S4 E41 — Admiring Ancient Sinaqua and Anasazi Cultures

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.  “They really got the shaft, didn’t they?”

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 41st Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 15th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12943 this week to 12982 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

Ever searching for connections and patterns, I fell back in time while staring up at Montezuma’s Castle. 

Back to our adventure in Mesa Verde.

The ranger said to visit the museum and the Spruce House since we could visit without tickets or a guide. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not until we hiked down to the Spruce House, did I begin to appreciate the severely shortened stopover. We climbed down into a Kiva and then I forgot about our time constraint.

Like I was transported into a different world, a different time. I could begin to use my imagination. 

Here at Montezuma’s Castle access to a similar experience could no longer be allowed.  And hadn’t for decades because of the growing deterioration.

It would make sense that just like in Colorado, if warring tribes or other threats challenged the ancient Sinaqua’s existence, they moved to the cliffs for protection. 

In Mesa Verde we barely had enough time to take in cliff dwellings that now appeared in the shadows across the canyons from a turnout. 

We stopped and photographed like so many other tourists before and after us — until the rain moved in. 

The centuries of inhabiting this area begins to sink in when you stand here next to our SUV with digital cameras in hand and gaze out across the canyon to the complex of early Anasazi cliff homes — what, some 1400 years before the first European explorers laid eyes on the territory – or even stepped on North American shores!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Maybe Mesa Verde felt grander because, well, it is and you can climb through it and view it from across the mesa.  

I remember the Anasazi people — Ancestral Pueblo-ans — lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region. 

That’s three or four times longer than the United States has been in existence.

The heart of the Anasazi region spanned northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado —a land of forested mountain ranges, stream-dissected mesas, arid grasslands and occasional river bottoms.

So, here we are in Arizona and I wonder how the Sinaqua are related to the Anasazi, or if they are.

Because in the 12th or 13th century over a period of one or two generations the Anasazi vanished from that mesa. They left no written records, so their story is incomplete. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

At Montezuma Castle the Southern Sinagua flourished in the Verde Valley, just as for thousands of years hunters and gatherers had preceding their period of agriculture and architecture.  Apparently they were influenced by the Hohokam and the Northern Sinagua in southern and central Arizona.  Hohokam moved north into the valley between 700 and 900 CE (Common Era) and grew corn, beans squash and cotton in irrigated canals.  

Northern Sinagua culture in Flagstaff featured above ground masonry dwellings something around 1125.  Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot villages reached their maximum size in the 1300s while remaining occupied for another 100 years.

Why did the Southern Sinagua, like the Anasazi, migrate away from this area by early 1400s? Both mysteries remain.  Both may have resulted from overpopulation, depletion of resources and diseases or territorial wars.

But it is the pueblos of Arizona and western New Mexico and those of the upper Rio Grande drainage that greeted the Spanish expeditions into the Southwest in the 16th century.

What began as a small trickle grew into a flood as several million Europeans and their descendants forced their ways upon the indigenous people of the New World over the centuries to come.

For four centuries, from 1492 — 1890, Europeans convinced the “heathens” they found, to adopt their ways.

In 1539, for instance, Franciscan Friar, Marcos de Niza, followed by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s Spanish expedition first came looking for trade routes to the orient and Seven Cities of Gold, as well as to colonize the New World.

Disappointment over the lack of physical riches soon was replaced by Spain’s legendary missionary zeal.

And the Spaniards were sorely tempted by the wealth of the American Indian souls ripe for conversion. 

So, by the end of the 16th century Juan de Onate officially had claimed this area for Spain.

It certainly seems clear, that while the Anasazi had abandoned the mesa before the Spaniards came, they had mastered community living — taking advantage of nature by building their homes under the protection of overhanging cliffs. 

Apparently, analysis of the ruins and excavated artifacts point to a civilization using rectangular shaped sandstone blocks held together with cement made from mud and water. 

It says  in the official park brochure that their rooms averaged about 42 square feet and housed two or three people. They stored crops in isolated rooms and in the upper levels.

Ironically, garbage heaps, from years of tossing over food and broken tools — knives, axes, awls, stone and bone scrapers, and pottery — have yielded the most knowledge about the Anasazi. 

I’d hate to think what story a lifetime of garbage would tell future archeologists about me!

But from their’s, we know they farmed beans, corn, and squash crops. They hunted deer, rabbits and squirrels and domesticated turkeys and dogs. 

Before they learned how to make pottery, they had mastered the art of basket making using a spiral twilled technique for hauling water, storing grain and perhaps even for cooking. 

And a thousand years before the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries arrived, around 550 A.D. pottery obsolesced basket weaving. They created pots, bowls, canteens, ladles, jars and mugs. 

They stored and cooked in them. Rituals and ceremonies incorporated them. 

They managed to produce a surplus of goods that gave them an advantage in a trading economy — stretching all the way to the Pacific coast, as evidenced by seashells.

In similar fashion, the Southern Sinagua mined salt deposited a few miles from present-day Camp Verde nearby, and traded salt widely throughout the Arizona region.

They also fashioned stone axes, knives and hammers and “man’s and metates” for grinding corn.  Beyond survival they Made bone awls and needles, cotton-woven clothes with shell ornaments together with turquoise mixed with a local red stone called argillite.

Back in Colorado, about five hundred years after their first pots appeared — by 1100 to 1300 – the Anasazi entered the Mesa’s classic period when about several thousand tribal members concentrated in compact villages with many rooms, kivas, and round towers seen today. 

We know more about their history than we do about the Southern Sinagua.   Most of the Anasazi cliff dwellings were build from 1190 to 1270, ranging in size from one-room house to 200-room villages — Cliff Palace. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With a kiva — a Hopi term for the ceremonial room — underground chambers in which they performed healing rites, prayed for rain, luck in hunting or for good crops in the upcoming seasonal harvest. 

 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And kivas may have been the community center where weavers and potters gathered to practice their craft. A small hole in the floor, called a sipapu, is the symbolic entrance to the underworld. 

But, they lived in the cliff dwellings for less than 100 years. By 1300 Mesa Verde had become a ghost town. Why?

At Montezuma Castle, the Southern Sinagua reached their maximum size in the 1300s and were occupied for another century, until they too migrated away in the early 1400s.

Probably due to a draught, scientists theorize. Crops may have failed. Or after literally hundreds of years of intensive land use the soils, the forest and their animals may have become depleted resources. 

Or maybe the political and social climate made it intolerable for the tribe to remain. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What remains today at Mesa Verde in Colorado are three major cave dwellings on Chapin Mesa. The Spruce Tree House. Cliff Palace. Balcony House. Driving the loops of Ruins Road from canyon rim vantage points can see other dwellings.

But whatever the reasons, they traveled south into what is now Arizona and New Mexico becoming reacquainted with relatives already settled there, right?

As we already found out in Arizona, some of the Pueblo people and other tribes in the region are direct descendants of the cliff dwelling Anasazi. 

And we already know that those Pueblo tribes chafed under Spanish occupation, especially in New Mexico – culminating in the 1680 Pueblo Rebellion. 

“Are you alright?” The question Emma the Baroness asked snapped me out of my memory of the Anasazi cliff dwellers. 

Oh, yeah I told her and asked if she too remembered our Mesa Verde adventure?

Sure how could I not was her answer.

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.

“They really got the shaft, didn’t they?” Jay says rhetorically.

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

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E40Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation; S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace 

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E41What’s Up with Telluride or Humboldt County or Bodega Bay?; S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins 

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E41A Pandemic End to Real Estate and Consulting?; S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns ; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree? ; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E41The Dream Was Over, Long Live the Dream; S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The enemy of communication is noise. To increase the clarity of your signal, you need to eliminate everything that is not the message. Being succinct and direct will earn you respect and status.” Scorpio

I get your message and will work on editing down what isn’t relevant about these two ancient people who seemed to flourish around the same time and in the same manner.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Love in many forms will fortify and support you. You’ll find yourself on a mission so important, you’ll tune out the rest of the world and anything distracting from your goal. You’ll push past the point when others would have given up. Good fortune rains on you as you reach the mile markers at extraordinary distances.

So mile markers and extraordinary distances, could be twisted to mean our roadtrip only enhances to love that has flourished between Emma the Baroness and me.  I like to think so, even if today’s birthday isn’t one either of us can claim.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “Morning brings a strong inclination toward the things that will make your life better. Evening brings a strong inclination toward ease. So, what can you do to make a desired behavior easier to accomplish, no matter what time it is?” Libra

Hmm.  This is one of those questions that requires a little solitude while pondering the answer.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “It’s a long way to the end of a project, and trying to extend your mind all the way there might produce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Instead, think about the next 10 minutes, and then the 10 minutes after that.” Sagittarius

Unless I’m misreading these two, aren’t they in direct contradiction?  This TauBit is one I subscribe to the most.  Just power up this MacBook Air.  Put aside the feelings which come when you consider the crippling magnitude and focus instead on what’s directly in front of you to make incremental progress.

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

I’m associating your TauBit with this very long and by extension very, very long passion project.  I’ve mastered a template which greases the whole process along efficiently, but I’m feeling twinges of pivot opportunities.  Maybe this vacation serves as a catalyst into something else entirely which I’ll find less costly and more fulfilling. I’m looking forward to an easier decision.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S4 E40 — Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle was constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s 40th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 14th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

Jay’s smashes avocados and whips them up into his secret recipe for an awesome breakfast of avocado toast. About 45 minutes later Jay switches to Elle’s Lexus SUV and I ride shotgun while the chicks gab in the back. 

But this time they want the air conditioner to work.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

Pulling out of their shared driveway and winding downhill we escape into the Verde Valley southeast of Prescott.

Maybe an hour later, Jay pulls into the Cliff Castle Casino grounds operated by the Yavapai-Apache Nation Indian tribe on our right. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

We then we immediately turn left,  winding down towards the national monument. 

Almost simultaneously all four of us realize that we left park passes at home or in the other SUV without backseat air conditioning. 

At the bottom of the hill Jay commandeers a parking slot up close to the main entrance immediately after a Camry exits. 

Some people have all the luck. 

Welcome to Montezuma’s Castle. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

But still following COVID space protocols there’s a limit to how many can occupy the combination souvenir store, history displays and the ticket counter. 

So, Jay does the talking about our forgetfulness as he has in other situations when he used to ask for professional courtesy as a fireman to talk his way out of speeding tickets or to explain why he’s driving without a California Driver’s License.

Getting up there in age with a bum knee getting bummer from climbing ladders, he no longer can get away with appeals for firemen favors, but he does have away about him, and we all pass without pay.

We pick up a folding brochure and a white map with black lines showing “Highways & Public Campgrounds” with a squared in “Points of Interest” legend showing the US Forest and Arizona State Parks camp grounds if that was our mission.

But it wasn’t.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Emma the Baroness and I both gazed over it quickly enough to see a dark thick black line labeled I-17 meandering from the upper left boarder (with an arrow to Flagstaff) down to the near middle page terminating under the corner of the legend square (with an arrow to Phoenix).

Near the mid range meandering above the legend “Points of Interest”  we saw a thinner, but dark line all squiggly yet paved road (89A) with an arrow pointing west towards Prescott.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Since this wasn’t inside South Coast Plaza and we weren’t standing next to the directory map, it took a few moments longer to zero in to “You Are Here” in this case Montezuma Castle National Monument.

“ WTF?” I muttered to myself.  I didn’t know what I expected as we strolled down a cement sidewalk through a clump of trees until they parted revealing the side of a cliff wall.

These are the Mesa Verde 5-story cliff dwellings, only not here in Arizona and not called by the right name.

Don’t take my  word for it, try Wikipedia:

When European-Americans first observed the ruins in the 1860s, by then long-abandoned, they named them for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to their construction. 

Having no connections to the Aztecs, the Montezuma Castle was given that name due to the fact that the public had this image of the Aztecs creating any archaeological site.

In fact, the dwelling was abandoned more than 40 years before Montezuma was born, and was not a “castle” in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a “prehistoric high rise apartment complex”.

Still not knowing where we were exactly, I asked our local European-American couple —Jay and Elle —who hosted us and drove us here, if they had been to Mesa Verde National Park which lies south of Durango on 1-160, where they used to live and we visited twice, once before they moved in when we explored the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace?

Elle flicked a fly that buzzed around her face and said she and Jay had talked about it, but didn’t.

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle were constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

“Mesa Verde” and “Verde Valley”  and “Verde River” have to be connected, right?  I mean look up at the five stories main structure with about 20 rooms built over the course of three centuries.

Oops, I now recall it was the Anasazi people — ancestral Pueblo-ans — that lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region.

Here in Camp Verde, Arizona, built by the Sinagua people:

A pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately AD 1100 and 1425.

Like it was way back then, the Verde River is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing river systems. But, now like the I-17, the water flows to over 2 million people in the greater Phoenix area. 

Mesa Verde, now that was like the Trump Towers compared to Montezuma’s Castle.  

The first time we visited Durango, Colorado we left the Grand Canyon and came to a fork in the road.

Image Credit: Google Maps

East takes us past Mesa Verde National Park, on 160 towards Durango.

Bummer. 

We’re twenty minutes away from the first set of Mesa Verde ruins and the ranger told us they close in an hour. We lost an hour during the time change — something we hadn’t counted on. And, that put us into the park entrance later than we wanted. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

That means that the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace tours would be closed. 

Where did we mess up? We plotted our route taking us near Mexican Hat to the 666 and towards Cortez,

I didn’t even consider a time change for Mesa Verde and Durango. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

This has been one trip with a lot of driving. All I had thought about is next stop the Mesa Verde and then 45 minute drive to Durango, our outpost for three nights and two days before pressing on to Denver. 

But this time, here now at Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona Jay is doing all the driving.

Turning Montezuma’s Castles brochure over sitting in Jay’s passenger seat I noticed Sedona in the upper right hand corner.  First we’d spend a day in Jerome, and then bid goodbye to our Prescott friends and end our vacation in Red Rock country.

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

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim ; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace; S4 E37Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree?; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

Let’s see now.  We’ve visited Durango, Colorado twice.  The last time when Jay and Elle lived there.  Of course we spent almost two weeks with Jay and Elle on our anniversary vacation in Italy, when they had moved back from Colorado to Mission Viejo, but struggled to keep the documents flowing for closing escrow in time for their current home, here in Prescott.  

So yes, new communities do intrigue me, especially the history. I love to imagine what things were like in the past.  And of course, I wrote the series, The Knowledge Path: Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy which I’m now describing as Volume One all about the “where” — and two of the books drill down into the “how” of finding the best quality of life communities for you in California and in Colorado.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

You’ve faced a lot of challenges that conditioned your grit. Now you’ll put that knowledge to the test on a wondrous challenge. You will create yourself. Through actions, wishes, exercises, work and reflection you’ll become someone navigating a life you once only dreamed about. Your support system and your family tree will expand.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “As the sign of balance and fairness, you are keenly aware of how the quest for justice often leads to injustice. And yet, you still try to make things right, a mission that will absorb some of your hours today.” Libra

Well, if you scroll down near the bottom, you’ll see how I’m stuck on “accountability” and the shrinking “justice role” so prevalent today.  What my dear friend Jay calls conservatism and the Baroness and I call selfish, shady, corrupt and definitely not good business as one of her sorority sisters described the former president.

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “You’re exciting because you entertain risky ideas, not because you always do them — that would make you foolhardy! What you’re cooking up in that playful mind of yours is making you very attractive to someone.” Sagittarius

I’m chalking this up to wish fulfillment.  If you’re like Jay you don’t favor anything that threatens a status quo — taking something away.  Or entertaining ideas like AI or quantum physics or any of the trends and forces influencing the direction and opportunities available to those of us who pull our heads out of the sand.  There, I said it.

“4” Steve Nash, 45: “This role you took on no longer feels like a good fit. Now what? Well, this script you’re going by is not the Ten Commandments. It wasn’t written on stone tablets. You can change it without a chisel.” Aquarius

What we’re talking about here is what I cover in “Volume Two Manuscript”.  How in your work life, if you now realized the misfit and are pursuing a better fit, I’ve got you covered. Of, course this also applies to how a one-year natural experiment turned into the 4th season and dragged me into the middle of it kicking and screaming.  Wink.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “It will be challenging to lead others to your purposes today. The key is to be consistent and repetitive. People will learn and dance to your rhythm, but first you have to start banging that drum.”Pisces

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

 

S4 E37 — Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row

Over the loud speaker we heard, “And, here comes #32 Alan Lars.” The cyclists ended their race at the intersection to our right.  Jay told us across the street were Prescott’s historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar.

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 37th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 8th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 220 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

By the time Jay and I returned from inspecting their property in a cookie-cutter suburb that might have been a stereotypical community in California, except instead of anything green for this spring time of year, all you could see was Palm Springs-like decor but without the palm trees.  

Like at Jay and Elle’s house smaller and larger rocks filled in their landscape.  At least in their front dry-rock gulch instead of a lawn, trees shaded their entryway.  Not so much at their house they had intended to flip or rent to other California investors.

There, the sun reflected off the street, the dry rock landscape and brownish block walls adding to the morning temperature without a breeze.

Image Credit: https://www.visitarizona.com/

As Jay navigated through The Dells (Granite Dells), on each side of the road made up of large boulder granite outcroppings that have eroded into a spectacular appearance of bumpy rock features, we talked a bit about his former career in firefighting, but more specifically about the Yarnell Hill Fire years before he moved to Prescott.

The wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona ignited by dry lightning on June 28, 2013. By June 30, it overran and killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Just one of the hotshots on the crew survived—he was posted as a lookout on the fire and was not with the others when the fire overtook them. The Yarnell Hill Fire was one of the deadliest U.S. wildfires.

Jay vaguely remembered how the widows survivor benefits weren’t paid, getting tangled up in some sort of finger-pointing and counter lawsuits.  I thought the hotshots were independent contractors so they weren’t entitled to benefits.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

We pull into his driveway.  Apparently the two wives had run out of stories to share about us, so they’re ready jump into Jay’s dark blue SUV for a drive into historic downtown Prescott.

As a footnote, Elle points out Jays rearview air conditioner doesn’t work properly and  suggests we switch to her SUV for our next sight seeing adventure.

Jay and Elle point out a few restaurants and shops on the way down the hill towards the main town.  They discuss parking tactics.  Jay swings left and crosses a few intersections until he spies public parking lots near the destination he has in mind.

Image Credit: https://www.visitarizona.com/

The old courthouse.  The one where they have public rest rooms.

Negotiating the space, he tells us he’ll let us out on the passenger side, so he can squeeze in as close as he can to the cement wall.  Elle winces a little as he moves back and forth inching closer and closer to the wall.  She’s now glad he’s not driving her car.

From a distance, the town seems to be laid out like other western towns.  In fact, I’m reminded of a combination of Durango and Telluride in Colorado. Everything old time western radiates out from core frontier square.

My new, left knee replacement holds up well as we walk downhill two blocks and hear cheering, an announcer and gazed over to our left and notice where it looks like a bandstand had been set up and picnickers sat on blankets in front of it.

Wait, I remember the headline of an article that made its way into my Apple News feed before we hit the road in California.  

This must be that race known as the Cocodona 250.  More specifically, Here’s Who To Watch For At The Cocodona 250 – And How.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

Over the loud speaker we heard, “And, here comes #32 Alan Lars.” And over there too must be where you can watch, right?

Jay picked up the pace heading towards a statue.  I joined him as instead of climbing the stairs to the courthouse straight ahead, he veered off to our right and trotted around the side to the back entrance and bolted for the door which said, “Men”.  

I joined him.

Having done our business, we mingled in among a crowd of cyclists and made our was to where the race was under way.

Between occasional cyclists the announcer chattered about how long he’d been calling the race, how you can listen to him and where you could catch his webcast I think.  Honestly it was hard to tell above the general din of supporters, spectators and tourists like us.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

I hung back a little scanning the row of cycling gear marketing tents and began to read a vertical banner hung on a light pole, like at a bus stop listing all the stops and transfers you should know before boarding.

I could only make out that this race, it was a race at all, included tiers of participants based upon I knew not what.  But, it burst my assumption about it being the Cocodona 250.

“What?”  I only faintly recognized Jay’s voice.

Jay had to yell out what he told Emma the Baroness and Elle for me.  “This is Whiskey Row.”

The cyclists ended their race at the intersection to our right.  Jay told us across the street were Prescott’s historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar.  

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

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Maybe you feel your pattern is very predictable, but people around you still don’t seem to know what you’ll do next. There are advantages to keeping mystery alive as long as possible.” Scorpio

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E36Big Rigs, Skull Valley and Yarnell Hotshots; S4 E35Prescott Pitstop Knocks Me Off Balance; S4 E34Preconceived Notions Hit the Road for Prescott

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky; S3 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity; S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas; S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?; S2 E34Why Is This Kicking Off the 4th Industrial Revolution? 

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment;

Evidence

Today’s Holiday Theme: 

Mother’s Day, a celebration of a commonality that goes beyond the human species. This tribute to the person who is, at best, a first friend in life, and at least the double-X chromosome contributing to our physical existence … children, playfulness and theatrics.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Maybe you feel your pattern is very predictable, but people around you still don’t seem to know what you’ll do next. There are advantages to keeping mystery alive as long as possible.” Scorpio

Haha I remember Jay asking if I was an influencer yet.  He had no idea what I described as phase two of my natural experiment which will lead to “The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Your magic formula for success starts with curiosity — a most alluring quality that will keep you in the best and brightest company this year. Ask questions, even if you think you know the answers. Thinking you know the answers is disadvantageous, but the rewards you find as you continue to clarify the world will make you positively rich.

Curiosity killed the cat. I’m glad I’m not a cat.  I’m sad. I so wanted to claim this birthday, but it’s not for me.  I hope it is yours.

“4” Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “You’re friendly and inclusive, and yet still careful about who gets into your inner circle. It’s not that you’re afraid, more like practical. It’s cleaner and smarter to keep some things on a need-to-know basis.” Taurus

We’re friends with Jay and Elle.  But, not to the extreme fear of an impending argument about politics, I know something may erupt to harsh our vacation mellow along divisive party lines.   

“3”  Steve Harvey, 62; Stephan Patis, 53;  Stephen Hawking (1943 – 2018): “‘Talk is cheap,’ they say… But if that were true, public speakers and spokespeople wouldn’t be paid nearly so well. Words paint mental pictures that inspire action. Yours are definitely worth something today.” Capricorn

That’s so flattering.  I’m not sure if I hit the 14,000 hours necessary to claim the ability to paint mental images to inspire you, but I’d lie if I weren’t aspiring towards the goal.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “The secret to your success is that you don’t show up once or twice, rather you do so consistently over long periods of time. Good things are coming to you, hard-earned and well-deserved.” Pisces

I prided myself as a Executive MBA career advisor to be there for the students over the two years they attended, and to stay in touch with them after graduation to see how or if they actually applied what they learned, especially if I had matched them to a mentor.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S2 E98 — Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty

If you consider the lifespan of an organization that has any sort of history — say over two generations or 40 years — you can see which tribes come in and out of favor. You’ll witness it as it evolves and leaps forward in predictable stages from infancy start-up through growth to maturity and decline and from simple to complex over time.

“5’’ Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You will remember things differently than the other people around you. Write down your impressions to preserve the details because, later, you’ll be glad for these notes.” Leo

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 98 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 16th 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 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps; S2 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications; S2 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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; S1 E95No Back to Work Days or Hump Days Allowed

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.

In our last episode I described a mini case study of what it was like behind the scenes working at a mature company that was a century old. Now, a second, but in a different industry.

Multinational Food and Consumer Goods Corporation

A Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate founded in mid-1800s, headquartered Switzerland, grew to the largest publicly held food company in the world.

My former boss and now client, a 110 Analytical Specialist,  brought me in to create a curriculum for his client a 109 Internal Change Agent (more on that in upcoming episodes) who headed up their internal University at their USA Headquarters Glendale division. Broadly, he wanted us to help him inject strategic learning capabilities into their leadership talent pool.

He wanted to expand their executive management’s perspective to include what could happen over their company’s lifespan moving forward. In organization learning circles research had’t really focused on companies which had been in business for over a century.

In fact, the lifespan of huge, solid companies is only 40 years. 

Not all organizations even make it that far. The infant mortality rate is a decade. Arie De Geus says 40% of all newly created companies don’t last that long . Regardless of size, the average in Japan and Europe is 12.5 years.

So, our client became immediately attracted to us —my former boss and I had direct experience with the challenges unique to 100+ year old mature companies.

For instance, by functioning in the same mature stage for years and decades, current leaders (112 Loyal Survivalists) hadn’t experienced any other way of operating.

To combat that in his company, he wanted us to research and develop a curriculum during a two-year engagement based upon the latest models and best practices for:

    • Inspiring a Shared Vision, 
    • Thinking Strategically, 
    • Leading Change, 
    • Building Alignment,  
    • Pursuing Excellence and 
    • Sharing Best Practices.

Mature organizations require four kinds of talented people – 112 Loyal Survivalists, 111 Agile Tiger Teams, 109  Internal Change Agents and 110 Analytical Specialists — who thrive in high affiliation and slower paced cultures. 

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Sustaining-Associates Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

You’ll find some filling roles in Human Resources as a Chief People Officer, Business Partners and Corporate Trainers.  Others in Financial Analysis.  Still others in Brand Management or in Inventory Control, Supply Chain and Procurement.

They manage the system of people, technologies, processes, and organizational structures to sustain the innovation they’ve already mastered years ago.

But, two “tribes” usually manage the political agenda to the exclusion of others. They are the talent clusters whose members represent the 20% who produce 80% of the results. And we know the mix of the two tribes changes at each growth transition. In any growth period there is a certain amount of resistance to new ways from the status-quo advocates.

In mature companies more Systematic-Professional talent profiles produce 80% of the results — 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists. And, you’ll find fewer Paradoxy-Morons or Emerging-Entrepreneurs still employed.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Ironically, our engagement formed out of a chance encounter in Monterey, California at a conference promoting 114 Brand-as-Experts, the sort you’d find in major universities or think tanks.

My former boss had been engaged in a business divorce from one of those experts in which his role was to convert purely just-in-case education into more targeted and practical training workshops.

Over drinks in the bar between conference seminars, our new client for our 2-year engagement bemoaned how presenters seemed just too academic for his needs, although they seemed to be in high demand.

Years later,  in January 2017,  after our 2-year engagement, the multinational corporation announced that it was relocating its US headquarters from Glendale, California to Virginia.

Summary

If you consider the lifespan of an organization that has any sort of history — say over two generations or 40 years — you can see which tribes come in and out of favor. You’ll witness it as it evolves and leaps forward in predictable stages from infancy start-up through growth to maturity and decline and from simple to complex over time.

The resulting divisional structure eventually outlasts its usefulness when it triggers the “Control Crisis” that Systematic-Professionals help bridge by tightening and centralizing operations in a complicated matrix structure featuring data-driven methods and systems. 

180 – Degree Shift in Success by 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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

As more functional departments proliferate the Paradoxy-Morons disappear, not fitting into cultures built to reward affiliation and mastery. 

And, the days of the maverick, do-what-ever-it-takes team loyalty — highly rewarded for fire-fighting heroics become numbered. 

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

At this stage of development most of the focus by the organization is on inside operations and not enough on customers – their care and feeding. It’s as if the customers – frequently in large numbers – are taken for granted. And that sets up yet another opportunity to bonk.

Mature organizations have vested interests in the way things were. While not overtly describing themselves as status quo advocates, many long-time Sustaining-Associates and Systematic-Professionals resist disruptive changes required to “jump paths” out of a declining trajectory.

If the organization continues to extend what they’ve always done, they fall victim to what Joel Barker calls paradigm blindness. An over-extended strength becomes a fatal flaw. The organization can’t see what is necessary to pull out of its decline. And the longer it takes for leaders of the organization to recognize that they are on the path to disaster, the more disruptive the solution becomes.

It’s a classic pattern. 

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:Good fortune follows socially astute moves, such as including everyone, making introductions and lobbing the conversational ball in excellent, interesting and positive directions.” Scorpio

Before the pandemic I was all over this advice.  Now, not so much.  Will this pandemic end?  Will we return to normal?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:  

Your superpower is your incredible imagination. Direct it to create relationships you want, pursue far-flung interests and pull together scenes that others wouldn’t have thought possible. Team this amazing sense of vision with great faith and it will be as though you have harnessed the winds of fortune to do your bidding.

“5’’ Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You will remember things differently than the other people around you. Write down your impressions to preserve the details because, later, you’ll be glad for these notes.” Leo

Some of you know I’ve progressed from letters, to steno notebooks and 3X5 cards to Hypercard to do just that.  The problem I found was two-fold. The first taking the time to write everything down and second, later finding the kernel of wisdom I could use.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:The key to success is three-pronged: know what you want; make a plan; stick with it. This sounds simple, but if it really were, everyone would be doing it all of the time.” Virgo

Why am I following the Tau of Steves as interpreted from the Holiday Tau if I wasn’t searching for a magical shortcut?

“3”  Steve Nash, 45:It’s not every day that you come across an endeavor that can capture and hold your full attention. Once you give yourself over to it, there is no going back.” Aquarius

Boy, in some ways I wish the reverse is true.  For in the beginning of every endeavor that speaks to you, you’re filled with passion.  But, in the middle the drudgeries stack up.  Can you tell that’s exactly where I am with “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit”?

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 E97 — Frame Blindness and Decision Traps

These are the experts who love their profession instead of a specific organization like Sustaining-Associates do. They’re attracted to the challenges that come with large, complicated systems found in most organizations at the Mature stage of growth. 

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Stay away from the ‘I did it, and so can you’ type of messaging today because it’s overly simplistic and does not account for the myriad of ways that people are so different from one another.”  Aries

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 97 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 15th 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 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications; S2 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex; S2 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing; S1 E96Old Rabbits Die Hard; S1 E95No Back to Work Days or Hump Days Allowed; S1 E94Wasn’t There a Movie about the Tau of Steve?

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.

9. Consultant Life and Mutual Fund Company

It was founded in the late 1800s by a former governor in the state capitol of California. Roughly a century later the executives decided to move to Newport Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean so families could enjoy a higher standard of living.

It was the kind of mature organization that employed maintenance workers just to polish its brick entry way.  It was the kind of mature organization that hired and groomed knowledge workers before the term was coined. 

116 Institutional Traditionalists

They included 116 Institutional Traditionalists, Systematic-Professionals delivering products and services in heavily regulated markets the company served, such as annuities, and mutual funds, a variety of investment products and services to individuals, businesses, and pension plans.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Why?  Because 116 Institutional Traditionalists are adept at managing fact-based complex systems with traditional analytical methods and tools. They’re dedicated to maintaining the institution’s smooth running. 

They defend the status quo by believing in preserving the rules and procedures.  They are practical, realistic and matter-of-fact.  In short 116 Institutional Traditionalists make good administrators because of their talent for organization.

Like other large hospitals, banking and financial institutions it was probable that a supervisor or a manager or even an executive hadn’t encountered a major transition from one growth stage to another over their careers.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The buzzword my client described when he engaged me was this project was a major cultural change.  

But, it would unfold over many years, so urgency wasn’t felt, as much as it was anticipated.  

I had worked in several large, mature companies and had come face-to-face with immune systems that rejected any type of change.  

Maintaining the status quo across product lines and departments and divisions had become a way of life. 

My client told me our challenge was — how can you inject innovation into a century’s old mature company? 

It was a complex, complicated maneuver requiring tons of new knowledge and new idea packaging.  

It reflected the company’s structural change from a mutual ownership to a mutual holding company business model. 

114 Brand-as-Experts  

They become known for their impartial analysis and an affinity for agreed upon standards.  They excel in fact-based work situations in which you advance through continuing education, peer reviews and achieving licenses.  

The co-founder served as a model.  He  grew from being an investment analyst into a fund manager and co-founded their global fixed income investment business with  hundreds of billions managed in a Total Return Fund.

He was known as “the nation’s most prominent bond investor”. As a 114 Brand-as-Expert  he advised the Treasury during financial crises and was described as a fund manager who made people filthy-wealthy.  

In a way, he became the epitome of what my client had in mind for educating supervisors, managers and executives.

The goal as to bottle his ability to identify market inefficiencies and exploit them by adjusting the company’s strategies.  He embraced new technologies and exotic derivative products while harassing the power of the internet.

There was a requirement for a special blend of talents and skills across high-yield businesses building better traders and analysts and salespeople.

Rrom a management and executive development strategy it was to cultivate the ability to distill complex ideas into something simple enough to take action.

My client wanted build a hybrid curriculum drawing upon university experts with internal consultants to offer the early stages of a corporate education division.

“Advanced Curriculum for Officers” focused more on  managing divisions and new units in anticipation of favoring newer industry niches and technologies, but leading in a strong tradition based on an industry resistant to change.  

My first role was to manage external experts, define the curriculum based on executive assessments and development plans, and to provide referrals to seminars and recommended development activities.

Plans were based upon individual assessments. They defined gaps to be closed to qualify for the next advancement step, and admission into the high potential development talent pool.

The curriculum was the first for officers and included new courses I researched and designed, updated management courses they had (Management by Objectives was obsolete) and a curriculum I had developed and Fluor and Unisys.  

The plan included an “intrapreneurially shared services approach” I had described as a business model I’d experienced and managed before. 

During and after “de-mutalization” breakups, my client’s corporate group would have to sell and customize courses for the new business groups while competing with outside vendors and universities.

Top priorities for my client were how to bring about change, how to prevent frame blindness and avoid decision bias from a long list of decision-making traps plus scenario building tools.

I was all too happy to oblige!  

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’ve known things to be more work than anticipated, but today’s thing is ridiculous. Devote yourself when it’s adding up to something that will matter. This isn’t. Get out of it.” Scorpio

Wait, what?  

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Stay away from the ‘I did it, and so can you’ type of messaging today because it’s overly simplistic and does not account for the myriad of ways that people are so different from one another.”  Aries

So, this is really hard to do.  Except what I intend to accomplish is not so much copy me, but to choose which talent cultures work for you as a best fit.  Ask yourself how many degrees from high to medium do you need: independence, affiliation, speed, mastery, disruptive innovation, improvement, new knowledge creation or embodied knowledge.

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “The reality of a situation is much better than you’re thinking it is. You just have to ask different questions of it. A person coming from a different place in life will help you frame things another way.” Taurus 

How in the world is this unending pandemic much better than I think?

“3”  Steve Smith, 30: “Any mistakes in the work will actually be mistakes of planning. The more time you spend thinking ahead and setting yourself up for a win, the better your day will go.” Gemini

Unless, of course, I fall victim to the curse plaguing almost every introvert I know — OBE, overtaken by events!

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Your natural responses cannot be correct or incorrect. They just are. The behavior you choose after you feel a certain way can be very much wrong or right. You’ll choose carefully tonight.” Cancer

I guess we’ll have to wait for 8 hours or more to find out.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:It turns out that the period of time when you felt like you were meandering was actually a long and deliberate planning stage for what’s going on with you today.” Virgo

Busted.  How long?  Almost a year of surviving until I could break the code of jargon my new career spoke in.  And then that career transition was repeated and repeated in several industries, types of companies, and at various growth stages.

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:When you are in an observant, receptive and artistic mood, ‘always,’ ‘never’ and other extremes of language fall away. You revel in life’s many colors and shades beyond black and white.” Libra

As much as I want to own this one, I only picked it for the first part of the first sentence up until the second comma.  What was I thinking?

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62:There was a time when you stretched yourself to fit a role. And then, slowly, steadily, you grew to fit the title. You’re about to repeat this process with a new challenge.” Capricorn 

Was there ever!  I totally talked myself into my first job in a new career in a mature company about to fall into a decline.  I learned so much in it and didn’t know it at the time but it fueled this original research I taught at UCI’s Executive MBA program.  So, bring on the new challenge!  And, now I’m struggling to describe in this “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” work-in-progress

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 4636 to 4733.

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 E96 — Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications

These are the experts who love their profession instead of a specific organization like Sustaining-Associates do. They’re attracted to the challenges that come with large, complicated systems found in most organizations at the Mature stage of growth. 

“5”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You may come across work you did long ago and discover that it makes no sense to you now, or you may be utterly baffled by a decision you made way back when. See how far you’ve come?” Leo

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 96 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 14th 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 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex; S2 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts; S2 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E96Old Rabbits Die Hard; S1 E95No Back to Work Days or Hump Days Allowed; S1 E94Wasn’t There a Movie about the Tau of Steve?; S1 E93Why is it easier to Hate than to Love the other Half?

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

16 Talent Profiles found in Four Organization Types

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Hopefully making it easier to follow by color code, we’ve been building the case for finding another option for a better fit in a stage of growth.  We covered 50% of the available opportunities through the Sustained Growth Stage with the addition of the third Sustaining-Associate Talent Profile, 110 Analytical Specialists.

Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The first two Sustaining-Associates, 111 Agile Tiger Teams and 112 Loyal Survivalists,  enjoy an attraction to the previous stage as the table shows.

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Systematic-Professionals are the experts who love their profession instead of a specific organization like Sustaining-Associates do. 

They’re attracted to the challenges that come with large, complicated systems.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Methods and Metrics  

On the “right side” of the Systematic-Professionals, 116 Institutional Traditionalists and 114 Brand-as-Experts both prefer to distance themselves to remain objective and follow a well-articulated and tested methodology.

Those affiliated with a professional practice or employed in a corporation as a staff department — specialize in the application of their embodied knowledge. 

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

In our next episodes we’ll explore how the key success factors prevalent in mature organizations favor Systematic-Professionals in some case studies.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Kindred souls abound, and as you put more into the world that speaks to the depths of who you are, they emerge to share with you. You’ll make so many fortuitous choices — some by complete accident — though it’s the decisions you make with mental clarity that will do the most good for you and yours.

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “People get bored with one another. That’s part of the deal in any relationship. The best way to keep it interesting is to create space while you work on things that make you feel vital and renewed.”  Taurus

In relationships and at work, we introverts do need our space and time to recharge our batteries like an iPhone overwhelmed with the photos and messages and 

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: “Today features an immersive, joyful and satisfying experience. The best part is you know when you’re in it; you note and document what’s going on around you; and later, you can savor this again.” Gemini

In the flow — that professional state — of creativity is truly satisfying.  I do know when I’m in it and I’m much more compulsive about documenting where I left off and what I had intended to do.

“5”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You may come across work you did long ago and discover that it makes no sense to you now, or you may be utterly baffled by a decision you made way back when. See how far you’ve come?” Leo

Utterly baffled rings true for me, and to be honest making sense of it inspired me to write this Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:Robots can repeat precise maneuvers tirelessly but cannot respond to anything outside of their programming. For you, repetition gets tiresome indeed. You need fresh circumstances to think your way around.” Virgo

Repetition breeds boredom in my being, which may be the reason I favored the mastery and independence of mature organizations but not to the degree that it inhibits my creativity.

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 4636 to 4733.

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 E95 — The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex

We used to call it “edifice complex” — you build a monument (new building) to yourself because you made it as an entrepreneur.  But, in doing so you take your eye off the market and bad things happen.  The disk drive industry was a roller coaster of cut throat cost competition .

“5”  Steve Smith, 30: “There are many levels to getting to know a subject. It can be argued that one doesn’t come to a full understanding until having taught the thing a few times. You’ll go deep today.” Gemini

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 95 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 13th 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 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts; S2 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak; S2 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E95No Back to Work Days or Hump Days Allowed; S1 E94Wasn’t There a Movie about the Tau of Steve?; S1 E93Why is it easier to Hate than to Love the other Half?; S1 E92Shh … Secrets Husbands Keep to Ourselves

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 and Sustained Growth 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’ve been exploring what it’s like behind the scenes working in a Sustained Growth company.  We broke it down into two parts.  Part One described the trials and tribulations working in an electronic distribution company.  

Part Two tells a technology story struggling with sustaining all the gains it enjoyed after emerging from Rapid Growth.

Part Two

25. Director Continuous Improvement 

Turbulent Industry

The company competed in a roller coaster, cutthroat industry dependent upon their customer technology product demands. It was a new corporate initiative for customizing quality and process improvement programs to meet their unique needs — how to learn from your success and from your mistakes in some sort of organized way

Corporate Education

It was up to Corporate Education to forecast not too far in the future and determine how supervision and management development training and courses were required for sustaining their business while anticipating what had to be in place for becoming a mature, stable business. In the beginning they relied heavily on consultants to provide the content and teach the courses.  I was one of them.

Senior management tasks Corporate Education to spearhead the introduction of continuous improvement . They sourced content from a variety of programs, books, consultants and nearly free content from associations. 

But they  needed a director to manage facilitators from all functions.

Adding Analytical Specialists to Sustain Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Continuous Process Improvement

When engineering companies place a premium on time-to-market for handing out bonuses to their product managers, those manager want to pick their own exceptional players they can trust, and shield them from unnecessary activities like attending an endless seeming stream of meeting.

My take on it for that disk drive technology company was, yes you have to shrink your product development time-to-market, but you have to be able to improve upon what you learn in the process, over and over again.

Manufacturing from Southeast Asia

Since this was a corporate initiative I remember getting the days of the week wrong when we attempted to schedule our first video conference call with our Singapore CPI facilitators.  And how difficult it was to present agenda items while moving the camera around to whoever began discussing a specific problem for inviting input from the community of change agents.

Time-to-Money

A senior executive  from the San Diego division of Unisys had been recruited to convince and persuade executive management to process run business.  He had me assume the meeting facilitation role as we conspired to build a consensus and commitment from the top of the organization. 

Edifice Complex

Their headquarters building consolidated California departments into one place having grown from a startup before “making it.” The CEO built a brand new high rise headquarters visible for everyone to see traveling from John Wayne Airport south on the 405 Freeway towards San Diego.  

We used to call it “edifice complex” — you build a monument (new building) to yourself because you made it as an entrepreneur.  But, in doing so you take your eye off the market and bad things happen. 

The disk drive industry was a roller coaster of cut throat cost competition.  Ups and downs.  The reason for continuous improvement was to smooth out the swings — to “rationalize” operations.

Some refer to it as the founder’s curse.  You hit a milestone and you build a headquarters to house your sprawling groups of employees dispersed and distributed in local commercial offices.  

And, almost a year to the day from when you celebrate with the ribbon cutting dignitaries your market shifts away from you and you free fall into a decline. 

During which they either sell or lease their building to other companies on the rise and distribute their workforce to smaller footprint buildings.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Cowboy Product Managers

Product managers from the startup days bristled at all the new processes overlayed on their work.  They were “cowboys” and almost all of them were boys, and we took time  away from their rapid, get it done at all cost, results the industry demanded from them.  

I remember one guy who resisted the implementation saying to the CEO, “Look Roger, let me get this straight.  You want me to add more time in my product by insisting I hold these bullshit meetings.  You and I both know you don’t bonus me that way.”

What’s more important — driving revenue or scheduling yet another series of non-productive meetings? 

And what’s wrong with flying by the seat of our pants and doing whatever it took to meet new time-to-market product introductions?

Nothing.

A Dressing Down and Out

My facilitator and I exchange stunned looks. 

I got nailed along with one of my facilitators by the executive vice president, my boss, at the beginning of a Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) team meeting.  

The executive “went non-linear,” as one of the other executives fondly explains, and a trait, up until then, hidden from me. 

With a phone message scribbled in her hand from the director of human resources saying, “dismissed” she appears abruptly out of nowhere, smoke bellowing out of her nostrils. “I want to see you and you.”

“We don’t dismiss, we want CPI to be a positive experience! Get it!? I don’t care what you two personally think, you two don’t dismiss anyone!” 

With that she stormed off. 

Finally, I think … since I’m speechless at this point, I get the treatment she is famous for. I flash back to an earlier boss who told me that if I didn’t get into trouble, I wasn’t doing my job. The motto was ” It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission.”

Immune System Rejection

Its corporate immune system and talent culture reflected their preferred seat of the pants high pace flavor of time-to-market product introduction.

An investment with little to show for it because it took more than 18 months to two years before positive results competed with shorter and shorter and faster operating standards.

Cowboys don’t shine when the business grows to a more mature size and run and gun tactics cause more delays. A brand new building signaled it was time to act like grown ups, use data to guide product development and cut down on waste.  The cowboys were corralled and they didn’t like it one bit.  

Our sponsor, one of the early founders of the company during a downturn sided with to cowboys and jettisoned our implementation.

The company had followed the roller coaster ride of start-up, emerging growth and then reset and then sustainable growth and then reset, so I knew going in it would be a high risk opportunity.

Its corporate immune system and talent culture reflected their preferred seat of the pants high pace flavor of time-to-market product introduction.  

Product managers wanted to know which was more important, driving revenue or scheduling yet another series of non-productive meetings requiring them to manage their operations by data?

They won, I Lost

On Tuesday, my first official day back from vacation, the morning phone message from executive secretary to meet with my boss at 1:30 p.m. fit the pattern. 

My facilitator had explained that after these flare-ups, the exec always patches things up with an apology. That’s my expectation. 

So I show up, kind of rehearsing how I will make it easy for her to make up and she says,

“This won’t be your best meeting.”

Intuitively, it was clear that the ship had hit an iceberg and there were only a few lifeboats available. 

Unfortunately, I’d be walking the plank without even so much as a wetsuit for the cold choppy waters. 

“You’re in the layoffs, part of our division’s fair share. I didn’t agree with it,” she said, “You’re a super facilitator, especially with my staff … who aren’t the easiest in the world to get to agree on anything!” 

The irony of this whole situation lies in the fact that I have been an outplacement consultant on and off over the past 13 years.

Now I was on the receiving end of the services. She kept her meeting brief to only a few minutes, something I had always advised whenever I had been at a client’s “taking out” or “picking up” a new participant for our services. 

I noticed a checklist of 5 points to remember tacked to her bulletin board … and I mentally gave her an “A” for her handling of me.

Summary

Don’t be like them or you’ll fall backwards to a previous stage and never grow beyond it to the maturity stage.

Advancing from Sustained Growth to Maturity

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

You’ll be boxed in until you incorporated processes and base your business decisions on data and improvements.

Five Major Stages of Growth for Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

But, remember the core strengths that helped you succeed at the previous stage, when overextended lead to a crisis that must be resolved as the ticket of entry to the next.

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

And more often that not the third Sustaining-Associate profile helps you meet the challenge and master to move from Sustained Growth to Maturity.

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:Each relationship is its own continent in which the tectonic plates merge and part. Earthquakes are an inevitability. Don’t be alarmed. Think of them as a shift in boundaries.” Scorpio

Wow, I didn’t see that ending well.  And, I’m not sure it does, do you?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4” Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “You’re being asked for your input because what you say has been known to change how people look at things, or because you’ve been right and/or helpful in the past. Share freely.  Aries

I’m not above a humble brag, because this has been the feedback I’ve received from hundreds of my clients and students.  There I said it!

“5”  Steve Smith, 30: “There are many levels to getting to know a subject. It can be argued that one doesn’t come to a full understanding until having taught the thing a few times. You’ll go deep today.” Gemini

Hence, having taught and experienced and taught this theory as an idea packager this series in Season Two is when I’m finally writing it out in the form of a manuscript.

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:Even though most of you was formed through means beyond your control, you are still, at least partially, your own creator. Feel free to take artistic license with your own persona.” Cancer

Now this is very enlightening.  I’m taking it to mean that I can spend more time with and in my experiencing self and then take artistic license as I switch to my narrating, editing self for creative purposes.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: The time limitations you face are the best thing that could happen to your project. You’ll get things done quickly and efficiently and produce twice as much as you would have if given double the time.” Leo

What, are you guys looking over my shoulder?  Except in a few high stakes situations throughout my career, I’m missing this strategy for publishing all of my manuscripts so far, except on Patreon.

“3”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:You’ll have a choice between expensive leisure and investing in something that doesn’t seem nearly as fun but will likely last for years to come, perhaps even become your legacy.” Virgo

As much as I’d like to believe this one, we’re in a pandemic damn it.  I’m just not seeing this so-called l leisure of which you speak.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41:Indifference is boring. Indifference is not invested in what happens. You don’t care what people think about you, but you very much care what happens next and are deeply invested in getting to a certain outcome.” Sagittarius

Sure, as a general rule, I agree.  But, is this really that relevant today?

“3”  Steve Nash, 45:You question not only your actions but also your interpretation of those actions, and it is in your honest response to this deeper level of inquiry honesty that you will find freedom.  Aquarius

So true.  I learned what I had done to contribute to my dismissal from the disk-drive company and years later realized which stage of growth the organization tried to navigate and why it failed.

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 4636 to 4733.

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

S4 E35 — Prescott Pitstop Knocks Me Off Balance

I recalled how Jay and Elle took us down the shared dirt and gravel driveway to Shelly Junior’s “compound” where his divorced wife and son lived at one end of the property.  Junior was in the midst of building out a massive wooden deck on the second or third story home — underneath a gigantic Confederate flag waving in the occasional breeze beneath the trees.

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Friday’s 35th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 6th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12817 this week to 12880 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 220 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

“How was your trip?” Jay had been looking for us to pull into his driveway after we texted Siri’s estimated arrival time.  

His house like many of the other neighbors we noticed as we drove uphill to his shared driveway proudly displayed the Stars and Stripes as a signal each housed Patriots.

“Park here” he directed us to a pad in the front near the front door for easy unloading.

He had been expecting us an hour earlier, based on how long he and Elle usually took to make the reverse trip to visit their kids in Ladera Ranch.  “Yeah, well we stopped to eat at Chipotle near the Outlet stores and the Morongo Resort Casino just outside of Palm Desert.”

Image Credit: Google Maps

Later, on Mother’s Day as when we recounted the entire vacation, Delta Girl said she too felt disappointed when she drove out of her way for an advertised bowl that the restaurant no longer offered.

Emma the Baroness and I both ordered substitute bowls and chips and overstuffed ourselves.  Returning to the CR-V the wind blasted us.  Not like the hot oven wind we’d grown accustomed to when enjoying long desert weekends at Shadow Mountain, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, or La Quinta.

In Prescott with Jay and Elle, we sat around in their large dark wood dining room table after being shown to our first floor guest room and laying out our suitcases.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

Dinner was ready. 

Later we retired to the back yard porch for more wine and desert, while former fireman Jay, turned on his natural gas flame momentarily which in turn ignited the wood he piled meticulously on top of the outdoor fireplace grate.

I stuffed myself again overeating, but couldn’t help it. The approaching nighttime darkness found us catching up with stories about our Italy vacation and what it’s like for them living now in Prescott instead of in California.

I wanted to know about how Jay’s longtime fireman friend was.  “How long has he been confined to a wheelchair and when did he suffer his accident?”

Jay thoughtfully paused for a moment and told us his first back problem occurred when they were both new recruits training together.  And, then a dozen back surgeries later he remains in pain.  We briefly stopped by their house when we had visited Durango, Colorado the second time and stayed at Jay and Elle’s home there.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

“Didn’t he and his son own some property together in Durango?”

“Yeah,” Jay ran some calculations in his head.  “Originally 40 acres and Shelby gave his son a couple of acres while selling off most of the other acres.”

I recalled how Jay and Elle took us down the shared dirt and gravel driveway to Shelby junior’s “compound” where his divorced wife and son lived at one end of the property and Junior was in the midst of building out a massive wooden deck on the second or third story home — underneath a gigantic Confederate flag waving in the occasional breeze beneath the trees.

Back then I didn’t realize the significance until driving from Durango to Dillon with stop in Telluride.

If you’re like me your mind wanders as you drive between destinations on long trips. I was day dreaming about our  last vacation trip to this region

We simply ran out of time and skipped Telluride.

This year we skipped a stop in Silverton, because as empty nesters both of us felt the community was just too small and remote for us. We passed ranches and old mines dotted with buildings in various states of disrepair.

And then a strange incident popped into my head.

One that just seemed odd at the time and remained just that until much later after Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory. Only then did it connect two things political.

Our Durango friends reintroduced us to their life long friends. And, took us to visit their friends divorced son. Junior greeted us at his home which was undergoing a major remodel.

Two things.

We hadn’t seen such gigantic log beams supporting his new roof. And, we hadn’t seen someone proudly displaying a huge Confederate flag on the top of the roof. This in contrast to the flowing American flag at the entrance of our friends best friends.

We just hadn’t encountered that before.

On our short vacation it just seemed odd. We didn’t attach any importance to it We were totally clueless. Naively we asked our friends about it.

They glossed it over with a back story that Gen-X Junior had always been rebellious growing up and in school. Now, I wonder if they guessed we knew the significance of it.

But at the time we didn’t.

It just seemed odd flowing so magnificently there, clearly thousands and thousands of miles from the deep South.

We might have figured it out.

Especially when Junior’s mother told him to take it down, in that scolding tone all young boys feel in their bones. But he didn’t, although now it reminds me of the headline about the previous election.

“Swastika On Campaign Sign Sparks Outrage”

On Tuesday, Jeff Widen, a volunteer with the La Plata County Democrats, looks at a Barack Obama campaign sign he put up the previous day near U.S. Highway 160 and County Road 222 east of Durango.

Sure, I can fess up to drinking too much, but not enough to where I lost my balance more than usual or fell victim to my eyes crossing.  But I threw up twice in the night — elevation sickness?

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

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The mind gets stronger in the same way muscles do — through lifting. In today’s case the work includes words and concepts, feelings, puzzles and a few logistical problems too.” Aries

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E34Preconceived Notions Hit the Road for Prescott; S4 E33When Was The Last Time Honesty and Character Counted?; S4 E32A Rudy By Any Other Name Still Smells …  

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity; S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …; S3 E33Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?; S3 E32But, Why Should You Care?  

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?; S2 E34Why Is This Kicking Off the 4th Industrial Revolution?; S2 E33What Happens When Your Business Collapses?; S2 E32Trapped and Bored? Or Unleashing a Reinvention Wave? 

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E33Day 33 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E32Day 32 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence 

Holiday Theme: 

… it’s a fine weekend for hosting. And while a main joy will be the company of others, a side perk is the way you see yourself and your home through the eyes of your guests. Other people are better mirrors than actual mirrors. We are all too familiar with our own visage to properly see ourselves.

We didn’t leave much room in our schedule for a getaway vacation on a roadtrip to Arizona.  First stop, Prescott.  And then a driving tour of Jerome, Cottonwood and Montezuma’s Castle.  Second stop, Sedona.  Then back to southern California in time for  the long delayed remodel or our master bathroom — due to pandemic supply chain disruptions. And finally, hosting the family in honor of Emma the Baroness on Mother’s Day.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The mind gets stronger in the same way muscles do — through lifting. In today’s case the work includes words and concepts, feelings, puzzles and a few logistical problems too.” Aries

Wait, did you include memories and connections? And conversations and topics that spark associations that ignite other “spark-able” links to shared moments?

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “People are drawn to the comfort of your warmth. You don’t need to fix anyone or provide structure or direction. To offer your acceptance and love will do more than you know.” Taurus

I’m accepting this compliment on behalf of Emma the Baroness, the true recipient, even though I add offbeat dad’s humor good for a laugh or two.

“4”  Steve Howey, 42: “What you’re doing is inherently important. That means whether you make sure everyone knows this, or hide out and act in secret, it’s just as essential. Right now, the work is what matters, not how popular it is.” Cancer

So operating in stealth mode counts?  Mostly with Emma the Baroness’ friends we find we have to avoid conservative’s topics like religious beliefs and political persuasions — although many who voted for him the first time, could stand to do so the second time.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “People concerned with proving their superiority are typically overcompensating for a deep sense of inadequacy. Align with the successful and laid-back types who live like we are all in this together.” Sagittarius

So just how do you accomplish this TauBit of Wisdom graciously.  It seems like at any given moment 45% of us are against them and visa versa.  

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

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 E94 — Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts

We cut the time in half, identified the regional gurus who made sense out of clunky technology, turned them into trainers and mentors, and switched face-to-face time from classroom to practice session.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King,72:Study past successes and failures for the keys to victory. To skip the research phase of a project is to waste time, as there is no use in repeating what didn’t work before.” Virgo

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 94 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 9th 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 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak; S2 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado; S2 E91How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E94Wasn’t There a Movie about the Tau of Steve?; S1 E93Why is it easier to Hate than to Love the other Half?; S1 E92Shh … Secrets Husbands Keep to Ourselves; S1 E91If that, then this … ? The daily double?

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

110 Analytical Specialists in the Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Let’s explore what it’s like behind the scenes working in a Sustained Growth company.  We’ll break it down into two parts. 

Part One describes the trials and tribulations working in an electronic distribution company.  Our next episode focuses on the growing pains and challenges of a disk-drive technology company in Part Two. Both in their own unique ways recruited Analytical Specialists to join their talent cultures.

Third Growth Stage for 110 Analytical Specialists

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Part One

12. Director Electronics Distribution Company 

Professionalize to Stabilize 

They were described as a Wild West sales organization in their early days — as in anything goes as long as you get the sale.  

They grew from a local to a regional player during their emerging and rapid growth stages across the Western United States with ambitions to grow nationally and then internationally.

International Aspirations

They ran into complications with the technology required to translate currencies for product ordering.  Instead the acquirer from Europe already had systems in place. 

I seriously misjudged the “technology” component, because I discovered after the first 90-days it was less about innovating and more about sales.

Maturing Business Model 

Sure they valued affiliation and speed, but they really weren’t creating new knowledge in the sense I craved.  

Their business model placed them in the middle of technology manufacturers which needed to extend their sales volume and technology companies which sourced components from manufacturers that would work,  could be trusted, and then could be bought in volume to match expected market explosions.

As a middle player, they needed to “lock up” exclusive franchise agreements with the best known manufacturers while at the same time add to their capabilities with ties to second tier manufacturers which specialized in emerging new technologies.

Keeping a Pulse on Emerging Markets

It took resourceful 105 EEMA Marketing Athletes in technical sales capacities to meet with their customer technology companies (often Paradoxy-Morons) and offer technology support, feasibility assessments and establish sales distribution channels. 

They provided the missing marketing infrastructure working directly with their (potential) customer’s  103 PMCI Commercial Innovators with limited resources.

It was their job to intimately understand new disruptive innovations of their customers and propose how to take them to market in a way that leapfrogs established industry leaders.  Or, they establish new markets.

Pinch Points

The pinch points showed up between inside and outside sales efforts. In isolated sales offices throughout the region inside sales people fielded calls from customers, from their own technical sales people and from clients wanting to know prices, terms, discounts, availability for parts and components.  

The answers remained buried in manufacturers manuals.  And, of course SKUs didn’t match and the technology conversion hadn’t made things better and easier.  In fact inside sales people turned over at an alarming pace.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

From High Turnover to Time to Mastery

My initial success happened when my team streamlined what had been a two week training conference for all new hires.

Wyle planned to grow in a cutthroat industry.  

When you’re on the hook to orient new internal sales and external sales people, you need to reference how great the opportunity is now and will be or else you experience high turnover rates.  

Which is what they already had.  If you fly in new hires from the field offices, pay for their hotel and food, while they endure the blah blah blah of their new company’s history over the course of two weeks, the costs keep climbing when those new hires figure enough out to say adios.  

But, that wasn’t the half of it.

We cut the time in half, identified the regional gurus who made sense out of clunky technology, turned them into trainers and mentors, and switched face-to-face time from classroom to practice session.

Experts in the Field, But Not at Each Office

We cut down the two week orientation process in half, we put a lot of nice-to-know stuff online, and focused on practice — sales calls, how to use the computer system, where to find tips and tricks, and we identified the best people in the field offices who knew how to get things done.  They taught and they became ongoing mentors.  

It was so successful that we created a problem when people, who had been hired a year ago, said they didn’t know the stuff the rookies had just learned.  And the mentors loved the recognition.

Professionalizing Human Resources with Specialists

The Vice President of Human Resources, my boss,  and I held several meetings once I signed on. He introduced the other HR people in compensation, recruiting and general administration.  He told me about where the regional offices were located.  How the distribution company operated.  

Kind of the typical onboarding stuff you’d expect.  

But not the one key bit of information — the strategy going forward.  I always determine how much leeway I have when I’m brought in to start up another training and organizational development department.

Neither the CEO nor the Chief Operating Officer told him.  They said he didn’t need to know.  Which meant, the whole Human Resources function he headed up was only transactional.

Closely Held Plans

Wyle planned to not only expand from the western region to become a national player, they figured if they represent the Motorolas and the Intels and all the tech manufacturers who need to grow their sale efforts, why not represent them in Europe?  

But two things operating in the background accounted for their top secret strategy.

The first turned out to be sad.  Our CEO suffered from a moderate form of multiple sclerosis and his symptoms started to show.  

The second resulted in attempts to acquire a European distribution company who also exclusively represented the Motorolas and Intels and all the tech manufacturers on their continent.

Instead we were acquired by Rabb Karcher — the European distributor. It boiled down to technology.  Rabb Karcher solved the language problems and the currency problems and operated at a much higher, what I would call organizational intelligence level.  

They mastered all the challenges Wyle hadn’t as they tried to grow nationally.  Rabb Karcher already had and they operated cross-borders.  So they were able to describe a more compelling case to the manufactures that both companies represented.

After the CEO Stepped Down

Karcher did have a much smaller distribution company with limited “manufacturing franchises” in the US.  It was located in San Diego.

The president moved into our Irvine headquarters.  To tell you the truth I thought he was better than the old regime — younger, and he had survived Raab Karcher’s management pressures in the US.  

Oh, and the inside sales and outside sales representatives loved the fact that he came up through the sales organization.

Sales Suffered from Delayed Marketing Communications

Wyle’s marketing function didn’t inform sales of their discounted offerings.  If they did, it was an afterthought.  

Let’s say one of your current or potential customers — an engineering company — operated at an accelerated pace and needed parts like yesterday.

Their purchasing rep gives you a call.  And, they tell you the specifications they need.  Normally, you’d compare potential manufacturers you represent to give them the best deal, then you give them the quote. 

And they tell you that couldn’t be accurate, because they heard you were running a special price that you didn’t know about.

Corporate Communications 

Even before the acquisition in the rapid growth period people in the field felt under trained and out of the loop.

The COO did the “Joe Show” on video and sent it to the regional offices. I brought in crazy creative Dave, from my Unisys days, who had been consulting in corporate communications.  

We expanded the content to include people we asked the offices to identify for the next edition and we highlighted some of the mentors.  So both things reinforced each other.

Recruiting Overlooked Sales Engineers

The joke told internally was “How do you tell who’s an engineer at a party?  They’re the ones looking at their shoes.  How do you tell who’s the sales engineer? They’re looking at your shoes.”

Let me set the scene — we, mostly they, interviewed successful sales engineers and discovered they weren’t the best and brightest of their classes in engineering schools.

So they were overlooked when all the other recruiters came on campus.  

Actually the campaign focused on socially-adept engineering students.  If they were in a fraternity or sorority, that was good.  If they happened to be the rush chair person that was better.  We simply invited them for pizza and beer when the recruiting team hit campus.  The team passed out a comic-graphic filled story about Wyle and why they could shine as a sales engineer.

We learned  they just had to know enough technical jargon to nod and turn the closing back to the sales people.

The graphic comic didn’t sit well with Wyle’s top dogs, and by then I could see the merger writing on the wall.  In fact, I always wished I recorded the announcement from the CEO circulated over group voicemail.

He announced the Rabb Karcher acquisition and his plans to step down, but also insisted it was all in Wyle’s best interests and nobody would be laid off.

Yeah, right.

Next up, Part Two when I describe how the heavy resistance to transitioning to continuous improvement with its emphasis on statistics was a lot tougher sale than I imagined.

Summary        

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51:When you are doing it your way, unselfconsciously and unapologetically yourself, you have no competition. No one can be you better than you can be you. Scorpio

I’m pretty sure this is the definition of being in the flow — peak performing as an athlete or musician or in any creative endeavor.

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:You’ll find yourself mentally weaving an alternate version of things. Not all fantasy is escape. Sometimes it’s a creative way of understanding reality.” Cancer

My mind houses a flaw which causes me to search for the pun in what I read and a humorous alternative of what just came out in conversation.

“3”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: The guitarist can’t play with silk gloves on. Friction is what vibrates those strings. Don’t be afraid to dig into life with your nails. This day is waiting for you to give it a rhythm and sound.” Leo

Sure.  Friction and vibration.  Rhythm and sound, hmm … let me incubate for awhile on this TauBit of Wisdom.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King,72:Study past successes and failures for the keys to victory. To skip the research phase of a project is to waste time, as there is no use in repeating what didn’t work before.” Virgo

Here’s my twist — do the 180 degree opposite as you pass through organizational growth transitions. 

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54:You were not born with a serene air of confidence, rather the aura is well-earned through the extensive planning and preparation you do long before the moment of truth is upon you.” Libra

Thanks for noticing.  Every time I scheduled a workshop to teach Executive MBA students, I finalized my materials days ahead of time, and practiced and practiced and practiced at least 5 times.  What I noticed was how easy it became to add nuance and humor throughout my delivery.

“3”  Steve Harvey, 62:People become associated with that of which they speak. You are drawn to intriguing facts, stories of warmth and kindness and descriptions of beauty. No wonder people feel elevated around you.”  Capricorn

Sure, that’s me alright. But during this pandemic can I really stake this claim for today?

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): You’ll absorb some enthusiasm as you find yourself with bright, curious and passionate people. What you may not realize is how much you are rubbing off on them, too, in a very positive way.” Pisces

Maybe not today, but I’m reminded of positions and consulting assignments during which I had to pinch myself, because how wonderful it was to “play” with others.

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 4636 to 4733.

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 E90 — How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?

Early employees wore a lot of hats and loved it.  They also expected to be first in line when it came to heading up new functions. But, they were pissed off when outsiders from bigger companies stepped all over them when they were hired instead.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41:Today’s problem isn’t so tough. Ask a few people, do a thorough internet search, read an article or two and you’ll know enough to make an informed decision.” Sagittarius

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 90 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 E89Garage Bonking and Chasm Jumping; S2 E88Convincing Family, Friends, Fools and Angels; S2 E87Start Ups Aren’t For Everyone. Are They a Better or Worse Fit for You?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E90Day 90 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment; S1 E89Because If You Don’t Someone Else Will. It’s Worth It!; S1 E88Who’s Marc Maron and What’s da Vinci got to do with him?; S1 E87 — Pipe Bombs Destroy Vacation Bliss

Context

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

In a previous episode I summarized everything you need to know about four basic organizations to stack the odds in your favor when shopping around for your next job opportunity.  

Oh, what disaster to avoid (unlike me) in your next career move. 

Now we’re building on each of the 16 talent profiles.

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

For the next few episodes, we’ll show how they (you and I) can take advantage of opportunities in stages of organizational growth from Start Up to Maturity and from Decline to Reinvention.

Consequences of not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Key points to keep in mind:

    1. Every organization, including our 4 fundamental aspires to grow.
    2. The growth stages follow one after another from Start Up to 3 Growth phases to Maturity and Decline unless a Reinvention transformation kicks off before it is too late.
    3. Each new stage of growth requires a different talent culture than the previous one. One or two “talent tribes” dominate at each stage.
    4. There’s no guarantee a specific company and organization will master the gap between stage its current and potential next stage.
    5. That fact represents a second set of better or worse fits.

Bridging Leadership Gap Between Start Up to Emerging Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

In our last episode we identified two more Emerging-Entrepreneur talent profiles, 108 Core Business Group and 107 Resilient Product Teams who join 105 Marketing Athletes in the Start Up phase to tighten operations and bridge the leadership gap into Emerging Growth. 

In a Start Up the founder sells a compelling vision of their future.  Just like our clients’ at Think!City did.  Or what happened to Proxima’s early employees who wore a lot of hats and loved it. 

They also expected to be first in line when it came to heading up functions.  That transition from organic free flowing ways of creating a company turned out to be the opposite of what helped them in the second stage.  And pissed off a lot of them when outsiders from bigger companies stepped all over them when they were hired.

Emerging Growth

26. Emerging Desktop Projector Company 

A smaller more manageable sized company of 200 employees generating revenues of roughly 200 million dollars required a full-time director of organizational development and training. Hot damn, that’s me.

Growth Stage from Emerging to Rapid

In the next stage the directive management style required to bridge the gap between start-up and early growth actually plants the seeds for a new crisis at the end of that Emerging Growth Stage.

WTF?

In general it goes like this: 

Too much DIRECTION causes a crisis of AUTONOMY which forces DELEGATION in the next phase.

I learned after I took the job that growth danced between loosening and tightening and between innovation and efficiency.

    • So the early growth phase which Proxima had experienced was about tightening and efficiency in the evolutionary part of the lifecycle.
    • More than anything Proxima’s leaders craved accelerating growth. It competed in the emerging multi-media projector business.
    • Nobody really understood how the market niche would grow rapidly.
    • They were in the midst of extending, improving, and modifying the proprietary formula they had discovered by trial-and-error. 

In other words they set up methods to improve those things that worked but struggled to discard those things that didn’t.

Customers

Proxima’s market mostly consisted of “road warriors” — all those making presentations in sales and marketing meetings.  

And those addressing audiences and students in conference rooms and classrooms. 

What I liked was the hype about their growth and how immediately I saw the advantages of their projectors over the old school overhead classroom projector with the film slides you dropped or mishandled or …

They created presentations in their computers.  

Proxima sold a projector for each of those settings that connected to your computer for the first time.

You created a powerpoint in your computer and projected it on to a screen in front of a group of people.

Founder

Proxima didn’t start out in the multimedia projector business.  

Proxima had been an electrical and electronics supplier at its inception.  Eventually they evolved into selling all the accessories you’d need for PCs — you know the cords, connectors, power packs and eventually projectors — all before my time. 

Early employees loved their flip-flop, cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt wearing founder.  

2nd CEO

Their CEO focused on policies and procedures more than taking care of business as the “outside” voice to the marketplace.

But, they continued with the new leader who wanted to provide more structure and loved writing policies.

Long Time Employees Loosing Out

Most of the employees from day one believed they would always be in line for promotions. They wore so many hats in the beginning, surely they figured, when they hung up most of those caps in the closet they’d be entitled to freely move up the organizational chart and place their remaining hat on their office’s rack while claiming a position yet to be formulated.  

Instead, those positions at the top level went to people like me who had larger company experience, than they did. Nothing wrong with them,  but they had yet to experience by trial and error what would be required when the pace accelerated and risks grew exponentially.

Summary

To answer your question, yes you can find happiness in one of the Organization Types and  in a growth stage — even if it’s not your type! 

How can that be true?  

Hint, it has something to do with unique challenges at each stage of growth and decline which challenge the key success factors that, well, bred success. 

And, therefore a different set of talents and abilities are required to navigate the transformation from the old to the new.

    • We’ve known for some time now that there’s this kind of yin-yang cycle working itself through organizational developmental stages. 
    • In the first stage the yin expresses itself as a loosening, organic, seeing what will work as the start up iterates its way into existence.  
    • Then too much of a good thing ushers in a tightening to regain control over what is working and what hasn’t worked and needs not to be repeated.  
    • And then having tightened up operations  to restrict control over resources far too much demands the cycle reverses  itself into a newer loosening phase.  

And, so on and so on through maturity, decline and reinvention. But remember, these transformations — think of them as a metamorphosis in the natural world when a caterpillar spins a cocoon, develops, and then emerges as a butterfly — a completely different insect.  

The point is loosening in the start up phase and loosening in the rapid growth stages require similar activities, the two stages are not the same animal or insect as they used to be or will become.

Stages of Growth

Start Up: Loosen — Crisis — Tighten

Emerging Growth: Tighten — Crisis — Loosen

In many cases a strong manager is needed who has the necessary knowledge and skill to introduce new business techniques to help them bridge the widening gulf between start-up and early growth stage.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Often it’s up to 107 Resilient Product Teams to develop “the formula” by reducing the amount of random experimentation while accelerating new business by learning from early customers.  They streamline the rapid product development process and convert emerging knowledge into repeatable processes.

Emerging-Entrepreneurs in a 108 Core Business Group expand the number of products and variations available often preceding the need to break the organization into functional specialties.  They manage through the variable demand, but focus on building the capacity for higher growth with efficient ramp-ups for initial products.

Where to Find Best Fit Cultures

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Founders hate to step aside during this turning point, even though they don’t have the temperament to be managers.

If they don’t, they prolong the inevitable. But, as we see in the next stage the directive management style plants the seeds for a new crisis at the end of the early growth stage.

Part Two: Evolution from Emerging Growth to Rapid Growth

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: Social status is one of those things you don’t really feel like you care too much about until you’re in a position to gain or lose it and become surprised by your behavior. You are, after all, only human.”  Scorpio

Aren’t we all?

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

“4”  Steve Howey, 42: “Even if you feel you have no news to share, make an effort to connect with friends and family. You’ll be surprised what fortuitous information comes up when there’s no particular agenda to the conversation.”  Cancer

I guess when all around you feel trapped by this pandemic, news and information bubbles up naturally in conversations, eh?

“3”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: What you desire will not come about through direct means. There is no pushing, buying or persuasion involved, only attraction. The most attractive mode is modesty and moderation.” Leo

In my own natural experiment gathering intelligence about what might work for me in this manner won over enough people in my 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon method who volunteered to refer me to other like-minded people and introduce me to enough decision-makers that opportunities appeared beyond my wildest dreams.

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:The wise choices are easier to make when you know what you care about. When you don’t know yet, don’t worry about being wise. Anything you choose will teach you more about what you care about.” Libra

Not so much as evidence for today, but more for the years I’ve put into the theory and the field testing in my own life and with clients and students I’ve advised, I find this relevant.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41:Today’s problem isn’t so tough. Ask a few people, do a thorough internet search, read an article or two and you’ll know enough to make an informed decision.” Sagittarius

An informed decision about what positions you best in your career with a type of organization or a gnarly problem to solve in the next stage of organization growth, decline or reinvention is that this original research has always been about.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): It will be important to check off all of the daily habits you hold so dear today because it is only after these rituals are complete that you feel you have the space to share freely.” Pisces

As I work my way through this manuscript, Volume Two — Workfit, I fess up that if it weren’t for my daily habits which became rituals it would be awfully hard not to work 24/7 plowing through this content that I know it’s time to shut my office door and walk into my life.

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead: 

Some believe that love is an entity that is either present or not, that it must be found, not created, that shows up with its own characteristics and cannot be changed or manipulated. 

Then there’s the school of thought that depicts love as an emotion no different from other psychological states such as fear or satisfaction. In this model, with the right elements, the feeling can be conjured up, led around, intensified and molded …. the role of the subconscious in relationships. 

Below the thinking of which we are aware, there is a vast neural network buzzing with the activity of keeping us alive. This hardworking mind takes in all the sensory and cognitive information of living and processes it at lightning speed, organizing those cues so that only the most relevant information comes into consciousness. 

As for our attractions, by the time we realize them, they have already been vetted by the subconscious against hundreds of criteria, some superficial, some ancient and animal. An awful lot of psychological gauges are involved, too, having to do with our family of origin and how much the other person feels familiar and has similar strengths and weaknesses to that of our parents.

I’m afraid the TauBits of Wisdom offered by the Steves today pale in comparison with what lies ahead for us.  I love this on so many levels, don’t you?

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 4516 to 4636.

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