S2 E84 — Maybe Robin Hood Got It Right After All, Eh?

I won’t lie to you, my initial transition back to civilian life wasn’t easy.  But, I adjusted to studying and working in the first of many Systematic-Professional Organizations over several of my careers.  

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): There really are things that turn out better because you don’t know what to expect and are utterly unprepared. Bias is usually unavoidable, but a lack of assumptions will work in your favor.” Pisces

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 84 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 24th day of July 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 E83Why Shouldn’t You Always Lean On Things That Worked Before?; S2 E82How Do You Inject Innovation into a Century’s Old Company?; S2 E813rd of 4 Secrets to a Better WorkFit

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E84Crisis averted?  Energy depleted?  What are we going to do?; S1 E83The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book; S1 E82Why Writers Aren’t the Only Endangered Species. Sigh.; S1 E81— Is This My Wake Up Call, Steve?


This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In recent episodes we broke out talent profiles for each of the 4 Organization Types starting with Paradoxy-Morons, Emerging-Entrepreneurs, Sustaining-Associates and Systematic-Professionals.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Here are some examples from my list of best fit companies and clients to illustrate what it means to love Systematic-Professionals, the “blue box” organization, with it’s unique blend of talent profiles:

    • 113 SPIC Idea Packagers
    • 114 SPBE Brand-as-Experts
    • 115 SPPP Professional Practitioners
    • 116 SPIT Institutional Traditionalists

16. Graduate Student AssistantBetter Fit

My initial transition back to civilian life, I won’t lie to you, wasn’t easy.  But, I adjusted to studying and working in the first of many Systematic-Professional Organizations.  

I enjoyed learning and mastering something new and planned to practice my psychology profession after I earned my masters degree. I looked up to Professors with Phd’s — especially the 114 SPBE Brand-as-Experts — who in actual practice taught very little in the classroom while devoting the majority of their time researching and publishing their results.  

We research associates and graduate assistants performed the lion’s share of their teaching load, laboratory and library research assignments. Once they hit tenure they enjoyed extraordinary independence pursuing foundational research. 

I never qualified for tenure.  I didn’t stay on the doctorate track.  But, later I did work in a State Hospital system in which two talent profiles  115 SPPP Professional Practitioners (medical doctors, psychologists, speech and music therapists, social workers and physical therapists) collaborated with 116 SPIT Institutional Traditionalists the front-line workers on the wards who resembled Army’s lifers to me.  

Put in your time in a daily grind and collect your pension in the end. 

Of course, some of the 115 PPP Professional Practitioners knew a good thing when they saw it.  They could run their fledgling practices and side businesses while working half time or less at the state hospital. My job was to work under the supervision of two different psychologists (at two different times) and conduct intelligence testing and client assessments.  

What intrigued me was how the brain worked (or didn’t) and asking if there was any research (cerebral dominance, left and right brain functions) that could be applied. 

17. Graduate Assistant InternshipBetter Fit

Under the supervision of my first Phd we ran a side-business start up offering bio-feedback services to individuals (a few) and organizations (none). 

It was kind of like a professional services start up with 115 SPPP Professional Practitioners.  So Les — Dr. Sig’s second intern at the State Hospital — and I would leave at lunch, drive from Costa Mesa towards the Pacific Ocean, park behind the Edward’s Cinema near the pricey Athletic Club and meetup in the standard medical layout office.  You’d enter into a reception area with three offices behind it.

At the Behavior Modification Institute (BMI) the office walls were painted white and the plush carpet was an electric navy color. The office furniture — modern see-through plexiglass — catered to a small niche of well heeled clientele.  At least that was the business model. I was brought in to create chapters for a manual instructing clients how to use our biofeedback equipment to create relaxation and meditative states of consciousness.

BMI felt like a sure thing, when in reality it was a classic under capitalized startup.

Forced into bankruptcy the side business died and unfortunately the founder did too shortly thereafter. 

The office closed.  I managed to work full-time at the State Hospital. Les took off for Hawaii embracing “est” — short for Erhard Seminars Training and also Latin for “it is” promoted by Werner Erhart — one of many New Age commercial offerings. I felt I suffered from PTSD symptoms, depression and general purpose anxiety.

Someone who traveled in the founder’s circle of friends and who lived in Beverly Hills thanks to the Entertainment Industry described the Leadership Crisis to me at a social function.  I was probably clueless at the time so wanting for everything to work out.  

But, he told me, “Most firms go out of business six months before they realize it.”  

The founder, following an emerging trend, sunk his own money into two white egg-shaped bio-feedback “chairs” wired up to help train a customer who wanted relax and meditate at deeper levels. 

He leased an office with a reception area for medical practice and two offices — all outfitted with electric royal blue carpeting. He sold me, it was so exciting and on the cutting edge of psychology for the time.

7.  Professional Training Company Worse Fit

The focus was on customizing suite of supervisory training programs.  Seemed old school to me at the later stage of my second career. I’d “been there and done that” so the projects didn’t engage my attention.  I didn’t meet their expectations since I didn’t sell new business. However their business model made sense to my growing knowledge management “Robin Hood” understanding of repurposing what you’ve already done for other clients and applying a customized version for new clients as an efficient way to grow consulting revenue.  

But, I also learned I wasn’t cut out to design and deliver supervisory courses for clients like university hospitals, a transportation agencies, or even to three technology companies. I lost interest in management training for slow moving mature organizations while craving the adrenalin rush of working in Paradoxy-Moron companies. 

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

27. Knowledge Management in Brand Company — Better Fit  

We crashed our models together — learning and development, knowledge creation, media production, internet communities, advertising and marketing in a newly formed strategy and brand consultancy. We pioneered a way of capturing the essence of a brand on digital video, searched through audio tracks for the touch points and reused portions of the interviews for orienting new coders hired at accelerated rates.  Each of us had become 114 SPBE Brand-as-Experts providing what Emerging-Entrepreneurs couldn’t afford at their stage of growth.

28. Knowledge Media Business — Better Fit 

Three of us tried to make a go of our pioneering efforts to capture the new knowledge being spun off so it wouldn’t fall through the cracks for Paradoxy-Moron and Emerging-Entrepreneur organizations.  But the market didn’t support it, again I couldn’t sell it and so we had to go our separate ways.

29. Key Executive Advisor — Better Fit 

I was offered a Senior Vice President position heading up the Key Executive outplacement services in the Southern California regions for C-suite executives paid for by their former companies. I delivered individual and group facilitated services for offices from San Diego to Woodland Hills, Pasadena and West LA.  It dawned on me that who you (they) knew made the most difference for people at this level so I created an online community for information and insight sharing and of course for trusted referrals. 

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program — Better Fit 

For a decade I conducted a field test or a laboratory applying the content in these second volume of books. I proposed a curriculum to the Director for him to review and meet with me.  “Why would anyone choose to come back to school for an executive MBA (and spend over $100,000 over two years) when you’ve got all they’d ever need in this curriculum? 

And soon, you won’t have to either.


What makes Systematic-Professionals tick?

These are the expert who love their profession instead of a specific organization like Sustaining-Associates do. They’re the Idea Packagers, Professional Practitioners, Traditional Institutionalists in standards-setting associations led by well-known Branded Experts in the field.

Advanced Degrees and Certifications. 

Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery

Emerging knowledge is classified, categorized, tested and benchmarked.


“Robin Hood had it right”

What are their unique challenges? 

        • Research into complex problems and complicated large systems
        • Working in knowledge organizations and consulting partnerships.
        • Application of proprietary best practices and knowledge gleaned from their benchmark databases.

What are the takeaways?  

Methods and Metrics.  They prefer to distance themselves to remain objective and follow a well-articulated and tested methodology.

Their majority of clients are large-cap companies, government partners and the medical industry systems.

Studying these organizations provides a giant learning laboratory.

Acknowledged expertise attracts potential clients.

Rainmakers play an outsized role developing new and repeat business.


“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:Staying humble is the most important aspect of your game plan. The cosmic omens warn against self-satisfaction. Remain focused on what still needs doing.” Scorpio

WTF?  My only legitimate TauBit for today can’t match the four 5s the rest of the Steves earned.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The middle ground isn’t so easily found. You first have to go to two extremes to touch the outlying boundaries. Be patient with yourself. This is a process, and you’re making it up now for the first time.” Aries 

Can I get an “Amen!” to that?  

“5”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: There’s an art to envisioning your projects. Think of outcomes that are just beyond the reasonable, so that you’re sure to keep stretching and growing.” Taurus 

An art, you say?  Just beyond reasonable, you say?  OK I’ll by that, if you will.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41:This long-term project does have an end, although that is hard for you to see right now. If you can glimpse it, even for a second in your mind’s eye, you can and will have it eventually.” Sagittarius

Even glimpsing the next few steps for a second here and there keeps me going.  But, I have to confess it feels sometimes that all I’m accomplishing is to expand that end, because explanations were missing so critical to you (and my) understamdomg/

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): There really are things that turn out better because you don’t know what to expect and are utterly unprepared. Bias is usually unavoidable, but a lack of assumptions will work in your favor.” Pisces

In more politically charged social situations I’ve come to ask, “What would I have to believe to agree with you?”  We’re all susceptible to confirmation and selection bias, so instead of rejecting people outright, I find it more satisfying to hear their assumptions (and set them straight, haha).

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 4397 to 4427.




    • 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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