Archive | Share The Love

03 January 2011 ~ 0 Comments

digging up

digging up

Find the positive in everything, even disasters, and start from there.

By default, everyone tends to be negative. It’s an easy state to move toward and most people around you will silently agree and follow the downer attitude. “It’ll never work”, “it’s a sign to stop”, “this wasn’t meant to be” etc.

But it can work. Nothing has to stop. Whatever happened can continue if you really believe it should and you want it to. Whatever happens next is up to you.

Any event, however tragic or even neutral, can have a positive outcome or derivative. There is always a very high possibility that something good can come out of a bad circumstance – you need to deliberately look for it to see it and pursue it.

This is not an endorsement to become the “everything is rainbows, puppies and snowflakes” kind of person. Those people are irritating and lack any level of credibility, tagged as frivolous and often viewed with the same contempt as the ever-happy and equally shallow “Mr Motivator” type of person.

Desperately seek out what can be salvaged from any bad situation you find yourself in, dig deep and look for anything that can be turned around and, most of all, never let the contempt, apathy and resignation that bad things attract consume you too.

- Almost everyone tends to be negative by default.
- Find anything that can be salvaged or learned and used in a bad situation and pursue that.
- Be a positive realist and never, ever become Mr Motivator.

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26 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

this is a chord

- Sideburns, December 1976

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11 August 2010 ~ 1 Comment



Communication is never amplified louder than when there is none.

In the absence of communication there is only ever speculation, rumor and a plantation for negativity.

Always fill a vacuum.

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25 April 2010 ~ 1 Comment

situation not people

situation not people

In the 1990 movie “Pump Up The Volume”, Christian Slater’s character Mark (Hard Harry) in one of his pirate radio sessions is trying to talk a caller into not killing himself as he’d threatened to do.

“You’re having a perfectly normal reaction to a f**ked up situation”. The kid’s parents were splitting up and he was blaming himself.

People react to what’s around them. Rarely does the person ever change but the situation around them can, and does, frequently.

If you are trying to do something and a person you need isn’t playing along, don’t blame the person. Look at the situation and circumstances surrounding the person to figure out why they are acting or reacting the way that they are.

What changes can you make to their situation to change how they feel about doing what you need them to? Small changes are usually all that’s ever needed.

Never blame the person. People rarely ever deliberately want to do the wrong thing. They’re only reacting to the situation around them.

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05 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

postscript: journey

postscript: journey

It’ll turn most bad commercial situations into something better. It shows a level of caring beyond anything an email or empty sales gesture can. It starts people talking and it’s worth talking about.

From Collin on Delta Flight 9857, my return flight from Buffalo/Toronto last week… a handwritten note.

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30 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

positive anger

positive anger

It’s perfectly okay to be angry. It’s what you do with the anger that makes a difference.

Instead of beating up on people, screaming at walls or going all high school on the situation – channel the anger into something worthwhile.

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26 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

losers mean you’ve lost

losers mean you’ve lost

For every negative situation, issue or crisis you are faced with there is always, always an outcome that includes everybody winning. The path of least resistance or the quickest way to solve the problem will generally involve one party winning and the other losing or not being included. This is not the end point you are aiming for.

It takes a little extra effort, some humility and usually a handful of creativity to get there, but the no lose outcome buys you and everyone involved more than purely the end result.

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25 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

your dad wanted an office

your dad wanted an office

In days when sales people sold vacuum cleaners from door to door: factories ruled the world. The premise of quality meant making a widget repeatedly in a predictable fashion millions of times over. Industrialization was the main thread across almost all market segments. Quicker, faster, cheaper. Repeat.

Workers had to work. Not think, just work. Each person was analogous to a cog in a machine. The cogs were replaceable when they broke. The most important thing was to keep the machine running.

The guy in the corner office took care of making the machine work. All the people issues, cog replacements, fine tuning and reaching production goals was his gig. It was an important job for an important person. His throne was the prized office space, usually in the corner and featuring a window.

The office represented a symbol of success. You wanted that office job. It was important that you aimed for that to be something in the world. The top of the ladder, peak of the pyramid, the big boss.

An unwritten function of the role was also to protect the hierarchy. Without the hierarchy the importance was lost. Monarchs continue to enforce the hierarchy despite their lack of political or leadership relevance in the modern world.

Shift back to the world today. How many genuinely successful people (not cog managers) do you know that still have an office they command their kingdom from? They’re a rare breed and typically remnants of the factory era. Typically older guys who would love for the visible hierarchy to continue forever. It’s not their fault – it’s how business was when business had a ladder that had to be climbed.

With the onset of knowledge workers, the worker isn’t employed just to work. Their value is not for repetition of menial tasks but rather they are employed to think and apply their knowledge, experience and learnings to the complex business tasks they are assigned. It’s very difficult to change these cogs.

The role of the manager of a knowledge driven staff is far removed from the old school corner office job.

People who handle, absorb, interpret, manipulate and add value to data don’t need a hierarchy to be successful. While the cube has become the microcosm corner office for office employees, it too is an artifact that has to disappear. Being surrounded by walls is more than just a physical barrier.

Nothing happens until something is sold. To sell something, value needs to be exchanged. Usually the value that your business provides in exchange for financial value from the customer. Your customers find out about your value from your people. Within your company you have to make the strongest effort with internal communications and growing a strong sense of community. Yes, community. It’s not a factory. These are clever people working together to create value.

To achieve this, you – you the Rockstar Boss – has to live inside the same room with the people who are generating the value for your customers. From the outside you will see only cogs.

Inside you will know what happened today, what’s happening tomorrow and what stands in the way of getting there. Next week will undoubtedly be different from this one. There’s very little repeatable or industrialized in a knowledge team.

You are the role model for the team. You are behaving how you want them to carry out their roles. You are bringing purpose and action to their daily activities and, ultimately, surrounding them in ecosystems that will make them all successful in bringing the best value they can to the business.

The office has an awesome leather chair and a door that gives you peace and quiet for a while. That’s the last thing you want.

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18 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

grrr angry

grrr angry

Someone is stupid mad angry. They are venting, ranting and carrying on for seemingly forever about something they’re particularly upset about.

Let them. Shut up and listen and let the person blurt it all out.


Something is wrong. It really does not matter if you agree with their viewpoint or not. Equally, even if you personally cannot see anything wrong – something is still wrong.

Nobody becomes angry for kicks and giggles. Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure caused by some type of grievance that is either real or perceived to be real by a person.

Anger is an internal reaction that is perceived to have a external cause and it is caused by a combination of two factors:
- an irrational perception of reality (“It has to be done my way”) and
- a low frustration point (“It’s my way or no way”).

Being angry or frustrated is just like being under the influence of a drug. It prevents you from rationalizing and thinking logically.

Rather than attacking the angry person head on (as this will only ever multiply the anger), let them express their anger. Listen and absorb what they are saying with the internal recognition that there is a degree of irrationality to what you are hearing. However, in listening hunt for the main external points that are causing the negative emotions.

Once you’ve picked up the causes of the anger from listening, do not try to solve anything. Instead wait a while. Anger cannot be diffused immediately.

When the dust has settled start to work on the causes of real or perceived concerns (notice I did not call it an issue – issues are much more real than concerns). In doing so never ever talk about the causes in personal terms (no ‘you did’ or ‘you should have’). Talk about resolution in the context of the environment, the company, the situation or the processes. Dehumanize any sources of subjective judgement (like humans!).

Now, with rationality restored, work towards sorting out solutions that will repair the sources of frustration.

Once the storm has passed avoid holding any grudge against the person who was angry. Recognize that something was wrong (real or perceived, it’s still wrong) and everyone is better for having listened to and addressed the concerns.

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02 February 2010 ~ 1 Comment

magic wand

magic wand

Since 2006 I have followed the evolution of a fascinating podcast called Accidental Creative. Todd Henry, the lead behind that project, has brought my engineering mind kicking and screaming toward an understanding of the more analog and fluid world of creativity. Ironically, I have come to appreciate that engineering and creative minds are very similar.

By sheer co-incidence, as I was contemplating the real purpose of Rockstar Boss versus just a bunch of blog posts, Accidental Creative put the “Personal Idea Pad” up for sale.

This needs some background explanation… at the heart of Accidental Creative is the premise that creativity isn’t the result of a magic wand or a lightning bolt to the brain. The ah-hah moment almost always comes about because two or more ideas/experiences/suggestions/learnings have collided to form something far bigger than the individual components. In my personal experience, this is precisely what leads to new ideas. No magic required.

This week I used a fresh sheet from my PIP to work toward possible new directions for Rockstar Boss. The exercise was an eye-opener for a few different reasons:
- I had only been looking at articulating my own personal experiences on the blog and in the book up to now. I hadn’t yet considered the full potential behind the multiple new combinations of ideas and what they could lead to. More importantly, what these mean to those who are reading them.
- The end goal, the Rockstar Boss, needs to be personified. What are the base qualities of this person and what do they mean to you? What do you care about most?
- How radical a departure from the ‘norm’ should the Rockstar Boss be?
- How can you draw a line between Mick Jagger and Bill Gates? What could be learned by doing this?

These are only the starting ideas from my PIP exercise.

Here is my PIP page I’ve been working from. (click for full size)

Try this…
Follow the links between the individual keywords/boxes. Write down what comes to mind when you smash these two words together. If they don’t naturally join, figure out an idea that would force them to connect and note that idea.

I’d love to hear what you come up with. Email me or leave a reply below.

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