Archive | June, 2010

22 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

theatrical royalty

theatrical royalty

Some people never leave High School. The emotive drama, the eternal complaining, feeling threatened by others in their small world who dare to do something, the generating of noise without any tiny inclination toward solving it. Moan moan moan. He said, she said. Have you heard about…? Several faces, each one dusted off and brought out in front of different people when needed. Sprinkles of white lies for added effect.

In previous notes I have asked you to avoid these people. Run away. Never intentionally become caught up in their attention. What happens if they are already in your face? What should you do?

Surprisingly; it is still illegal to shoot these kind of people (well, all people really). That rules out the most obvious course of action. That said, if you are able to fire someone like this – do it. They will continue to be a disease in your teams forever if they stay.


Give them something to care about. A mission or task that they can turn their negative, destructive gossip tendencies into positive bragging and optimistic conversation.

Do not feed their fires to be even more destructive with their words. Hand them a reason to act in the way they do best to build momentum around your vision.

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21 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments



You are alone and in a dark room. It’s completely black and you cannot see a single thing around you. In your right hand you have a pretty powerful flashlight/torch. You switch it on.

Standing there, you make sweeping movements to build up a quick view of what’s around you. The intense circle in the center of the beam shows up the most distinct detail. You can see what you’re pointing at and everything else around it fades into darkness in ever widening, blending circles.

You see the only door in the beam you’re casting across the room. It’s over to the right. Slightly ajar, it makes sense to head that way and leave the room you’re in. It’s your way out of here and the starting point of where you’ll go next.

This somewhat simplistic analogy has recently had a more profound meaning for me. Having cleared my life of all my habits around email, Facebook, Twitter, meetings and other interruptions; I started to move in a room with no light.

Start reading a book I’ve been meaning to. Hit a section early on that would be cool to try out on the iMac. So I stop reading and do that. Tinkering with code I remember that I wanted to send a payment out for a bill. I flip over to that. Knee deep in Bank of America’s website the nagging of did I/didn’t I leads me to the cupboard to check if I marked another bill as being paid. On a shelf there’s a snowball mic. I really wanted to record some audio for the book (long story, will explain/demo another time). So I do.

The result? Lots of little things. Lots of nothing really. No big result. No result.

It’s too easy to underestimate the importance and pure effectiveness of sitting down, uninterrupted, and concentrating for a solid period of time on doing just one thing. Like sleep, your brain takes a short while to warm up to what it’s absorbing right now. In the early stages of reading a book you will be distracted with other thoughts. If you let them.

From spending time with children to conversations to absorbing a book, experience or something else that’s going to add value to your life: be present, switch on your flashlight, point it at the door and walk toward that. Switch on a light and you’ll see everything, want to use everything and end up never moving. Or lots of moving around but with no progress forward.

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12 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

human being

human being

People sometimes forget that they are human beings.

In amongst all the non-fiction books of the moment that are discussing the physical makeup of the brain and all it can do and perhaps why it does it, often referred to in a business context of why we all fail to conquer the world today, there feels like a greater point missing.

We are all human beings.

We like things and sometimes we don’t. We are dashingly unpredictable.
We fall in love with new people and stay in love with people who have been around us forever. We take care of them and they take care of us.

We can and do cry, go crazy and ramp up emotionally without the insincerity that business calls for. We can genuinely want to kiss someone with the spark of fluffy kittens or hurt that same person with the fire of watching them punch those kittens.

We do things to be near people who are like ourselves. We mourn loss and conversely can live for weeks on the adrenaline of excitement for something we want to do or people we want to see.

Politics, whether in government or an office, injects a paralyzing dose of inhumanity into our brain.

The professor-like part of our brain loves politics. The other part, the wild horse, hasn’t a clue what is going on and nor should it.

Through heavy applied processes, unimaginative business mechanisms and even religious fears; for far too many the wild horses have been deemed injured and are summarily shot. The glue factories are doing a roaring trade these days while the professors’ dully and duly procrastinate ahead with no notion of love, regret, compassion or feeling.

It’s okay to be in love (with people or things you do). It’s also perfectly fine to swear out loud, cry, drive a day to see a waterfall, surprise someone who means a lot to you, smile at a passing stranger (especially a cute one) and step into craziness every now and again.

The human part of being a human.

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01 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

more gas

more gas

Things need to change around here. I think I know exactly what’s needed.

Business textbooks, MBA courses and the common logic around change prescribes more. More process, more people, more money.

A friend who was moving to the US from France told me of a theory he’d heard about American companies. When there is a problem, American companies immediately apply ‘more gas’.

If something is broken, if a company isn’t performing well, the last thing to do is add on top of the mess. Instead refine, simplify, intertwine people and communication and focus only on doing one or two things exceptionally well.

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