Maybe you have thought about it, maybe not.
The question may throw you for a bit, mostly due to the fact they are used interchangeably.
I have a theory that I have been reflecting on for the past few years.
They are not the same.
People would like to think they are; they may want them to be but they are not.
Here is what I have noticed.
There are people that are great managers...if I am honest I may not have always been a great manager.
These are the people that make sure everything is done on time...they are great at getting boxes checked and making sure all the paperwork is there. Did everybody do what we said we were going to do?
Companies, really good companies owe a ton to their managers. Fair to say they would fail without them.
Leadership on the other hand, have different skill set. Big picture thinking and goal setting...trying to think three moves down the board.
I heard a quote attributed to Wayne Gretzky..."A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be"
Call it critical thinking, call it ADD whatever but they just seem to think different. They can see form in a void. They can develop programs; they may just not be the best to manage them moving forward. But that’s OK.
I typically have seen people default more to one than to one or the other, but you can do both,
Truth is, both can be developed. One is not better than the other. This needs to be understood.
Here is the thing, we as a culture at times seem to value these roles differently. This causes people to feel like they need to change based on the latest book or blogpost.
I would suggest they are both great things to be and aspire to. We need both. You just need to know which is which.
Which one are you? First step to improvement is always an honest diagnosis. If you know which role you prefer or excel at, you can always hire for the other.
If you are not hiring or don’t do the hiring, find the people to compliment your thinking. If you can’t find them at work, nothing says you can’t find a mentor outside of your workplace. Click here for more on mentors.
So which are you today. Which do you want to be. Which do you need to be to get to where you want to be. This is important part of achieving your goals. More on that here.
Whichever , is fine...set out today to grow your skill set...your dreams depend on it!
This is a short post and deserves longer discourse to do the ideas justice, maybe in the next post. It's sometimes a TLDR world.
There is a perception that if we can hang in then things will get better.
Not trying to be all Debbie Downer. Hear me out.
What if they don't?
Why should it...?
It is a predominately western philosophy to assume better things to come.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this philosophy except that it is not based in fact. If anything it is an assumption.
I cannot assume anything, I must not. It is a passive response.
What do you believe about destiny and future?
Do you believe it matters what efforts and plans you make?
If you don't, rock on...keep with the cruise control.
For the rest of us, my question is this, what are you doing to contribute to a brighter future?
Do you have plans? Are they written down? Are they Shared?
What are the stakes? What do you have to gain? What do you have to loose?
Do you have a timeline, with milestones? Which area do you want to grow?
If the answer to all or some of these questions is no or I don't know...that's OK, guess what, start today...now.
I saw a picture; it was an individual in a tiny dinghy in great swells of the great sea.
It made me think of life. We can't control the waves or storms, but we can place our hand on the tiller.
We can’t. We must not take our hand off the tiller, or worse allow others to put their hand on it.
Today in your boat...It’s your today...nobody else's.
Today, let’s not take things for granted.
Make the day count.
Many people send me notes on these posts, feel free to leave a comment here, one of my reasons for writing is to create dialogue, and build community with those I know and those I have yet to meet.
See my other posts here Click here.
Lots of things get said and promised in the early days of a new year.
I have talked to many people this week, most of whom don't bother with "New Year resolutions". They generally don't bother with written goals either.
I am reminded of the old saying from the cat and Lewis Caroll - "If you don't know where you are going...any road will get you there"
I have a goal this year.
I really want to be more creative.
Not in a cutesy Instagram my food sort of way. I want to be creatively authentic.
The world craves authenticity.
I even believe the market wants to reward it.
So what does this look like, well I have posted a bunch before about creativity and voice...Here is an example of not accepting the low bar in a business and how to use creativity to be better. Click here.
It's about not trying to be a person or company you are not...you be you.
Here is another fantastic example that really works well to illustrate and has been around for a while. Its the e-mail from Derek Siver CD baby company.
Here it is...
"Thanks for your order with CD Baby!
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day.
We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We miss you already. We’ll be right here at www.cdbaby.com patiently awaiting your return.
All your friends at CD Baby"
If you know anything about Derek, he is a master of keeping things simple and clarity of communication. Here is a link to a great podcast to learn more. Click here.
So what can you do with a little creativity and a whole year.
What can you be more authentic about…go ahead, the world needs to hear your authentic voice, after all you are the only one who has it.
P.S. Many people send me notes on these posts, feel free to leave a comment here, one of my reasons for writing is to create dialogue, and build community with those I know and those I have yet to meet.
See my other posts here Click here.
So I am reading a book right now and it is challenging me and filling me with questions...so I thought I would share.
On a personal note I would explain that whenever I hear a book referenced by more than 3 "successful" people I put it on my list to read and draw my own conclusions.
This book deals in Evolutionary terms. I would like to put any theological questions aside and deal with the questions that came up. Hope that's OK.
Yuval Noah Harari writes in his book Sapiens about the power of story. Here is a link.
Not a particular story, but story in general.
In an evolutionary perspective he notes that one of the major differences we humans have compared to other life on this planet, is imagination.
Imagination allows us to be able to hold ideas in our heads. Fiction. Things that don't exist in reality, but may only exist in the abstract.
The notion that we can share and hold ideas in common.
He asks, what is a nation or currency even, but an abstract idea.
This got me thinking.
What is a company but an idea?
Anthropologically, he states that outside of those capable of holding ideas in their head, the groups start to breakdown at around 100 to 150 members.
He talks about the role of stories in social order and history. The work that stories do in holding our groups together.
He contends we use stories to create the bonds, we use them to grow beyond our small bands or groups.
Seth Godin would call it our "Tribe"
Sounds a lot like the idea of our "brand" to me.
What are you trying to nurture and grow today?
Is it a product? A service?
The size of your company? Your brand?
What is it about what you do, that is different?
What is the story your own tribe carries about themselves?
Just because you did not put something out there, does not mean there is nothing out there.
Do you know what is out there about you?
What message are you sending out?
What stories are you using?
Spread your message today?
Put some time and effort, pick your words carefully, pick your message carriers carefully?
You never know, it may just allow your tribe to get the message.
It just might allow you to grow...
So it’s been a few weeks since I posted a blog, which is fine I guess but it is not what we are "meant" to do.
In today’s content driven world of relationships, there is so much noise out there that to stay relative we feel pressured to produce something. Anything.
That’s why we see simple math equations that I bet you can’t solve…or I bet you can’t name a town/movie/animal without the letter ___.
The danger with this is that the quality of our shared community can suffer, if we don’t really have something significant to say…should we bother to say anything…
Even this post is coming pretty close to irony… Am I producing this because I feel compelled to say it or because I feel compelled to stay in front of people?
I am not really sure to be honest.
When you have nothing to say in a world where everyone can publish with ease, maybe say nothing until ... you can add value.
I try and only write when I have something meaningful to share. I try to share when I feel I can add value to the space, the conversation or the movement.
If not I stay quite…mostly.
I am reminded about the quote from Debussy which talks about composing. How it is not just the notes he chooses to compose, rather it is the space between the notes…the silence that compounds the effect of the notes. The greats really do play fewer notes.
Like artists, it is about knowing when to stop fiddling, painting, editing…when something is done. It's the chef that eliminates that last redundant ingredient.
It's about when the conversation is balanced and complete as opposed to hackneyed and overdone…
So as I reflect and try to leave space between my notes I invite you to leave some space between the notes.
Seek the place where you can add the most value…there is only one of you and the world needs you exactly where you are, it needs your voice and your silence, the trick is knowing the timing for both.
Your story doesn't need to be dull.
Unless of course you want it to be...
What if we made this something that people would go and seek out? (True story)
Our biggest competition is not the other company, it’s the status quo.
What if we got creative?
What if we were able to make this fun?
One definition of creativity is being appropriately disruptive. Grabbing the attention.
You can have all kinds of plans in your system for your customer, but you need to start at the beginning, getting the attention of your prospective customer.
So I travel from time to time and have to fly…there is a bunch of things I could comment on here, but I will try to stay focused.
I was blown away last week with my trip on a Delta flight( I usually fly American).
In an industry that has been truly commoditized, I experienced a breath of fresh air that really grabbed my attention.
They had taken a task where the bar was set so low and asked what if…?
They have completely raised the stakes.
I have ranted for years about the way most airline companies handle the safety portion before takeoff. A necessary evil to be endured by the poor professional giving it and ignored by all those passengers trying to settle in.
Here is the example of how they chose to handle it. Click here. I watched with no sound,
listening to a podcast with headphones on ...and then...
They got me.
Not only did I pay attention, but the next day I googled to watch the parts that I had missed and found a few others.
They even developed thematic trends reoccurring in each of the videos. There is an 80’s themed shout out (Click here)and after all of those, I even watched the outtakes.(Click here)
Looking at the clips in more detail a few takeaways…the humor is never at the expense of the professional on the plane. It was creative commentary modeled by the others.
I am left challenged by the things in my world that I am merely tolerating. What can I look for to turn around and upside down.
Who would win. We all would right?
A win for the customer and creativity.
What can you change today, what are you tolerating? What if you took it, and got creative?
The sky could be the limit, enjoy the flight!
You can be content but not happy,
Or is it happy but not content?
I can’t remember.
I do remember in the early years of my marriage my wife and I having a long discussion or debate maybe even an argument about this. Whatever it was, I am married long enough now to know she was correct.
There has been a lot of conversation about the semantics around each word.
One seems to be a mood, while the other is more a disposition. One an effect the other a choice?
Which is which and what does it matter?
I have found that as I get older, a quite discontent has driven me. I was not always driven.
In my younger years I was discontent through immaturity, this stage probably lasted longer than it should have. Actually it definitely did.
Every coin has two sides. Most things can be channeled for positive or negative means.
Through the intervention of some wiser mentors (see more about mentors here), I was influenced to change.
Seeing happiness modeled in other people’s lives allowed me to be able to set about changing for the positive.
The difference began to be clear.
It was around about then I started to read Covey and Earl Nightingale.
I learned that I could be discontent with situations or outcomes and yet still learn to be happy in my life.
I could allow the discontent to be fuel for the engine that drives me to achieve greater results.
The trick is to not allow the discontent to bleed into other areas of your life.
Regardless of what we still have left to achieve we must never lose sight of the fact that we have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude is the catalyst that allows us to keep it positive.
After all life is short.
The most valuable resource available to us all is time. With the finite resource of time we must ensure that we leverage it to maximize every day.
Our days are too rich and full regardless of the balance left to achieve…
So today, stop and be mindful for the gratitude we must have…
Then filled with gratitude, allow that discontent to be our fuel.
Attack the day and tackle the list, just remember to be happy that you have the privilege to do so.
Be happy !
So I have the picture above on my blog. It is a Picasso.
As an artist he had a series of line drawings of animals…see them here.
I like this one for a few reasons.
First I have turned into one of those guys that rescues Dachshund from the pound. They are great.
About the only downside is that every once in a while you will be taking them for a walk and someone will drive by and yell “wiener” really loud.
Not great for my wife as she walks the kids to school, although the kids think it is hilarious.
The main reason I love the drawing is for its simplicity. It conveys all of its essence in a single line drawing.
There is an idea I have heard that if you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it well enough.
The better the idea the more simple the explanation.
Art has known this for years…this picture speaks to me.
Can you explain your business simply to a prospect?
Can you explain your department’s role and mission to your team? Is it a unifying call to the team, something they hear, internalize and then act upon?
This is the gift of simplicity.
In the simplicity comes the power.
Science knows and backs this up. They even have name for it. Ockham’s Razor or the Rule of Parsimony.
"Don’t do with more, what can be done with less". (Read more here)
The idea is that if there are competing ideas that may work, then it is generally best to pick the simplest. The least assumptions needed the better.
The plan or idea with the fewest moving parts is preferable.
Easiest to communicate.
Easiest to feel, and ultimately act upon.
Communication is easy, in fact it is impossible not to communicate.
However,effective communication is actually quiet hard.
There is a story that when Cicero spoke people said “How well he spoke” When
Demosthenes spoke, people said “Lets march”.
If action is the key then we need to grasp the concept of simplicity.
So, as you set out to communicate with your team, customer, or loved ones remember to strip away the complexity and keep it simple.
Think like Picasso, strip away all the excess till what you have left is the great idea.
Cut away the unnecessary and leave only the essential.
The pure distilled idea.
It’s the lesson great art can teach us...
P.S. rescue a wiener-dog here
Seriously, I am asking…for a friend.
I guess I should explain what I mean, I am talking about the busyness that seems to creep into our lives.
You can see it in the way we run around. The way we pass each other on the way to more busyness.
I guess there is a security that comes with being busy.
If I seem busy no one can accuse me of not trying, right? The downside is that there is only so much time in a day.
We see it in the way we make an effort to “Manage time”. Look at all the books committed to trying to manage time.
I think it was Stephen Covey’s that said it best “you can’t manage time, only yourself”. Yet, that is what we try to do, we download the latest app or get another planner.
Each New Year.
All with an attempt to manage time.
We make the effort because things do need done, but which things.
Covey talks about the idea of urgent vs. important. (Here is a template).
We all have many important things that need done. Big things with long term consequences. Yet we all have urgent things in our life. The next email, the ringing phone. We must decide which we will pay attention to today.
Perhaps if we changed the measurement we would like what we see more.
It is a simple shift.
From Activity to Productivity.
Shouldn’t it be less about how much stuff we are trying to get done and more about what we get done?
The author Tim Ferriss writes about this in detail much better than I do. The ideas of minimum effective input for maximum output (see here for one of Tim’s excellent blog posts)
He discusses the universal Perato Principle or 80/20 principle. 80 percent of any of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. (See here)
Until I decided it was more important what I got done than how busy I appeared I could not develop the discipline required to change.
It is scary giving up some of the busyness…but to accomplish things that is what it takes. Maybe that’s you too…
Maybe today you want to get more done, take a brutally honest look at your calendar and take an axe to anything that might hold you back…be brave.
The world need less busy people and more people that bravely get things done.
OK, maybe you should.
I was prompted by a story I heard on a podcast. A woman corrected her young child in a store for saying thank you to an employee that had just passed them some ice cream. The mother explained that this person had a job and that meant they did not need to say thank you.
Interesting concept and interesting parenting choice.
It challenged me.
I am a habitual thanker. Why? Is it still relevant?
Anyway I slice it, I still think it is good, but in defense of this headline and the parent…here is where I have come out.
I try to thank my team mates. I am sure I am not the easiest person to work with, but I truly appreciate what they do every day. Without them our mission would be impossible. They are the ones that do it. All of it.
The grind and the good. They are the ones to fulfill any promise I make.
I am thankful.
I really try to thank our customers. They have a choice. They have a phone book, they have Google. I see the competition. My ability to achieve my goals and dreams is directly related to the people that choose to do business with me. I am thankful. Not in an asymmetric way, but in a way that lets them know I get it. They had a choice. They did their homework, they made a choice. They are trusting us. I recognize that people don’t love making decisions.
I am thankful.
Maybe the point I am challenged by is that it shouldn’t be just words. Maybe that is the point. Maybe I use it too cheaply.
When I express thanks, am I really summing up my feelings of gratitude’s or is it an empty platitude. A bookend to a conversation.
As always the audio must match the video. What we say has to match what we do…I resolve to have my actions match my words.
Perhaps we can all engage just a little more deeply, communicate more sincerely and thank a little more. So go ahead forget the headline and say thank you, just really mean it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this…I am grateful.
these are just the thoughts of someone who used to know more but now knows less...
I would love to hear from you on your thoughts and feedback...