S2 E68 — Take More Breakthrough Showers

When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The people around you may be too busy executing the action to pause and consider why they are doing it or whether there might be a better way. That’s where you come in — the witness with an objective overview.”  Aries

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 68 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 21st day of June in the summer of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E67Here’s What I Didn’t Know That Will Help You; S2 E66The Romance of a Good Humor Man in Detroit; S2 E65Pandemic Uncovered 11 Life-Changing Secrets You Shouldn’t Ignore

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E68Overcompensating for Disappointing Results?; S1 E67Don’t Misunderstand Me; S1 E66Do Your Proposals Lead to Contracts?; S1 E65Focus Your Mental Energy 


This is the continuing story of how I learned important lessons by graduating at the top of my class from the school of hard knocks and is an introduction for the second volume of books I described in the previous episode.  

Company of the Year to Start Up

Four of us left to start-up a business to business (B2B) company that bottled the magic we performed believing that all other companies requiring reinvention through highly rejuvenated leaders would be beating down our doors.  


Even though one of us had left an advertising agency kinda like “Mad Men” in favor of pursuing a physics degree we couldn’t get enough traction fast enough in the marketplace.

The dreamed lived on, but the opportunities failed to materialize.  

Paradoxy-Moron Wannabe

In your area of expertise, you’re a forward-thinker.  Trend-chasing would put you behind.

But, wait. Let’s take a moment ask an important question. How do you become a forward thinker if you don’t do what I’ve done over the years? 

Maybe not chase trends, but anticipate their impact on industries, client organizations, employers, investment portfolios, business decisions, career trajectories and major decisions I’ve faced at critical junctures.  

I learned I was the conceptualizer and co-intuitor addicted to trends and innovation and the new knowledge that emerged through application.  

Again, not the closer. 

 “What you’re standing in looks a lot like the river from yesterday and can be maneuvered as such.

I’m pretty sure I’ve already stipulated that I’m a fan of Steve Jobs, mostly for his brand of disruptive innovation — creating new rules for an older industry.  

It’s his spirit that reminds me of a quote, I believe came from Joel Barker originally:

Mastering new rules is like trying to cross a white-water river. If you can anticipate the whirlpools and the changes in the current, if you can anticipate the landing on the other shore, you have a much better chance of getting across that river successfully.

And I felt a strong pull towards what I’ve come to name the “Paradoxy-Moron” organization type.  A talent culture that thrives on high degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed.

Project yourself to the far future.  What you see there will help you create your best strategy.

I recently published “Knowing About New Possibilities Gives You More Choices. Check These Out” on my website, Know Laboratories: Thriving in an Age of Accelerating Uncertainty. 

The main point was:

When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.

But, I digress.

Learning Enterprise Initiatives

At the turn of the decade I transitioned from president-elect to president of the training and development association.  They were heady times for taking on the “Learning Enterprise Initiatives” forging alliances among corporate education, technical training schools, colleges and universities and community colleges.  

My focus as written in monthly columns for the association’s newsletter  had always been on the amazing future opportunities the new decade could bring.  And speculation about impending threats and opportunities for us in the “Learning Enterprise” and for the talent in our organizations.

I figured by “putting it out there” my next “Strategic Safari” opportunity would materialize.

But, instead for the next two or so years I joined a past-president and a former colleague in their training and development professional services firm so my family could eat and we could pay our mortgage.  

Avoid Supervisory Training Gigs

I learned the basic business model in the training business was all about you finding clients that need supervisory training, developing a customized curriculum from scratch but retaining the rights to what you developed for a previous client and then repackaging the offerings for your new client.  

That made sense to my growing knowledge management “Robin Hood” sense of repurposing what you’ve done to grow revenue.  

But, I also learned I wasn’t cut out to turn out and deliver supervisory courses for clients like a university hospital, a transportation agency, or even to three technology companies.  

I lost interest in management training  for slow moving mature organization types.  I craved the adrenalin rush of working in Paradoxy-Moron companies. 

It just didn’t satisfy the idea packaging talent I had developed when ideas were old and trending towards commodity knowledge.

Going in I didn’t know that the talent culture should have gone on my list of worst fit, or at least worse fit.  Definitely not best fit.

Outplacement for Retreading Downsized Managers

When I left I activated Plan B as an independent contractor delivering outplacement group training sessions and coaching at two firms. 

For the second firm I held down the fort while the founder underwent heart surgery.  Even he recognized my heart wasn’t in his business and his pressure to sell more than to deliver his service helped me self-select out.  

Local Disk-drive Technology Company

I was much more interested in conceptualizing which trends — demographic, social, technical, economic, political — through their interconnectedness —would produce major opportunities for new products, services and careers. 

And threats for those asleep at the wheel.

Luckily I caught wind of a permanent opening at a local disk-drive technology company working for my former client who led their corporate university function. He was spearheading the introduction of continuous improvement and needed a director to manage facilitators from all functions.  

 “Give yourself a break; you’re solving a problem even if you’re not aware that you are.  This takes time.

It gave me the opportunity to repackage what I learned up to that point time from facilitating teams, mentoring “non” trainers and develop my “reinvention and new knowledge creation” war stories like:

“What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?” she asked.  

“Take showers,” he said.  “Huh?” was her reply not quite sure if he was making fun of her or not.  He then explained the major breakthrough he and his team of co-conspirators couldn’t quite find was driving him nuts and keeping him at his incubator on many late nights.  

But, his phone rang.  It was his wife reminding him in that scolding way that only the loves in our life can that he was late for their date. 

He dropped everything he was doing in a panic and peeled out of the incubator’s parking lot. While showering to freshen up, something clicked in his unconsciousness or something he said, and it was like the world changing solution popped out as soon as the water hit his face. 

He grabbed a pen and his notebook even before toweling off.  His team couldn’t believe it.  His wife enjoyed their date together.  And the rest was history.

So shower more ofter.


Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The people around you may be too busy executing the action to pause and consider why they are doing it or whether there might be a better way. That’s where you come in — the witness with an objective overview.”  Aries 

Once you reach his stage in life, living in Sarasota, Florida, my dad told me it’s like every day is Saturday to which I added, “And, every night is Friday night.”  So Emma the Baroness as Father’s Day hostess always says she missed out on conversations around our outdoor bar and barbecue as she brings out snacks from the kitchen.  She’s busy in a hostess way, within the pandemic constraints we all follow.

“4” Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: There’s a pang of longing for something different. You don’t have to be somewhere new to experience another place. You can create the effect with an alternate point of view.” Taurus 

Within our pandemic restrictions, you might enjoy what started out as a roadtrip from San Diego to the northern boarder of California and turned into regional stories of places to visit, places to live, and places where you invest.  It’s all there in just two of my 35 digital magazines — “California Tip to Tip” and “Western Skies and Island Currents”.

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: When traveling to a new place, it helps to know the customs there. Places and people are the same in this regard. Each person has a culture, and learning another person will keep you deeply involved today.” Gemini

And, if you work for an employer the customs and culture you encounter vary by Organization Type and the Stage of Growth (or decline) that organization grows into.  This manuscript explores the four basic types and stages which attract people like you.  Stay tuned.

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Your humanity and the kinship of humans will be a strong theme of the day. You’ll regard your fellow travelers as partners, whether they happen to be your family, friends, co-workers or strangers.” Cancer

COVID restrictions preclude face-to-face family at today’s Father’s Day celebration like last year.

“3”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Watch, listen, study, contemplate… these are the directives for an interesting life. Your mental powers will be even brighter than usual to help you see deeply into simple things.” Leo

Sure, it’s what I do and it’s what led me to writing this manuscript.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 3911 to 4073.




    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


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