Enlightened Conflict

I’ve accepted that everyone in life

October 16th, 2017

frustrate suffer people business outcomes destroy

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“I’ve accepted that everyone in my life is bound to hurt me but now I have to figure out who’s worth suffering for.”

 

—–

Bob Marley (maybe said this)

 

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Well.

 

When I saw the Marley quote the first time I thought about … well … ideas.

 

Ideas — thoughts about what to do as well as thoughts about oneself.

 

Uhm.

 

I would suggest that ideas … and thoughts about yourself … are inextricably linked together. I say that because behind every good idea, and bad idea, is some relationship between you <the idea creator> and someone else <a possible idea destroyer>.

 

 

intangibe idea yet to be future businessBehind every good idea is a good friend.

 

Behind every bad idea, and thought, is a bad friend.

 

And you know what?

 

It could be exactly the same friend.

 

Friends have an incredible knack for exploiting the cracks & crevasses in ourselves.

 

Why do I think this happens?

 

People, humans, individuals, are much much better at destroying something than they are creating something.

 

It’s not that we enjoy destroying <although there is some inherent satisfaction in taking shit apart> but I just think <know> it is easier.

Why the hell wouldn’t do something that was easier?

 

That’s why in business there are a shitload of people that can destroy ideas, people, thoughts, process, systems & institutions and a significantly smaller group of people who know how to build, create and navigate taking an insight into real action.

 

create to destroy 1

There are derivates of this thought like … “easier to criticize than …” … “easier to edit it than create” … “easier to find reasons to not do than to do” and, of course, “you have to break the pattern to create a new one.”

 

But at the core of all the snazzy little catch phrases is the fact 80% of people <at a minimum> know how to destroy and only 20% <at best> know how to create.

 

People just are better at dividing & destroying rather than effectively combining & creating something that ‘holds’.

 

But.

 

........... Pierre Pauselli ..............

……….. Pierre Pauselli …………..

The biggest thing you have to accept is that some people do it because it is easy and, unfortunately, some people do with a sense of focus, ferocity and frequency that … well … it just isn’t being done because it is easy but rather it is being done because they <a> gain personal satisfaction, <b> derive personal value and/or <c> are one of those people who simply enjoy destroying and dividing because it makes them look smarter (‘bigger’) in their own eyes.

 

Building self-value off of the easy path is kind of like admitting you are willing to be the tallest midget. The easy path, the ‘knee jerk’ path, only can help you reach a certain height.

 

A height? Yes.

 

But let’s say it can only attain a ‘rolling hill’ type height and not a Mount Everest type height.

The hardest paths in Life & business are the ones which offer the highest prizes – the monumental type wins <which offer you the highest self-value prizes also>.

 

Ah.

But my <c> … the ones who simply like destroying.

 

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I stopped holding on to people. I stopped revolving my world around them. If they stay, great; and if they don’t, others will come along and replace them, just like others would replace me.

 

—-

unknown

 

=============

 

 

 

Look.

 

Everything ends <at some point>.

Everyone is gonna hurt you <at some point>.

Nothing ever goes perfectly <at some point>.

Shit inevitably happens <at some point>.

Even creators are pretty damn good at destroying.

And creators don’t always create what they want to create.

Everyone knows how to destroy.

Not everyone either knows how to create let alone even how to create.

 

 

These are the Life truths no one sits you down and warns you about when you are a kid. In fact … many of these are mostly associated with the foibles of telling-truth-piss-you-offadulthood.

 

I don’t know why we don’t tell kids.

Maybe we want them to keep some of their childhood innocence or some stupid shit reason.

 

Shit.

 

I don’t know why we don’t tell adults.

Maybe we want them to keep some sense of the belief that anyone can create, good can come from destruction and ‘constructive criticism’ is a role of the ‘wise.’

 

Destroying shit is easy and you just should accept the fact that people will be more naturally inclined to do it … and not be disappointed or ‘suffer’ it.

 

Other than the assholes who seem to thrive only in destroying, most people are feeling their way through business and Life ‘becoming & unbecoming’ and part of that is learning what to destroy and how to create.

 

Saying that … well … I would say that you should probably very rarely treat someone as a finished human being.

 

And you should just accept the fact they will disappoint you on occasion and that is just a part of Life <and business> you just … well … suffer. Its aggravating and sometimes painful … but it is what it is.

 

====================

“It is not fair to treat people as if they are finished beings.

Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming.”

 

—-

Kathleen Winter

=================

 

Now.

 

THAT said … well … remember the ones I pointed out who only know how to destroy and actually seem to thrive on it?

 

Those you don’t suffer.

..... intelligence.org Nate Soares ...........

….. intelligence.org Nate Soares ………..

Especially in business.

 

In business you accept that people will hurt you and your ideas but there is absolutely a difference in types of hurt and the ‘destroyers’ should be insufferable.

 

Those who have no clue how to create anything and destroy aren’t worth a shit.

 

And you shouldn’t accept one sliver of suffering them.

 

Yeah.

I know.

 

In business some of these assholes actually make it to some senior position under the guise of ‘needed contrarianism’ and they aren’t really a contrarian … they are just simply someone who has no idea how to create anything.

 

And, yeah, you have to suffer them <at least for a while>.

 

But.

Here’s the good part.

 

You can make them suffer.

 

How?

 

Create something they can’t destroy. That kills them.

 

Anyway.

 

In the end.

 

Everyone is going to disappoint you at some point and a shitload of those same people will also hurt you in some way.

 

The truth is, in business & in Life, managing decisions is all about a thorough understanding of the decision’s hierarchy of needs & understanding the attributes surrounding those needs … and doing so in some finite amount of time … then decide that which generates the most rewarding outcome.

 

Uhm.

“Generates.”

 

Not all people can do this.

And, maybe worse, some people find ‘the most rewarding outcome’ is … well … not an outcome, nor ‘generating’, but rather destruction.

 

Just think about that for one last time.

 

If we all truly seek a rewarding outcome in which ‘rewarding’ is multiple in dimension — a rational reward and an emotional reward – it would seem to me that we would only suffer the people who desire this kind of outcome.  Or at least only suffer those actually interested in generating a rewarding outcome.

 

Destruction is not a rewarding outcome to anyone but the destroyer.

 

We should never choose to suffer destroyers.

create destroy pencil

 

 

Be wary … very wary … of those who you struggle to find any rewarding outcomes associated with them but only find they thrive on destroying things.

 

And remember …

 

 

Behind every good idea is a good friend.

 

Behind every bad idea, and thought, is a bad friend.

 

And 90%+ of the people will attempt to kill your idea and it will be up to you, and how you feel about yourself, to create the possibility your idea will not be destroyed.

 

have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss

October 13th, 2017

red shoes_adventure_by_zvaella

 

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“We all have one foot in a fairytale, and the other in the abyss.”

 

—–

Paulo Coelho

 

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My anger at the world coils inside of me.

It’s a directionless seething, there’s no name or face to aim at.”

 

————–

Claire Zorn

 

==============

 

Well.

 

color outside the linesLife demands us to draw a lot of lines.

 

And more often than we would like to admit … it demands we place one foot on one side of a line and the other foot on the other side of the line.

 

That may not sound … well … right.

Or maybe the best thing to do.

It may even sound like I am suggesting you ‘straddle the fence.’

 

This isn’t straddling … this is about being grounded or balancing oneself.

 

If you don’t place one foot solidly on either side, you can be quite easily consumed by the extremes of Life which are, more often than not, found on only one side of a line.

 

If you don’t place one foot solidly on either side, you can be quite easily consumed by others who seek to consume what you may think you don’t really care that much about <but you should … and actually do when you care to think about t enough>.

 

If you don’t you can be quite easily … well … consumed.

 

I guess what I am saying is that Life demands you pragmatically be active in drawing some lines so that you have some sense of when you are getting too … well … “too”. So you can have some sense of … well … where to actually place your feet that is meaningful.

 

Maybe what I am saying is that many of us have no problem ‘making a stand’ but if you really aren’t sure where your line is then it is quite possible you aren’t really sure you are taking your stand in the right place.

 

Maybe think of it this way.

 

It’s kind of like making sure you have things in perspective when you take a stand.

 

It’s kind of like demanding realistic hope.

It’s kind of like demanding some hopeful despair.

It’s kind of like demanding you believe in some fairytales and some abyss-like darkness.

 

It’s kind of like demanding lines for yourself so you can deal with the lines Life is going to demand of you.

 

Look.

 

I don’t really believe there are angry people … they just have so much anger within themselves that their line is drawn differently than others.

 

I don’t really believe there are dreamers … they just have so much imagination within themselves that their line is drawn differently than others.

 

But here’s the deal.

 

You have to draw some lines.

 

draw your lines and choose your side moralThere has to be some reality to ground some imagination.

 

There has to be some truth to ground some questioning.

 

There has to be some principles to ground some rebelliousness.

 

There has to be some fairytaleishness <I made up that word> to balance out some of the inevitable abyss.

 

You do have to have one foot somewhere other than where your other foot resides.

 

I know.

I know.

 

That sounds a little of whack from conventional wisdom because far more often you hear “both feet on the ground” and shit like that.

 

But if you have two feet on the line … well … you have chosen to stand on a thin balance beam and will teeter your entire life. That is tiring & dangerous.

But if you have two feet on one side … well … you have chosen a life of fairytales … or a life in the abyss.

 

All that said.

 

Yes.

 

There are times you draw a line and make a choice to shift both feet solidly onto one side. I would suggest this is a situational decision and not a “living Life” type decision.

 

That is right and that is wrong.

That is good and that is bad.

That is normal and that is not normal.

 

Those are most likely the moments in which Life says “now, in this time and place, here is the line … on which side to you choose to stand?”

I would suggest sometimes we fuck this up by confusing a ‘Life one foot here & one foot there’ decision and a contextual situational decision. What I mean is that in that time and place you may try and keep your fairy tale foot in place and your abyss foot in place … and mistakenly take on a different type of decision demanding a different type of line.

 

That would be a bad decision.empty shoes

 

In that time. in that place. In that moment.

 

You shift your feet.

 

Sigh.

 

I never suggested lines were easy. Just that Life demands we draw a lot of lines. I would suggest that if you do not draw some lines you will find yourself lost in anger coiled within, or maybe constantly living a less than fairy tale life dreaming it all away, or stuck in some dark abyss seeing no way out.

 

Yeah … lines come in pretty handy at times. Pretty handy in managing Life. I can tell you <for sure> that lines can be pretty handy at helping you decide when something should end … and something should start.

contrarian customer-centric thoughts

October 10th, 2017
free-bad-advice-business-blog-contrarian

………. another Bruce contrarian thought piece …….

 

——

 

‘To prosper soundly in business, you must satisfy not only your customers, but you must lay yourself out to satisfy also the men who make your product and the men who sell it.’

 

——

Harry Bassett

 

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“We are all manufacturers – making good, making trouble or making excuses. “

 

——

HV Adolt

 

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So.

 

compete head hurtsI have probably had to think about, and talk about, the business concept of “customer centric” more in the past month or so than I have had to do in the past decade or so.

 

I have seen so many customer-centric presentations over the years that made my head hurt I am surprised my head hasn’t exploded yet.

 

Don’t ask me why but the oft-horridly interpreted and often mis-implemented concept is making a comeback.

 

Customer centric, simplistically, is the concept of creating a positive customer experience at every point of the pre sale, sale and post-sale.

 

It’s a word we’ve been using for decades <dates back to direct marketing in the 1960s & largely credited to a marketing guy named Lester Wunderman> and most of us in business don’t really think too much about it because we think it is kind of an obvious ‘given’ in business.

 

The problem is that customer-centric has been mangled to a point where we actually have to figure out some wacky ways to define it <most people use it in the sense of putting the customer at the center of everything that is done>.

Frankly, I’ve never met a business person who said their company wasn’t customer-centric.

 

Everyone talks the talk <and have convinced themselves they actually are>.

Well.

I imagine the topic keeps coming up because research with customers keeps telling these business people convinced they are customer centric that … well … they actually are not.

customer experience delivery gap Bain-and-Company 2005

 

The most famous of the debunkers is Bain and Company who shared this enlightened graph back in 2005:

 

 

 

It showcases the delivery gap between how customers perceive customer service and/or customer experience and how executives perceive the performance of their organization in that context.

 

 

Suffice it to say … that gap, which can be scarily extreme, debunks the myth of customer centric in practice when a company simply looks in a mirror and says “wow I’m good looking.”

 

Here is where contrarian Bruce steps into this game.

 

Most business people sincerely want to make customers strategically important to how they go about their business, but they also know what they see from most “customer centric experts’ is bullshit.

 

Therefore, they do the best they can and know that … well … theory is difficult to pragmatically, effectively, implement.

 

Here is where I differ from most of the customer centric experts:

 

  • The most important letter in customer centric is “I.”

 

legacy learn imagine hope mctague“I” as in “what I am good at” and “what I can actually do really frickin’ well” and as in “what is my Inner truth.”

 

Oops.

 

None of that is “what does my customer want.”

 

Look.

 

I never suggest ignoring the customer but I do suggest that before you ever sit down and talk about any customer centric things philosophically, and practically, you better be sure you know what you are good at, what you can actually do and what are the ‘truths’ <good & bad> of your own organization.

 

Most experts talk about “customer satisfaction” and I talk about thinking of the customer as someone with ongoing annoyance interspersed with occasional boredom and indifference.

 

Whew.

Now that sounds tough for any business person out there <and slightly depressing>.

 

But I tend to believe rather than try and build some rosy view most businesses should face … well … reality.

 

The reality is that once you establish customers SHOULD have high(er) expectations they are bound to go largely unmet.

 

Sorry.

That’s truth.

 

That is an unfortunate truth because the majority of customer centric practices choose to try and establish their own “best” to be judged by and … uh oh … they rarely actually keep up with the actual best of the best <because that “isn’t our positioning or what we are about” or because “oh, that is not our industry” or they simply just cannot match the best of the best>.

 

Setting high expectations means meeting the expectations of “customers” who will define everything by … well … EVERYTHING they encounter & experience.

A B2B customer will start thinking “experience” based on how the Starbucks barista treats them or how the Apple online assistance rep treats them.

 

Yup.irritation indifference

 

If you follow much of the customer centric bullshit being fed you, you will end up facing well informed customers who will be in a perpetual state of indifference and/or irritation.

 

  • Indifference will hit those customer centric practices that customers know are underperforming, and that they can avoid due to sufficient availability of the best of the best. If you’re working for one of those underperforming customer centric practices, the scary thing is not just selling less (or nothing). It’s that indifferent customers will stop being forgiving; they will stop being cooperative and giving you feedback on how to be more like other, better performing competitors. They’ll just leave and never return, without telling you why.

 

  • Perpetual irritation is just as bad: this will occur when customers are forced to buy from an underperforming customer centric practice, due to limited or no availability of what they already know is the best of the best.

 

 

In this light, pay special attention to fake loyalty and postponed purchases:

 

 

  • Fake loyalty: customers will continue to purchase from underperforming customer centric practices if the ‘real thing’ isn’t available. To the underperforming customer centric practices, all may seem quiet on the western front, until the best of the best suddenly does become available. Good examples of fake loyalty can be found in the airline industry: millions of frequent flyers around the world know that Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Emirates offer a superior experience, but since these airlines don’t fly on all routes, customers have no choice but to fly with subpar airlines now or then, or all of the time. Count on them to vote with their wallets every time new routes are added by these ‘best of the best’ carriers, even if they’ve never flown with them before.

 

 

  • Postponing purchases: some ‘best of the best’ customer centric practices like Apple actually manage to indirectly convince customers to postpone certain purchases. Many customers would rather wait for the iPhone or MacBook Air to become available, than to buy a new phone or laptop.

 

So … what should someone do?

 

The power of “I.”

 

inner truth brand position - Copy

….. Bruce’s consumer version of Inner Truth ………

Let me start with a Brucism — I have not found a lot of successful businesses that suck at everything.

In other words … if you have had some success, particularly if you have had some sustained success, it is likely you have <a> some significant expertise in something and <b> pleased some customers in some ways.

 

I am relentless on having businesses find their Inner Truth. It is often a difficult discussion <because it means admitting you are not good at everything> but by finding, isolating an embracing your business Inner Truth it permits the business to find its value core.

Once you find your value core you are able to insure you foster the attitudes & behaviors that feed into that value equation.

In addition, it insures the business leverages off of that foundation for any new ideas or “asks” of the organization itself with regard to new behaviors and decisions.

 

I have said this before and I assume I will say it a gazillion times again … “stop wishing you were something else and start loving who you are.”

That’s sounds like some bullshit Life coaching advice but the truth is more businesses, especially the ones who start discussing customer centric philosophy, should embrace this advice.

 

To be fair <before I begin my constructive enlightening rant> … the foundational aim for any customer centric practices has been and remains the same as always … to express singularities which consistently distinguish the offering of products and services.

 

And within these singularities … or distinctness … people will seek values, leadership, assurance, clarity … and personality <or character>. Maybe better said … some promise.

 

 

Growing a customer centric practices means it has to fulfill a clear promise. Promises are simple and complex. But suffice it to say, in this case, you make a promise and deliver upon it. Simple as that.

 

Here are some basic steps simplify <or at least clarify> some things that make up the foundation blocks for growing the customer centric practices based on “the power of I”:

 

company assessment

The first step in growing a customer centric practices is to assess the customer centric practices ‘parent’ <the organization itself>. There are several methods for obtaining this information from the end-users but suffice it to say that if you don’t know your company <culture, belief system, aspirations> you will never rear your customer centric practices properly. Never has the quote “be true to thineself’ ever rung more true.

 

good and bad research pepsi

research

Whether you think you need it or not … do some ongoing research.

Research will not only provide qualitative information from key stakeholders, including internal and external customers and influencers, but also flesh out the raw concept that resides in the vision.

The number of interviews will vary according to the typical number of end-users that would have an opinion about your company’s image as well as those ‘inside’ who have an image of what you do well.

The total number of potential end-users may be very small in b2b compared to a consumer product such as toothpaste but suffice it to say you seek to find the gaps & non-gaps of expertise between the organization and end users.

You are seeking some consistent feedback … so you hear the same feedback over and over.

The information collected from the survey is the foundation on which your customer centric practices platform will be established. You may find that once all the results are summarized, the information is very much in-sync with your organization’s internal perception of itself.

 

<note: don’t fool yourself into believing the exercise was a waste of time or a worthwhile effort in this situation … it is not only a sanity check but it also alleviates a lot of second guessing at a later date and plays a significant role in aligning everyone on what matters>.

 

 

Anyway.shared intentions lead people

 

In my experience … 90% of most customer centric discussions that businesses are faced with will begin with the customer.

 

That is the wrong place to begin.

 

Everything begins, and ends, with who you are and what your expertise is and what you can actually deliver. Beyond that … well … customer centric is worthless if you don’t get that right and accept, and embrace, that.

 

 

 

 

Which leads me to the next thing most customer centric experts never tell you <and I am fairly sure most of them don’t think about>.

 

  • Accepting Unevenness.

 

Unevenness?

What do I mean?

customer centric model

 

Well.

 

 

It seems like almost every customer centric discussion seems to incorporate some circle, or some 360degree view, in which you envelop a customer with all the love <functional and emotional> they need to create the utmost satisfaction and undying loyalty.

 

Unfortunately that is just theoretical bullshit because reality is just not that neat.

 

Just as there is no such thing as a well-rounded person there is no well-rounded business in the reality of … well … the real business world.

 

Most customer centric bullshit suggests you need to not only protect yourself on all fronts but also ‘project yourself’ on all fronts.

 

This is crazy.

 

Businesses don’t build themselves that way. Shit. People don’t build themselves that way. You are good at some things and not a good on others.

 

That said … the underlying absurdity in most customer centric modeling is in its suggestion of ‘evenness.’

customer centric learning concept knowledge ignorance

 

The traditional customer centric circle diagram concept suggests you push everyone out toward what they don’t know <boundary of ignorance>.

 

However.

 

Enlightenment, and gaining knowledge to overcome ignorance, is just not that neat.

In fact … it is frustratingly un-neat.

 

Frustrating in that every time you learn something … ignorance still remains … outside your existing knowledge base. And this translates into a state of being perpetually dissatisfied <or the glass is never completely full with knowledge> which obviously can be either encouraging, or discouraging, with a person’s attitude to continue learning.

 

Businesses consistently attempt to fulfill their role in this ‘customer centric process’ by focusing attention on the inside of the circle and keeping everyone carefully inside the boundaries. They do this under the guise of “company consistency.”

 

I imagine the good news is that this helps keep employees from falling off the edge into irrelevant material & learning <and it insures all employees gain knowledge in a logical order> but it also, negatively, impedes upon <a> the way most individuals gain knowledge (which is they follow what interests them) & <b> any knowledge or learning that could be attained outside the sphere of consistency.

 

But here is the really bad news.

 

Organizations are not neat round circles of knowledge. Why? Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, organizations are made up of people, not concepts or robots.

 

As I first wrote about back in 2010  <and have spoken on the topic a number of times> the truth about people is that they become more expert and informed on certain topics at the expense of others. The well rounded circle that might have characterized the “perfect customer centric organization” needs to be replaced by … well … reality.

 

circle of knowledge customer centric learn expertise

The reality of any organization is one of a profile of an expert <or passion on a topic> in some particular domain, and not others, and therefore you will never end up with a perfect circle but rather an ellipse or some wacky trapezoid <or something>, in other words, the circle of knowledge & expertise of any business has inconsistent edges/boundaries.

 

 

 

What this means is that organizations are more like uneven spikey boundaries of expertise & knowledge organisms.

Thinking about your organization with regard to attempting to implement some customer centric concepts will help a business better understand their learning flaws, and learning challenges, but maybe more importantly … better understand their areas of expertise.

 

I say all that because you invariably need to grow your customer centric practices … well … unevenly.

 

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“In short, not only are things not what they seem, they are not even what they are called!”

 

———

Francisco de Quevedo

 

==============

 

 

 

Lastly <leveraging my last thought off of the unevenness point>.

 

In a hypercritical world <online critiquing driven world> 360degree perfection is a fool’s errand … and, frankly, impossible.flawed and still worthy optimal new people best

 

The more successful path to being the best you can be is … well … be the best you can be on the things you know you can actually be the best you can be day after day after day.

This builds value and believability.

 

Unfortunately most customer-centric gurus start this discussion in the wrong place.

They almost always begin by identifying “weaknesses” or “where we need to improve/be better”. In other words … they begin with what is not an inherent expertise, or something the employees apparently don’t particularly want to do, and make a decision to invest energy attempting to make the organization … well … something they are not naturally.

 

Unfortunately most customer-centric gurus start this discussion in the wrong place.

Customer centric discussions far too often focuses solely on those pesky demanding customers <remember indifference, irritation and unrealistic expectations>. In other words. You are likely to be chasing perpetually dissatisfied, or indifferent until they are dissatisfied, people.

 

That is crazy. Absurd.

 

The better way to be the best customer centric organization is actually to identify what the company does best, that increases customer satisfaction, and say “how can we make our best better” <so we can ‘own’ that expertise>.

 

Some people may read this as “settling.” Or if they want to be harsher suggest that I am stating something ‘lesser than’ a best customer service focused organization.

 

I would tell these ‘some people’ I am a pragmatist and have a tendency to focus on the truths of reality.

 

What do I mean?

 

ideas break the mold new think conformLet’s face it.

 

In the past a company <or their customer centric practices> could get away with not performing at its peak on some things.  Or maybe taking a day off performance wise.

You could because customers didn’t experience full transparency of the best, the cheapest, the first, the most original or the most relevant.

 

Well.

 

That’s all over.

 

And things are bound to get even more radically transparent. I wrote about this years ago and called it “the expectation economy.” http://brucemctague.com/expectations-as-an-economy   Reality dictates you focus on the few things you can master and be an expertise on, offer expectations on those, don’t overpromise on others <even if competitors do> and be ‘customer centric’ by being authentically honest where you are consistently okay and authentically set expectations where you can deliver upon a ‘customer centric promise’ day in and day out.

Reality dictate your customer centric philosophy comes to life in an uneven pattern which actually can stand under the scrutiny of spotlight criticism.

 

In the end.

 

Let me go back to the most important letter in customer centric is “I.”

In this case it is “ideas.”

 

Ideas are the new currency in business, any business, including the service business. If you have a business focused solely on “making the customer happy” you are on a fool’s errand. In today’s interconnected world expectations <and what makes a customer happy> are driven not by your competition nor any realistically relevant industry benchmark … but rather by whatever that customer has uncovered anywhere in the world to establish a benchmark.

If you and your business try to ‘follow the customer expectation’ one-by-one … well … one will quickly become a ‘none’ <as in out of business>.

 

Regardless.

 

Suffice it to say if you are not in the business of generating new ideas to refresh your ‘customer centricity’ you are not competing in the same world as the rest of the businesses out there.

 

I end today’s thought on customer centric with that last one sentence paragraph because inherent in almost any customer centric discussion is NOT any discussion on ideas but rather “satisfaction.”

 

Satisfaction, at its core as a concept, is about “reaction.” In other words, if I am seeking to increase customer satisfaction I therefore seek ways to understand how I can do it <from them> and … well … do it.

 

Ideas are proactive.

 

And maybe that is the most important word, and thought, in this entire diatribe – proactive. 90% of the customer centric presentations I have ever seen have dripped with ‘reactiveness’ … reacting to what customers want in order to make them happy & satisfied <assuming your ultimate value is driven somehow by effective reactiveness>.

 

This makes my head explode.value timeline

 

Reactive value is the lowest value you can achieve.

Conversely.

Proactive value offers you the highest value you can achieve.

 

I will not argue that an effective customer centric organization has to have some good reactive mechanisms in place to show responsiveness to needs but I will argue with any customer centric expert who stops there. True customer centric business is beating the customer to the spot – with ideas, solutions and service.

That is a proactive model. And that is what maximizes value to a customer, breeds real loyalty and … well … insures the business itself constantly pushes out on its own boundaries of ignorance by increasing its circle off knowledge.

 

Anyway.

 

What I do know … or am 90% sure … is that you will not hear or read any of this from the traditional customer centric ‘experts.’ That either makes me a moron or … well … a contrarian.

 

=====

 

“I am the sea and nobody owns me.”

———-

Pippi Longstocking

 

In the battlefield of ideas (gerrymandering version)

October 10th, 2017

 maze-sledge-hammer-idea-thinking-business-light-bulb-breaking-thru-eos

======

 

Richard Lugar <Indiana senator for 35 years>

 

It takes courage to declare dozens or even hundreds of positions and stand for office, knowing that with each position, you are displeasing some group of voters. But we do our country a disservice if we mistake the act of taking positions for governance.

They are not the same thing. Governance requires adaptation to shifting circumstances. It often requires finding common ground with Americans who have a different vision than your own.

 

======

 

So.

 

This is a followup to my battlefield of ideas society version — on gerrymandering.

 

Gerrymandering is being discussed at the Supreme Court level in the United States.

 

Here is the one thing I have not heard discussed, yet, when debating gerrymandering – a desire to create battlefields of ideas.

 

Let me explain.

 

Inherent to gerrymandering is a lack of conflicting ideas to debate. When there is no ideology to compete against the one which will … well … win … then the only ideas which are discussed are the ones that people already deem to be worthy already <this is an ideology discussion and not a battle of ideas>.ideas trapped trapped politics life change business

 

This creates an environment in which a citizenry gets trapped in the same doom loop of existing ideas and ideology never to be freed to view new ideas <or unearn the ones they currently have>.

 

Gerrymandering is driven by politics in America which is an eat or be eaten world.  I could, and will, suggest this is not only not healthy for democracy it is also unhelpful to progress.

 

====

 

“The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman think about the next generation.”

 

James Freeman Clarke

 

====

 

I would be arguing to the Supreme Court <and most likely would be laughed out of the court> that democracy is about progress and gerrymandering is not about progress. My rationale for that argument is that lacking any real battle of any ideas there is no progress.

 

But, maybe more concerning, is that if you do not battle over ideas the people, the citizenry, become intellectually hollow. I am not suggesting everyone needs to be an intellectual but I do believe people should be more invested in a better understanding of facts, ideas & pragmatic realities versus ideological opinions & perceptions of truth.

 

Look.

Simplistically … I think this is what people want in a candidate from an economic & success standpoint:

 

  1. Correct identification of the actual, major problems.

 

  1. Plausible, workable solutions <ideas>.

 

best worst people think idea do live lifeI am not sure we want Politicians who deal in the pragmatic reality of governing and how it matters to the everyday business & person … but that is what we need.

 

Without a battlefield of ideas, which gerrymandering eliminates, we don’t discuss what we need … we end up discussing what we want.

 

That is bad.

 

I listen to the rantings of politicians who seem far more caught up in ideology and party positioning than they do in honestly meeting the deep challenges of our economy, the needs of our people, and caring for an environment which is capable of sustain our children’s children.

 

I listen to the rantings of politicians discussing what is right and what is wrong <with regard to citizen assistance> and then witness hurricanes, wildfires and poverty destroying lives and property and then begin to question our priorities when we are unable to respond adequately.

 

Gerrymandering should be discussed not as a structural democratic decision but rather a societal “idea debating structure” discussion. We should be discussing that we want a voting construct which actually FORCES a battle of ideas so that we, the people, can be sure we actually GET the best ideas.

 

I want to listen to the rantings of politicians who are caught up in ideas and the battle to articulate their ideas so that … well … we are here because we have a better idea.

 

What would I do?

Back on February 1st 2016 I offered this thought:

 

  • Stop districting voting blocks.

 

Having republican voting blocks <districts> and democrat voting districts is reckless thinker doer idea workcrazy.

Make a politician win the popular vote in the area they will be representing is in that district. All the people.

I don’t want a republican county or a democrat county … I want a ‘people county’ selecting by popular vote a person to represent their county interests.

Oh.

If you do this, it permits you to choose ALL politicians by popular vote <President included>.

In almost every Gallup poll since 1944 only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state <about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided>.

Regardless.

Politicians designed redistricting so that politicians could benefit. This is political reengineering at its crudest and worst.

What bullshit.

If we are truly a Republic <which USA is> than the people should design district policies and idea <so that they encapsulate their needs and wants – schools, taxes, infrastructure, etc.> and then by popular vote select a representative who wins the battlefield of ideas.

Remove districting as a variable.

I don’t want a district predestined to select a specific party.

I want voting districts to become battlefields of ideas not partisanship.

 

—————————

outside the box realism idealism think ideasThat was just a thought.

 

I also believe we should have mandatory voting.

 

If I truly believe I have a societal problem in that people are not invested enough intellectually in the ideas that matter to them and to the country then maybe I should enforce some involvement.

 

Do I believe everyone will be an engaged spectator in the battle field of ideas?

No. Of course not.

 

Do I believe MORE people will be an engaged spectator in the battlefield of ideas?

Yes. I surely do.

 

In the end.

 

What I would like is someone who doesn’t insult me with superficial promises and silly diatribes that stoke fear.

 

What I would like is someone who doesn’t insult the intelligence of any and all people and a political system which not only does NOT encourage this but actually penalizes politicians who pander.

 

What I would like is for political campaigns to become battlefields of ideas.

 

I would also like a leader to … well … lead in this discussion.

And … well … Trump is not that leader. He continues to not want to battle on ideas but rather try and win battles by process & procedure <and pandering and superficial promises>.

Frankly, this does nothing to improve society or true understanding of what is right or wrong.

 

And … well … Obama was that kind of leader. He continued to battle on ideas. He didn’t always win but he battled on ideas. Just as a reminder <because there is some untrue criticism of Obama with regard to Fox News> this is what he said in an interview with Bill O’ Reilly:

 

What Obama actually said about Fox:

 

Asked if he was unfair to Obama, the president responded to O’Reilly: “Of course you are, Bill. But I like you anyway.”

“This list of issues you asked about – they’re defined by you guys in a certain way,” Obama continued. “But this is OK. If you want to be president of the United States, then you know you’re going to be subject to criticism.”

 

 

I bring up the Obama/Trump comparison to state that while I wish we had a ideas break the mold new think conformpresident who would encourage a battlefield of ideas … we do not.

 

Therefore I think the entire gerrymandering discussion takes on a completely different hue. It shouldn’t be about who wins from a political party perspective but rather who wins on the battlefield of ideas.

 

The only way I know to do that is to drive debates in a geography which demands some aspects of centrist-type ideas and , inevitably, to a more centrist position where people begin to understand compromise, the trade offs of ideas and neighbor’s wants & needs and wh0 & what represents a greater good rather than “what I think.”

 

And the only way I know to do that is to eliminate gerrymandering and use whatever basic districting which creates a mish  mash of … well … parties, races, incomes, whatever … and force a battlefield of ideas.

 

in the battlefield of ideas (society version)

October 10th, 2017

 thunder lightning ideas storm dark business

=======

 

 “The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas — the appropriate response is a better idea.

 

We are here because we have a better idea.”

 

—–

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria

 

===================

 

“It’s no longer the case that technologies of communication merely accelerate the public discourse, they now ensure that every possible public discourse happens simultaneously. It’s not one damned thing after another. It’s every damned thing all the time.

And so in place of a deliberative democracy, in which we as a people could acknowledge, and even tolerate, our differences while working through complex tensions at a pace consistent with social cohesion, we get a no-holds-barred battle royale in which all things are always at stake — in which we’re fighting every culture battle, past, present, and future, right the hell now.”

 

—–

Daniel Foster

 

===============

 

Ok.

 

Hugh's Missing the Point

 

I tend to believe everyone knows that we are in a world in which ideas are getting the shit kicked out of them.  For the majority of people ideas float on the superficial surface of our awareness waiting for us to pick one out when it catches our eye.

What that means is rarely do we do any deeper dive to see what else may lie under the surface.

 

This is happening for a variety of reasons … but the one that bothers me the most is the overall lack of interest in ‘deliberative discussion.’

 

It seems like in the battlefield of ideas it is a kill or be killed world in which we instantaneously shoot one death ray, attempt to deflect the one which was launched at us, and assumes, in this assault, only one walks away alive.

 

Ideas do not fare well in battles like this.

 

The battles in which ideas thrive are the grind it out battles. The ones in which there is an ebb & flow with strategy and strategic maneuvering and there are … well … strategic compromises made in order to win or achieve the objective.

 

As I have said before … to truly win on the battlefield of ideas you actually need ideas communicate media training shrinkingto suffocate bad ideas, suffocate objections and suffocate ignorance not by shouting <which just adds oxygen to a room and an idea> but rather by squeezing the air out of the idea.

 

But in order to do that you need to engage in deliberative discussion and … well … not be a coward.

Battles are for neither the lazy nor the cowardly.

 

 

Deliberative discussion means you just cannot randomly pick up an idea off the superficial surface and walk away.

 

You need to engage … well … deliberately. You need to step onto the battlefield of ideas <either as an engaged spectator or a deliberate contestant>.

 

And maybe this is where I get most grumpy with ‘we the people.’ While we may have a shitload of good excuses it almost seems like the majority of people deliberately resist the invasion of ideas.  This almost takes as much effort & energy as actually deliberately participating in the invasion of ideas.

 

This grumpiness on my part made me revisit something I wrote back in 2016:

 

The conflict of ideas does not have to reside in any open debate. You don’t even need another person. Ideas invade in any number of ways. They plant themselves in boxes you have forgotten you even had. They grow to a point where you cannot ignore them anymore and begin to battle existing ideas you have. It becomes … well … a war between learning and unlearning … new and old … what you knew and what you know.

 

I imagine my point is that we are on the battlefield of ideas whether we choose to deliberately be there or not.

 

In general, I this means we are failing society if we do not deliberately participate in some way.

 

In general, this means we are failing society <and ourselves> if we deliberately  curb the ‘art of the idea battle’ by deliberately deciding to  curb the art of critique & criticism <which is at the core of the deliberate discussion>.

 

This is almost societal malpractice on our part because criticism has a role in an effective battlefield of ideas in that it tends to hone the point of attack and … well … sharp edges break through ignorance & well-formed opinions.

 

Some would call this “the ability to unlearn.”

 

But ,maybe more importantly, by avoiding this battlefield of ideas we have ceded the ground to not only the cowards but also the assholes. The ones who do not seek to battle over real ideas but rather simply to win an opinion <note: opinions CAN be ideas but real ideas are rarely just opinions>.

 

Look.

 

business i have come to do battle legacy defineI have nothing against my idea winning <in fact … I like it a lot> but I imagine my point is that the bar for acceptable good behavior to win has dropped significantly.

 

Studies show it.

 

Shit.

 

Just watch the people around you or watch some tv and you will actually see it.

 

And this lack of acceptable behavior affects how we battle. And, well, that matters because a battle poorly fought means ideas lose or suffer and opinions <and assholes> increase their odds of winning.

 

Anyway.

 

I think we all know that Life isn’t just solely about winning and losing … and this is even more relevant on the battlefield of ideas.

 

I think we all know that some basic good behavior isn’t something that needs to be dictated but rather it is simply something good for common humanity within a population with a desire to have better things and do better things than we are doing today … and this includes better ideas.

 

I think we all know that behaving well, at least relatively speaking the majority of the time, has a reward that may not always show up in pride, power & pay but rather almost always in dignity, honor & … well … certainty … and this is important in the actual battle of ideas.

 

I would argue that the three things I just outlined matter a shitload because if we do this then we will … uhm … treat ideas more fairly and less divisively … even as we battle over them.

If we do these things,it tends to lead people to an overall belief, and understanding,  that the idea is fairer for the greater good & society, that the institutions <and the people battling the ideas in the institutions> will treat them more fairly and the world, in general, will end up treating them more fairly <because the ideas are fairer and better understood>.

 

Ah.debate feel facts stories battle of ideas

 

Better ideas better understood –that is the outcome of not only behaving better on the battlefield but permitting a real battlefield of ideas.

 

I do believe we are behaving more badly.

Suffice it to say that if everyone took one step back and viewed the battlefield of ideas and the behavior on the battlefield and viewed the wide spectrum of current behavior from good to heinous, well, it just doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

 

Not only are there not a shitload of pretty ideas out there being battled over but how we are battling ain’t so pretty either.

 

Frankly, we are acting more like assholes every day.

 

Even the people who are trying to stand up against the assholes.

 

And in doing so while societal discourse suffers the largest loser in all of this assholishness are the ideas.

 

==================

 

“Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”

 

———-

Barak Obama

 

===========

 

Lastly.

 

With all of this assholishness behavior floating around and ideas suffer … you have to hunker down and understand it’s not personal … it’s about ideas.

 

I know. I know.

Conceptually this is a tasty high road we like to offer everyone who sits at the idea table.

Realistically … well … this one is difficult to swallow.

 

On the battlefield of ideas while the ideas can often do some mighty hand to hand combat far too often the messenger gets personally attacked.

 

But.

 

Here’s the deal.

 

I could care less if I turned on the TV and saw Bruce McTague sucks on every channel I went to. Sure. It would sting but, well, at least in the good ole USofA I have the right to speak my ideas and have the opportunity to rationalize my ideas … and others have the right to criticize … me & my ideas.

 

It’s not personal.

 

At least it’s not if you believe it is a battlefield of ideas and not a battlefield of people ideas think light business‘messengers’ or personalities.

 

We need a battlefield of ideas. And we need this battle to be fought every week, every day, every hour and possibly every minute.

 

Why?

 

The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas — the appropriate response is a better idea. We are here because we have a better idea.

 

We deserve not only better ideas but the best ideas. And the only way I know to get the best ideas is … well … to have a battlefield of ideas. The world, and society, would be a much better place if we actually stopped battling over meaningless things and battled more over the truly meaningful things — ideas.

 

the oversimplification crisis

September 11th, 2017

 

occam economy choice simplify

====================

We miss out on the value of the message itself as a vehicle for driving virality.”

 

Jonah Berger

 

==================

 

“Say something meaningful in an interesting way.”

 

Bruce McTague

<author of “the shortest business book ever written”>

 

===================

 

 

So.

 

 

oversimplification wrongThis is about how we have a simplification crisis.

 

 

Ok.

This is about how we have an oversimplification crisis.

 

This crisis is making us … well … stupid.

 

 

Ok.

This crisis is making us stupider.

 

 

Look.

 

What I mean is that in a world in which we know that everything is complex, and more often than not, more complex than our own pea like brains can handle, we unerringly swerve toward simplistic headline conclusions and oversimplifications and absurd bullet point conclusions.

 

This surface skating intellectualism just makes us stupider.

 

Now.oversimplify assumption risk life business

 

We may convince ourselves we do this simply as a mental survival technique but I would argue, and I do, that it actually is the opposite of a survival technique … it is destructive behavior. It is destructive in that it destroys the overall thinking of what is actually a population quite capable of being intelligent, if not intellectual.

Yeah.

It makes us stupider.

 

I thought about this the other day because I have conversations with some incredibly smart and talented people who know a shitload more about more things than I could ever imagine and this topic came up. I note the smartness of these people to highlight how unusual it is that I can say something that actually can make a group of these people stop, be silent and then go “hmmmmmmmmmm.”

It is a rare thing.

 

And, yet, it happened the other day.

 

After some extensive conversation on North Korea, global trade challenges, Trump <of course> & foreign policy we opened the discussion to “what is the biggest challenge facing us …”

 

My thought drew some <thoughtful> silence.

 

I said “oversimplification.”

 

To me … oversimplification misleads and creates bad decisions and, worse, creates bad thinking <which leads to bad opinions, attitudes and thoughts>.

 

And I offered a couple reasons why I believe this is happening <I did this because if you can identify the issues you can find solutions>:

 

 

We have convinced ourselves we do not have time for complex

 

 

big fat waste of my time business show for itGoing back to the ‘destructive behavior’ thought I shared earlier …  oversimplification is anything but efficient. It actually demands more time in a variety of ways. The two simplest ways it does so is <1> the time we over invest attempting to isolate the simplest version of what is anything but simple and <2> the amount of time & energy we have to invest explain everything beyond the simplistic tripe initially offered, to thwart misguided behavior & reactions to the oversimplified offering & to redefine the oversimplification into bifurcated parts of the oversimplified whole.

 

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that we all have shorter, and shortened, attention spans.

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that people best retain “one thing.”

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves in our perceived “never enough time” world we have to topline everything <to fit everything in>.

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that in a blizzard of nonstop things constantly vying for our attention the only way to capture someone’s attention is in some pithy soundbite.

 

Basically we have convinced ourselves that hollowing out an idea and a thought actually benefits not only the idea and the thought … but us!

 

This is fucking nuts. Absolutely crazy.

 

Unfortunately, and truthfully, some things are just too complex to communicate in a sound bite or in 3 seconds or less.

 

No matter how brief and simple you want to make it … well … it is neither brief nor simple. It is complex and sometimes the opposite of brief.

 

It isn’t just about telling a story.

 

Nor is it just about finding influencers to broker the story.

 

Nor is it just about practical value.

 

Nor is it just about emotion.

 

Unfortunately it is a combination of those things. Yeah. Effective communication is … uhm … complex.

 

 

We have convinced ourselves that simple & simplicity is reflective of common sense.

 

 

time to do it right do it overI admit.

 

I have never been shy about calling bullshit on the simplistic tripe being spewed under the guise of ‘expert advice’ or ‘common sense.’

 

That said.

I will suggest no topic has  been tortured more by common sense than simplicity.

 

 

Common sense suggests the simplest thing is the best.

 

Common sense suggests it is easier for a person to remember one thing and one word.

 

Common sense suggests in a complex world we humans crave simplicity.

 

Common sense suggests in a busy world we only have time for simplicity.

 

Common sense suggests a lot of nonsensical bullshit.

 

I will not argue that making something as simple as it can be is good but … well … simplistically … oversimplification is misleading and ultimately creates bad less-than-informed decision making AND thinking.

 

We have used this common sense simplicity bullshit for one simple reason — it serves us well in challenging the most established legitimate rule of Life & things. And that rule is “the world is complex.”

 

We embrace simplistic solution after simplistic solution, all labeled as ‘common sense ideas’, which are often counter to what an expert would suggest <which is often deemed “too complex”>…  only to find 90% of the time common sense was not only just simply wrong but also made us stupider.

 

I have written about simplicity and the complexity of finding the simplest way to communicate the complex many times and as I do so today I would remind everyone of what Jonah Berger offered us for a nifty sound bite compilation of sound bites to create a sound bite philosophy:

 

Here are his STEPPS for making anything go viral:

 

–          Social Currency: We share things that make us look good (even if that means pictures of our cat).

 

–          Triggers: Easily memorable information means its top of mind and tip of the tongue.

 

–          Emotion: When we care, we share.

 

–          Public: Built to show, built to grow.

 

–          Practical Value: News people can use.

 

–          Stories: People are inherent storytellers, and all great brands also learn to tell stories. Information travels under the guise of idle chatter.

 

And while this is about “making things go viral” it is actually about finding the simplest way to communicate complex shit in a way that it is actually retained in a cognitive way.

 

I would also note that this dos not reflect “one simple thing”, sometimes your total obliviousness blows my mindit does reflect the complexity of reality and the mind and it reflects how to … well … help make us less stupider.

 

Ah.

Cognitive way.

As in “we actually understand what it is we heard, saw or read.”

 

That is an important thing to ponder because over simplification cheats cognitive value as well as the value of whatever it is you have to offer people. Simplicity may be “memorable” but it doesn’t really lodge itself in anyone’s mind & memory in any meaningful way.

 

In fact.

 

The less depth you offer in your oversimplification the more you are at the mercy of the mind that decides to remember you. What I mean by that is if you don’t provide the depth the mind will create some perceptions around whatever it lodges in the pea like brain.

 

Uhm.

 

This means the pea like brain lodges only what is actually the brain’s perceptions of what to remember and not what you <a> know to be true, <b> think it may be important for that mind to know or <c> want the brain to store away in its mind.

 

faulty reasoning oversimplification overlookI imagine what I am talking about is some wacky version of awareness versus engagement but that shit is bullshit too.

 

It’s all bullshit because we should be turning away from simplification and engagement and connection and simply focus on “say what you need to say to persuade someone to think or do what you want them to think or do.”

 

All the other bullshit just confuses things.

 

If I tell someone that ‘being noticed ‘ is the most important thing, than some asshat is gonna come up with some zany oversimplified shit that gets noticed but doesn’t effectively communicate one thing <let alone all the things you may have deemed truly important in the beginning>.

 

I admit … I balk at a lot of the bullshit offered online about simplification <and the importance thereof> because … well … it is an oversimplification which diminishes the importance of ‘communicating depth’ and increases the importance of ‘being noticed.’

I do not like that equation.

 

Effective communication is not a binary choice.

 

Effective communication, as with almost everything, is a complex challenge in communicating a complex thing well – because if you can communicate a couple things well it actually increases the perceived value <which then inevitably creates a stronger “memory stamp” … with value attached!>.

 

Which brings me back to our oversimplification crisis.

 

I could clearly argue that in today’s fragmented messaging world where information multiplies at light speed and a day still remains 24 hours that we humans are constantly honing our “incoming thoughts” filtering mechanisms.

 

I could also argue that our filtering system, as it exists today, sucks.

 

We have dumbed down our communication and thinking behavior to such a hollowed out status the majority of time we skate along the superficial irrelevant surface of reality.

 

If we are lucky, the ice doesn’t crack.

 

But the truth is that oversimplification only offers the thinnest of ice to skate on and inevitably we fall thru the ice … over and over and over again.

 

Uhm.

 

And in the business world falling through the ice is bad. It is, metaphorically, making a bad decision based on shallow thinking and paying for it.

 

Yeah.

I did say the biggest issue we face is oversimplification.

I said that because if I can solve this, if I can have smarter people communicating complex things more smartly and I can have more everyday schmucks understanding that simple solutions are more often like trying to place a square peg in a round hole … well … I think it unravels a shitload of other problems we face in today’s world.

 

I imagine I am arguing that if more people are less stupid and more aware of the reality of things the more effective & efficient we will be in addressing the difficulties reality tends to place in front of us.

 

period end-of-story_design

 

In the end I will go back to where i began … “say something meaningful in an interesting way.”

 

There are no rules nor boundaries in this statement.

 

You use as many words, or as few, as you need to say … to say something meaningful in an interesting way with the intent for it to be understood … and, ultimately, persuade someone to think something.

 

Period.

a change has come over the affairs of mankind (as it always does)

August 28th, 2017

 

generation think attitudes collective individual share

================

 

“… my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age in which we live. No nation can now shut itself from the surrounding world and trot around the same old path of its fathers. A change has come over the affairs of mankind.  … intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe.”

 

——

Frederick Douglas 1850

 

============================

 

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

 

Gaylord Nelson

 

====================

 

 

Ok.

 

Because of the business I am in <marketing advertising & business strategic unique abilityconsulting> I am constantly inundated with the hyperbole associated with “new and unique.”

So, I admit, I am always skeptical of “worst ever”, “best ever” and “whatever superlative you want to toss out” ever.

 

That’s why I almost always step up to the plate when I hear someone suggest how the world is changing like it has never changed before.

 

Or that our situation has never been worse.

Or something is better than it has ever been before.

 

I admit.

 

I kind of chuckle when I hear all this.

 

I often seem to create a maelstrom of conversational misery when I state things like “change is the constant companion of every generation” … or say something like “it isn’t any more difficult for this generation … it is just different.”

Or even when I pull out the quotes I used to open this piece.

 

Frankly.

crazy changes the world

Most people my age think I am nuts when I say it.

 

Shit.

 

Most people any age.

 

Or think I am out of touch with what is happening around us.

 

Ok.

 

If I were sensitive, I would care.

 

Or more likely I would care if I didn’t find quotes like this.

 

“… my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age in which we live. No nation can now shut itself from the surrounding world and trot around the same old path of its fathers. A change has come over the affairs of mankind.  … intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe.”

 

Sure sounds like something you may have heard recently from some pundit on TV.

 

But.

 

This is mid 1800’s in a speech in NYC.

 

It is a fact that each generation has faced some radical change and thought process and attitude shift.

 

Yup.

 

I could argue <and I have> that the more things change the more they stay the same.

 

ideas crazy light

They stay the same because … well … we move on, we progress, we improve upon what is. Inevitably, as that happens, each generation gets “left behind” as another races toward what will be.

Think of it as tectonic plates in which friction occurs as the new plate slowly <and sometimes quickly> surges over the older plate.

 

Yeah.

The older tectonic plate.

 

The one that is supposed to be smarter.

 

The one that is supposed to know the best.

 

The one that “got us to where we are today.”

 

The one that suggests “why throw away what appears to be good.” 

 

Well.

 

The one has someone scraps of truth in what they are thinking.

 

Pieces or parts smarter and know the best?

Yes. Sure.

 

On the whole?

Nope.

 

Why?

 

You don’t know what you don’t know … and if you hunker down on only what you do know … well … that is called “stagnant.”

 

Ok.

 

To be fair.

change-people-technology

A minority of those being left behind actually enjoy the change an the friction and the conflict. These are the ones who empower the youth. Fuel it. Guide it. Not restrict it. Those few get to enjoy the ride toward “what will be.”

 

But they are a minority.

 

On the whole the majority of any older generation holds on for dear life to what they know and makes them comfortable. And it would possibly be okay of they did that and remained silent … but instead they complain and gripe about what is lost within the following generations and, ultimately, go to some fairly absurd lengths to try and slow change.

 

It is too bad.

 

For by focusing on what is lost they neglect to have the amazing opportunity to see what is gained.

 

But.

 

Regardless.

 

In the end.

 

Change comes upon us whether we want it or not.  As Frederick Douglas said in 1850 … ‘you cannot ignore the intellect of the world.’ Change is our constant companion <and mostly a friend> … at all times we face “a change has come over the affairs of mankind.’

 

True in 1850.

 

True in 2017.

 

True in 2150.

 

This doesn’t mean that we are not slow to change … because we are. Change in mankind is like turning a full tanker ship.

Part of this slow change is actually a reflection of mankind’s survival DNA.

 

And if you want to debate the ‘slow change’ than maybe accept thinking of it more like Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction. The small rise up disrupting and destroying the status quo and that of ‘the big’ … and through their destruction <eating away at the status quo> they begin recreating what is into what could be and what will be.

 

Now.

 

I am not suggesting all past experience should be ignored. But it is a fact, a change self getting better and worse same timetruth, that the older generation needs to be able to let go of some ‘beliefs’ in order to free the change that is inevitable in the affairs of mankind.

 

I say that recognizing this is not a truth because they were wrong in the past but rather because they are wrong ‘now.’

 

Effective change demands a healthy dialogue and relationship between the past perspective and a new perspective.

And this is where the current affairs of mankind tend to fall short … they lose perspective as time goes on because they have cocooned themselves within their successful behavior.

 

Regardless.

 

This post all comes down to several overarching thoughts.

 

Each generation faces radical adversity.

 

Each generation facilitates extraordinary change <typically beneficial as a whole>.

 

Each older generation is extraordinarily reluctant to release that which is comfortable to them <and what they “know” … or believe to know>.

 

And, lastly.

 

We older folk, manager types, should reflect upon this.

 

Why?

 

Because we are managers.

And we are managers of those who will foster the abilities of those who will beget what will be better than what we have done or created.  That doesn’t diminish what we have done. And we should embrace the fact we have created an environment for others to go farther than we were able to go.

 

We wonder why managing young people <call them millennials if you would like> is so difficult?

 

Well.

 

It is because we are holding them back <in general>. It’s like trying to tame mustangs in the Wild West. Except we, unlike the savvy old cowboys, don’t change me twitterreflect on the beauty of the wildness of the mustang as we try and tame them. We simply see the wild untamedness and believe it is a shame they are so wild.

 

Older managers, to be successful, need to admire the beauty of the untamed.  And not seek to break the mustangs but rather guide their energy to enable them to take the herd to the heights it deserves.

And maybe even more important … older managers need to remember they are not the mustang’s mothers & fathers but rather we are savvy cowboys seeking to guide energy.

 

Anyway.

Is this poetic metaphor a bad one? Maybe.

 

But certainly something worth thinking about.

 

A change has come over the affairs of mankind … uhm … the more things change the more they stay the same. This is not anything unique … this is called “progress.”

 

================

 

“Those who stand for different causes during different generations often experience the same oppositions and the same difficulties as those of the previous and the next generations. That is the basis of history repeating itself.”

 

Criss Jami

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you do not get credit for what you are supposed to do

August 28th, 2017

 

work doing the best you can not enough

===

 

 

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”

 

——

Henry Kissinger

 

====================

 

“When you do things right, people won’t be sure that you have done anything at all.”

 

God (in Futurama)

 

===

 

Well.

 

 

Think what you want and say what you want to say about Kissinger … but the unseen lifeopening quote is awesome <although, geologically speaking, it may not be truly accurate>.

 

In our quest for recognition as a leader many business people, and leaders in general, seemingly get shoved <on seemingly a daily basis> into some absurd universe where everyone judges you <mostly on some absurd views of ‘being noticed is what matters’ or ‘shine bright like a diamond‘>. I say that because this means thinking of yourself as a piece of coal seems … well … quite underwhelming and quite ‘unleaderly’ <I made that word up>.

 

Uhm.

 

But.

 

One of the most frustrating things you learn early on in a management career path is that you do not get credit for what you are expected to do.

 

And maybe what makes this most frustrating is that this lesson applies to a crisis as well as the most mundane everyday grind responsibilities.

 

But.

 

The thing is as you gain more and more responsibility you learn that this is actually a good thing.

 

People like reliability.

 

People like consistency.

 

People like a foundation of quiet competent leadership.

 

People like you doing what you are supposed to do <with little fanfare>.

leadership confidence credit insecure Trump

 

 

This is a lesson learned early on in a management career … and you can tell the leaders who <a> did not learn it or <b> saw the lesson but lack self-confidence … because they … well … ignore the lesson and exhibit ongoing aggravating self promotion <even on the things they are expected to do>.

 

That said.

 

This doesn’t mean you aren’t tempted to take amount or two to point out in some fairly loud messaging that you want some credit for what you are doing.

 

This is the ‘dance.’ The management & leader “credit dance.’ I call it a dance because every good leader knows they have to do some self-public relations and, yet, they don’t want to be seen as doing any overt self-public relations.

 

===============

 

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

 

—–

Winston Churchill

=======

 

Being a great leader is all about doing your job and doing the right things at the right time … and <I imagine> figuring out how to actually tell people that you did the right things at the right time. This means not being seen a as blowing your own horn or being some narcissistic attention seeking, credit seeking asshat but rather one who understands it really isn’t about gaining credit or accolades but rather reassuring people that the right things, the good things, just get done under your watch.

 

I would note that reassurance is a powerful tool.

 

It is powerful because doing things right isn’t about small … nor large … but if you do it right … really right … people will not really be sure that you’ve done anything at all and, yet, feel reassured that you are there.

 

Now.

 

In today’s bombastic world it can actually become a bad thing if no one notices. Why? <insert a ‘huh?!?’ here> because someone else at the exact same time is telling everyone what they did … and yes … unfortunately … often the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

 

Aw heck.

 

The truth is that the value is never in the credit. And leaders know that. And we everyday schmucks need to remind ourselves of that more often.

 

—-

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

————

 

Leaders know that the little things can matter and that just delivering upon good person what you do not what you saywhat you are supposed to do really matters <a lot>.

 

A subtle touch can create the needed ripples. Doing what you are supposed to do insures the right ripples are always … well … rippling.

 

Good leaders know you can be the initiator, instigator or implementer … or even all of them … and it doesn’t really matter.

 

I would note that within the realm of doing what you are supposed to do about the only thing that can truly diminish ‘greatness of simple doing’ is not accepting responsibility – for the bad and the good and all that it takes to get to either place.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that what I just stated is ‘character’.

 

Leaders don’t lead by asking or telling people to follow it most often happens by doing the shit you are supposed to do really well.

I know. I know. that doesn’t sound “great” but greatness really cannot be achieved without it.

 

Oh.

This kind of suggests that greatness is a contradiction.

 

Let’s use Winston as an example.

Huge ego. MASSIVE ego. Charismatic speaker. Maybe one of the greatest orators of all time. Made some huge mistakes. HUGE mistakes.

 

But humble in his responsibility. He permitted  the people to get credit for success and strength and what needed to be done … all the while doing what he as supposed to be doing.

 

He was vocal, and sincere, on issues and the people of Great Britain getting credit.

All despite his ego.

 

Great leadership reflects a unique balance of ego and humility.

Ego to effectively lead and humility to be effectively followed.

 

I would imagine those with the greatest character reside somewhere on the line between those two things.

 

I would imagine those with the greatest character reside somewhere in between not getting credit for what they are supposed to do and actually being acknowledged for enabling greater greatness.

 

Well.

 

I know it isn’t popular to say this but most of the best things in Life, and leadership,  are found in the unspectacular:

 

  • The best people more often than not go unseen and unnoticed by the majority.

 

  • The best moments more often than not go unseen until looking back.

 

Just as perfection is most often found in the imperfections … spectacular is most often found in the unspectacular. And, yes, doing what you are supposed to do is unspectacular.

 

But I would argue the spectacular would never ever happen if the ‘supposed to do’ shit never happened.

 

In the end.

 

do what you said you would

Great leaders are often judged by what you don’t see them doing. This also means great leaders are often judged by what they feel comfortable remaining silent about … by what they don’t say about what they are supposed to do and supposed to be.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this is a little more difficult than it may appear. It is a little more difficult because a great leader does have to have some ego and some higher level of confidence and, therefore, some positive affirmation kind of helps to put some well needed oxygen back into the confidence balloon.

It takes a awhile to learn you don’t have to ask for oxygen or even try and fill it yourself … well … at least good leaders learn that … the bad, insecure ones never do.

 

 

Enlightened Conflict