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Archive for April, 2016

Simply complicated…

Doing business in today’s modern, wired, fast-paced, multiple time zone world can be complicated, true?  It seems the more “Dos” we do on our “To Do List”, the more “Dos” show up.  In mathematical terms:

Greater Effort = Longer To Do List

Ever get caught up in this break-neck pace of activity at work?  Or even after work?  Ever find yourself booking back-to-back meetings for the day?  Extending throughout the week?  Ever find yourself in a situation where the first meeting starts late; then runs over; pushing the pebble of catchup that results in an avalanche of missed deadlines?  Does Deadline-Dan work at your company?

Deadline-Dan’s Demo Demonstration

The higher the “higher-ups” are who’ve come to see your demo, the lower your chances are of giving a successful one.

Is preparation the answer to complication?  Repetition?  Experience?  Education?  Ahhh, education – lots of buzz about education.

Ever notice the preponderance of peddlers peddling online universities offering an MBA in 20 quick weeks?  Do you find it strange that these learning pieces tend to be promoted by members of my generation appealing to (aka “preying on”) members of the younger generation – bright, albeit less worldly, more impatient folks who believe they can actually earn a Masters Degree in 20 weeks?

Ever notice those cyber, higher educational oriented Masters programs (aka “magic pills”) tend to be run by people appealing to (aka “preying on”) the younger generation – resulting in the increase of student loan debt if not true knowledge?

How did we get to this point of whirring; multi-tasking; stressed-out; magic pill seeking; catchup?  And regardless of how we got here, “What do we do about it?”

I read and hear a lot these days about multi-tasking; causing limited attention spans; blamed on childhood “A.D.D.”; and associated with the plethora of millennials invading our workforce. To be fair, we can add in memory loss (and technological cluelessness) associated with those of my generation – the Baby Boomers!

Is this simply the result of today’s complexities?  Our favorite, Unknown Sage offers a simple observation:

Principles of success

  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  • Whatever you have done is never a complete failure. It can always serve as a bad example.
  • When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
  • In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  • It’s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.

Perhaps the simple answer is that today’s business is in fact complex.  It’s true that I find the endeavors of sales & marketing to be both fascinating as well as intellectually challenging.  And being in the sales enablement profession, I often wonder how to enable sales professionals on mastering these complexities.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

Anderson’s Law

Any system or problem, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.

There is no lack of enablement resources being peddled in the marketplace these days.  Just-in-time learning management systems; mobile phone training apps; bite-size pieces of “coaching consumables”; knowledge centers.  I wonder – do these simplify the problem, or make it, “become even more complicated?”

Indeed, there are lots of folks on the “sell-side” of this conundrum wanting those on the “buy side” to believe they have mastered the art of simplification by automating the learning of complexity in a series of simple, just in time, complexity-defeating consumables delivered via machine learning (and occasionally cyber universities).

Sounds simple.

GAP

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April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Seventeen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become increasingly more common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for all too many youths in their teens and twenty’s.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us.                           

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton – We are all Columbine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today, and everyday!

GAP

Grace…

According to Merriam-Webster.com one, simple definition of grace is:

A controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving

And under their full definition, is added:

A special favor 

I bet you have had a polite and pleasant person in your life that made a lasting impression; that your time together you would describe as a “special favor”.

Permit me to combine theses definitions in a modest effort to describe my appreciation for the opportunity to have worked alongside my friend Cameron for the past five years (to be exact, five years and four days).  Rarely in my professional career have I encountered someone with such a distinctive manner of grace.  Calm under pressure; positive in spite of uncertainty; pleasant within every circumstance; Cameron is a man any man would respect.

As I was contemplating my post, I found this post in the Masculine Spirit:

Always leave things a little better

Cameron did.

I’m not very good at saying “good bye”.  But I try to be very good at being appreciative of those that leave me a “little better”.   Actually, I’m not really saying “good bye” to Cameron – we remain friends if no longer colleagues at the same company.

I am very appreciative of Cameron’s friendship.  He even gave me a going away present.  (Though for his grace, it should have been the other way around, true?)  Knowing I am a collector of quotes and short stories, he offered me these two pieces of peace:

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.  Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.  Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.  Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.  Prepare a noble death song for the day you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.  Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.  If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.  Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.  Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. 

Chief Tecumseh

A little heavy for a just a job change perhaps, but heartfelt nonetheless, yes?  And this second one:

We did not ask for this room or this music.  We were invited in.

Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light.

Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty.  We have been given pain to be astounded by joy.  We have been given life to deny death.

We did not ask for this room or this music.  But because we are here, let us dance. 

Stephen King

I didn’t ask for the sadness of Cameron’s departure; but since it occurred, I will celebrate our time together.   I have wished him well.  And from his grace, he left me a little better off.

GAP

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April optimism…

Ahh, April; springtime in the Rockies!  What a wonderfully eventful time of the year; snow last week; 70’s this week.  Never quite sure what Mother Nature has in mind for us.  But April has always been my personal demarcation point for the beginning of spring.  And springtime buds optimism, true?

No Winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn. 

Hal Borland

According to Wikipedia, the start of the spring season occurs at different times, based on different reasons depending on our different perspectives:

Meteorological reckoning

Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions. In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May…

Ecological reckoning

The beginning of spring is not always determined by fixed calendar dates. The phenological or ecological definition of spring relates to biological indicators; the blossoming of a range of plant species, and the activities of animals, or the special smell of soil…

Of course, April 15th is the deadline day for filing our income tax returns – now there’s an annual “Taxpayer reckoning” American could do without!

April is a time of reckoning in the sports world, too.  The NBA is winding down their regular season and gearing up for the playoffs; the NHL too.  Winter sports you say?  Well, those winter sports haven’t ended in the winter season since last century.

April also holds optimism and opening days for Major League Baseball teams.  The Colorado Rockies’ home opener is this afternoon.

People sometimes ask me if I am a Rockies fan.  Sadly – no.  You see, I only have a place in my heart for one, bad franchise at a time.  You guessed it – I’m a die-hard Cubs fan!

Now to be a Cubs fan is saying something about optimism.  The Cubs last won the National League pennant in 1945 (71 years ago); they last won the World Series in 1908 (108 years ago).  No wonder we are referred to as “die-hard”!

But mostly, April weather and the spring season remind me of my Chicago roots; warming weather; and optimism:

Life in Chicago

60° above –   Floridians wear coats, gloves and wooly hats.                              Chicago people sunbathe.

50° above –   New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.  Chicago people                    plant gardens.

40° above –   Italian cars won’t start.  Chicago people drive with                        their windows down.

32° above –   Distilled water freezes.  Lake Michigan’s water gets                        thicker.

20° above –   Californians shiver uncontrollably.  Chicago people                      have their last cook-out before it gets cold.

15° above –   New York landlords finally turn up the heat.  Chicago                    people throw on a sweatshirt.

Zero –          Californians fly away to Mexico.  Chicago people                          lick the flagpole.

20° below –   People in Miami cease to exist.  Chicago people get                      out their winter coats.

40° below –   Hollywood disintegrates.  Chicago’s Girl Scouts begin                    selling cookies door-to-door.

60° below –   Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.                                   Chicago’s Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival”                         classes until it gets cold enough.

80° below –   Mt. St. Helen’s freezes.  Chicago people rent some                        videos.

100° below – Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.  Chicago                           people get frustrated when they can’t thaw the keg.

297° below – Microbial life survives on dairy products. Illinois cows                   complain of farmers with cold hands.

460° below – ALL atomic motion stops. Chicago people start                           saying, “Cold ’nuff for ya?”

500° below – Hell freezes over. The Cubs win the World Series!

Hang tough, fellow Die-Hard Cubs Fans.  2016 is our year!

GAP

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