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Wrong – again!

Hapless?  Helpless?  Hopeless?

It happened at the office (again).  I saw it coming (again).  And I responded wrongly – again!  It was my old brain reaction – that fight or flight stimulus thing – and flight is not my way.

It started out innocently enough.  He was in my office for meetings; took the time to see if I was at my desk; wanted to discuss something with me.  Our social pleasantries started out fine; but I saw it coming (again!).  Ever have to work with someone that you just don’t get along with?  Me too.

I know he wasn’t trying to spoil my day.  And when I say I don’t get along with him, it’s not that I don’t like him.  But his business acumen?  Triggers my old brain.  Do you have one of those at work?  Thank God we’re perfect right?   LoL!

First Law of Debate

Never argue with a fool.   People might not know the difference.

Unknown Sage

When we met, it was not my intent to argue.  I complimented him on a recent email he sent clarifying an important question we had been struggling with.  I thanked him for his clarification – should have left it at that.  But I didn’t (again).  I guess leaving well enough alone is not one of my “features”.

Instead, I elaborated; thought he might want to understand; thought offering additional background was a good thing.  It wasn’t.  Let the debate; aka argument begin!

It is important to realize what the purpose of these debates is and what it isn’t.  Don’t think for a moment that at the end of such debates all participants will arrive at a unanimous point of view.  That’s naïve.  However, through the process of presenting their own opinions, the participants will define their own arguments and facts so that they are in much clearer focus.  Gradually, all parties can cut through the murkiness that surrounds their arguments, clearly understand the issues and each other’s point of view.  The clearer images that result permit management to make a more informed – and more likely correct – call. 

Andy Grove

“Clearly understand the issues and each other’s point of view”, isn’t one of his “features”.  He remained focused on his point of view.  I felt I understood his point of view; didn’t agree with it; didn’t really respect it.  “Clearly…”, the feeling was mutual.

So he argued; I elaborated.  He was presumptuous; I was impatient.  He became arrogant; I became an asshole – again!  What started out as a conversation between two associates interacting on a cross-functional, initiative ended as a confrontation.

Happens every day in the business world you say?  True enough.  My disappointment is I could have (and should have) avoided it altogether.  You see, he’s been in our industry 4 years – me, 4 decades.  I know better.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commentary. 

T.H. White

It’s that “without commentary” that trips me up every time.  I simply can’t seem to avoid that old brain, “fight” trigger when in an argument with a fool.  I’d like to manage these encounters better – guess I’m still a little hapless, but hopefully not hopeless:

Fall down seven times.  Stand up eight. 

Japanese Proverb

I have enough experience to dial down the fervor and better manage my response in the face of ineptitude.  So I’m certainly not helpless.

Confrontation; not my proudest “feature” – and I was wrong.  Again!

GAP

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Big hats…

2017 has been an “interesting” year – to say the least! It might be more accurate to say it has been an “extreme” year. Lots of alterations occurring all around us, true? Sometimes transformation is a good thing; sometimes seemingly not.

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Ellen Glasgow

When displacement occurs in the corporate world, employees spook easily. We want to know what this switch means to us; our role; our department; even the company itself. Leaders prefer we not spook so easy; leaders prefer we accept, rally around the differences. They’d like us to follow John A. Shedd and his big hat:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

I believe we’re willing – but need a little help – a little, well… leadership.

There has been such significant conversion occurring at my company in 2017 that I was recently invited to participate in a feedback session to help my company’s leaders ascertain what impact all of these modifications are having on employee engagement.

It was fascinating to hear the responses from my fellow employees of their opinions and reactions to the “adjustments” we have gone through (with the promise of yet more “improvements” to come). There were a wide range of views (some positive, some negative) on how assimilation has influenced our jobs; our daily routines; our future; our engagement.

For my part, I’ve been focused on our leadership’s approach to communicating shifts to the rank and file throughout 2017. This year has afforded me a bird’s eye view of who is stepping forward; who is wearing a big hat as all of us go through a time of revolution. Big hats are always in the spotlight during such times.

I pontificate about leadership often. I sometimes put on a big hat, myself. In his book Tribes©, Seth Godin offers these thoughts about leaders and leadership:

My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no more…

Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Change is frightening, and to many people who would be leaders, it seems more of a threat than a promise. That’s too bad, because the future belongs to our leaders…

And leaders must put on their big hat to lead change.

I believe we all experience significant change throughout our life. Maybe not each and every day; but certainly throughout each year. When we are the ones to stimulate the change, we feel good about what’s now new. We wear our own big hat and lead those around us that this change will be good.

On the other hand, when we are the recipient of unrequested change our reaction to the event can be quite different. In the corporate setting such change albeit inevitable, is still challenging:

As one IT Professional put it; “We’ve been reorganized, restructured, re-engineered, right-sized, down-sized, up-sized, TQM’ed, and MBO’ed, and if I hear the word empowered once more, I swear I’m gonna scream!”

Geoffrey James

During times of change followers look to leaders for continuous clarification. Leadership communication separates the true leaders from the imposters, or as it is said in the south;

Big hat; no cattle.

When our companies are going through cycles of uncertainty, I believe employee engagement is tied directly to the frequency, clarity and effectiveness of leadership communications. In absence of continuous word from the top, we look for our own big hats, yes?

GAP

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Makin’ stuff…

We live in an age of wonderment and among awesome people, true?  I mean just look at the inventions; the technology; the science; the creativity; the Shark Tank presentations.

Though not everyone reaches fortune and fame from awesome, we can still lead average, ordinary, common – fulfilling – lives.  I especially enjoy people that find fulfillment makin’ stuff.  Nice stuff; pretty stuff; practical stuff; if not some break-through-leading-to-fortune-and-fame stuff.  Stuff not presented on Shark Tank.

If awesome is reserved for the few; average; ordinary; common; are the adjectives applied to the many.  We benefit from the work of the awesome, to be sure.  But most of us lead a very average, ordinary, common, life.  Which is better?

It’s OK to day dream of fortune and fame.  We might day dream of riches associated with winning the lottery; picking the trifecta; making the big discovery; creating the next great invention; getting a “Shark” to invest.  But let’s not quit our day job in anticipation.

In fact, in their book Startup Opportunities Know When to Quit Your Day Job © the authors, Sean Wise and Brad Feld offer this opening chapter guidance:

Trust me; your idea is worthless.

They go on to articulate why mere ideas are worthless.  As successful venture fund founders, they don’t invest in ideas.  What attracts their money (and the money on Shark Tank) is people who can execute on ideas; people who are makin’ stuff.

We participated in the 2017 Tulsa Oklahoma State Fair – “11 days of awesomeness!”  as it was promoted.  And it was awesome!  Not just the midway; the events; the entertainment; and the critters.  It was the people – average, ordinary, common people – that made an awesome impression.

Some of these awesome people were vendors vending at the fair.  There was one vendor in particular that stood out above all others.  We passed them every morning on our way in at 9:00 am and they were working; makin’ stuff.  We passed them every evening on our way out at 10:00 pm and they were still working; makin’ stuff.  Two chainsaw carvers from Missouri turning logs into art and furniture.  Awesome!

I stopped by the morning of the last day to compliment them on being the hardest working artisans I have ever seen.  (We made a modest purchase too.)  The response from these average, ordinary, common men?   Just a shrug of modesty and the prideful perspective that often goes with makin’ stuff:

I can’t sell it if I didn’t saw it.

Chris Gagnon

My wife’s company takes equal pride in makin’ stuff; in her case, designer pet-wear for dogs, cats, and horses.  She even mixes in embroidered people-wear on occasion.  She too takes great pride in her work.  She too feels great fulfillment in makin’ stuff.

Beyond the financial remuneration, the worth from her business comes from interacting with all of the people that bring pictures and stories of their pets – more than simply pets – they’re their furry family members offering loving companionship.  And the joy her clients get buying that little special something for their critter matches the joy my wife gets in listening to the love of their pets they relate to her with each purchase.  Awesome!

I receive great fulfillment being around her, her clients, and their pets.  Reminders for we average, ordinary, common types:

Lord, help me be the man my dog thinks I am. 

Unknown Sage

Makin’ stuff – I don’t; and we won’t appear on Shark Tank.  But fulfillment surrounds those that do.  Awesome!

GAP

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Coincidence…

I think I’ve had a fair share of coincidence in my lifetime.  How about you?  In fact, if not for coincidence, I may not be here.  More on that in a minute.

According to Wikipedia:

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims.

What’s your view?  Do you believe in the paranormal?  Or, do you believe you control your own outcomes?  Perhaps a combination of the two – that’s where I align.  James C. Collins’ comment resonates with me:

Luck favors the persistent.

On the one hand, I feel I have worked very hard throughout my life to accomplish my accomplishments.  I know a lot of people who excel at excelling with a major effort intellectually, emotionally, and even physically.  They’re the early risers; the strivers; the competitors; the winners.

On the other hand, I have benefited often from random acts of kindness; luck; coincidence.  And if I were a betting man, I’d bet you have too.

For those events that we might consider having been “outside of our control”, what do you suppose the origin was; divine intervention; supernatural; coincidence?  How do you feel about having aspects of your life impacted by things “outside of your control”?

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. 

Dalai Lama

I’m comfortable with “fate” playing a significant role in my life.  Call it what you will, but without coincidence I might not be here today.  It has to do with World War II; my Dad; and Brownsville Texas.

Like so many men of the time, my Dad enlisted in the Army Air Corps to join in the defense of our country.  (The Army Air Corps was replaced in circa 1947, becoming today’s Air Force.)  Back in the 1940’s, my Dad was assigned to be a tail gunner on a B-17 bomber.  It was known as the “Flying Fortress” – but not for tail gunners.

Following basic training, my Dad was stationed in Brownsville, Texas for 6 months of gunnery school.  Coincidentally, the person in charge of records at his base knew my Dad and my Mom having worked with them at a manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago before the outbreak of the war.

This person – this “protector” – this “angel” – likely saved my Dad’s life; and I don’t even know his name.  You see after completing the 6 months of gunnery school, these soldiers were transferred to Europe where the B-17s were bombing Germany.  The person in charge of records maintained those records in a 3 x 5 card “system”.

After my Dad’s first 6 month training, when his 3 x 5 card came up for assignment, this person put his card at the back of the box of cards.  My Dad’s comrades shipped out; a new group of soldiers shipped in for gunnery school and my Dad repeated the training.  This occurred through three, 6-month cycles and then the war ended.  My Dad never was transferred to Europe.

This coincidence manifesting itself in the form of a 3 x 5 card, record keeping system and the person overseeing it meant my Dad never saw “action”.  Fortuitous for me you see because the mortality rate of B-17 tail gunners in WWII was 80%.  Had my Dad been in one of those bombers it is very likely I would have never been born.

Coincidence?  I’m a fan.

GAP

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Reasons…

I’m sorry for any typos in today’s post; my spell-checker wasn’t working.  And the post was late this morning because the power company had a blackout causing my alarm clock to malfunction.

When I (finally) arrived at the office I had to explain to my boss why my project really isn’t behind schedule.  No; the reason we’re waiting is I sent an email to the marketing department and they haven’t responded yet.  Oh, and now the Channel Manager is calling.  I bet she’s wondering why I haven’t responded to her emails yet.  Doesn’t she understand the reason is I’ve been so busy?  Today is already stacking up to be one of “those days”!

I can’t wait for lunch hour.  My wife packed me a healthy lunch of fruits and vegetables.  She just doesn’t appreciate the reason why I’m overweight is all of the pressure I’m under.  Besides, according to medical research, chocolate has a mood-soothing effect.

Now I have to jump on a conference call with the training team.  I can’t wait to hear their reasons for the bugs in the company’s machine learning initiative.  When we tried to log in and take our Level 1 course, the whole system crashed.  They said the reason was IT didn’t apply a software patch.

A friend of mine in IT said the reason why they didn’t apply that patch was they were told to wait until the training team updated materials in the course.  When the “fit hit the shan” our Business Unit President blasted the IT Manager!  He said our continued IT fowl-ups were the reason our stock price has been flat.

Come to think of it, now I will have to work a few more years than I wanted to before retiring.  My 401k account isn’t growing fast enough and the reason is obviously a combination of our flat stock price coupled with the national political mess.  Everyone knows the reason for our national crisis is those people supporting that other party.

And I know my wife is going to be mad because I want to watch the NFL game this weekend even though it’s her Aunt Ester’s wedding anniversary.  The reason why I don’t want to go to the anniversary party is the last time we played cards I think Aunt Ester purposely sabotaged our game so we would lose and leave so she could go to bed.

First Law of Bridge

It’s always the partner’s fault.

I understand – life can be a b%#*! sometimes.  But when we make a mistake, we don’t always have to have a reason why it wasn’t our fault.  We’re all in this together; we’re all impacted by Gerrold:

Gerrold’s Laws of Infernal Dynamics

An object in motion will always be headed in the wrong direction.

An object at rest will always be in the wrong place.

The energy required to change either one of the states will always be more than you wish to expend, but never so much as to make the task totally impossible.

And we all know about Murphy…

The New Math Version of Murphy’s Law

If there is a 50/50 chance of something going wrong, nine times out of ten it will.

Too many times, in too many instances – although I am wrong – I create some far-fetched reason why I am actually right.  Someone else or something else is convenient to blame.

Today, a little personal accountability might go a long way to getting me back on the right track.

Bridge anyone?

GAP

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Playing Angry…

I was reflecting on my career the other day (heavy stuff, yes?).  I was reading Seth Godin’s book, Tribes ©; ten years after he wrote it; nine years after it was published.  Better late than never as they say.

The theme of his book revolved around individual leadership; chiefs leading tribes; stepping out; stepping up; a pox on “sheepwalkers” aka, meek followers.  (OK, pox is my word, not Seth’s.)  His thoughts about tribal leadership led me to reflect on my career leadership.

I believe I have been a leader throughout much of my adult life.  However, I have not followed the traditional path up the corporate ladder.  Hanging with the “suits” as humorously portrayed in the movie Secret of My Success © was never my thing.  But why?  That was what I was reflecting on.

And then it came to me – since my teenage years, in order to overcome life’s challenges I have been playing angry.  Whether sports competition; sales positions; family adversities; corporate promotions; even independent consulting… in order to succeed I have chosen to play angry.  Not my proudest attribute.

In his book, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun © Wes Roberts draws parallels between one of the most merciless tribal leaders of all time, and business leadership:

Huns learn much faster when faced with adversity.

If there are redeemable lessons that can be learned from none other than Attila the Hun, a more balanced approach to adversity might serve me too:

Competition AND Cooperation

       I think we know how to do competition OR cooperation.  I just don’t think we know how to combine them.  And I think the effective combination of competition AND cooperation is necessary to the survival of our species. 

     We can compete.  Read a history book.  We competed and beat the British. We competed and banned slavery. We competed and women won the right to vote.

     On the other hand, we can cooperate…our church and temple suppers for the family next door who’s experiencing trouble; our Thanksgiving and Holiday gestures with those less fortunate; our too-numerous-to-mention school and community organizations who do this and that for these and those time and time again in the spirit of helping others;

    We just don’t seem to be able to put competition and cooperation together. They come to us as close cousins, we bring them to our people and issues tables yet, all too often, they and we end up sitting on parallel or colliding paths.

    With the above in mind, we stand a chance to move beyond our differences and our dissonance into more humane turf.  Is it easy? No.  Is it possible?  Yes, but it requires incredible effort and persistence toward getting along rather than getting even or getting ahead at all costs. 

    Our present-day mire with competition at the expense of cooperation in our politics, our religions, our schools, our communities, our businesses, and our families will continue to diminish our spirits, our resolutions and, in turn, the quality of our lives.

    The combination of competition AND cooperation will lead each and all of us to a higher ground.  It is a just and worthy cause. 

Topper Steinman

Truth be told; at this stage of my career it’s difficult to stop playing angry; still facing competition; not to mention life’s adversities.

Yet – whether facing competition or adversity – I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.  I’m trying to follow Topper and other tribal leaders who suggest balancing competition with cooperation is a worthy cause.  You?

GAP

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Mandatory Mondays…

Good morning everyone; it’s Monday – yeahhhh!  How do you start your week?

A good beginning is half the work. 

Irish Proverb

Is it important to you to GET MOTIVATED?  What’s your favorite routine?  For many of us Monday is still the traditional start of our work week.  Not for Moms with toddlers however; for them there is no such thing as the “start” or the “end” of a week.

Same can be said at the other end of the spectrum I suppose.  I remember my Dad during his years in assisted-living would often ask, “What day is it?” After working for over 50 years and being retired for over 20 years, I guess the day of the week was no longer something important to keep track of.

How do you start your week?  I remember Lisa Kwiecien, one of the top sales professionals on my team, who liked to schedule client visits for Monday mornings.  She would fill her morning up with appointments.  The clients were happy to see her; the meetings were easy to prepare for; and she would almost always come away with an order for additional business.  Besides, she said it got her up on Monday mornings and started her week off on the right foot.  Her positive attitude was FIRED UP by noon so she was ready to face the cold realities of cold prospects and cold calling.  Mondays – yeah!

What’s your routine?  Reading the paper?  A work-out is the favorite week-starter for many.  Hitting the gym at 6 a.m. Monday mornings keeps our engines running throughout the day.  I’m an early riser, but the thought of working out first thing Monday morning is not on the top of my list.  How about you?  Are you a Monday morning work-out fanatic?

Some of my colleagues are lucky enough to have a flexible schedule.  That lets them have breakfast with their kids and drive them to school.  I envy those with their priorities in order and control over their day, don’t you?  When my kids were young it seemed I was always running behind at work.  No time to eat – gotta go – have a nice day!  Paranoia I suppose.  But to me, the concept of eating a sit-down breakfast was foreign and a routine of driving my kids to school Monday mornings was unfathomable.  An Unknown Sage quotes Wolter:

Wolter’s Law:

If you have the time, you won’t have the money. 

If you have the money, you won’t have the time.

Starbucks is a favorite stop on the way to work Monday mornings, yes?  Fodder-4-Thought heard someone place this order:

Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup, please.

(Taking a breath now.)  Perhaps it’s bagels and cream cheese from Panera Bread.  Do you bring a box in for the office?  Maybe breakfast burritos!  Back in the day, my favorite was Dunkin Donuts.  Not quite the popular, health-conscious cuisine today, I guess.  Do you have special Monday morning menu morsels?

Yes, motivation; particularly important for “Mandatory Mondays”, agreed?  What helps me GET MOTIVATED is loud, heavy metal, hard rock music.  And if it’s Monday morning, then it’s mandatory Metallica. Fast-paced, head-banging – really revs up my engine!  The louder the better; and some of their lyrics can penetrate one’s soul:

Forever trust in who we are, and nothing else matters.

Trust me; it’s simply who I am.  What’s your favorite Monday morning musical mantra?

GAP

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Plumbers…

“Pokorn, you are a plumber!”  That’s what my high school basketball coach would bark at me.  Our sophomore team went 20-1 that year; I was the team co-captain and leading scorer.

So when Coach Wyllie would constantly critique me during practice and called me a plumber, I interpreted that term as a derogatory inference.  That might have been his context, but when it comes to plumbers my appreciation (and respect) has certainly changed over the years.

I was leaving for the airport recently; running late; and glanced down by the kitchen sink where a small pool of water had accumulated on the floor.  Rut row!  I opened the cabinet and sure enough, something was leaking.  I only had enough time to empty the cabinet and detect that the leak was coming from my garbage disposal.  Been there yourself, you say?

Returning from my trip, I put my plumber’s hat on – you know the one that says “Clueless”?  Anyway, I knew that this leaking disposal was a Badger 500 I had purchased at Home Depot.  (It seemed I had just replaced this thing a short while ago – but of course, I didn’t keep the receipt to see if it was still under warranty).  And I remembered when I installed it back then it was an all-day ordeal.

Have you ever noticed that plumbers don’t carry hammers?  In every other trade, the tradesman can “get it close” then pull out their hammer and “tap it the rest of the way”.  Tradesmen “tap”; hackers “bang on it”, true?  But plumbers?  Well, H2O doesn’t appreciate this man-made concept of “getting it close”.  That’s how leaks start – H2O’s sense of humor I suppose.

Now I’m no plumber, but this time I thought I could out-smart the disposal.  I’ll simply buy another Badger 500 at Home Depot; pop the old one out; pop the new one in and it won’t require any “plumbing” at all.  That’s when Naeser surfaced:

Naeser’s Law:

You can make it foolproof, but you can’t make it damn-fool-proof. 

Unknown Sage

With my new disposal in hand, the connection to the sink bottom worked out perfectly, just as I planned.  The hook-up to the dishwasher waste hose too.  I was even able to reuse the electric cord from the broken disposal.  But the drain pipe connection?  They changed the design!  Was that Murphy in the background?

Murphy’s Eighth Corollary:

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Unknown Sage

So, it was back to Home Depot for me – where’s a plumber when you need one?  I brought the parts and pictures of the piping from under my sink, hoping I would find a helpful plumber in the plumbing parts aisle.  But no luck; no one was around; old Clueless was on his own.

Amazingly, I found a connecting pipe that looked like it would do the trick (fingers crossed).  $2.38 later I was back home hooking things up just like I knew what I was doing.  What’s that you say, “…even a blind squirrel…?”  And to my amazement – no leaks!

I headed to the shower planning my victory dance for my wife who had just returned.  That’s when she said, “the dishwasher isn’t draining”.

Just when you think you’ve graduated from the school of experience, someone thinks up a new course. 

Mary H. Waldrip

Back to Home Depot – looks like an all-day ordeal was lining up.  The $2.38?  Not even close.  Coach Wyllie, if only you were right about me being a plumber.

GAP

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Keeping my day job…

I’ve been attending the Startups 2.0 MeetUp facilitated by Kenton Johnson (http://www.meetup.com/Startups-2-0-Rocket-Your-Ready-to-Launch-Startup/ ).  Kenton’s experience is outstanding and his content is stellar.   I’ve always been fascinated by the business of business.

At Kenton’s first MeetUp, he established context for the working sessions by citing “Mark Cuban’s 12 Rules for Start-Ups”:

Rule 01:  Don’t start a company unless it is an obsession and something you love.

Rule 02:  If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.

Rule 03:  Hire people you think will love working there.

Rule 04:  Sales cure all.

Rule 05:  Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them.

Rule 06:  Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk.

Rule 07:  No offices.  There is nothing private in a start-up.

Rule 08:  As far as technology, go with what you know. 

Rule 09:  Keep the organization flat. 

Rule 10:  Never buy swag.

Rule 11:  Never hire a PR firm.

Rule 12:  Make the job fun for employees.

I met Kenton at Denver’s 2015 StartUp Week.  That’s where I also heard Brad Feld speak for the first time (see http://foundrygroup.com/team/brad-feld/ ).  After Brad’s presentation those in attendance received a copy of his book, Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job©.  The section, “Trust Me, Your Idea is Worthless” caught my attention.

How many people do we know who want to start their own company because (A) they have a “great idea” and (B) they want to sell their company to get rich?  In other words, they start a company with an exit strategy firmly in place – breaking Cuban’s Rule # 02.

IMHO, in the real world it doesn’t typically work that way.  I mean, if you’ve read the book by Paul Allen, Idea Man© and read about how Paul Allen and Bill Gates launched Microsoft, I bet you were as amazed as I was about their true genius.  Bill Gates didn’t become the richest man in the world by simply duping IBM with a software licensing deal.

Bill Gates became the richest man in the world by creating/coding the Disk Operating System (aka DOS) which ran PC’s – IBM’s and everyone else’s (except of course Steve Jobs at Apple, which is a story for another time).  Sounds straight forward?  Well think about how Paul Allen and Bill Gates had to figure out how to do this by writing the operating system for a machine that wouldn’t work without first having an operating system.  A classic “chicken or egg” conundrum.  Oh and by the way, Gates and Allen definitely understood Mark Cuban’s Rules # 01 and # 02, true?

Reveal Alert:  If you don’t want to read the book about the birthing of the PC era, here is the essence of their work:  (1) Paul Allen wrote a PC hardware emulator to make a DEC mini-computer act as if it were a PC, and (2) Bill Gates coded DOS to run and be debugged on that emulator.  Oh and by the way, Gates wrote his DOS code with pencil and paper; during marathon, 3 day coding sessions; in which he would collapse from exhaustion; only to resume after needed sleep and nourishment.

It seems to me that they ignored Cuban’s Rules # 06 and #12; but definitely maximized Rule #04.

What do you say – Is that the type of commitment coupled with genius seen by those today that have a “great idea”?  Maybe best to keep our day jobs – just saying.

GAP

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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

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com