S2 E111 —  Against All Odds 530 is Alive!

One of the most important reasons 530 was created is to provide a place where we can do more than just listen and watch. We can have a voice. We can share our perceptions, and learn from others about what  is shaping their thinking — their reality.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “An idea will catch on just as fire does — with enough fodder to keep it going through the early stages and plenty of oxygen to fuel the flames. Avoid giving too much close attention, as it has a smothering effect.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 111 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 10th day of September in the fall 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 E110Keys for Reinventing a FUD-Soaked Enterprise; S2 E109Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight; S2 E108Why Our Reinvention Efforts Failed (and Yours Will Too); S2 E107Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E111Is There Half-life of Wisdom?; S1 E110Love, Longing, Belonging, Connection and Loss; S1 E109Do All Introverts Take the Long Acetylcholine Pathway?; S1 E108After So Many Defeats is it Time to Catch a New Trajectory?; S1 E107How Do You Rate Your Sense of Curiosity?

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.  

We described a mini-case of a major decline,  Part One, Part Two and Part Three. And, before that we profiled two mini case studies about what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature company in a financial, in a consumer industry and two more in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

Now turn from our 3-part Reinvention mini-case operating from within a technology company,  Part One,  Part Two and Part Three to a different industry with similar needs, but from a consulting assignment. We profiled Part One and Two in the most recent episodes.

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Reinvention

27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part Three

Our Think!City creative team created actual seed packets in the color scheme associated with tropical foliage — new green shoots emerging from the soil.  But it you inspected each closely what you thought were normal roots were “soft” wires with metamorphic  message that, “Below the surface lies cross connections that pay off.”

Then our team created a 530 glossy magazine brochure explaining in pictures and captions what this campaign was all about. Meanwhile our technology team urgently put up the 530.com platform to accommodate the anticipated comments, innovative cross-talk and forums.

In a nutshell my ongoing role was moderating the 530 Forums, writing edgy, fun, creative responses to create a buzz and get more people to leave a message and return — while stealthily adding features which make the site a destination which internal PRERS can’t match

Their members span across our 530 species. And I anxiously waited for a few of them to provide content.  Without it I couldn’t facilitate sharing necessary for new knowledge creation and innovation.  I can’t say I felt confident about our launch.

Website Copy:

It’s ALIVE After a Rocky Soft (-wired) Launch!

You’ve seen the video.  You’ve read the magazine.  Now, it’s time to join the conversation — Link to Main Page

MAIN PAGE – OUR530.COM

Main Message Headline:

Welcome to Our530

One of the most important reasons 530 was created is to provide a place where we can do more than just listen and watch. We can have a voice. We can share our perceptions, and learn from others about what  is shaping their thinking — their reality. And maybe, if we keep at it, we can create that better reality that we know is possible. The conversation has only just begun. Keep it up. Develop your voice. Someone is listening.

Early Adopters:

THE VOICES OF 530

SIMPLIFYING PRUDIFICUS COMPLEXIA

Prudificus Bugs, Beans

Well, I opened my packet of Prudificus Complexia and instead of beans, I found a whole bunch of what looked like dried bugs. Were there supposed to be real beans in there? I’m not the only one, either. A few of our other associates found the same thing.”

Innovation Moderator:

Now the real story can be told. “All of you realize why we call this site 530. We discovered over 530 species — flora and fauna representing almost 90 families and 330 genera –living interdependently on the Rock.   What a great ecosystem — an alliance of living things, just like in PRERS. We’re all living breathing”organisms” thriving within the company.  Great, except for one thing. 

There used to be 531 Species. We can’t tell if it was due to global warming or the introduction of a non-native species — or something else entirely.  We honestly don’t know how it happened or if “the bugs,” as you call them, can be returned to life. We can only hope so. 

Well, Gary, now it’s all in your hands. (Maybe you should wash them) It’s up to you and your fellow associates. Good luck. P.S. You might contact” Robert and John to enlist their expertise!

Website Copy:

Let’s just suppose that after that long and tiring day, you think, “Hey, what do I have to lose?”  So you log on and the first thing that catches your eye, naturally, is BREATHE DEEP.  You think, “Okay, I can do that!”  

Your eye travels down the list of Stress Reduction tips, and you suddenly realize you’re way ahead of the game.  The second tip: Cut back on caffeine (try this: drink one, then spill one).  Here, you thought no one saw that little morning incident you had at Starbucks.  “Wow, this is easier than I thought.”

Now, if only you could share your story with someone else.  

Wait, you can. Dangling at the end of one of the four soft-wires, you notice OUR CONVERSATIONS.  When you roll your mouse over it –- technically called moving your cheese –- you notice your own personal invitation, “Join in …share your ideas in our forum.” Link to Voices of 530

Early Adopters:

THE VOICES OF 530

“If you see something on 530 that you think is really cool, send somebody to see it, too. Share the wealth! If you see something cool out there in the “real world,” bring it to 530. Don’t be greedy; share it. It’s our site. We can make it great by taking it and making it personal”. Dave F

I’d Organize a Skunk Works, a Think Tank “It may be crazy and far fetched, but …” (Link to INNOVATION)

This Just in From the Field  “I’m looking forward to everyone getting ‘online’ and participating in some dynamic discussions …”  (Link to NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE FIELD)

Any Benefits from an Integrated PRERS? “I would like to get the audiences thoughts on the following …”  (Link to BENEFITS OF AN INTEGRATED PRERS)

To Toot or to Recognize, that is the Question “I agree, it is definitely hard to “toot your own horn” which is why … (Link To RECOGNITION)

Simplifying Prudificus Complexia   “Well, I opened my packet and instead of beans, I found a whole bunch of…” (Link to SIMPLIFYING PRUDIFICUS COMPLEXIA)

Website Copy:

Okay, this is where it gets hard.  You have to choose.  

Should I hold forth in “How Will We Use 530?”, in “Lunatic Fringe, or in “ Talk Back Forum”?  

Need more data to help you decide?  Want to go to the most popular?  Check out the number of Posts.  

You might choose to Talk Back, then.  Or, if you want to jump in on the freshest dialogue, then you might want to weigh in with the rest of the lunatics.  

Or, if  you simply want to contribute to the collective knowledge and creativity of our company, share a story (that Starbucks episode, for instance) or ask a question in “How Will We Use 530”?

Still undecided?  That’s O.K.  Come with me on a quick tour.  Let’s wander around, “listen in” and then leave our own footprints in the soft-wired threads.

Let’s start with: Link To Forum

Innovation Moderator:

 “In the short time our530.com has been up, 44 messages have been posted. Many of us do not visit the Internet every day or even weekly. Remembering to log on, read and respond to these messages is my concern.”

Early Adopters:

This is a neat site! Just trying it out and thought I would send you a note  Bob

I think this is a great opportunity to share some very diverse and innovative ideas with the larger community of PRERS. I think that for a long time innovative thinking has been stifled by fear of negative impact on those who make waves.” John

Some would rather have a handful of certainty than a wagon load of beautiful possibilities.” Diddette

Communication that is open and available 24 X 7 is an important asset for any company and a benefit to all …. I do however have a concern for information overload. Today we all have multiple sources of information that we check, each with it’s own login and password. To the developers credit there is no login and password.  Mike

Which brings me to the HSA system-which i didn’t know existed until this Site opened. Why don’t we build Our Own?  Deddette

Unfortunately when you pressure cook associates too long the optimism … 

For those of us in the field, this site will provide us a communication tool for idea exchanging, especially with those groups with whom we do not have much interaction. Hopefully, by reading how others meet client challenges, it will spur ideas and solutions for others. 

This site seems to be about innovation and quick movement, but the lumbering Enterprise seems to be in survival mode, flailing away in a losing battle to survive in a world which is passing it by. Going public is not the answer. The answer lies somewhere in a new direction, not yet discovered by those in charge. We are waiting for systems to be built to streamline functions that will be obsolete by the time the system is designed. This may sound negative, but maybe it will generate some more positive and creative responses from more level heads.

No offense Host but why must every discussion on business improvement devolve into the corporate palaver of improved customer service? I must be living on another planet.

A case in point of lack of respect for the affiliates is the roll-out of the alliance between us, a bank and our technology partner.  I wonder if anyone in the commercial franchise group was even aware of it before it happened?

Innovation Moderator:

“That’s exactly the reason 530 is here. It’s an enabler for conversations in cyberspace, where the conversation might be impossible if time or space-bounded. Here’s my challenge to you — share one of your stories. Or ask for help on one of your sticky problems. Don’t just windowshop at 530. Leave your footprints.”

Or how about:

Early Adopters:

Having done a 2 year expat assignment in Singapore I so appreciated the concept of immersion training in Mexico. I think it is so incredibly important for our associates to have a sense of what our clients’ employees are asked to experience. Years ago, it was not uncommon for the largest percentage of our relocation associate population to not only never have moved, but also not to even own a home, yet deal with domestic relocation problems/issues. Now, we must consider how we relate to folks who are asked to take their families on international “adventures”…what a positive and exciting concept!Link to Forum Topics

Managers have an obligation to their direct reports and should be held accountable for leading their teams positively into the future. Sometimes all it takes is an ear to listen to associate concerns, a commitment to work with an associate to turn a situation around. It’s not easy leading a team in today’s fast pace environment but that’s the responsibility one takes on when accepting a management position.

Innovation Moderator:

So as you can tell, you don’t have to be a lunatic to dip into the 530 conversation pool. We are these living organisms within this company. We all have stories of discovery and insight that can inspire others. These stories need to be told.  Jump in and tell us yours! 

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “An idea will catch on just as fire does — with enough fodder to keep it going through the early stages and plenty of oxygen to fuel the flames. Avoid giving too much close attention, as it has a smothering effect.” Scorpio

Wow.  I had to learn this the hard way while pushing and pulling participation in the early stages of 530’s launch until the lit match ignited and we saw early benefits shared among the innovation teams.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve Smith, 30: “When you have several prospects, you won’t feel too much worry over any particular one. Putting too much emphasis on one relationship or project will only stifle it. Diversify.” Gemini

Wow.  I can’t claim this TauBit of Wisdom for today, deep in the pandemic, but it’s a lesson I had to learn time after time as a consultant.

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Your success will depend on accountability. You’ll go farther with a good teacher, leader or coach than you will on your own. Look for someone who will invigorate you to new heights.” Cancer

Again, not so much for today, but I believe out team at Think!City took turns playing the role of leader and coach as the situation warranted.  I learned so much and to say I was invigorated is and understatement.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You ignite passion without meaning to do so. When you express your interests and show that you’re willing to go deep, others want to get as excited about life as you are.” Leo

Not so much today, but more so in the role I took on as an innovation facilitator.  

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:The City of Seattle was named after a great chief who suggested people, “Take only memories; leave only footprints.” This way of living seems nearly impossible in the modern world, but you’ll do your best with it today.” Libra

If only tourists breaking free would live by this wisdom!!

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 4990 to 5060.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E110 — Keys for Reinventing a FUD-Soaked Enterprise

To find out which ideas have made it off the whiteboard, been placed into practice, and are being tested to see what works and what doesn’t.  So teams, what have you been working on, what have you discovered, and how can we help?

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Your mighty purpose today is to make people smile. Indeed, there may be none mightier, or more challenging, considering the moods of some of the people you’ll come across.”  Aquarius

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 110 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 6th day of September in the fall 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 E109Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight; S2 E108Why Our Reinvention Efforts Failed (and Yours Will Too); S2 E107Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E110Love, Longing, Belonging, Connection and Loss; S1 E109Do All Introverts Take the Long Acetylcholine Pathway?; S1 E108After So Many Defeats is it Time to Catch a New Trajectory?; S1 E107How Do You Rate Your Sense of Curiosity?

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We described a mini-case of a major decline,  Part One, Part Two and Part Three. And, before that we profiled two mini case studies about what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature company in a financial, in a consumer industry and two more in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

Now turn from our 3-part Reinvention mini-case operating from within a technology company,  Part One,  Part Two and Part Three to a different industry with similar needs, but from a consulting assignment. We profiled Part One in the last episode.

Reinvention

27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part Two

Crazy creative Dave and I had mini-case experience at Unisys — how do you build a common culture around a new direction when all employees experience is fear, uncertainty and doubt.  With this major project, sprinkle in a failed “Agenda for Change”.

We described the challenge as an internal branding, marketing and advertising campaign.  Somehow PRERS top management had to rebuild trust and flip the low morale of the now into a new vision of something employees could see, touch or feel.

We had to translate our marketing-speak into something top management could understand and support.  During our presentations Gasper’s major coup came when he described company paradigms as — the most fundamental and all-encompassing expression all employees feel, but can’t necessarily describe.  It’s a classic “We’ll know it when we see it.”  

Gasper somehow convinced our client that a company’s strategic intent (an integrated PRERS) “Vision or mission statements, and core values constitute its paradigm or world view.”  And to build back trust, internal brand development follows three acts.

The first act begins “… as the back story leading to a catalyst point which catapults the character into act two, which is the migration path to the new state.”  

We first described “our Migration Paths to the Future” by highlighting Innovation Teams (Alliance Management, Relationship Management, Operational Excellence, eBusiness, and People Leadership), and how they have been thinking-out-of-the-box about our core competencies and imagining totally new ways of doing business.  

As Gasper told top management, “Here action (and reaction) builds character, brand is strategy in action, and what you will be doing is building belief.”  He told them that their “Unique Organizing Principle” is what we will describe and help them craft an internal interactive communications “brand” or “identity” 

The idea is to discover the core values of the organization (transformation of customer) and to create 4 C’s: “context, content, connections and conversations around deep principles of shared learning, yet still keep it tied to strategic initiatives.”

My role with crazy creative Dave was to catch early successes, circulate stories about first steps into the future, and make them exciting and fun.

It took weeks to earn the necessary approvals.  Then the hard work began. 

What the hell is their organizing principle — their new core foundational story?  How can our marketing and advertising gurus translate it into something completely different, but on a subliminal level feel true and inviting.  Inviting enough for employees to suspend their critical, widespread FUD-dominated thinking and consider their new story?

We struggled and struggled in late night brainstorming sessions to come up with an answer. Until John Googled some company history and their logo — the Rock of Gibraltar. 

What from a distance looks like a huge, barren rock we discovered, is the home of 530 unique species of fauna and flora.  

That’s it.  We can work with that.  530!  

Images flowed.  Sketches on our white board connected to other sketches.  “530 equals overlooked employees — unique PRERS species of talented people.”  Innovation teams need to be nurtured. 

They need to be given a safe place to grow without reprisal.  People not on the teams could contribute to them if:

1) they knew the teams existed,

2) what their missions were, and

3) how to contact and contribute.

“New ideas = seeds! Maybe there’s a horticulture theme for innovation teams.”  

Timing is everything. 

We required three things to be in place for the launch.  The first was a distribution of white with green package of seeds to every employee.  That was followed by a glossy 530 journal telling more of the new core foundational story.  But, PRERS delayed its distribution.  

During the delay our 530 website, initially banned by their IT department, launched on our servers.  Waiting and waiting for formerly FUD soaked employees to arrive. 

Our strategic intention was about to be activated:

    • IdeaVirus approach: in fits and starts they cross-fertilize and nurture radical new ideas in “small learning experiments”. 
    • To propagate micro-communities around their discoveries, spawn new opportunities, and to infect us with a renewed sense of passion.  
    • And it is “for the rest of us.” To question. To volunteer.  To add to the understanding.    
    • “To find out which ideas have made it off the whiteboard, been placed into practice, and are being tested to see what works and what doesn’t.”  
    • “So teams, what have you been working on, what have you discovered, and how can we help?”

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:Sometimes you treat everyone the same, and other times it feels right to be more flexible, taking your lead from the needs of those around you. You’ll be somewhere in the middle today, consistent but ready to adjust.” Scorpio

I hear you.  I used to take people at face value, except for all of the degree of decisiveness that has permeated almost everything.  Why must everything be so politicalized?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “Here you are, unready and in a position to choose. You don’t even have enough data to make an educated guess, although, in a strange way, you’re at an advantage with this, forced to rely only on your gut.”  Taurus

Intuition and instincts.  For some people choices made on them alone only bring more poor choices.  For others educated guesses work.  For everyone, we’re hardly ever ready for a lot of what life throws at us, like this pandemic for instance.

“3”  Steve Smith, 30: “The early days of every relationship and endeavor lay the groundwork for what happens later, which is why it’s so important to reveal some basic truths and establish key expectations on day one.” Gemini

Maybe if I combine yours with coach Kerr’s it will add up to more relevancy. But, aren’t these conflicting TauBits of Wisdom?

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: All it takes is a few inquiries, and suddenly, you’re off in a fascinating direction. Go on and get involved, as new influences will spark favorable changes in your day to day.” Leo

So this one seems less suited for me today, and more suited when I was working on the Conclusions chapter in the Tau of Steves Report chronicling my Natural Experiment.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:When you give attention, you are giving your life force, which will be spent no matter what, though some ways are more of an investment, and others are just waste.” Virgo

Life force. I like it.  Now the key seems to me as an introvert how to differentiate between energy and directing towards an investment.  Hmm …

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:In the beginning of a relationship, you’re mainly trying things. You might not see it that way, because the process of getting to know someone is so intuitive. Just know that if it’s not working, you can pivot and try something else.” Libra

I’m not in the beginning of a relationship, pandemic or no, so feel free to steal this one if your intuition says to.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41: There’s an art to self-discipline. Knowing how far to push yourself is key. If you drive yourself too hard or place too many restrictions on yourself, you’ll rebel. To rebel against yourself is far worse than rebelling against others.” Sagittarius

I agree.  The art of self-discipline organizes moments in which I let the “flow” of writing happen.  But, I also mindful of when the flow begins to trickle and that’s when I force myself to stop and take up another task. 

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62:Just as a story without conflict is barely a story, a day without an obstacle would hardly be worth remembering. At least today’s problem will have you laughing a little.”  Capricorn

This ongoing pandemic obstacle doesn’t leave much room for laughter.  But laughing does ease the feeling of dread.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Your mighty purpose today is to make people smile. Indeed, there may be none mightier, or more challenging, considering the moods of some of the people you’ll come across.”  Aquarius

This 530 branding effort hinges on offering a quirky mood-shifting trial for knowledge sharing to work.  Humor couldn’t hurt.

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 4990 to 5060.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S3 E50 — Swinging with Systematic-Professionals, Sorta

Sig went missing.  As did Mary.  The rumor that floated in gossip streams at the state hospital was he suffered a heart attack and Mary caught a flight back to upstate New York.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: “You’ll reach a turning point in your work. Pause here a while to really consider the options. Once you pick a direction, its reversal, though not impossible, will be awkward and time-consuming.” Sagittarius

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 50 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 22nd day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E49 Stealing Your Sign Without Doing the Time; S3 E48 Is That an Ace Up Your Sleeve or Are You Just Glad to See Me?; S3 E47 Why’s and How’s of the Genius Art of Procrastination

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E505 Fundamental Uncertainties; S2 E49Navigating Waves of Disruption When You’ve Lost Your Bearings; S2 E48Tracking Millennials from One Resort to Another; S2 E4727 Adventure Regions for Your Remote-Working Bucket List

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E50The Bias Brothers or Just Plain Losers?; S1 E49 — Magnetize the Version You Imagine; S1 E48Holiday TauBit Trumps Funk; S1 E47Day 47 of My 1-Year Experiment

I initially introduced this story as: 

17. Graduate Assistant Internship 

Working for the State of California half time and professional services startup in the afternoons, as my first job in the field of psychology, and first mentioned in the beginning of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit,” a work-in-progress.

Sig went missing.  As did Mary.  The rumor that floated in gossip streams at the state hospital was he suffered a heart attack and Mary caught a flight back to upstate New York.   

I wasn’t buying it.  

My sweet deal blew up.  

I’d been living the dream nestled in a small bungalow on Fernleaf in Corona del Mar on the western side of Pacific Coast Highway.  I hiked on a walkway over Bayside Drive, what for what may be 3 or 4 blocks to the bluffs overlooking the mouth to Newport Harbor and the small beach at Pirates Cove.  

If I walked the same distance, but east of my rental, I spooked ground squirrels and those owls who burrow in the ground through and open field to the office in Newport Center.  

Two things saved me.  

    • I could still hang on to my internship at the state hospital at the beginning of my psychology career and I met the love of my life, Emma the Baroness. At the hospital he supervised be in one program full of developmentally delayed clients and Les in another.   
    • As a business model was a doctor-knows-all in a pecking order of nurses and administrative staff. I was shocked with his out of the blue comment and his prescience when he told me I wouldn’t stay married long. I chalked up to his wisdom as a clinician, until looking back I wondered if he had recruited me for something else entirely.

In their private life, Sig and Mary swung if that is how you say swingers in the past tense.  

That fact only slowly emerged as celebrity-like friends of theirs visited our Institute office near the athletic club and the shopping destination overlooking Corona del Mar hidden in swaying palm trees and Balboa Island and Peninsula off in the distance, but still at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.  

Sig needed money to keep the Institute’s doors open.  

He put the touch on several of their swinging friends from Beverly Hills and others who streamed through our suite of offices to sample our bio-feedback services.  

The background story I eventually heard was Sig fled New York, left his wife, son and a psychology practice with Mary, his girlfriend,  and settled a mile or two just outside the border of Huntington Beach. 

Sig envisioned a business model similar to a franchise of bio-feedback centers in Southern California.  

We couldn’t find clients, let alone celebrity investors or potential franchisers.  But, the challenge opened my eyes to corporate medical and wellness centers in large organizations and eventually to several career changes.

So what happened to Sig?  

Did he fake his death to throw off his creditors?  I never found out and it wasn’t until later that I understood organizations and organization types that I see we were Systematic-Professionals.

We Systematic-Professionals come in four flavors — talent brands of experts who love their profession and their local location. In general we are known for methods and metrics. 

    • We prefer to distance themselves to remain objective and follow a well-articulated and tested methodology.
    • We find occupational homes in university research centers, professional practices, academic institutions and in standards-setting associations. 
    • Our identity is tied to their profession.

Systematic-Professionals by the very nature of their work make the best candidates for developing a Mobile KnowCo that allows them to live and work anywhere in the world. 

Which made it easy for Sig to leave his practice in New York, affiliate with a state hospital in Orange County, and launch BMI.

But, many stay in one place –- in or around university towns or urban and suburban centers where they find clients for their services.

Which led to “Knowledge Banking” many years later, when I looked around and asked, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Ha!  Too bad this wasn’t Sig’s birthday, right.  Maybe we could travel back in time and find his investors to fund BMI.  And, this ain’t my birthday, but the lessons I learned and took note of paid dividends for me over my career trajectories.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:

A rebellious spirit pervades. The rules you break will liberate you. You’ll attract investors. The money helps you get a project off the ground, but there’s even more value in the time and lessons you gain. To repeat this success will bring you exponentially more, so take careful notes, pay attention and be methodical.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): Success in one area of life won’t automatically bring success in other areas, but certain basic principles will apply universally. The work is best chunked down into small steps and mastered in order.” Aries

Yup, Steve chunking is good.  I used to call it knowledge chunking, breaking down lessons learned into knowledge nuggets so you could apply them in a variety of settings.

“4”  Steve Smith, 30, Stevie Nicks, 72: “There’s a time to keep score, and a time to indulge and share without worrying the least bit about who gave what. Scorekeeping turns giving and receiving into a job or a game instead of a spiritual act or a pure pleasure.” Gemini

Thanks Smithy and Stevie.  This reminds me of research I stumbled upon in my behavior modification days.  If you rewarded kids who truly enjoyed math with stars and tokens they grew to hate math.  I’m not sure about the spiritual corollary, but I’ll take it.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: “You’ll reach a turning point in your work. Pause here a while to really consider the options. Once you pick a direction, its reversal, though not impossible, will be awkward and time-consuming.” Sagittarius

Wow, Steve.  Not only did my physical therapist know who you were and shared your sign, but your Holiday Tau proves meaningful to me today.  I’m writing up my report about Phase 1, including the expansion of the 1-year natural experimental format into our pandemic year somewhat reluctantly, while I figure out Phase 2 in which I solicit TauBits from real Steves.  I’m thinking through my strategy attempting to gauge how much time and effort it will require, versus my return-on-investment.

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62: “While you’d rather go into a game with a strategy, those require time you won’t have today. So, the best strategy will be to stay on high alert for clues and trust your instincts.  Capricorn

Since when Steve are you in collusion with Aoki?  Here’s my takeaway when I combine both of your Holiday Taus — keep an evolving scenario in the background, but start with small steps so I can iterate without reinventing the wheel and essentially starting over.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8203 to 8218 organically grown followers.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • “Why?: What Makes Us Curious,” by Mario Livio. “… socially shared myths, rituals, and symbolism were most likely the first sophisticated responses to nagging why and how questions and were therefore the fruits of curiosity. The chain reaction that resulted from the positive feedback between curiosity and language turned Homo sapiens into a powerful intellect, with self-awareness and an inner life.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

S2 E105 — When Cosmic Leads to Decline, Pair Extremes Intentionally

It’s one thing to force the “jump to a winning reinvention path” through a major restructuring of people, processes, technologies and organization rearrangement. It’s quite another to develop the competency in-house to do it over and over again as needed.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Virtue is best delivered with humility, talent with vulnerability, might with mercy. The cosmic packaging doesn’t always team the right qualities together so you’ll do some intentional pairing.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 105 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 29th day of August 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 E104Worst Monday Ever. Very, Very Grim …; S2 E103 Confronting Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Resistance and Unrelenting Stress ; S2 E102Caught by Surprise in a Major Gut-Wrenching Decline

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E105Will Fortune Smile on Us Later in the Evening?; S1 E104How Yesterday’s Success Triggers Tomorrow’s Failure; S1 E103Innies and Outies and Other Potential Catastrophes; S1 E102Why Is It Always Hidden in the Fine Print?

Context

This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress. In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.  

But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles, yours included.

The prescription for decline, usually purchased during advanced stages of the “Mature Matrix” disease, is to bring in a new management discipline and the talent that can re-capture breakthrough product innovations while outsourcing non-core competencies

It’s one thing to force the “jump to a winning reinvention path” through a major restructuring of people, processes, technologies and organization rearrangement. It’s quite another to develop the competency in-house to do it over and over again as needed.

It requires the right mix of internal change agents and knowledge managers to reinvent the enterprise and breathe new life into old procedures and processes relevant as the newer proprietary best practices.

But, reinvention begins before the organization leaves maturity and falls into decline in most technology-driven organizations, or after when a disruptive transformation is forced and lessons want to be learned in organizational memory.

A “Chief Reinvention Officer” assembles a team from talent profiles that previously had been skipped over from each of the four major organization types.

In maturing and declining organizations people in the system can’t see the changes that are happening in their environment.  

This is so insidious that frequently the data that they ignore have to do with factors that could literally drive them out of business.  

Growth Stage Key Success Factor Leading to a Crisis New Success Key 
Start Up Loosen  Leadership Tighten
Emerging Tighten Functional Loosen
Rapid Loosen  Autonomy Tighten
Sustained Tighten Repetition Loosen
Maturity Loosen Control Tighten
Decline Tighten Red Tape Loosen

But, 102 Thought Leaders and 113 Idea Packers only start the reinvention process.  It takes a maverick combination of talent to succeed — 104 R&D Experimenters, 106 Operational Accelerants, 109 Internal Change Agents and 115 Professional Practitioners.

To break out of Red Tape Crisis requires the acquisition of or the return of new dance partners — the last of “red” Paradoxy-Moron innovator tribes — the 104 R&D Experimenters who produce new niche breakthrough products.

They’re the masters of collaboration tools and they participate in all sorts of discovery and innovation through their worldwide web-like networks.

But, within the mature organization, they are the most disruptive. Recognizing the external signals of impending decline and acting on them requires foresight. So recognition and execution usually only occur after it is too late to mobilize in time to avoid a decline.

They have to keep the independent, entrepreneurial spirit alive by leading a skunk works for reinventing, reengineering or continuously innovating. 

The “green” 106 Operational Accelerants the last of the four Emerging-Entrepreneurs talent profiles take the emerging core competency further by developing operationally excellent processes — streamlined, efficient and incrementally improved — while deciding which of the non-essentials are outsourced. 

The “tan” 109 Internal Change Agents create the demand for change and execute strategies to minimize resistance critical to innovative and operational success. 

And, finally,  those in “blue”, the last of the Systematic-Professionals,  115 Professional Practitioners may enjoy mastering  a new niche as part entrepreneur and part professional services delivery person. They’re needed to apply proprietary best practices and knowledge gleaned from the growing “intraprenerial proof of concepts” while measuring results the rest of the organization can more easily digest and trust.

“Wait a minute,” you may say. 

According to the Organization Type model the “Red” Paradoxy-Morons and “Tan” Sustaining-Associates” represent polar opposites in just the same way that “Green” Emerging-Entrepreneurs and “Blue” Systematic-Professionals do.

The first shows Disruptive Innovation at the extreme opposite corner from the Sustained Improvement extreme.  The same is true for the diagonal running from   Emerging Knowledge to Embedded Knowledge. 

Of course you are right. 

When it comes to identifying worse fit kinds of organizations.  Because those end points usually lie along the path of highest resistance.

Usually those combinations represent polar opposites dedicated to the highest degrees of disruptive innovation, independence, speed, embedded knowledge, improvement, affiliation and mastery. 

But, if you look closely the four Reinvention Talent Profiles do not embody the highest degree, but rather only medium degrees:

    • 104 R&D Experimenters — Medium degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed.
    • 106 Operational Accelerants — Medium degrees of new knowledge, affiliation and speed.
    • 109 Internal Change Agents — Medium degrees of improvement, affiliation and mastery
    • 115 Professional Practitioners — Medium degrees of embedded knowledge, improvement and mastery.

Once a Chief Reinvention Officer builds the team allowing for differences to surface during the storming phase and they begin to learn from each other more collaboratively they become a new model for how a Reinvented organization can be run.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Virtue is best delivered with humility, talent with vulnerability, might with mercy. The cosmic packaging doesn’t always team the right qualities together so you’ll do some intentional pairing.” Scorpio

A Reinvention team doesn’t mesh well especially in the forming stage.  You have to allow members from opposite organization types to argue, become frustrated with each other until differences bring out better understanding.  

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The general public may not be your best audience. Niche down. Once you aim your talent where people are likely to be responsive, you’ll find many to play along.”  Aries 

Depend on the internal change agents to help identify those like-minded people attracted to new niche, but critical paths.

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:Mistakes will be made. The way of progress is to admit to them, deal with the problem, learn from the sequence and either build on that or move along to the next thing.” Cancer

You have to allow for the messy, mistake filled beginnings before normalization takes hold and sets the stage for high performance. 

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: To keep from falling behind, look ahead. Figure out what you might need up there. Grab it and keep walking. Soon, you’ll be looking back and offering advice to the people who stand where you are now.” Leo

The task leads you into first time adventures where the outcome is uncertain filled with highly resistant coworkers.  At first they’ll line up against you until they notice the positive changes they can begin to trust.

Steve Aoki, 41: “Boats that beat against the current may expend great effort only to be borne back. Distance will only be achieved in accordance with the wind and tides.” Sagittarius

You have to expect highly resistant going in the beginning.  Look for those early adaptors who may provide budget and influence necessary to turn the tide your way.

Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): Worry helps no one, least of all you. Think about how you want things to go, and then prepare for that. Direct your positive thoughts and energy to the situation and all will be well.” Pisces

It’s always uphill.  But with the right kind of core foundational story, an inclusive vision and a mission others can swallow you’ll find more people who can lend a hand.

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

 

S2 E104 — Worst Monday Ever. Very, Very Grim …

Given our steep decline, “rounding out” also meant leading during restructuring, and hopefully addressing serious morale issues while injecting more entrepreneurial thinking.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Don’t wait for praise. They seldom say what you want or need to hear. They only see the public result of what you’re doing, but you’re also on a private journey that requires internal reinforcement you’ll have to provide yourself.” Libra

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 104 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 28th day of August 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 E103 Confronting Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Resistance and Unrelenting Stress ; S2 E102Caught by Surprise in a Major Gut-Wrenching Decline; S2 E101The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day;

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E104How Yesterday’s Success Triggers Tomorrow’s Failure; S1 E103Innies and Outies and Other Potential Catastrophes; S1 E102Why Is It Always Hidden in the Fine Print?; S1 E101From Saint to Soul Mate and Trusted Friend

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity and Decline stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles, yours included.

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

22. Internal Consultant MD&T 

Part Three

We now shift to a fourth example of a century-old mature organization, a multinational engineering and construction company, but this time caught by surprise which led to a major decline in Part One. Thrown into chaos for several years we turn to “experiments”to avoid cannibalizing survivors in Part Two.

Southern California Division to Corporate Tower

Paul, my boss, who fast-tracked to the corporate tower approached me to join him on  the 10th floor where Fluor Engineers, Inc were headquartered in a world-wide research, staff, technology and human systems consulting role. 

Basically, reshuffled divisions would send high potential managers into the developmental pipeline. One of my jobs was to select a university executive program customized to strengths and weaknesses of each — what we called “rounding out.”

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Given our steep decline, “rounding out” also meant leading during restructuring, and hopefully addressing serious morale issues while injecting more entrepreneurial thinking.

180-Degree Shift in Key Success Factors by Growth Stage

Growth Stage Key Success Factor Leading to a Crisis New Success Key
Start Up Loosen Leadership Tighten
Emerging Tighten Functional Loosen
Rapid Loosen Autonomy Tighten
Sustained Tighten Repetition Loosen
Maturity Loosen Control Tighten
Decline Tighten Red Tape Loosen

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

He outlined my consultative role as applying what was learned about the people factors in our study of the implementation of technology pilot, to a new, farther reaching implementation of “3-D” design CAD package in London, Houston, SCD and at Fluor Daniel

Some of the speculation was that in order to compete, Fluor Management has decided to favor “capital-heavy,” instead of “manpower-heavy”. That year alone there was a $14 million budget earmarked for a pilot implementation.

What’s Life Like at the Corporate Headquarters as an Internal Consultant?  

I had “made it to the top”, that is I jumped from a corner cubicle on the concourse in the basement of the Southern California Division to the top of the corporate tower.

My office on the top floor has light tan carpeting, a dark brown mahogany door with matching desk, bookshelves and a round wooden waste basket.  It turned out to be short-lived, but not for the reasons I feared — taking a corporate job which seemed highly risky when every Friday new pink slips delivered doom.

To get to the 10th floor you need a special plastic badge to gain access to the mirrored elevator.  Without it you have to disembark on the 9th floor.  Two imposing dark brown mahogany doors seal off the elevator lobby from the 9th floor reception area on one side and a hallway of light tan carpet and closed wood doors. 

A camera aids the receptionist screening your arrival.  Usually the door clicks automatically and opens to a expansive “living room” style waiting rooms complete with couches, easy chairs, end tables, antiques and oil paintings, Asian screens and expensive pottery pieces.

On the 10th floor you just couldn’t beat the view from two offices down from the President FEI, the Vice President of Human Resources and the son of the previous CEO.  

I gratefully used their secretaries for correspondence and reports on the following projects:  

    • A survey of ergonomic research for Fluor Australia
    • A matrix of advanced management programs for executives for the Houston division, Fluor Nedetherlands, Telecommunications and the Southern California Divisions
    • A HRD role on the implementation of design graphics technology slated for FEI worldwide, launching is SCD, Daniel in Greenville, South Carolina and London
    • A summary of quarterly people development board meetings held in Houston, Ocean Services, Fluor Canada, Northern California Division, Fluor Power in Chicago, Advanced Technology Division in Irvine, Fluor Nederlands, London, Australia, Germany, South Africa and Fluor Arabia.

And, for example, I phoned Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pittsburg to confirm with the admissions staffs enrollment of 6 top key executive-potential managers into their 6-9 week programs.

Initially my assignment had been to work with IT software experts to automate FEI high-potential candidates.

By now the company had become a mature culture which had attracted three out of four talent profiles associated with Systematic-Professional Organizations.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

To efficiently manage complex systems 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists make terrific additions.

Peak Growth Leveling Off in the Maturity Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

They all favored the higher degrees of independence that came with engineering, project management, and staff assignments. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Many viewed themselves as highly skilled professionals, which they were, because it took advanced, specialized degrees to qualify for their professions.

They also took jobs at Fluor, because they worked at their own, slower, more methodical pace.  In “normal” times that was a strength. 

In abnormal times their strengths turned into resistance.  They weren’t the ones, they felt,  who caused the restructuring, so any threat to their status quo wasn’t their fault and meant their delay in “coming onboard” made it too late to change quickly.   They become victim to their own Red-Tape Crisis.

Falling From Maturity into Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The last place you’d normally find talent profiles from the “red” Paradoxy-Moron Organizational Type would be in a Maturity Growth stage.  They “peel off” when an organization at the Start Up stage “crosses the chasm” into the first of three growth stages, Emerging Growth.  

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Paradoxy-Moron Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

They don’t appear again, until in this Decline stage and once more in the next stage, Reinvention.

In short, reversing the risk adverse, red tape-poisoned culture requires outside intervention with a newer perspective while the company restructures, downsizes and outsources costly internal operations.

The outside partnership blends combinations of high degrees of independence with medium degrees of disruptive innovation, speed, embedded knowledge, improvement and mastery.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The 113 Idea Packagers work well in settings that require outside-the-system perspective when information filtering contributes to decline. They provide the conceptual framework by which manuals, organizational procedures, and even work assignments are translated and put into action. 

They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals. But, 113 Idea Packagers use cleverness and independent thinking to problem-solve and reinvent, and in an easygoing, unassuming manner prod organizational change and improvement towards restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing and other relevant solutions to the red tape crisis.

Why a partnership with talent from a Paradoxy-Moron culture?

While 102 Thought Leaders share a high degree of independence with 113 Idea Packagers they’re attracted to medium degrees of speed and disruptive innovation.  If the slow moving, status quo-loving cruise ship falls into desperate straights the captain needs new strategic steering and a new sense of urgency to keep from running aground. 

Lessons Learned

I learned on the job — how to improve quality, introduce new technology, teach and facilitate sales teams (I know, right) and at corporate headquarters send high potential managers in the developmental pipeline to university executive programs for rounding out.  

I learned large-scale organizations resist change like an immune system does. That helped me developed and refined my skill and talent to package new ideas — newer ways of doing things better — than what was the tried and true, especially during a decline when hundreds of employees receive their pink slips on Fridays.  

In bad times you need to offer employees outplacement on their way out and continuous improvement so survivors can feel productive and hopeful. 

In good times you need to build a climate for innovation and solicit ideas for growth. We just wanted to identify when our employers and clients should pivot between the two. 

Grim for Survivors

You play if this, then that scenarios.  If lots of companies relocate in or out of a geographical area then what does that mean to employees already working there?  Will there be enough talented people in the labor pool, or do they have to be trained to master jobs created?

So one of the other dark humor jokes we used to amuse ourselves was, “Will the last ones left turn off the lights and lock up?”  And, then one Monday morning a department’s survivors returned to find their boss had hung himself in the middle of the cubicles from the ceiling.

That took the wind out of everyone’s sails. Worst Monday ever. Very, very grim.

Inplacement

It took a while, but Tom and I always wanted to apply some of the techniques to managing your career and our success with outplacement had made “inplacement” for career development an easier sell. I learned some valuable lessons at Fluor over the 5 or 6 years I worked there as a management trainer and internal consultant.

Rightsizing

We named it “Rightsizing”. Usually we didn’t make the call. And we could be blindsided. So we just assumed the worst and  anticipated a major shift to give us enough lead time to minimize needless resistance or sabotage.

Anytime you try to maneuver a mature organization away from what had worked so well for so long the entrenched management resists the opposite set of key success factors like your immune system repels diseases.

It takes skill and talent to package new ideas — newer ways of doing things better — than the tried and true, especially during a decline when hundreds of employees receive their pink slips on alternative Fridays like clock work.

Taking My Own Advice – Plans A, B, and Maybe C

When your work for big companies throughout your career you need projects that make you valuable in booming markets and down markets.  Otherwise, we used to joke companies would begin to cannibalize their “human resources just when they needed them to step up.”

I could see the writing on the wall. “Plan B” was to assist Paul in positioning Human Resources in a different, more “developmental role” at Fluor Engineers, Inc. while my networking efforts led to a new job offer, which I took according to my “Plan A”.

Summary

Where can you find the best fit?

Consider the type of Organization defined by the intersections of dimensions that define their talent cultures and business models

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

And if you feel you run out of options, next consider the demands of the next stage of your organization’s stage of growth.

Finding Better Fits for 12 of 16 Talent Profiles by Stage

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
110 Analytical Specialists Sustained Growth Sustaining-Associates
114 Brand-as-Experts Maturity Systematic-Professionals
116 Institutional Traditionalists Maturity Systematic-Professionals
113 Idea Packagers Decline Systematic-Professionals
102 Thought Leaders Decline Paradoxy-Morons

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

So far we’ve covered each stage beginning with Start-Up to Decline.  But we have one more to include, Reinvention.  So stay tuned.

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:It is only natural to want to be under someone’s skin the way they are under yours. Does it comfort you to know that perfect balance and mutuality is not the norm in love? Someone always gives more.” Scorpio

No, it doesn’t comfort me, and probably even less so for the love of my life, the beautiful and talented Emma the Baroness! 

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:There’s a type of pain that lets up at the exact same time that the job is finished — sweet relief. This won’t deter you from taking the same task on. The more times you do, the easier it gets.” Cancer

If we repurpose this TauBit of Wisdom to a physical realm and exercising it holds more meaning and relevance.  Oh, and learning a new habit to overcome procrastination.  But not as much for today.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Right and wrong are obvious. Most of life falls into narrower categories. Address the gray areas with different barometers: kind/unkind, effective/ineffective, energizing/draining, etc.” Leo

Hmm.  This may be a reach.  I’ve zigzagged between passion projects.  This one is more work related, but by misreading narrower for narrator, I might turn this into a saying with more relevance for my memoir.

“3” Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You’ll ponder the underlying meanings and connected personal truths. A little goes a long way with this so don’t wallow in the depths. Soon your brain craves either action, comfort or rest.” Virgo

Sure, anybody’s brain craves action, comfort or rest.  How relevant is that for me today?

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Don’t wait for praise. They seldom say what you want or need to hear. They only see the public result of what you’re doing, but you’re also on a private journey that requires internal reinforcement you’ll have to provide yourself.” Libra

So does this TauBit of Wisdom apply to my simultaneous experience with my crowdfunding platform, Patreon, and this blog? 

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41: “No one gets to be all one thing today. Introverts will have to do extraverted things and vice versa. Agreeable people will have to have the guts to disagree. Disagreeable people must learn to acquiesce.” Sagittarius

And, all of this happens out of public view in our home or behind a mask!

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E103 — Confronting Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Resistance and Unrelenting Stress

Attempting so much, so fast to meet the more drastic measures in a shorter time frame while in steep decline, created larger than expected stress levels in a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt.  Large scale, mature organizations, I learned resist change like an immune system does.

“5” Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): When you can’t be knowledgeable (no one can know all things, and if they could, they’d be insufferable) then be versatile. The ability to adapt and respond is more important than the ability to know and stand correct.” Pisces

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 103 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 27th day of August 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 E102Caught by Surprise in a Major Gut-Wrenching Decline; S2 E101The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day; S2 E100Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E103Innies and Outies and Other Potential Catastrophes; S1 E102Why Is It Always Hidden in the Fine Print?; S1 E101From Saint to Soul Mate and Trusted Friend; S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity and Decline stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We now shift to a fourth example of a century-old mature organization, a multinational engineering and construction company, but this time caught by surprise which led to a major decline. We continue with Part Two describing restructuring initiatives.

22. Internal Consultant MD&T 

Part Two

Matrix Management

This was a matrix organization of large scale construction projects staffed by engineering disciplines which for performance and salary reviews made management administration difficult and complex.  As oil refinery and energy construction orders disappeared in the “income pipeline” minor initial adjustments  turned more drastic as the industry downturn lasted much longer than expected.  

Then Came The Restructuring 

And, then the industry-wide turn down blew into town.  During the downturn doing things the way they had always been done gave way to cutting back — introduction of new project efficiencies, quality improvements, new technologies, expansion of sales and marketing tools and orientation, and outplacement for hundreds of employees receiving their Friday pink slips.

So Much Change = FUD

Attempting so much, so fast to meet the more drastic measures in a shorter time frame while declining created larger than expected stress levels in a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt.  Large scale organizations, I learned resist change like an immune system does.  

My Colleagues

A crisis threw me and all my colleagues in our internal consulting unit into high alert.   For us trainers the announcement that the entire Supervisors Certificate program had been cancelled caused a group panic.  

But, as it turned out we huddled with our new leader who filled the 30-day leader vacuum and launched a conspiracy.  

We focused on applying lessons learned in consulting engagements.  We partnered with another internal consultant in our group for coaching and advising reluctant formerly high potential leaders into entrepreneurial or cost-cutting projects that would test their meddle.

Sales Training, Situational Leadership, Quality Improvement, OD team building

before the new boss, Dr. Paul assumed the position.  Luckily, his vision for the department was pretty much a reinvention of what it had been years earlier — internal consultants 

New Technology Introduction

From a trial demonstration and research into technology introductions I helped shape the initial drafts of new plant design and 3-D graphics proposal, 

Key components:

    • Management Strategy and Role, 
    • Employee Involvement, 
    • Formal Education Considerations, 
    • Organizational Design, and 
    • Rewards and Incentives, 

Each section generated a different set of problems and challenges to be worked through.  

If the new technology was to have a positive rather than a costly non-productive impact, those issues needed to be addressed.

Distilled from USC and UCI 102 Thought Leaders one major conclusion was it didn’t matter what the specific technology was, the reception of it by the employees could lead to a sabotaging disaster or a career advancing success.  

Sabotage Followed from Shock and Surprise.  

No advanced warnings.  Just execution.  Career advancing ended with execution, but began with widespread organizational planning.  

Out of that naturally flowed the development of requirements.  Not everyone had to be involved, but they needed to receive communications about progress, especially during the planning about implementation and integration strategies.  

Why, who, what, when, where, and how it would impacted those affected.  If you laid the ground work, then and only then do you entertain bids and select the best fit technology solutions.  

And finally, you execute.

Upskilling Sales and Marketing 

Sheila, a Ph.D and 102 Thought Leaders, like our new leader Paul brought a more academic, yet faster paced urgency to new initiatives. 

I partnered with Sheila and Irv in the complex Sales Training Program 

Sales and marketing presentation case studies of wins and losses replaced boom time deals done over country club handshakes We addressed pressures on sales and marketing when the backlog of new major projects dwindled and new proposals met with demand by the huge clients to interview not just the executives, but the technical staff and project administrators as well.  

If each person in group panels contradicted another person’s expert assessment, that multi-million project would be awarded to a competitor. In one actual deal gone south two engineers argued over the company’s “bottom of the barrel” extraction capabilities in front of the client team charged with choosing among competitors.

It didn’t go well!

First came the classroom training emphasizing presentation skills and sales techniques that most engineers cringed at, being Systematic-Professionals, 116 Institutional Traditionalists and 114 Brand-as-Experts as they participated.  But, during the competing teams challenge they appreciated the additional skills required once a real case study had been analyzed, compared to competitor strengths and weaknesses and a sales theme emphasizing our strengths and their weaknesses against the stated and unstated client requirements.

Then each team member presented a portion of the proposal to a team of judges taped for debrief and prizes. One-on-one individual feedback sessions followed.

Quality Improvement Program

As more managers got the cost-cutting imperative message I began facilitating meetings using agendas from one of our canceled classes, which emphasized collaborative problem solving including inviting cross-department participation, brainstorming potential solutions, assessing the best ones, getting buy-in for implementation and scheduling action steps.

In my partnered quality consultant role, I enjoyed working “in the snake pit” with the maverick process engineering department.  One of the major issues to emerge was activating our “unsatisfactory counseling procedures” to help resolve an older opinionated employee who hated working for a newly assigned rookie supervisor.

I advised the quality improvement steering committee set up in the process engineering department.  Sometimes it boiled down to just “giving permission” for them to be creative in their own coordination of their approach to QIP implementation.  Initially the process engineers were the biggest skeptics of the “make certain” and “do it right the first time” slogans injected from a popular canned program bought in from the outside.

They are the Prima Dona department.  On any project they are the ones who design the processes and technology to be engineered.  Many times it is trial and error in the beginning and is by its nature creative

But, they are isolated.  Having only one department meeting someone remembered happening 20 years ago.  Therefore, they didn’t act as a team or have a core identity.  We began low key with setting up informal get togethers to help boost their morale, define themselves and to one to grips with their unique quality issues and dilemmas.

Eventually, they figured out the benefits accruing to them as they participated, especially when after they took off their “training wheels” the tackled the problems and challenges they all wanted fixed “by someone” else.  And they enjoyed it.

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51:Part of you has been making plans without the other part. Get all sides together for a sit-down talk aimed at naming a few common goals. You’re as powerful as you are unified.”Scorpio

During declining restructuring from a position of leadership, you can be a good corporate citizen, but know your best interests may not be what the executives have in mind.  Therefore, plot out a plan A for surviving, but a plan B for when you don’t.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Nice isn’t always good, and not nice isn’t always bad. There are many reasons people have for doing what they do and for being in the mood they are in. Stay aware of the bigger picture.”  Aries 

During conditions of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) sometimes a more directive leadership style is required due to the urgency.  

“5” Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): When you can’t be knowledgeable (no one can know all things, and if they could, they’d be insufferable) then be versatile. The ability to adapt and respond is more important than the ability to know and stand correct.” Pisces

Engineers often require a fail-safe perspective because what they design can endanger workers in the field, in the plants and in their offices.  A strength taken too far — deployed over and over again no matter the situation — becomes a weakness.  Analysis-paralysis leads to overthinking at a time when action is required.  And resistance turns to indirect sabotage.

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E102 — Caught by Surprise in a Major Gut-Wrenching Decline

My head began to swim and I felt sick to my stomach when the caller told me the guy who hired me was just fired by him. Now what am I going to do? His words increased the panic and anxiety in my mind.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You are unique. To whatever extent you can, set up your environment to flow in a way that supports your particular needs, preferences and thinking style.” Libra

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 102 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 23rd day of August 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 E101The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day; S2 E100Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy; S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E102Why Is It Always Hidden in the Fine Print?; S1 E101From Saint to Soul Mate and Trusted Friend; S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity and Decline stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system — Part One and Two.

We now shift to a fourth example of a century-old mature organization, a multinational engineering and construction company, but this time caught by surprise which led to a major decline and gut-wrenching restructuring.

22. Internal Consultant MD&T 

Part One

What became a multinational engineering and construction firm began in 1890 by three brothers in Oshkosh, Wisconsin as a saw and paper mill. Thirteen years later the  company was renamed Fluor Bros. Construction Co.. It didn’t set up shop in California until 1912 when John split from his brothers, moved to Santa Ana for health reasons and in a classic story began Fluor Corporation out of his garage.

To to be closer to its oil and gas clients, Fluor’s headquarters were moved to Alhambra, in 1940 before moving again to Orange County, California in the 1960s due to concerns about the cost of living and traffic.

New Profession, New Career

I just wanted to trade working with developmentally delayed clients sporting a range of IQs from 10 to 16 to working with very bright employees in an industry with a bright shiny future of high technology.

From the Outside

Can looks be deceiving? A couple of big shiny glass boxes with “turrets” on each corner and another seven or eight stories tall glass tower represented the future to me — working in them would make a year-long career transition well worth it. 

You couldn’t miss them in the corner of partially developed commercial property at the corner of the San Diego Freeway (405) and Michelson Drive.

Getting the position

My ASTD board role was strategic.  Although I worked 75 miles away from Fluor’s new headquarters I created the association’s position referral function.  I reviewed every new training and development position about to be advertised in our newsletter as a service to corporate education and human resources departments.

The president of our volunteer training organization phoned  me with news he  became the Director of the Management Development and Training group at Fluor and needed to hire some professionals.  He asked if I knew anybody who might be interested.

John Brunstetter fell for my transitional skills, knowledgeable pitch and grew to trust me. 

I met with him taking a sick day in the same office where  I had first introduced myself to Mike Blackmore a few years earlier.

Rotations to Higher Positions

Brunstetter had replaced Mike Blackmore, who took on a more senior level position in Human Resources in the Corporate Tower before leaving for another opportunity. 

Managing Change

Looking back now, as a then undiagnosed 113 Idea Packager, I continued to research and develop “my body of knowledge” accumulated in two prior careers, but needed to find a better paying and more challenging new career.  Several times I became disappointed when the reality didn’t match the potential opportunity.

All my research and information interviews pointed me to training and development.  An awful lot of teachers from my generation had already made the transformation out of the classroom full of kids to classrooms full of adults in corporations.

Finally, my luck changed!

First Change

Then the phone rang.  

Some guy named Dutch was on the other end.  I’m pretty sure most if not all of my personal property had been boxed and a little farewell lunch had been scheduled.

My head began to swim and I felt sick to my stomach when the caller told me the guy who hired me was just fired by him.

Now what am I going to do increased the panic and anxiety in my mind.

I had already accepted his offer, gave my two weeks notice and counted down how many days  until I didn’t have to drive 1 hour and 30 minutes down and back each day.

My blood drained out of me as I sunk into a deep depression.

In Shock

His voice sounded like it echoed through some distant tunnel through my phone at work.  Then, I heard him repeat, “Your job is not effected by this.” 

Actually, he must have picked up on the long speechless pause on my end.  He must have said it two or more times to reassure me and confirm he looked forward to meeting me personally on my first day.

Between a rock and hard place

I wasn’t sure.  And, I didn’t know what to expect after the first day.  Fluor like the University of California in Irvine commanded a prestigious reputation in Orange County. And I’d save on gas and wear and tear on our Volvo.  But, who knows what happens after the first few weeks or months?  I desperately wanted to know why he was fired.  And, if that act meant something bad was happening in the not too distant future

Misjudged the Opportunity

Did I misjudge the situation I found myself in at the end of my career transition?  Yes and no.  Tantamount on my mind was a shift from providing services to client populations suffering from brain injury caused low IQs and vocational services to less educated with back and stress issues to employees with advanced education — in this case engineers, mostly civil and structural — generally a mix of 112 Loyal Survivalists, 110 Analytical Specialists, 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists.  

But, the shiny glass buildings and corporate tower might have tipped me off if I had known any better.  Was it a high tech company on the inside? 

Imposter Waiting to Be Uncovered

But, Fluor was a big change for me compared to what I had been doing.  It was scary.  I didn’t have the confidence coming into the company since I felt I was impersonating a professional but was really only faking it until I made it.

I had no feel for what was going on.  I just knew we had no leader for 30 days.  But we were a group of internal consultants and classroom trainers.

I absorbed everything I could from the rest of the Management Development & Training staff.

Just a Number

Right off the bat I didn’t like what the HR rep said during the on boarding process about essentially keeping your nose to the grindstone and you’ll do well.

It kind of echoed what Blackmore told me,  “We don’t air our dirty laundry on the clothesline.”

What’s that old saying?  Why are employees like mushrooms?  Employers feed them shit and keep them in the dark.

Internal Consultant 40,000 Employees

For five years I “faked it until I made it” as an internal consultant in the management development and training.

Other than my college and university experience, this was my first taste of working in a large organization — 40,000 employees at its peak with 6,000 in the corporate office.  

Building

The company the old-timers told me everything changed when they had moved from a military-looking, defense contractor set of building from all over Los Angeles into Irvine’s high-tech looking glass-mirroring compound. 

As soon as they did everyone began dressing up into ties and three-piece suits and had to wear photo id badges.  Kinda like when the raw recruits emerged from the barbershop in basic training and couldn’t recognize everyone.

Everything was new.  Every floor looked the same when you exited the elevator, until you noticed subtle color variations in the carpet and wall decorations.

Confidentiality Location

Our office entrance was on the first floor just before everyone took the escalator down a level to the open cafeteria and enclosed, but open aired patio.

Our group’s location may have been intentionally planned so managers and employees could seek confidential meetings for advice in sticky situations without calling too much undue attention.  Like a sign of weakness. Or a signal that someone was waving dirty laundry.

Strong Command and Control Under Glass

They still kept their strong control and command management style while they were able to fit everyone into the glass compound, except one division — the Advanced Technology Division.  Everyone in the high potential poll of future executives, no matter the location, congregated monthly for high level leadership presentations in our building.

One year a helicopter had flown in some well-known, well-healed politicos who made their entrance from the stairwell in the middle of the open aired patio into the normal eating area, except it was late afternoon and this was the supervisors club meeting — and the Secretary of State on this one occasion was addressing us in a barely distinguishable heavy accent as a favor since he had been on retainer to the CEO.  

He pontificated on the world’s global events and by extrapolation which business opportunities Fluor should strategically capitalize on. 

Here’s What I Didn’t Know

In short order big changes were  coming my way after accepting an offer to work for a growing, mature company in the engineering and construction industry with 45,000 employees worldwide and 6,000 in Irvine, mostly in the Southern California Division.

The executive team misread the length of an industry-wide recession which plunged the mature engineering and construction into a prolonged decline. 

In three years Fluor’s backlog went from $16 billion to $4 billion and reported $633 million in losses which triggered years of difficult restructuring.

I felt my new career slip away. Except another consultant and I saw an intrepreneural opportunity to advance what he had been piloting already and to provide services for hundreds and maybe thousands about to get their pink slips. 

Internal Outplacement 

That might have been a coincidence, or an omen, but one of the first major projects we urgently began developing was outplacement.  Luckily, I knew enough from my Univance work to be dangerous and Tom had already been introducing Career Development Planning as a pilot project.  But, the shit was hitting the fan.

It was a hard sell to executives who knew nothing about outplacement.

They wanted to know how many people took advantage?  They were laid off, right?  Wouldn’t they feel like they had the scarlet letter — “L” on their forehead? And wouldn’t people walking the halls notice them with job-finding binders which would negatively effect morale?

Surfaced Their Resistance, Dumbed Down Our Aspirations

So, we convinced top management to allow us to offer a three hour seminar and a binder covering the best overlooked ways to find a new job.  And then follow that up with more in-depth workshops and counseling — all on site.  

That bite sized chunk turned out to be much easier for them to swallow.  And, working everything out comprehensively gave us the advantage of anticipating almost all of the failure points to avoid.

CEO Blunder

The Orange County Register published an interview with Fluor’s CEO who said, primarily for stock market investors, they were getting rid of the deadwood.  

Word got around fast.  Out of 20 or so attendees in the first seminar only one or two didn’t bring a copy of that article with them.  

It felt like the villagers armed with pitch forks storming the Frankenstein laboratory.  I had to throw out the seminar agenda and improvise on the spot.

Our party line was to focus on finding a job now, because the job market wasn’t booming and they’d need every tip, trick and luck they could muster. 

“Then if you still feel the same, sue later.”  I said that last part in a whisper.

After the first 45 minutes of them venting how unfair it was and recommending lawyers who would take their cases, as engineers they pointed out that they didn’t fall asleep at the helm of the ship and didn’t underestimate the duration of the industry downturn.  

All my partner and I could do was to nod, tell them we feel their pain (knowing they would look at us while thinking we were less valuable to the company then they were), and steer them back to “Here’s what you need to know, how to sign up for workshops and one-on-one coaching.”

Which woke me up to life in the fast lane as I processed hundreds through our internally run outplacement programs adding a staff and scheduling one-on-one advisory sessions, while reaching out to human resources recruiters in southern California companies needing talented people.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Routines are like train tracks; once established, you can chug along to your destination without too much drama. Routines will help you do things that would be very hard otherwise.”  Aries 

And that works both ways, right?  When routines and habits become too entrenched they become so hardened that it’s nearly impossible to choose another track. The insidious thing, is we don’t know what we don’t know.  Good stuff gets screened out as the world flies past our window.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: If you can’t say a thing succinctly, that only means you’re still trying to work out which part of it is important. The principle holds true in any pursuit. Economy will come with experience.” Leo

Is that why as an introvert  (INTP) I need to let things cool down and spend an ungodly amount of time processing what just happened?

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You are unique. To whatever extent you can, set up your environment to flow in a way that supports your particular needs, preferences and thinking style.” Libra

Hmm.  So you’re saying holed away in my office, away from everyday distractions helps my thinking style?  That would be 113 Idea Packager aka INTP?

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41: “Today, you’ll be doing the typical you thing but on an atypical scale. Working much bigger or much smaller than usual will highlight your talent in such a way as to teach you where your strengths and weaknesses lie.” Sagittarius

Wow, if you say so.  Either this is so profound and I’m so dense, or I’ll have to get back with you at the end of the day.

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead:  

An argument can be made that humans, like ants, bees and termites, are eusocial creatures. It follows that, like ants, bees and termites, most individuals do not do well on their own. 

They need the support of the swarm in order to thrive. For this reason, most humans have a visceral reaction to things like noninclusion, shunning and other forms of rejection. 

While rejection may not be physically harmful, it hits at a primal level. For humans, to be ostracized from the group has historically been a fate akin to death and, indeed, would often lead there. 

Without the protection of the tribe, one person in the wild is vulnerable and constantly challenged, so it follows that a fear of rejection is a normal and useful part of socialization. 

Since most people fear and avoid rejection, those who go the opposite way are regarded with admiration. And those who risk rejection often become somewhat immune to the otherwise crippling effects of rejection-fear. More and greater options are open to those who are unafraid to try for them.

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E101 — The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day

If the slow moving, status quo loving cruise ship falls into desperate straits the captain needs new strategic steering and a new sense of urgency to keep from running aground. 

“5”  Steve Howey, 42: “Human perception (and indeed, survival) depends on filtering out more than what we let into our awareness. You may be noticing a lot more than the others. Try not to hold it against them.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 101 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 2nd day of August 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 E100Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy; S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To? ; S2 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E101From Saint to Soul Mate and Trusted Friend; S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?; S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation?

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth and Maturity stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

 We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system — Part One and Two.

Decline

Strange bedfellow feel attracted to declining organizations. One drawn to the crisis from the “Blue Box” of Systematic-Professionals and the other from the “Red Box” of Paradoxy-Morons. You’ll see an interesting partnership formed by 113 Idea Packagers (Blue) and 102 Thought Leaders (Red).

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Why?

A company or any organization that has been successfully operating for over 40 years, and especially those that have been around for a century or longer, like our last three examples, over extend their prevailing business model and the systems required to operate in the status quo.

You could say, and you wouldn’t be wrong, they fall victim to maturity “group think” that collectively filters out information from the margins — where emerging competition fester. 

Set in their ways, mature organizations will do almost anything to repeat the success factors derived from building on what has worked for years and maybe generations. 

They recruit, develop and retain, all most unconsciously like-minded people with similar backgrounds and education.

They build layer upon layer of complex organizational structures and operating systems which divorce them from director customer contact, which start ups and growth companies build strong relationships with.  

Their expertise becomes highly specialized, but their research and development functions don’t really benefit from direct market feedback and shifting customer requirements.

A mature culture resists any threat to their status quo until it is too late and they become victim to their own Red-Tape Crisis.

In short, reversing the risk adverse, red tape-poisoned culture requires outside intervention with a newer perspective while the company restructures, downsizes and outsources costly internal operations.

The outside partnership blends combinations high degrees of independence with medium degrees of disruptive innovation, speed, embedded knowledge, improvement and mastery.

The 113 Idea Packagers work well in settings that require outside-the-system perspective when information filtering contributes to decline. They provide the conceptual framework by which manuals, organizational procedures, and even work assignments are translated and put into action. 

They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals. But, 113 Idea Packagers use cleverness and independent thinking to problem-solve and reinvent, and in an easygoing, unassuming manner prod organizational change and improvement towards restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing and other relevant solutions to the red tape crisis.

Why a partnership with talent from a Paradoxy-Moron culture? While 102 Thought Leaders share a high degree of independence with 113 Idea Packagers they’re attracted to medium degrees of speed and disruptive innovation.  If the slow moving, status quo loving cruise ship falls into desperate straights the captain needs new strategic steering and a new sense of urgency to keep from running aground. 

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51:The remedy to get past fear and discomfort is to do the very thing you would most want to avoid. You don’t have to do it a lot though because once or twice will get you over things quite nicely today.”Scorpio

Almost every effort to change a mature organization is met with overwhelming resistance, fear and discomfort.  Also FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt.  That’s why the new direction provided in collaboration with thought leader requires an idea packager to cement a tangible future the remaining employees can believe in.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:  

Your projects do not have to be lucrative for you to consider them a success, and yet you’ll have the pleasure of many different beneficial outcomes flowing from your work, including financial gain. Young and inexperienced people will follow your lead and be better for it. New relationships start the year off with style.

How awesome is that?  Too bad this ain’t my birthday so I can claim it.  If it’s yours, please be my guest!

“3”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “You already know what you like, so do something else. Better to find out that you have a great range of likes than to narrow your scope and be stuck trying to satisfy niche preferences.  Aries 

One of the lessons I learned over a 5 year employment in a declining company is you need to quickly volunteer for projects to add value in the downsizing, and then during the rightsizing and then back to innovation in the reinvention upsizing.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42: “Human perception (and indeed, survival) depends on filtering out more than what we let into our awareness. You may be noticing a lot more than the others. Try not to hold it against them.” Cancer

As in groupthink in a declining organization that may not realize it yet?

“4” Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: It’s going well. It doesn’t mean that all the lights are green or that the journey is comfortable, cool and frustration-free. It just means that you are actually getting somewhere.” Leo

I once was told that Start Ups don’t realize they are out of business until 6 months afterwards.  He never told me how long it took for Mature companies to realize they peaked and were on the downside of their incredible run.  I’m sure a thought leader could reveal how much time was left.

3” Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:When you know where you want to go but not how to get there, don’t worry. You’ll figure it out. If you don’t know where to go, then wait until you get an idea. Better to sit and conserve your energy than to aimlessly wander.” Virgo

In mature organizations on the decline require thought leaders to help provide the “where” and idea packagers to help select which wave of change to embrace and how to surf it to shore.

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E100 — Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy

Not all my Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they could crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to.  

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 100 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 21st day of August 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 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To? ; S2 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty ; S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?; S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation? ; S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth and Maturity stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system.

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program 

Part Two

The business school recognized it had to compete more aggressively for students and slowly shifted emphasis to digital leadership.  The heart of their marketing told prospective Executive MBA students they’d be able to think creatively and strategically about business challenges of the future.

Separately the University launched “The Cove” to fill the Orange County start up vacuum.  More of the Executive Students I advised, even in Healthcare, felt its magnetic pull particularly to commercialize ideas flowing from medical device, biotechnology and other research laboratories. I felt it too and developed relationships with its leaders. 

Here’s what we were up against.  Most residents in Orange County with college bound young adults, if their ambitions were to turn your ideas into a business you didn’t want to attend a campus in the UC System In fact, your best fit would be the Cal State System. You don’t want research and theories,  but you need tools, tips and practical guidance.

The business school’s pitch went something like this:  We have a long tradition of training professionals to succeed at the executive level.  Are you prepared to lead transformation and embrace opportunities for innovation in your industry?

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Clearly pitched at Systematic-Professionals like ourselves, the value proposition promised … you will build a general management foundation complemented by opportunities to further explore the healthcare space, enabling you to apply your understanding of business to the changing healthcare industry.

Our program maximizes your return on investment by: 

    • Delivering relevant knowledge and skills, 
    • Valuable connections with peers in other industries and
    • Prestigious credentials to accelerate your career and organization.

That’s where our group came in.

My project was so different than what my colleagues were providing that  I could independently create a unique suite of services customized for executives. Their “customers” were  students who just graduated with little or no work experience. 

For  the first five years as a Systematic-Professional 113 Idea Packager I flourished reporting directly to the Executive Director working autonomously while establishing services from the ground up as an intrapreneur: 

    • Launched the Executive to Executive mentoring program by recruiting and maintaining  a core of 45 to 50 VP and C-Suite Executives
    • Matched 35 to 45 executive students with mentors each quarter based on type of organization and stage of growth.  
    • Included 5 to 7 industry contacts. 
    • Hosted quarterly mentoring breakfast meetings. 
    • Held panel discussion with alumni and industry leaders for students.
    • Recruited entrepreneurs and alumni for frank Q&A exchanges with students considering a startup.

Not all Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they would crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to. 

They wanted to figure out why certain decisions had been made for business reasons that had impacted them.  Or, they had well researched ideas they wanted to advance, but needed a better understanding of how top executives prioritized their decisions.  Still others felt certain their start up ideas could be winners.

In a way the Healthcare Executive MBA students wanted the same payoffs as did the majority number of students in the Executive MBA program.  

As I met with each one individually before matching them with the best mentor I could find we pinpointed where they found themselves in their current situation.

We’d determine how they rated themselves in terms of high degrees of:

    • Independence or Affiliation
    • Speed or Mastery
    • Disruptive Innovation or Sustained Improvement
    • Emerging Knowledge or Embedded Knowledge

Four Organization Types

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Using myself for example I preferred higher degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery.  So on face value the blue box (Systematic-Professionals) would be a better fit for me.

But, not all Executive and Healthcare EMBA students were currently in the “color box” they preferred.  One decision they could make was to switch for a better fit — say, “Blue” (Systematic-Professionals) to “Green” (Emerging-Entrepreneurs).  The right mentor-match could prove to be helpful.

Next we’d explore curriculum choices:

Work For Themselves

    • Start a Business
    • Buy a Business or Franchise
    • Launch a Consulting Practice

Work for an Organization

    • Create an Intrapreneurial Position
    • Advance in Your Career
    • Change Your Career
    • Master a Career Disruption

For Executive EMBA students who worked at the same employer for several years which seemed to be plateaued compared to their competitors we would discuss reasons starting with their assessment of which growth stage they’ve stalled in.

Recognizing we haven’t profiled what works and doesn’t work in decline and reinvention stages yet my advice was to ask questions about how to address the crisis most likely constraining their employer and their career in each of the classes and from other students.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Of course another source would be matched to a mentor who had met those challenges successfully.

180 – Degree Shift in Success by Stages

Growth Stage Key Success Factor Leading to a Crisis New Success Key
Start Up Loosen Leadership Tighten
Emerging Tighten Functional Loosen
Rapid Loosen Autonomy Tighten
Sustained Tighten Repetition Loosen
Maturity Loosen Control Tighten

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Unless those students were career junkies like me who worked in each of those growth stages or consulted with clients confronted with artificial barriers to their organization’s growth, most only needed to focus on the edge of one box and determine what was necessary to jump into the next box for a few years.  

Managing 180 Degree Shifts Required for Each Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Those students encountering the most difficulty when it came to changing their careers had spent  decades in a Systematic-Professional Organization Type or a long-term company in the Maturity phase.

Returning to Organization Types, we’ve already covered 10 of 16 Talent Profiles.  If you think about a company’s culture, it is made up of more of a mix of talent profiles (4) and as people come and go each organization tends to recruit  the same type.

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Let’s say you value high degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery aka the talent culture you’d find at a university in the “Blue Box.” 

As one of my Executive MBA students, say a researcher on campus in biotechnology, you most likely would not flourish in the opposite “Green Box” known as Emerging-Entrepreneurs.  

Of course you could make it work, but it may feel too fluid with its focus on higher degrees of speed, emerging knowledge and affiliation.

Speaking of affiliation, the four talent profiles defining a “Tan Box” Sustaining-Associate Organization  favoring higher degrees of mastery and sustained improvement in addition to affiliation would struggle fitting into the “Red Box” of Paradoxy-Morons. 

So if you want to find a better fit, stay away from opposite color boxes.  If you’ve had it with your “box color” as in a career change, try probing an adjacent box to a medium degree of career satisfaction.

If you can’t handle the high speed, disruptive innovation “Red Box” culture, you might like the working in “Blue Box” Systematic-Professionals or the “GreenBox” Emerging-Entrepreneurs.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Summary

But, wait there’s more.  As in more options.

As you grow from start up to maturity as an organization my Executive MBA students the talent profiles can “break out” and add value to a specific state.  Two “red” profiles, 101 Breakpoint Investors and 103 Commercial Innovators are joined by “green” 105 Marketing Athletes.

If that Start Up jumps successfully into the first of two growth stages — Emerging Growth — two additional “green” profiles,  107 Resilient Product Teams and 108 Core Business Group, fuel further growth.

But as Emerging flips int Rapid Growth the first two of three Sustaining-Associate “tan” profiles, 111 Agile Tiger Teams and 112 Loyal Survivalists keep the wheels on the bus at higher speeds.  As Rapid Growth shifts into Sustained Growth the third “tan” profile joins the other two, 110 Analytical Specialists.

And, as we’ve already illustrated in these three mini case studies, as the company peaks and maintains their growth at the Maturity level, two “blue” profiles are required to keep the airplane routes synchronized, on schedule and systematically maintained — 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists.

Where to Find the Best Fit

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
110 Analytical Specialists Sustained Growth Sustaining-Associates
114 Brand-as-Experts Maturity Systematic-Professionals
116 Institutional Traditionalists Maturity Systematic-Professionals

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Next up:  we leave organizations at the Maturity Growth and describe two talent profiles who specialize and helping “pilots” pull up from their premature Decline.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Maybe this is why I’ve been drawn to figuring things out, what makes things work when it comes to accumulating knowledge and passing it on.  How to live, love, work, play, invest and leave a legacy.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5” Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Thinking counts as effort, but nothing comes into being through thought alone. Air must be moved, words spoken, written or sung, action and work of any kind completed. The more air that’s moved, the more real a thing becomes.  Aries

So that’s what this is all about?  Describing the air bending actions necessary to maneuver in Mature organizations? 

“4” Steve Howey, 42:It’s one of those days when you’ll do what’s good for you even though you don’t feel like it. It’s the sort of discipline that makes future decisions easier for you. Soon these things will require no discipline at all.” Cancer

Promises, promises. Let’s hope so…

“4” Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Giving love the same way as usual is nice enough. But people get desensitized to typical experiences. When you give more and differently, it’s like stretching the elastic of your heart to a greater capacity for love and joy.” Leo

Now that’s what I’m talking about for this Friday night near the end of summer!

“3” Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You can be sweet, but too much sweetness is no fun. Sometimes, your playfulness can come out in swipes. Knowing how far to go with mischief is the essence of intimacy.” Virgo

During this pandemic don’t I get a pass or does it only serve to heighten the tension?

“3”. Steve Aoki, 41: “A whole new level of adulthood kicks in with the realization that others measure the world and themselves differently from the way you do. Accepting this nonstandard system is its own badge of maturity.” Sagittarius

Ok, riddle me this. Of what do you speak, this maturity badge?  Unique talent magnetized to this organizational growth stage, eh?

“4” Steve Harvey, 62:You know an excellent suggestion when you hear it. You’ll follow up and soon be onto an interesting project, one that seems to create its own momentum.”  Capricorn

Yeah, well that’s exactly what intrigued me over the years and is now unfolding with a life of its own. Or during this pandemic I can complete that jigsaw puzzle sitting on our dining room table. 

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S2 E99 — Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To?

It was planned as a magnet for attracting the talent base to support growing financial, real estate and technology companies setting up shop on the former Irvine Ranch envisioned in the Irvine Company’s master plan.

 

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:You thought a thing ran its course. You thought you were done and wouldn’t return to it, but this business is, apparently, unfinished. Otherwise, it wouldn’t keep calling you back.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 99 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 20th day of August 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 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty; S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps; S2 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?; S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation? ; S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing; S1 E96Old Rabbits Die Hard

Context

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

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth and Maturity stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

 We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial and in a consumer industries.

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program 

Part One.

The University of California opened its doors in 1869 with just 10 faculty members and 40 students. Today, the UC system has more than 280,000 students and 227,000 faculty and staff, with 2.0 million alumni living and working around the world.

One of 10 campuses in the UC System

UC’s academic health centers provide broad access to top-ranked specialized care, support clinical teaching programs and develop new therapies. For news about UC breakthroughs and health initiatives.

Nine years before I moved to Orange County, UCI became the youngest campus in the system.  It was planned as a magnet for attracting the talent base to support growing financial, real estate and technology companies setting up shop on the former Irvine Ranch envisioned in the Irvine Company’s master plan..

When I worked at Fairview State Hospital, one of the psychologists, a 115 Professional Practitioner,  hailed from the School of Social Ecology.  Co-workers felt he had been skating from his responsibilities at the hospital while he built up his private practice and taught at the university. 

No-one I knew understood what Social Ecology meant. In a way, as a half-time intern working in the morning in the residence hall and then in the afternoon at the Behavior Modification Institute in Newport Center, I might have been half-skating.

Later I befriended the University’s Veterans Advisor seeking his assistance as I transitioned from one career into another. I ended up helping him as he came to the end of his employment while a student in the School of Social Ecology.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The campus and its library and its influence economically as Orange County’s second-largest employer (contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide) made it a hub for researching potential careers and jobs.

In fact, I interviewed professors, 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists,  who’s research matched my interests.  It what became the business school years later, I interviewed the dean who specialized in Organizational and Management Development to assess my chances at transitioning into that career.  

The more important side benefit came in the form of a list of business graduates identified by their Orange Count employers to conduct further interviews.

One in particular led to an offer a few months later to join an internal consulting, management development and training team in a mature, large engineering and construction company located in a cluster of mirror-glass buildings and a corporate tower.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Too academic, we echoed the conclusion of the client from the century-old consumer goods who hired my former boss and me.  But we leveled it at an interdisciplinary team of professors we engaged to survey the implication of brand new technology at the engineering and construction company. 

More on that engagement later.

The main point being academic achievement and research — what my graduate advisor described as foundational instead of practical — is what the local university offers its more than 37,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. 

So, it came as a surprise when a former co-worker recommended me to consult on a long-term retainer to help Executive MBA students in the Business School find work during the first five years.  I, a 113 Idea Packager,  viewed it as career triage, because it began in the 2008-2009 academic year, when recent graduates felt betrayed by the admissions sales pitch which told them how much better off they would be financially.  

I focused on what worked, how to apply what each Gen-X and Millennial student with roughly 10 years of experience learned in their course work, how to support each other while on campus during the 2-year program and to interview alumni who could introduce them into opportunities before announced on any online site. 

What started as a 2-year engagement expanded into a decade which I view as a field test or a laboratory for the content in these second volume 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?

What he referred to was how I divided the curriculum into two tracks, the perspective of a mid-career executive business student:  

Working for Yourself

    • Starting a Business Series: How to start a business from scratch despite what your family, friends and other fools tell you — increase the probability of survival within the first few years
    • Buying a Business or Franchise Series: How to buy a business or franchise that fits your career and business aspirations — manage and expand the growth of a proven business or franchise model with a successful formula in a specific location.
    • Consulting Practice Series: How to establish a mobile coaching or consulting practice — translate your technical expertise into a location independent business that complements your quality-of-life pursuits.

Working for an Organization

    • Intrapreneurial Series:  How to introduce sustainable growth through strategic innovation and get away with it — create your own internal entrepreneurial  position when normal channels to advancement or promotion are blocked.
    • Career Advancement Series:  How to get the most return on your Executive MBA investment in today’s economy — timing your job search campaign to successfully coincide with graduation or the shortest time after.
    • Career Change Series:  How to avoid the delays, pitfalls and mistakes most people make — timing your job search campaign to successfully coincide with graduation or the shortest time after.
    • Career Disruption Series: How to find a job without jeopardizing your educational or financial resources — how to maintain a sense of control and confidence during your transition by placing priority on activities with the highest probability of success.

Continued in Part Two.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Smart people won’t have time to prove they are smart today because they will be too busy chasing their curiosity around. You can relate. Your interests will lead you to like minds.”  Aries 

Is this why I’m reaching out to mentors I formerly recruited into the Executive MBA program to get their take on how this pandemic is effecting them?

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “The novice is proud of and wants full recognition for talents and skills. The wise would rather go unlauded, realizing the strategic advantage in being underestimated.”  Taurus

Whoa, there partner.  This is so Sun Tzu of you.  Profound!

“5” Steve Smith, 30: “Human memory is flawed. Even the best memories are unreliable and susceptible to corrosion over time. Record things as you go. This is the most dependable way, and you’ll be glad you did.” Gemini

Somewhere back in time an “aha!” broke through my consciousness and whispered to me that it would be really cool if I did just that, so it would be cool if I could look back from on periods in my life from sometime in the future. I did and it does. 

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:You thought a thing ran its course. You thought you were done and wouldn’t return to it, but this business is, apparently, unfinished. Otherwise, it wouldn’t keep calling you back.” Cancer

Dammit, you’re right.  Is that the sign that I’m obsessed?

“3”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:Modern society’s overemphasis on identity is as common as it is problematic. It’s useful to know what you want and what you like, but that shouldn’t be confused with who you are.” Virgo

Profound, yes.  Relevant for me today?  Not off the scales, although in my first career I leaned on Robert Ornstein’s take on our consciousness as it evolved over time leaving us with more than one identity that slips in and slips out of our mind.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54:It’s hard to notice any particular thing in a cluttered environment. But whatever you drop into a blank space will get all the attention. This is why you clear your mind before concentrating on what you love.” Libra

Sure, I do practice this mantra, but also believe in the power of messy —  by Tim Harford, the author, “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform our Lives” who writes Brian Eno’s makes his messy work for him, because he’s got several creative projects in the works at various stages.  If or when one doesn’t pan out, he simply switches to one of his others to bring it to fruition.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: “You care deeply about an idea and will work to bring it into the real world. Because you cannot give this same treatment to every idea, you’ll also be letting go of ideas you don’t think are very actionable.” Sagittarius

As my dear old dad would say, “Amen, brother!”  I get the letting go of ideas that aren’t very actionable, but this passion project, “Volume Two Manuscript —WorkFit” as an obsession pulls me forward after all these years.

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 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • 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

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip