The ONLY thing every living person has that’s the same is time. Everyone, no matter where they live, what they look like, what they wear, what they drive, or how much money they have (or don’t have) is allocated 86,400 seconds each day to do with what THEY CHOOSE.
I believe every human being wants to be connected to others with whom they are compatible. That connection is the energy, the CHEMISTRY, that makes each of us who we are.
Artificial Intelligence has been created BY HUMANS, not to REPLACE themselves, but rather to ACCELERATE connection and make more efficient use of their time. In other words, humans are creating ways to not squander one valuable second of the 86,400 they are allocated each day.
Why do we choose to work? It’s not for the same reasons as in the past, at least not for everyone.
The difference between a disruptor and a threat is the threat already HAS both an infrastructure AND a network. A disruptor typically has neither, at least at startup. It’s like comparing ants to elephants: Put a few ants in a sandbox and nobody really notices. But put an elephant in a sandbox and there’s no longer a sandbox.
A disruptor who wants to play in your sandbox is little more than an ant, at least at face value. But if you ignore them, they will build networks and create infrastructure inside your sandbox that you’re not aware of. That’s because ants: 1. Never stop working, and 2. Are intricate system and network designers. (Ever have an ant farm as a kid?)
Who’s Coming to Play?
If an internationally-networked business shows up to play in your sandbox, they’re not coming to simply “disrupt” recess, especially when they’ve brought their own toys. The first thing to figure out is why when there’s plenty of sand in other countries. The second thing to figure out is how, and I’m not talking about THEIR plans. I’m talking about how YOUR plans and processes make THEM the shiny new toys everyone wants to play with.
As it turns out, sand is sand pretty much anywhere you go (although I’m quite partial to Michigan sand). And there’s PLENTY of it to go around, which makes trying to differentiate sand an exercise in futility. Using acquisitions and mergers to build bigger sandboxes seems equally as futile, and much more expensive. Spending more just to get more area isn’t the same as building “up” to get greater exposure and easier accessibility.
Now that this new reality is getting settled in, expect the sands to be constantly shifting.
There’s a reason I read 3-4 books at once. Every author in my library has provided some incredible ideas; however, I’ve found that reading one book at a time ends up being little more than individual pieces of a 10,000 piece puzzle without the box. It can even be hard to find the edge pieces. Reading multiple books simultaneously creates a mental collaboration of ideas when arranged to fit a bigger vision.
It’s a Gift
One of my gifts is the ability to make complicated things easy, or at least that’s what the Strengths Finder says. While some struggle to grasp the big picture because they’re stuck in the details, I tend to ignore details that don’t align with the ultimate goal of a more fulfilling life less disrupted by interruptions. No matter what your career, your place in the organizational hierarchy, or where you are geographically, I’d like to share what I’ve done every day for ten years. It’s not simple, nor does it get instant results, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m not your guy. What it will do, however, is create a foundation for success in a world of ever-evolving chaos.
I tend to use the word “worldview” a lot. What, exactly, am I referring to when I say “worldview”? It’s easiest to explain with an analogy. When I’m at a party and a group of people starts talking about something I’m not interested in, is too controversial, or is polarizing, like politics, religion, and sometimes even sports, I’m likely to walk away or leave. It’s not because I don’t have an opinion. It’s because sharing my worldview about those things may cause or escalate conflict, which I prefer to avoid, especially in family and social situations. In broad terms, my worldview is optimistic rather than pessimistic, positive rather than negative, and complimentary rather than critical. So if I find myself in a situation that appears to be headed toward conflict (something I perceive as negative), I remove myself from it.
Compatible, NOT Complementary
Before going any further, I sense you may be thinking: “This guy walks away from conversations where people oppose his ideas.” That’s an inaccurate statement. I openly welcome other people’s points of view—it’s how I learn. I don’t care about being right or wrong as long as there’s healthy sharing and exchange of ideas within a group. I reach the point of no return when others in the group become emotionally overwhelmed and close their minds to anything that opposes THEIR worldview. There’s a huge difference between participating in discussion to learn versus participating to assert your opinion (which is what a worldview really is.)
The books above weren’t chosen randomly. I’m grateful to have met half of the authors in person, and am honored to be connected with online. Each book was acquired with a purpose (job description) and each has contributed in some way to a very specific business strategy. With the amount of content out there to be consumed, it’s important to be very strategic about who to “work with” (give attention to.) The same process can happen for anyone, although time demands for the influencers who have been leading from the start has increased dramatically.
There’s much more to the process than is contained in this post. If you’d care to discuss in more detail, please feel free to contact me. Just Google “Gary, Iowa City” and shoot me a message.
Nor can you judge a person by a job title. Job titles were created as extensions of job descriptions. A one or two-word summary of the list of mostly general responsibilities someone could be held accountable to by the person paying them to do work in the Industrial Age.
News Flash: It’s no longer the Industrial Age.
Perhaps job titles are still necessary, but it’s time to knock off the stereotyping of the people the job titles are assigned to. Most didn’t create them—-they came from a common aligned database accumulated over the last two centuries. Unfortunately, they not only restrict the range of creativity and contribution of the person who wears the label, they restrict the perception of the creative value an individual could bring to the table in a different environment.
A Question of Motive
Why would a sales representative in one industry want to engage with people in another industry? If the people, groups, or organizations suffer from tunnel vision, they automatically assume the rep wants to permeate their walls to sell more products. Why else would they possibly choose to do this instead of smiling and dialing the names on their purchased lead lists? Could it be REMOTELY possible that they understand the LONG GAME and truly want to help other people?
The question is, which kind of stress are you experiencing (cuz there are two). Society has always focused on the negative one: “Distress”. Distress is caused by perceived lack of control and pressure to perform. Accountability is CONSEQUENCE when this kind of stress is IMPOSED UPON someone, usually by someone is a position of “authority”, and typically when things aren’t going the way THEY need them to be. The other kind of stress, eustress, is, ironically the inverse. Eustress is created by possessing knowledge, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. As it relates to accountability, this kind of stress is OWNERSHIP by the person possessing it, and thus cannot be IMPOSED UPON anyone.
Trust and Respect
As the two kinds of stress relate to trust and respect, distress breaks them down and eustress builds them up. Distress in an organizational hierarchy influences decisions in a way best summarized by two motivational themes at sales meetings: “Whatever it takes” and “make hay while the sun is shining”. There are certainly more, like “Git ‘er DONE!”, but you get the picture. Simply put, distress encourages finding shortcuts to create results demanded by superiors (because they’re being demanded by those superiors’ superiors, and so on—-until you get to the top of the hierarchy.) Eustress is the exact opposite. This kind of stress is driven by self-actualization and emotional intelligence, first of the individual possessing it, and, AS IMPORTANTLY, of the person or people in the hierarchy the individual reports to. ***Note: Ego, arrogance, and conceit are not factors of eustress as these are not positive leadership traits.
Automomy With Purpose
Eustress in an organizational hierarchy most often results in the creation and implementation of agile strategies that, in turn, accelerate growth in a POSITIVE manner. “EU-stressed out people” aren’t stressed out at all, unless they’re not allowed to make a difference. Such permissions must still be granted from the top of the leadership hierarchy, but those permissions are rooted in support, encouragement and respect versus consequence. In Industrial Age lingo, this was called “autonomy with purpose”.
A Distressed Culture
It’s essentially a death wish. Here’s why: If the only thing people high up the ladder care about are results that reflect positively on them, they will ALWAYS lead from a position of distress. It’s a learned habit perpetuated in Industrial Age best practices manuals. People working on assembly lines in factories were held to quality and production metrics that end customers really knew nothing about. Customers weren’t truly allowed to have opinions about the systems that created the products and services they purchased. That’s not true anymore. Today’s consumers are informed. They know what materials go into every product they use and what the costs are. They are also, perhaps even more importantly, in tune to the impact each has on the environment and/or world economy.
“Eu”-Stressed-Out? The Tipping Point
When the most optimistic people in an organization start being relieved of their duties, the proverbial snowball at the top of the mountain has been formed. It’s just waiting for one last nudge to send it down the slope. The rate at which the snowball will accelerate is dependent upon the degree of loyalty eustressed-out employees have to their organization—-not to their leadership. It’s quite likely that those employees lost trust in their direct leadership months or even years ago. So why have they made a conscious, self-aware choice to stay? Two reasons:
Faith in the mission and purpose of the organization, regardless of leadership. These people are ADVOCATES for the organization.
Belief in their own vision, as demonstrated by the inability of the organization’s DISTRESS culture to overtake their own EUSTRESS state.
Strategy of the Edge
For some employees and reps, the tipping point has already been reached and they’ve moved on. For others, the snowball has been nudged, but hasn’t gained enough speed yet. In this case, the people in the middle will build momentum for the snowball. They’ve been doing a balancing act between the organization’s distress and their own eustress for years. Unfortunately, either the failure of the organization to appreciate them or introductions to other organizations that will, they are either released or persuaded to leave when the pressure becomes unbearable (or potentially unhealthy.) The last group to go is unique because they may also be the only group to be INVITED TO STAY. They’re the ones who live on the edge. They not only enjoy the view, but also maintain a sharp focus on the horizon. To them, the snowball of distress represents a conscious decision, this time by the company—-to strategically leverage attrition. In Ryan Holiday’s terms from “Obstacle Is The Way”, they’ve chosen to use the organization against itself.
What better way to jettison a distressed work force from an agile ship, openly disrupting itself, in order to thrust itself into the future?