to know that I do hear you and have tried some of your ideas.

I have a situation at work. It is not that I think something is wrong with me as a manager. I need to understand what happens with employees. I need to know when does an employee become an adversary?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quoted: Washington Irving on 'Misfortune'

Washington Irving

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them."   Washington Irving

At first, it may appear that this is saying misfortune is a blessing in disguise.  However, more to the point, it is saying that whatever occurs is in the eye of the beholder. What we call rising above may have everything to do with an individual’s perspective.

In everyone’s life, something occurs every second of the day. What you see as misfortune and what you see as a great opportunity may have more to do with how you view the world.