S2 E110 — Keys for Reinventing a FUD-Soaked Enterprise

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 110 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 6th day of September in the fall of 2020.

 

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E109Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight; S2 E108Why Our Reinvention Efforts Failed (and Yours Will Too); S2 E107Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Reinvention

27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) they knew the teams existed,

2) what their missions were, and

3) how to contact and contribute.

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

Timing is everything. 

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

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

Our strategic intention was about to be activated:

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

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4990 to 5060.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E50 — Swinging with Systematic-Professionals, Sorta

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

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

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

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

I initially introduced this story as: 

17. Graduate Assistant Internship 

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

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

I wasn’t buying it.  

My sweet deal blew up.  

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

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

Two things saved me.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what happened to Sig?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

Today’s Holiday Birthday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E47 — Why’s and How’s of the Genius Art of Procrastination

Something is missing.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I just don’t know what it is, but I can feel it.  I thought it was something Marshall McLuhan said and was fully prepared to follow the search for it.  But, that impulse dried up.

“5”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “In a moment of complete relaxation, an answer will come to you accompanied by all the relief and satisfaction of finding a set of lost keys. Indeed, this will unlock future doors.” Leo

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 47 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 16th day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E45 Tacit Heuristics Blinding Fast-Track Teams; S3 E44Make It Rhyme To Work Each Time; S3 E43Add a Little Foresight to My Misdemeanor Tab

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E46Whimsy Passion Project or Epic Novel of Adventure?; S2 E45Wildcard What Ifs and Doobie Bros Bias; S2 E44Celebrating Emma the Baroness Tribal Quarantine Style; S2 E43See What You’ve Been Missing …

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E46Day 46 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E45Day 45 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E44Google Me Some Chopped Liver; S1 E43Desperation on Such a Summer’s Day

Context

Sitting quietly for a moment after I asked “What would Leo da V do?” the answer arrived.  

Curiosity.  

That’s what’s been missing from the 1-Year Natural Experiment Report.  Living life as an art form in a natural experiment.

Why?  

I’d been skipping over “Why: What Makes Us Curious?” by Mario Livio.  

Guess who figures prominently in Mario’s tale, besides Richard Feynman, my Leo!

Leonardo’s boundless interests spanned such broad swaths of art, science, and technology that he remains to this day the quintessential Renaissance man. Art historian Kenneth Clark appropriately called him ‘the most relentlessly curious man in history.’ 

Feynman’s genius and achievements in numerous branches of physics are legendary, but he also pursued fascinations with biology, painting, safecracking, bongo playing, attractive women, and studying Mayan hieroglyphs.

Leonardo’s apparent inability to complete assignments, or his lack of interest in finalizing some of his projects pose further questions laid out by Livio, but really relevant to my behavior too: 

    • What was it that made Leonardo curious, and why? 
    • What did he do to satisfy his curiosity? 
    • At what point, if any, did he actually lose interest in a particular topic? 

Leonardo was curious about almost everything in the complex world surrounding him, and compulsive about note taking.  He sketched drawings and notes as part of his “artistic”output, estimated by some researchers to be 15,000 pages.

Why include curiosity now?  

Livio says the emergence of the unique human curiosity and emergence of the distinct human language were strongly correlated.  Which is a polite way of elevating gossip! 

Livio believes curiosity is at the core of human symbolic culture.

“… socially shared myths, rituals, and symbolism were most likely the first sophisticated responses to nagging why and how questions and were therefore the fruits of curiosity.”

How?

The chain reaction that resulted from the positive feedback between curiosity and language turned Homo sapiens into a powerful intellect, with self-awareness and an inner life.

The basic characteristic of curiosity is the desire to pose a question, thereby risking generating even more uncertainty, which in the context of an information-gap model is perceived as distressing.  Einstein once said: 

The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.

Why?

Curiosity is really an engine of discovery. The seed of creativity is curiosity, and that potential for imagination comes from wondering, filled with self-awareness and a rich inner life.

Evidence

So, let’s turn to wondering which of the Steves offers relevant TauBits of Wisdom for the day.  If complaining identifies a problem and that problem is really an information-gap itching to be closed, then I like what you can offer Zahnny.

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Complaining comes easily to most. Just about anyone can describe a problem. The next steps — brainstorming solutions, settling on a few to try, gaining the cooperation of others, etc. — are for the advanced corps. That’s you.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

However comma, as Emma the Baroness is fond of saying, I believe it takes an inventor and two comedians to describe my early in the morning “What would Leo da V do?” moment when I switched from McLuhan to curiosity, more precisely.

“5”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “In a moment of complete relaxation, an answer will come to you accompanied by all the relief and satisfaction of finding a set of lost keys. Indeed, this will unlock future doors.” Leo

So, Steve your Holiday Tau is saying book learning is one thing, but application is what matters, right?  Couldn’t agree more.  I’m on the back end of teasing out lessons learned from experience and building the theory it supports.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “The theories that work out on the page but don’t work out in real life can be considered exercises or games, not serious contenders. Actual results trump theory every time.”Pisces

I was surprised late yesterday afternoon when just like your Holiday Tau describes, wave after wave washed through me while I watched Vanessa’s tribute to Kobe Bryant at his induction into the NBA’s hall of fame.  

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): Feelings are waves. They rise into an identifiable shape and then hit the shore and go back to being part of the big ocean of emotion. Don’t fear the feeling. It’s just another form for energy to be for a while.  Aries

I saw Michael Jordan, duh, since he introduced Kobe for his induction, but not you.  Okay I have to admit I taped the whole show so I could fast forward through Tim Duncan’s and Kevin Garnett’s to get to Kobe , so you may have been there. Now I’m wondering if the socially distanced audience were already inducted members and family?

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “When dealing with distracted people (and it’s safe to say that most people you’ll deal with today will have an attention deficit), assume that you must capture their attention several times throughout the interaction.” Libra

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8138 to 8193 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life  

Long-Form

    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.
    • Daniel Kahneman’s, “Thinking Fast and Slow”describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts: “System 1” which is meant as a fictional shorthand — not as a brain system or structure: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious. “System 2”: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. I’m learning a lot about my energy levels first described from within an introversion frame now, from within differences between System 1 and the harder working, energy depletion System 2.  Self-control, for instance is hard and takes a lot of energy to accomplish.  When I write the concentration requires effort until I can find the “flow.” Implications for True Belief — it’s easy to stay in System 1 vs. critical thinking — System 2.  Set some marketing and working on the business goals — System 2 and then ignore them by following the lateral thinking and associative thinking  which Leo da V invites me to do — System 1. 
    • “Why?: What Makes Us Curious,” by Mario Livio. “… socially shared myths, rituals, and symbolism were most likely the first sophisticated responses to nagging why and how questions and were therefore the fruits of curiosity. The chain reaction that resulted from the positive feedback between curiosity and language turned Homo sapiens into a powerful intellect, with self-awareness and an inner life.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

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

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 102 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 23rd day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E101The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day; S2 E100Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy; S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

22. Internal Consultant MD&T 

Part One

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

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

New Profession, New Career

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

From the Outside

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

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

Getting the position

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

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

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

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

Rotations to Higher Positions

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

Managing Change

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

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

Finally, my luck changed!

First Change

Then the phone rang.  

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

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

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

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

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

In Shock

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

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

Between a rock and hard place

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

Misjudged the Opportunity

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

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

Imposter Waiting to Be Uncovered

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

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

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

Just a Number

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

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

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

Internal Consultant 40,000 Employees

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

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

Building

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

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

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

Confidentiality Location

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

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

Strong Command and Control Under Glass

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

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

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

Here’s What I Didn’t Know

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

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

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

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

Internal Outplacement 

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

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

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

Surfaced Their Resistance, Dumbed Down Our Aspirations

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

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

CEO Blunder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead:  

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E45 — Tacit Heuristics Blinding Fast-Track Teams

I’ve learned that I am really susceptible to the downsides.  But, I’m a sucker for that aha! experience, so naturally I’d latch on to a word (heuristic) that comes from the same root as eureka.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You’ll discover that a belief you held was wrong or incomplete — oh, sweet liberation! This levels the mental ground where you’ll be building something sturdier and more beautiful to dwell inside.  Aries

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 45 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 14th day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E44Make It Rhyme To Work Each Time; S3 E43Add a Little Foresight to My Misdemeanor Tab; S3 E42Greta, Juliette and the Partridge Family at Trestles

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E45Wildcard What Ifs and Doobie Bros Bias; S2 E44Celebrating Emma the Baroness Tribal Quarantine Style; S2 E43See What You’ve Been Missing …; S2 E42It Was Short and Sweet, but Heart-Felt

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E45Day 45 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E44Google Me Some Chopped Liver; S1 E43Desperation on Such a Summer’s Day; S1 E42Love on the Run

Context

When knowledge management gained purchase as an emerging profession I attended a week-long online conference with early practitioners and discussed “distinctions” of what it was all about.  

It was too soon to define it with hard boundaries.  

One of the pioneers advocated heuristics as a practice for sharing and refining knowledge that wasn’t already explicitly in use. 

 I’d never heard of heuristics before, but I caught a flavor of his meaning for what he called tacit knowledge — what people on a team knew and shared intuitively with each other.

Team members learn something by bringing products to market like the one they’re up against the looming release date.  

The team is stumped.  

Someone pitches a solution based on a similar product she engineered in the recent past and it works. Crisis averted.  That solution is passed on again and again. 

More formally a heuristic is like a rule of thumb — a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind.

I’ve learned that I am really susceptible to the downsides.  I’m a sucker for that aha! experience, so naturally I’d latch on to a word (heuristic) that comes from the same root as eureka.

If you knew me you’d know I always look for a simple procedure that helps me find answers to difficult questions —  adequate, but often imperfect as they may be to move forward. 

But,  now I’ve come to learn what I’m most likely guilty of is some kind of mental trick, a kind of a bait and switch without noticing.  

I  sometimes automatically substitute an easier question for a difficult one, answer it and congratulate myself on my brilliance.

As Daniel Kahneman says, “(A) lazy System 2 often follows the path of least effort and endorses a heuristic answer without much scrutiny of whether it is truly appropriate.”

How does it work? 

While l’m engaged in searching for an answer to one question, my “System 1” simultaneously generates the answers to related questions. 

Often it may substitute a response that more easily comes to my mind for the one that was requested and more complicated.  

“The heuristic answer is not necessarily simpler or more frugal than the original question, but it is accessible, computed more quickly and easily.” 

The answers are not random.  They are often approximately correct and frequently that’s all you need. 

As in technology heuristic of inserting a good enough product into the customers hands and get them to tell you about all the flaws so you can iterate and release new versions.

But, sometimes they are quite wrong. Which can come back and bite you in your own life if you’ve got a lot on the line.  

Evidence

But, Zahnny, am I wrong in assuming focus and concentration won’t short circuit my intuitive self no matter how flawed?

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The work worth doing centers around your energy, perception and ability. Focus there, and so much else will naturally come together. Focusing elsewhere will be ineffective.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

You know, Steve sometimes your Holiday Tau hits the nail on the head.  It wasn’t until these last weeks while working on the Conclusions section of my Report that I discovered heuristics, good as they may be in general, weren’t the end all and be all of knowledge management.  In fact they may have accounted for blinding fast-track teams under pressure to deliver tech products at a faster and faster pace.  Mea culpa.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You’ll discover that a belief you held was wrong or incomplete — oh, sweet liberation! This levels the mental ground where you’ll be building something sturdier and more beautiful to dwell inside.  Aries

Eureka G&G.  Here’s my take on this passion project at 5:45 am this morning. Looking back through the report I grow tired and weary because of the disconnects and disjointed sections.  My plan was to write the end and then go back to the beginning and clean up portions as I made progress towards the conclusion.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:The interaction of opposing forces in your mind creates friction, hot moods and frustrating mental traffic jams. Alignment changes everything. Thoughts flowing in the same direction create momentous forward movement.  Virgo

Did someone say, aha! or eureka?  Count me in. Anything to distract me, like a squirrel does for a dog, from this ongoing national political disgrace.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Heavy topics and serious matters just don’t have appeal to you now, though you’re quite excited by novelty and the lighter side of life. This mood is perfect for building rapport with others.” Pisces

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8138 to 8193 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.
    • Daniel Kahneman’s, “Thinking Fast and Slow”describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts: “System 1” which is meant as a fictional shorthand — not as a brain system or structure: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious. “System 2”: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. I’m learning a lot about my energy levels first described from within an introversion frame now, from within differences between System 1 and the harder working, energy depletion System 2.  Self-control, for instance is hard and takes a lot of energy to accomplish.  When I write the concentration requires effort until I can find the “flow.” Implications for True Belief — it’s easy to stay in System 1 vs. critical thinking — System 2.  Set some marketing and working on the business goals — System 2 and then ignore them by following the lateral thinking and associative thinking  which Leo da V invites me to do — System 1.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 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

S3 E42 — Greta, Juliette and the Partridge Family at Trestles

Virginia Heffernan evokes the “Gen-X Generation” in her column about how the current baby bust — couples not doing their duty to their ancestors — and probably exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic isolation, will produce another overlooked generation in the grand scheme of things.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Knowing that someone will only remember two or three things you talk about, you pick the most important topics and find an artful and memorable way to put those ideas across.  Aquarius

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 42 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 8th day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 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?

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E42It Was Short and Sweet, but Heart-Felt; 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?

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E42Love on the Run; S1 E41The Dream Was Over, Long Live the Dream; S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?

Context

First, the public service announcement — while it may be too late for flowers, don’t forget to call your mother tomorrow.  

Is there a theme for today?  

Virginia Heffernan evokes the “Gen-X Generation” in her column about how the current baby bust — couples not doing their duty to their ancestors — and probably exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic isolation, will produce another overlooked generation in the grand scheme of things.  

But, who can blame them?  

Unless you believe card carrying Baby Boomer Bill Gates has planted chips in COVID-19 arms and single-handedly smeared the fossil fuels industry you might empathize with the teenagers — older than the unborn (in the even grander, Karma kind of scheme) — and agree with their Gen-Z spokesperson, Greta from Finland in her streaming series, ”Greta Thunberg – A Year To Change The World.” 

In a rare moment after visiting with coal miners who actually applaud her message — yes, that’s right — you see a candid Greta when she shares how deflated she feels, like a powerless little girl, compared to Trump’s grade-school bullying before and after they co-headlined a conference of international leaders.

Yet she’s the one acting like the only adult in the room.

Her generation, she reminds us, will still be here when the Baby Boomers are extinct, having done nothing in this critical moment,  leaving them on the wrong side of planetary history, and judged harshly in the future for their inaction.

And finally, Juliette Paskowitz the “beatnik matriarch” of San Onofre surf camp clan dies in a care facility at age 89 in nearby San Clemente, California. From her obituary by Steve Marble in the LA Times:

Juliette Paskowitz and her husband embraced a Jack Kerouac lifestyle: boundless, free-spirited, going where the road took them — most often in the direction of the beach. It was the life any kid could only dream of, bounding across the country in an overstuffed camper — from San Clemente to Pensacola to the shoreline of Venezuela, always searching for the perfect wave. 

With Dorian Paskowitz at the wheel, nine kids jammed in the back and Juliette riding shotgun, the family finally parked the rig on the sand in San Onofre, opened a surf camp and spent their days riding the glassy curls, playing in the whitewash and chasing one another from lifeguard tower to lifeguard tower. 

“If ‘Nomadland’ was a 2, we were at a 10 as far as sheer adventure, uncertainty, homelessness and never knowing what the next day might bring,” said Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz, the fourth-oldest child in the clan. 

“It was wonderful.” Juliette Paskowitz, the matriarch who held “the first family of surfing” all together, often singing arias while listening to opera on a small transistor radio in the camper…. 

Dorian preached the rewards of surfing so relentlessly that it caught the attention of sportswear designer Tommy Hilfiger, who applied the family name to his line. 

A record label, perhaps thinking they’d found the sun-bleached version of “The Partridge Family,” invited the family to cut a record. A filmmaker made a 2008 documentary on the family titled “Surfwise.”

A theme?

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Huh? Liberation.  Getting your habits to march along like ducklings following their mother, all in a row? Interesting.  But, it ain’t my birthday.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

There’s a liberation taking place. A year from now, you’ll look back and celebrate this moment when you cease to needlessly judge yourself. You’ll opt for new ways of pulling your habits into line. You’ll enjoy what you create because you dared to go in a new direction. Work leads to new interests; new interests pay you.

Knowing when to examine and when to let it go, is that right, Stevie?

“3”  Steve Smith, 30, Stevie Nicks, 72: “A few people will make an initial decision and many others will uncritically accept it. You, however, will push pause and do your own evaluation. You can’t personally examine everything, but this is within your realm.” Gemini

Haha, you two comedians break me up.  And you, Woz seriously your Holiday Tau feels like how you persisted along with that other Steve to build it before knowing they would come, eh?

“4”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “Your wisdom shines through your choice of what to get involved with and when. Trust those initial prescient instincts, even when (especially when!) you can’t reason them out.” Leo

How is it that your Holiday Tau feels a cut above the TauBits offered by the other Steves today?  I’m thanking you for you more practical take.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Knowing that someone will only remember two or three things you talk about, you pick the most important topics and find an artful and memorable way to put those ideas across.  Aquarius

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8003 to 8088 organically grown followers

Foresight

 Quality-of-Life   

Long-Form

    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.
    • Daniel Kahneman’s, “Thinking Fast and Slow”describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts: “System 1” which is meant as a fictional shorthand — not as a brain system or structure: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious. “System 2”: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. I’m learning a lot about my energy levels first described from within an introversion frame now, from within differences between System 1 and the harder working, energy depletion System 2.  Self-control, for instance is hard and takes a lot of energy to accomplish.  When I write the concentration requires effort until I can find the “flow.” Implications for True Belief — it’s easy to stay in System 1 vs. critical thinking — System 2.  Set some marketing and working on the business goals — System 2 and then ignore them by following the lateral thinking and associative thinking  which Leo da V invites me to do — System 1.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E39 — Ready for Your Big Leap Forward? 

This morning my knee weather is tight, with a chance of pain, but dull achy in my left hip bone, feeling like a COVID vaccine site, with a slight chance of improving if I wear a sleeve.

“5”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “It appears that someone took a big leap forward, when, in fact, this was just a series of small but consistent steps over time — doable for anyone with the tenacity. You are most certainly in the category.  Taurus

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 39 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 2nd day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

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?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment

Context

You know when you sprain your ankle sometimes you can walk it off?  And then later when you sit down for any extended period of time the pain sets in with the swelling and stiffness?  

Really?  

Thank your lucky stars, then.  Well, Saturday was that day.  Only I tripped over  a 6 inch sprinkler next to a fading green telephone utility cylinder which brought me unexpectedly to my knees. 

They hyperextended buckling under me until in the same motion I rolled on the cement edge of our driveway.  Luckily releasing the mower handle’s squeeze bar automatically shut it off so I didn’t have to use my feet to push against the mower rolling towards me.  

Ouch. I struggled to stand.  Once I assured myself with Emma the Baroness’ help that I could walk some of it off I hobbled over to our garage and sat in a tan plastic molded chair, rested, drank an energy drink and calculated I’d better walk it off like a sprain.  

I did. 

I finished mowing the lawn. Like an ankle sprain, the swelling ache with occasional sharp pain here and there took over for the rest of the afternoon and into my dreams last night. 

This morning my knee weather is tight, with a chance of pain, but dull achy in my left hip bone, feeling like a COVID vaccine site, with a slight chance of improving if I wear a sleeve.

P.S. The grass looks fabulous. 

Evidence

Will rest and pain pills and positive thinking take me through the upcoming week?  What’s the forecast?

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead: 

People cannot talk themselves into happiness, and people who demand smiles from others are unlikely to get real ones. Why? Because feelings speak their own language, a tongue as complex and nuanced as it is raw and verbless. 

Even those who exist inside a feeling state are often at a loss as to the particulars of its communication, let alone how to recreate it. Even though emotions seem to defy spoken command, they are not impossible to conjure. ‘I have’ and an accompanying misconception that possessions are the key to emotional satisfaction. 

The theory has remarkable resilience. No matter how many times it’s disproved, the desire to acquire never seems to abate. But at least our quest to own things tunes us in to our senses and gives us an appreciation for the material world that often ends up aiding our journey to a feeling. While owning things, claiming people or chasing the material cannot create an emotion, the quest makes us aware of how we join the moment. Appreciation, wonder, criticism, frustration, joy and other feelings are conjured not by life but by our choice of response to life.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Yeah, right.  Funny you mention “lend a leg up,” right?  But not to worry.  As you know, this ain’t really my birthday.  I hope it is yours and you find relief from self-regulation.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Your love-hate relationship with self-regulation is about to change into all love. You’ll get into the swing of treating yourself so sweetly and nudging, nay, seducing yourself into the habits that give you the life and look you want. You’ll leverage social vibes skillfully; relationships lend a leg up in the professional world and vice versa.

Boy, for two singers and a comedian your Holiday Tau is especially mean.  I’ve been working with my physical therapist on my left knee to straighten it out, rebuild my muscles around it and master my balance.  So don’t give me “someone took a big leap forward.”  That was probably your idea, right Colbert?

“5”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “It appears that someone took a big leap forward, when, in fact, this was just a series of small but consistent steps over time — doable for anyone with the tenacity. You are most certainly in the category.  Taurus

What is it about today?  Oh, right two more comedians.  I don’t appreciate your Holiday Tau emphasizing “a break and a distraction” as a benefit.  Luckily it wasn’t a break, more like a hyperextension in both knees.  As far as a distraction, “Emma the Baroness, will you bring me another pain pill, please darling?”

“4”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “Once your heart sets a quest in motion, it’s pretty difficult to stop the search. However, since things often show up when you’re not looking for them, you’ll benefit from a break and a distraction.” Leo

At least your Holiday Tau feels a little more reality-based, except for your first part, G&G.  We’d been working on my balance issues, my physical therapist and me (or I?), and you can’t not take chances even though they involve stomach-churning risk, right?  

“3”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You’re open to the magical, wonderful happenings, but you’re also aware of the stomach-churning risks involved. One won’t happen without the other, and most likely, the risk comes first.” Virgo

Oh, okay.  First I didn’t expect today’s Holiday Tau to come from someone like you.  And second, being laid up on the couch made me appreciate Emma the Baroness’ interior design talent.  But, pain trumps all else in my internal environment.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Your internal environment is worth addressing since it’s the temperature and lighting scheme you live in all day. Give intentional thought to what would make you feel more comfortable.” Pisces

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of digital magazines jumps from 8003 to 8088 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life  

Long-Form

    • I enjoy any of the Harry Bosch detective books in the series authored by Michael Connelly.  “A Darkness More Than Night,” described “A strange constricting feeling filled his gut. He didn’t believe in coincidences… (It) was a coincidence that even a believer in coincidence would have a difficult time accepting.”So much for detectives, tying up loose ends, relying on their hunches and reordering data, information and witness first hand accounts. 
    • Or, in “Black Box,” Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch adventure he writes, “But Bosch stayed positive.  He’d gotten lucky with Pistol Pete and the serial number.  There was no reason to think it wouldn’t hold.”  Of course, Harry had a run in with his newer Lieutenant a page or two later … “So much for his luck holding… he felt that more than his luck suddenly ebbing away.  His momentum and positive attitude were eroding. It suddenly felt like it was getting dark out.” 
    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E35 — This Ain’t No Zemblanity

What about luck? An “architecture of serendipity” provides exposure to new ideas, people, and ways of life so crucial to you, because it expands your horizons.  And, when you boiled away all the jargon, this was at the heart of my new knowledge creation and innovation services.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): The first idea that comes to you may indeed be the best one, but come up with more anyway, if only for the accompanying thrill of heading into unexplored directions.” Aries

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 35 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 25th day of April in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 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

Context

In the Report’s Conclusion Section of The One-Year Natural Experiment we’ve covered meaningful coincidences and synchronicity, now it’s about their second cousin,  serendipity or happy accidents as in unplanned, but fortunate discoveries.

What about luck? Let’s skip “zemblanity” coined by William Boyd — you know, “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

In my career workshops I emphasized the path to higher paying and more enjoyable positions was paved with preparation — identifying what you did well, was valued by decision-makers facing challenges you could capitalize,  who commanded the budget needed to engage your services and in which types of or phase of growth would value your skills and abilities the most.  

That’s the preparation part of organizing you luck.  

Over the years I was able to predict with almost with 90% accuracy when a person would luck into the job of their dreams if they interviewed almost anyone informally, described which challenges a client or employer faced (that you met before), asked for three referrals to other people and broadcast to your audience in a similar matter. 

And, then out of the blue one of your connections hosts you and your future client or boss at a lunch, you loosely propose what you do and one thing leads to another and boom you’ve been hired.

In my other career, advising innovation teams and product development teams I introduced a variety of tools to increase serendipity into decision making, problem solving and creative endeavors.

Innovations made by chance have gained purchase throughout the history of product invention and scientific discovery. 

Most everyday products had serendipitous roots (Post-Its, Silly Putty, microwave, velcro, popsicle and even penicillin) with many early ones related to animals or imitations of nature.

Serendipity has potential application in the design of social media, information searches, and web browsing.

In some Paradoxy-Moron organizations serendipity factors into potential design principles for online activities capturing a wide array of information and viewpoints, rather than just re-enforcing a researcher’s opinion.

 An “architecture of serendipity” provides exposure to new ideas, people, and ways of life so crucial to you, because it expands your horizons.  And, when you boiled away all the jargon, this was at the heart of my new knowledge creation and innovation services.

Now in this passion project of living life like an art form in a natural experiment, each day’s Holiday Tau triggered lucky new insights and fresher perspectives.

Evidence

While Zahnny, the Fonz, Emma the Baroness and I inherited a sucky Holiday Tau today, the outlook for next week had our names all over it.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Wait, what a coincidence, throw in a smidge of serendipity and we’ll be on to something, Steve

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): The first idea that comes to you may indeed be the best one, but come up with more anyway, if only for the accompanying thrill of heading into unexplored directions.” Aries 

Hi Howey, I’m already a believer in your Holiday Tau.  It’s already 2:46 p.m. and I’m still banging away on this document.  Did somebody say squirrel?  Time break this composition off and step outside!

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:The most productive day involves stints of concentrated effort followed by breaks in the fresh air. To skip the breaks makes the journey much less enjoyable, and longer, too.” Cancer

As an introvert, I’m already tuned into my supply of emotional energy almost like a battery knowing when I need some time to myself to plug back in to the source.

“5”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “While emotional energy, like love, may be invisible, to your eye, it animates the physical world quite obviously. You will easily tell how people are feeling, especially when they are trying to hide those feelings.” Leo

So, let’s piggy-back on the Holiday Tau of the inventor and his two comedian partners in Tau.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:Daydreaming is anything but a waste of time, though don’t expect concrete ideas to come from it now. Today’s flights of fancy open up the borders for later breakthroughs.” Virgo

Will somebody throw a little serendipity my way?  I’m well overdue.

“4”  Steve Nash, 45:You’ve a quirky style and a worldview that could be described as ‘singular.’ You’re unintentionally entertaining, and this works in your favor. Once disarmed, people are so amenable to your suggestions!”Aquarius

Normally, Steve I love your TauBits of Wisdom, but not so much today.

“3”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “You don’t fear the influence of others. You know who you are. It is because your rules for yourself are so firm that you can afford to have an open mind.” Pisces

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead: 

“This…will not disappoint by ramping up the tension. Besides the domain of life, death and transformation, seduction, with a penchant for using shadows and fog to enhance the allure of our fascinations. Some will be drawn to build temptations, and others will be called to fall prey to them. An early theme of this transit is: what a little power can do. It changes people. Some would say it corrupts them. … will recall to us the times we’ve used and abused power, and the times we were victimized by forces more powerful than us. The lessons of these happenings aren’t learned all at once. They soak in over time. Just when we think we’ve gotten all we can from a past lesson, … will show us a new level of meaning we hadn’t been aware of before.”

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of digital magazines jumps from 8003 to 8068 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge” by E.O. Wilson, an entomologist who studied colonies of ants for their insights.  But didn’t stop there, according to The Wall Street Journal, “A dazzling journey across the sciences and humanities in search of deep laws to unite them.”
    • “True Believers,” the novel by Kurt Andersen (which seems to precede Fantasyland)? I like how he goes back and forth from now to the ‘60s in which the main character is writing a memoir, but needs “Okays” from her friends who had been hiding a secret for 40+ years that could ruin their careers?  Like, what’s my equivalent
    • “Disappearing Through the Skylight” by O.B. Hardison, Jr. which proceeded “Consilience” by a decade.  Hardison’s been described as a polymathic renaissance man who wrote, “… Nature has slipped, perhaps finally beyond our field of vision.”  What does it mean for “… science, history, art and architecture, music, language, ultimately, for humanity”? This one provides missing chunks of understanding where we came from and where we’re going.
    • I enjoy any of the Harry Bosch detective books in the series authored by Michael Connelly.  “A Darkness More Than Night,” described “A strange constricting feeling filled his gut. He didn’t believe in coincidences… (It) was a coincidence that even a believer in coincidence would have a difficult time accepting.”So much for detectives, tying up loose ends, relying on their hunches and reordering data, information and witness first hand accounts.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E33 — Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?

I’ve always been intrigued by Carl Jung’s synchronicity theory — meaningful coincidences — which “holds that events are ‘meaningful coincidences’ if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.”

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

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You don’t set out to be original, but you’re working with something other than what was available in the example. Using different ingredients and techniques yields unique results.” Aries

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 33 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 23rd day of April in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E32But, Why Should You Care?; S3 E31Treat It Like a Pawn Ticket to Sketchier Things; S3 E30Steal These TauBits, Please. It’s Only Fair!

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E33What Happens When Your Business Collapses?; S2 E32Trapped and Bored? Or Unleashing a Reinvention Wave?; S2 E31Getting Charged from Box Automattic-aly; S2 E30It’s Crazy. Why does Amazon Prime Work, but Netflix Doesn’t?

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E33Day 33 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E32Day 32 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E31Day 31 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E30Day 30 of My 1-Year Experiment

Context

Last time, you’ll recall, writing the Conclusion to my Report I drew inferences from my favorite mode of being — one that correlates well with my practice of lifting TauBits (TauLifts), selecting Holiday Tau and promoting TauBits of Wisdom — intuition.

Intuition is the subtle knowing without ever having any idea why you know it, more like a direct perception of truth, fact, who a person really is, how a situation will play out, what the future has in store for us.

Drawing on intuition, I’m now focusing on synchronicity and meaningful coincidences. 

Last night, by coincidence I tripped across a passage in Robert Parker’s “The Devil Wins” I read in my Kindle when Jesse Stone, Police Chief in Paradise says, 

I don’t believe in coincidences.” 

In various books, Harry Bosch in Michael Connelly’s series who worked in the LAPD robbery and homicide department (as did Stone), in “A Darkness More Than Night,” described: 

A strange constricting feeling filled his gut. He didn’t believe in coincidences… (It) was a coincidence that even a believer in coincidence would have a difficult time accepting.

So much for fictionalized police chiefs and detectives, tying up loose ends, relying on their hunches and reordering data, information and witness first hand accounts.

I’ve always been intrigued by Carl Jung’s synchronicity theory — meaningful coincidences — which “holds that events are ‘meaningful coincidences’ if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.” 

According to Wikipedia:

“… skeptics (e.g. most psychologists) tend to dismiss the psychological experience of coincidences as just yet one more demonstration of how irrational people can be. Irrationality in this context means an association between the experience of coincidences and biased cognition in terms of poor probabilistic reasoning and a propensity for paranormal beliefs.”

So, while Stone and Bosch are both fictional, they aren’t irrational, biased, reasoning-challenged with a fondness for UFOs. 

But Wikipedia also included:

A survey (with 226 respondents) of the frequency of synchronicity in clinical settings found that: 

    • 44% of therapists reported synchronicity experiences in the therapeutic setting; and 
    • 67% felt that synchronicity experiences could be useful for therapy”
    • “… psychologists were significantly more likely than both counsellors and psychotherapists to agree that chance coincidence was an explanation for synchronicity, whereas, counsellors and psychotherapists were significantly more likely than psychologists to agree that a need for unconscious material to be expressed could be an explanation for synchronicity experiences in the clinical setting

And as a psychologist in training at the Masters level after my tour of duty in Vietnam what actually intrigued me was what this survey represented to me — clinical psychology as an art form but with a practical natural experiment attempt.

Synchronicity appeared in clinical settings as reported by 4 in 10 therapists and two-thirds felt as a tool synchronicity experiences could prove beneficial for therapeutic outcomes.

What now caught my eye was the which came first, the chicken or the egg implications.  Was it that chance coincidences explain synchronicity?  Or, encouraging the expression of unconscious material explained synchronicity events in clinical settings?

Sigmund Freud and Jung were pioneers in “Talking Therapy” though Jung was younger and at one point Freud felt he would take the mantle from Freud later in life.  

However Jung in 1916 published the English version as of his paper Psychology of the Unconscious making it clear that his views were taking a direction quite different from those of Freud. 

To distinguish his system from psychoanalysis, Jung called it analytical psychology.

Fast forward to the Consciousness Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.  

For a period of time, largely in the 1970s meaningful coincidences manifested themselves in Lawrence Blair’s “Aquarian Science” as some sort of grand “consilience” big enough to include astrology and astronomy, mysticism and possibly anticipated string theory in theoretical physics.

Whereas our outer, rational memories show us only brief span on the surface of history behind us, our inner memories — through myth and symbol — detect currents of meaning beneath the future as well.”

“The outer chaos and confusion of our time is but the disturbance which characterizes the metamorphosis of all great rhythms, or aeon’s, into a new one; but inwardly, the iron-filings of a special kind of related knowledge are already polarizing themselves around a new pattern of Meaning, revealing that a deeper knowledge of universal laws is contingent on a deeper knowledge of the self, and the schism between the two wolds of science and religion is beginning to heal and to merge into a single majestic river of vision. 

 “Rhythms of Vision: The Changing Patterns of Belief” by Lawrence Blair, Ph.D.  published in 1975.

Evidence

What about today’s Holiday Tau, TauBits of Wisdom and the need for TauLifts? Synchronicity anyone?  Any meaningful coincidences?  How about a glimpse of a “majestic river of vision?”

Are we to interpret your TauBit of Wisdom as admonition to turn off conscious processing in favor of unconsciousness chewing?

“3”   Steve Zahn, 51: “Can there be peace without understanding? Of course! Sometimes peace is accepting what is, whether or not you get it. Consider giving up the need to process every bit of information, at least right now.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

True enough, Steve I don’t.  I’m improvising a newer recipe.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You don’t set out to be original, but you’re working with something other than what was available in the example. Using different ingredients and techniques yields unique results.” Aries

So this was supposed to be a pain-free day for me.  Think again.  It takes a day to recover from my physical therapy sessions and my knee and hip are still sore.  Maybe, tomorrow?  

“3”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “People run, but really there’s no way to avoid it. Pain is as entwined with existence as is breathing. Accepting this inevitability makes pain-free times, such as you’ll have today, all the sweeter. You’ll live on wings of exuberance.” Leo

So G&G, where were you when the country could have used your Holiday Tau as advice for the previous administration.  Seems like that’s all they did.  Blame and name and avoid fixing or improving things other than a chance for reelection.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:The thing about blame is that it’s only one of many ways to package an outcome, and today it’s an entirely unnecessary one at that. Forget about blame. There is only what happened, and various ways for it to not happen again.” Virgo

I’m sure Steve this Holiday Tau, maybe not for you then, but for one of the Steves months ago, triggered my revelation that my greatest fear was public speaking.  Thinking back on it, it may have delayed my career transition from advisor to trainer and workshop leader.  Finding how to make it work for you is the Tau of Tau.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: “There are many ineffective ways to handle fear, which include ignoring it, running from it, pretending to be cool about it or letting it stop you. The proper way is to accept fear so you can harness it and make it work for you.” Sagittarius

You had me at “wildly divergent problems,” Steve.  The more interdependence and related parts, the better.  Give me chaos and complexity any time as long as you pay my fee.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:It’s amazing what you can solve when you put your mind to it. Don’t even think about backing down from the wildly divergent problems because they will be the stage from which you shine brightest.” Aquarius

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of digital magazines jumps from 8003 to 8068 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge” by E.O. Wilson, an entomologist who studied colonies of ants for their insights.  But didn’t stop there, according to The Wall Street Journal, “A dazzling journey across the sciences and humanities in search of deep laws to unite them.” 
    • “True Believers,” the novel by Kurt Andersen (which seems to precede Fantasyland)? I like how he goes back and forth from now to the ‘60s in which the main character is writing a memoir, but needs “Okays” from her friends who had been hiding a secret for 40+ years that could ruin their careers?  Like, what’s my equivalent
    • “Disappearing Through the Skylight” by O.B. Hardison, Jr. which proceeded “Consilience” by a decade.  Hardison’s been described as a polymathic renaissance man who wrote, “… Nature has slipped, perhaps finally beyond our field of vision.”  What does it mean for “… science, history, art and architecture, music, language, ultimately, for humanity”? This one provides missing chunks of understanding where we came from and where we’re going.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

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