Culture Is The Game

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Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like… I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.

Lou Gerster
former CEO of IBM
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? (2002)

Our job as leaders is culture. That is, our job is to constantly steward the idea what value we will pursue, build the team the deliver it, ensure the systems are in place to support that delivery, and have everyone’s predominant focus be on what’s right and what can make it even better.

That’s the whole game.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s image by IQRemix from Canada (FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 – Edmonton) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Getting It Done

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“I have to know or figure it out. Others will judge. I have to make it happen.”

Hmmm.

“I don’t know how it is going to happen. I don’t need to know, really. Others will help. I am excited to see how it all works out.”

We think the former will work but it actually slows us way down.

Instead, set your sights on your goals. Set aside worries and focus on how great it will be when what you want arises. Next overcommunucate what’s needed and how people can contribute. Then build systems to support their work.

That’ll do the trick.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: dview.us Checkered Flag via photopin (license)

Great Results

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Great results occur when we finally see that our real work is to focus on what we want, feel good about what we want showing up even before it gets here [and not caring how it happens], engaging all who matter in win-win, and taking action based on our inspiration.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo courtesy of gDiasasters

Turn Struggle into Flow

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Our worries about how something will get done are merely us focusing on what’s wrong. This, we’ve seen, is a great way to prevent progress. It feels bad and has us struggle through sub-optimal next steps.

Next time you catch yourself with worrying about how, stop. Focus for a bit on what end result you really want, why you want it, and how great it will feel when it happens. Then ask yourself what is the next best thing to do.

You’ll be delighted as struggle turns to flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: James Whitesmith The Strid via photopin (license)

Jellyfish or Jackhammer?

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We can act in response to what we think are other people’s judgments of us. (Yuck.) Or we can act according to what we want. (Lonely.)

Success at work happens when we do the later in service of other people, specifically other people whose problems and opportunities we find compelling.

Both. And.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Thomas Hawk Jack Hammering It via photopin (license)

Stubbornly Undone

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For anything that remains stubbornly undone, the very last place at need to look for answers is between our ears.

Our judgments and beliefs hold both wanted and unwanted situations in place with tenacity. So it makes all kind of sense to replace any attention to unwanted (including complaints, judgments, etc.) with high-buzz attention on what we do want.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: jay galvin Wild Mule Crossing Sign via photopin (license)

Too Many Long Hours is a Symptom

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When we see an organization of good, caring people working hard, long hours, it’s often a symptom: there isn’t enough clarity. 

If we all aren’t clear on our goals, roles, accountability, and permission to collaborate, important decisions aren’t made or agreed to. Then lots of stuff falls through the cracks. And the good, caring people are left to pick up the pieces.

Happens all the time but it doesn’t need to.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’a photo credit: Floris M. Oosterveld Working Late via photopin (license)

How to Have Simple and Effective Processes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Systems
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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

–Albert Einstein

Our companies thrive when we have the simplest possible systems, processes, and policies. Anything too simple would be incomplete and cause confusion and waste. Anything too cumbersome will slow us down.

How, then, would we put Einstein’s advice into practice? It’s simple, of course! For any system, process, or policy,

  • Work back from the desired results. Start at the end and ask, “What do we need to have this outcome?” Then repeat the question until we get to the beginning. Whatever we build will be as simple as possible. Desired results describe what we want to happen for how much investment of time, energy, and money.
  • Add safeguards to address only those potential errors with unacceptably high expected costs (probability of it occurring times cost in relationship currency, dollars, and time).
  • Agree to revisit/redesign the systems, process, or policy whenever the desired results (outcomes and/or investment needed to get those outcomes) start slipping.

Simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: photosteve101 Pencil’s nib / pencil close up / macro / with with cross-section paper via photopin (license)

Hafta Versus Gonna

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There’s a fundamental flaw that makes all time (or task) management awful. When we think about time management, we make the unwitting assumption that we “hafta” do, dump, delegate, or do later all the tasks that come our way. “I hafta answer that email. I gotta give Margie that feedback. I need to lose 5 pounds. I hafta reduce my environmental footprint.” Since there is no way we can ever get to all the things, the tasks just pile up. And we spend energy feeling bad about or trying to ignore it all.

Here’s a better way to think of it: let’s consider all the tasks that come to us as things we might do. From this perspective, we can happily let things pile up. “I might answer that email. I could complete the TPS report. I might book a ride in a helicopter. I could launch a line of parakeet clothing.”

Next, let’s get clear on what we really want to accomplish. We can do this by answering the question, “How will I know I’ve done a good job here?”

Then we step into a productive flow by asking ourselves, “What feels best? From all the things in the pile, what am I gonna do? What do I choose to do now?”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Flow much better, ya?

 

Today’s photo credit: davdenic Colors via photopin (license)