S2 E107 — Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change

When things get tough — during a merger — you should do what, go sailing?  You might ask, “Why sailing and why Catalina Island?  Was that like some sort of outdoor adventure boondoggle?  How did you get away with it?”

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:Consider making a vision board. The surface verisimilitude of an image makes you feel as though you are within touching distance of your desire. Your brain gets used to this, bridges a gap, shortens the leap to reality.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 107 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 3rd 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 E106How We Brainwashed Curmudgeons; S2 E105When Cosmic Leads to Decline, Pair Extremes Intentionally; S2 E104Worst Monday Ever. Very, Very Grim …

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E107How Do You Rate Your Sense of Curiosity?; S1 E106 — Attempts to Upset 9 of My Life Stages Apple Cart; S1 E105Will Fortune Smile on Us Later in the Evening?; S1 E104How Yesterday’s Success Triggers Tomorrow’s Failure

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 we turn add to Part One with the wildcard Part Two behind-the-scenes Reinvention mini-case.

Reinvention Part Two

23.  Organizational Development – Technology

For a mainframe computer it took almost 24 months to offer the new line when I first joined.  We knocked it down to 18 months, but with enterprise customers their long buying cycles meant our sales people worked and worked and worked to get them to sign on the dotted line.

But then out of the blue word came down that we had entered a quiet period during a merger of two equal sized computer players with some overlapping markets and technologies.

And, it was further delayed due to alleged bribery for government contracts at the other company and the ensuing uncertainty about who would be doing what and what our new identity would be.

Almost immediately all our division employees panicked on the news.  And almost immediately the management team disappeared behind closed doors. 

The vacuum triggered worst case scenarios. And lot’s of questions:

    • How would the merger impact sales? 
    • Will we be handicapped right out of the start gate?
    • What would happen if our hardware, software and manufacturing projects were eliminated?
    • Wasn’t the merger about doubling the size of our marketshare?
    • What would happen to our own, local reinvention efforts?
    • If word leaked out from manufacturing that the next mainframe was as small as your desktop PC, somebody in the customer’s approval process could halt the sale.

In the face of fear and uncertainty and doubt no-one had answers.

Meanwhile, I represented our division interests on the new corporate task force that launched a corporate-wide employee survey and recommended ways of addressing the fear, uncertainty and doubt. 

We tackled the rebranding and communications campaign.

Two formal technology rivals, each with their own operating systems, serving different customers and industries grew from two very different roots. 

From those roots grew two very different cultures which reinforced themselves, until months after the merger.  

Our corporate task force acknowledged those differences, but we began digging until we found the two core foundational stories and creatively began communicating fewer differences and more similarities in an effort to build a new shared value set. 

The company was renamed and branded as the Power of Two (squared).   But, even Steve Jobs couldn’t resist the choice when he quipped, “Little did they know at the time that ‘2’ would be their stock price.”

We all fell victim to FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt.  When two companies come together to form one you have winners and losers.  At first, since we acquired them, we all figured we’d be the victors.  But, that wasn’t how it turned out entirely.

Locally in our division, we collectively decided to only focus on what we could control.

Shaping a Cultural Climate for Innovation

For another initiative, our Climate for Innovation — the theme my team got three local leaders of manufacturing, software engineering and firmware engineering to sponsor in the California division.

Here’s what the engineering and software teams faced. 

    • They needed to dramatically shorten the time from idea into customer hands.
    • At the same time — they didn’t know when — a competitor would introduce a dramatic improvement which forced the product team to match or beat it.
    • They had to account for technology wild cards. 
    • They themselves didn’t know if they would survive the internal cost cutting elimination process or if their merging counterparts would lose.

We weren’t engineers or software developers.

So, How Could We Contribute?

They were on the hook to finish products on their roadmaps, but to figure out ways to shrink development time before their competitors did. 

So, we scheduled a series of communications programs that interviewed each leader and gave them an opportunity to describe what was important to their group and how each of the other groups fit together.  

It wasn’t technology or talent as much as it was product team formation, storming, norming and performing that sped progress on the relentless time to market. 

My communications co-conspirator described it as a “license to steal,” but in a good way.  As long as we helped move the needle towards a “Climate for Innovation” we practiced tail-wagging as an example for the newly emerging company.

We reinforced a fast-paced, innovative culture that attracted the best of the best. Our motto was simply, “It’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”

When things get tough — during a merger — you should do what, go sailing?

You might ask, “Why sailing and why Catalina Island?  Was that like some outdoor adventure boondoggle?  How did you get away with it?”

By sailing to Catalina, holing up in a local hotel and hashing product roadmaps teams were literally able to think out of the box away from the mainland and return to their work with a fresh perspective.

Convene the Brain Trust

Crazy creative Dave pitched a high risk, high value proposition based on a sailing experience.

Robin, one of our local engineering managers and eventually our co-conspirators had taken Dave out to Catalina for fun.  He volunteered as a leader of Sea Scouts based in Dana Harbor, so he had the access to the sailboats and Dave is crazy creative.  

And, crazy creative Dave introduced me to Jim whom he met at a Corporate Communications boondoggle out in the desert of Arizona at a Wickenburg dude ranch. What Dave immediately liked about Jim was his combination strategic thinking and team building tools.

One of Jim’s real estate client brought him to Southern California for executive coaching.  Crazy creative Dave conspired with Robin — the boat, Jim the tools, and me looking for FUD-busting stories to tell.  

We set out on a get-to-know-each-other sea cruise in the Pacific Ocean at dusk from Dana Point named for Richard Henry Dana who wrote, “Two Years Before the Mast” about his adventures on the Pilgrim up and down the coast.  

Fur trappers would throw down their hides from the cliff overhead to the tall ships anchored in the harbor as part of trade conducted in Mission San Juan Capistrano — founded, I believe, in 1775.

Change-Worthy Resilience

Funny how that history kind of provided a little something in our conversations and being on a sailboat, you’re tightly constrained physically so everybody participates. 

And there’s something wonderful about the ocean. The up-and-down motion. The side-to-side motion. The vagaries of the wind and the tacking back and forth. To make any kind of progress, you have to focus on the matter at hand, and balance in three dimensions. 

The sea works its own magic on conversation. It didn’t take long before we found a common passion — the challenge of building change-worthy organizations and individuals.

And, suddenly the wind stopped. The ocean calmed around us momentarily — the surface turned smooth as glass. Simultaneously, we reached some sort of synchronicity state. 

That moment when every thing happens in slow motion. We finished each other’s sentences. Ideas burst out of us like popcorn. We collectively saw a future — at least a trajectory based on the technology we were building, and a way to achieve what we all wanted individually, but in a way that would benefit all of us working together.

So, how did that play out? It sounds so, what … corporate hippy bullshit.

That’s why I couldn’t ask for permission from my 116 Institutional Traditionalist boss. 

Our task was to create an accelerated team building and innovation process — the sailing to Catalina — facilitate brainstorming sessions, and capture their output — decisions, plans, action items, further investigations.

Did it Work

Still sounds like a typical corporate boondoggle, right?

If you’ve been to a workshop or a class, what happens?  

In about 20 minutes after it’s over — by the time you leave the parking lot — you forget 50% of it.  When you come back to work, all the emails and requests that piled up while you were away command your time and attention.  

You lose another 30%.  

By the end of the first week, the Catalina experience is just a fond memory.

Did They Forget Best Laid Plans

No, we recorded all of their work in video and photos.  During the first week “back at the ranch” we delivered daily reminders of commitments they made by documenting them doing so in pictures.  Intermittently, we’d send another reminder and request for a status update.

It was like they could fall back into their highly engaged experience — in a kind of a re-immersion. 

It worked, really well.  Dave and I treated each safari as a proof of concept and built on what we learned running prior ones.  

We experimented with a variety of outdoor venues, if you will, and learned how to program sessions with music and turn the whole adventure into — well, we called them “Strategic Safaris” to accelerate team development, conduct product planning sessions and drive new initiatives immediately.

Next up: Part Three when intrapreneurially sourced innovations take shape.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:Consider making a vision board. The surface verisimilitude of an image makes you feel as though you are within touching distance of your desire. Your brain gets used to this, bridges a gap, shortens the leap to reality.” Scorpio

Thanks for the fond memories.  On the island with the engineering teams we’d have them draw out what they felt were their team futures.  They broke down steps to achieve what they had drawn together and we filmed them committing to what they achieved on Catalina together.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“ 4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “There have been times when it was hard for you to imagine being free, self-reliant and in control of your own financial and emotional destiny. Today’s developments are a dream come true.”  Aries

Can I get an “Amen!”  My decade-long advisory role in the university system helped turn that line of anxiety off forever.

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “Not all feelings are messages from the depths. Some are just momentary choices based on comfort zones. A feeling can also be a distraction from another, less-appealing, more uncertain feeling.”  Taurus

Got me.  I tend to favor my muse by asking Leo da V what I should concentrate on, expecting a deep exploration.  But, often curiosity masks distractions.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You’re likely to pour over every detail. The perfectionism that has you moving incredibly slowly now will also be the reason that you’re so excellent at the task.” Virgo

Yes and no.  Too much detail numbs my brain.  Not enough detail fails to satisfy my Systematic-Professional leanings.  Is it a stalemate?

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You are very aware of what you don’t know and only get more aware of it as you go. This is proof that you are amassing a great body of learning indeed, as every new idea opens up 10 more questions.” Libra

Just 10 more questions?  It’s as true for me today as it was finding resilience in uncertain times during our 360 degree model for adventure learning.

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 4906 to 4990.

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 E46 — Twisting Meaning to Fit Is Still a Misdemeanor in My Book

I started down this path a week ago on Friday when I felt lost. What I did next didn’t fill me with pride. 

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): Take a step back and remember why you wanted to do a thing in the first place. Much has happened since; your purpose has evolved to fit the circumstances. But that initial kernel of intention is still the heart of this venture.

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 46 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 15th 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

I stole Steve Kerr’s TauBit of Wisdom:

Projects have a beginning, middle and an end, though that is not the best order of approach. Begin with the end in mind. If you don’t have an end in mind yet, assist someone who does and you’ll learn a lot. 

Thanks to Coach Kerr and the Los Angeles Lakers living legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar I’ve been reworking the 1-Year Natural Experiment Report.

Intelligent imagination is vital to this sort of deduction! However improbable a hypothesis, it cannot be discarded. 

Mycroft and Sherlock” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Introduction

  • Definitions
  • What Does Tau Mean?
  • Life as an Art Form
  • Life as a Natural Experiment

Chain of Events Leading to the 1-year Experiment

  • Two Fortune Cookies and Dove Dark Chocolates
  • Here’s the Pitch for Bringing More Steves into the World
  • Steve is on an Endangered List
  • Top 10 Steves Organized by Horoscope = 120!

Three Phases

  • Finding Aphorisms Worth Handing Down
  • Priming the Pump for Input from Real Steves
  • Soliciting Wisdom from Steves with Identical Names

Methodology for Phase One

  • Changes along the Way
  • Extension to total 1-Year
  • Day 196 of 1-Year (Pre-Pandemic) overlaps with Day 20 of Pandemic Year

Findings for Phase One

  • Total Possible Horoscopes, Originally 4536 vs. Extension 4548
  • From Representative Sample of Famous Steves
  • Break Down: Practical Projects, Work, Legacy, Dreams and Relationships

Results Relevant to Me

  • Specific to Scorpios
  • From Any of the Remaining 11 Signs

Conclusion

  • Horoscopes
  • Biases
  • Intuition
  • Synchronicity
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Serendipity
  • Do I Feel Lucky?
  • Superstitions
  • Rituals
  • Super Simplification
  • True Believers
  • Filters
  • Selves
  • Heuristics
  • Associative and Lateral Thinking

Appendix:

Holiday TauBits of Wisdom From Representative Sample

  • Steve McQueen
  • Steve Carell, Steve Martin and Steve Wozniak
  • Steve Jobs

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

I guess if I had known I would have added our Patron Saint, Steve McQueen to Kerr and Kareem’s inspirations. 

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): Take a step back and remember why you wanted to do a thing in the first place. Much has happened since; your purpose has evolved to fit the circumstances. But that initial kernel of intention is still the heart of this venture.” Aries

If I twist the meaning of your Holiday Tau slightly Howey, I interpreting your message as confirmation of this whimsey passion project which led to more tangible and practical insights I’m working through in the “Conclusions” section of the report, right?

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:Whether consciously or unconsciously, you keep placing yourself on the path of self-discovery. The respect and love you gather up is a natural byproduct you’ve earned along the way.” Cancer

Don’t get me wrong Coach Nash, but I’m not feeling the relevance for today.  But thanks anyway.

“2” Steve Nash, 45:When loved ones want your assistance, your response is automatic. Today’s situation warrants a contemplative pause. Consider that, sometimes, the very best way to help is by not helping.  Aquarius

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 E94 — Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 94 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 9th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak; S2 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado; S2 E91How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

110 Analytical Specialists in the Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Third Growth Stage for 110 Analytical Specialists

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Part One

12. Director Electronics Distribution Company 

Professionalize to Stabilize 

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

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

International Aspirations

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

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

Maturing Business Model 

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

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

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

Keeping a Pulse on Emerging Markets

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

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

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

Pinch Points

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

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

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

From High Turnover to Time to Mastery

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

Wyle planned to grow in a cutthroat industry.  

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

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

But, that wasn’t the half of it.

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

Experts in the Field, But Not at Each Office

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

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

Professionalizing Human Resources with Specialists

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

Kind of the typical onboarding stuff you’d expect.  

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

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

Closely Held Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the CEO Stepped Down

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

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

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

Sales Suffered from Delayed Marketing Communications

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

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

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

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

Corporate Communications 

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

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

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

Recruiting Overlooked Sales Engineers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, right.

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

Summary        

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4636 to 4733.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E93 — Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak

They’re early adopters of “academic” methods, certifications, standards and proven practices for solving complex problems. So, they open the door to more fact-based approaches critical for Sustained Growth.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Most of the people around you now are making assessments within a narrow scope of understanding. Do not fear their disapproval and neither should you thrill to their approval.” Libra

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 93 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 8th 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 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado; S2 E91How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors; S2 E90How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E93Why is it easier to Hate than to Love the other Half?; S1 E92Shh … Secrets Husbands Keep to Ourselves; S1 E91If that, then this … ? The daily double?; S1 E90Day 90 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment;

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.  

Organization Type

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

As a Sustaining-Associates Organization Type, my military experience (in the “3.  US Army — Worse Fit”) thrived with 111 SAAT Agile Tiger Teams and 112 SALS Loyal Survivalists primarily with 110 SAAS Analytical Specialists in administrative and headquarters functions.

The first two private companies (6. Vocational Rehabilitation Services — Worse Fit) that hired me as a specialist had spun out of insurance companies — filled with 112 SALS Loyal Survivalists and 110 SAAS Analytical Specialists.

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Sustaining-Associate Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Growth Stage

Neither organizations could primarily be described as being in their Sustained Growth  phase.  If they were, then they’d entice  110 Analytical Specialists to join 111 SAAT Agile Tiger Teams and 112 SALS Loyal Survivalists from the Rapid Growth Stage which would insure all that hard work from Start Up to Emerging Growth to Rapid Growth continues.  

110 Analytical Specialists in the Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

You may recall, while their degree of orientation to affiliation is medium, they favor high in degrees of improvement (of past innovations) and of mastery.  They bring with them a professional background — usually with certifications, association standards, or specialized degrees.

You may also remember that a worse fit for them is in Paradoxy-Moron organizations with talent cultures that thrive on disruptive innovation, speed and independence.

Third Growth Stage for 110 Analytical Specialists

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The 110 Analytical Specialists are more loyal to the organization as a whole rather than to a leader or team. They’re eager to take on promotions that require them to specialize.and inject professional traditions into the organization. 

They’re early adopters of “academic” methods, certifications, standards and proven practices for solving complex problems. So, they open the door to more fact-based approaches. 

But there’s a dark side in some cultures, because 110 Analytical Specialists are often seen as internal enemies by 111 Agile Tiger Teams. 

Why?

Rightly or wrongly they’re seen as wanting to take away the people element and the need to address special situations out of the equation for success.

Which we’ll discuss in our next episode.

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:There is nothing wrong with pleasure or pain but living according to what feels good or bad is a precarious way to go. To live by an ideal is to do what it takes to uphold that ideal regardless of how it feels.” Scorpio

Wow, I feel my limited understanding prevents me from grasping the meaning.  

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “If you’re still making excuses, then it’s time to ask for real: Do you want it, or do you just want to feel like you want it? Happiness will follow your honest answer to this question.” Taurus 

Am I still making excuses?  I can’t think of any today.  But, if I’m later reminded — seems like this is good advice to follow.

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: “People are often kept on a righteous road by the threat of unhappy consequences associated with straying from the path. It’s fine, but not as ideal as choosing a path because it’s where you want to be.” Gemini

I first read this as “… threat of unhappy consequences associated with straying from the past.”  Of course now after reading it three times it makes better sense.  Anything is one of a million paths.  Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; If you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions.” Carlos Canstenda

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You are like a candle that can light dozens, or even hundreds, more candles, giving them the gift of fire and light without diminishing anything that is yours.” Leo

I receive this with all humility, especially since today this ain’t no TauBit for me and I swiped it before they had a chance to bask in its glory.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Most of the people around you now are making assessments within a narrow scope of understanding. Do not fear their disapproval and neither should you thrill to their approval.” Libra

Look if my MBTI holds any weight, then I’m an introvert on most days — an innie.  And being a 113 Idea Packager aka INTP equates into about the 5% range of commonality.  In other words 95% of introverts don’t share the same orientation to life and work.  Doesn’t represent a narrow scope of understanding of me?

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41:Things will go undiscussed and maybe this is for the best. Words will have a way of reducing an experience. Besides, it is too soon to define and name all that’s going on.” Sagittarius

Now this one is a little eery. Does this mean stop talking to myself and just experience directly?  Feel don’t categorize?  Pure artistic expression?!

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

Wow, I really didn’t see the ending twist … you will find freedom.  I gotta tell you it feels like a case of analysis-paralysis in the set up,  Just not as relevant for me today.

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

 

S2 E92 — Herding Cats Towards a Tornado

It took several types of engineers to work together on a team.  When you had multiple teams going simultaneously you’d run out of certain kinds of engineers, usually at critical stages which caused delays.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’ll amuse yourself like it was your job, and though it’s not, your professional life will benefit anyhow, as it spurs the relaxed frame of mind you need to come up with brilliant ideas that can be widely applied.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 92 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 7th 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 E91How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors; S2 E90How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?; S2 E89Garage Bonking and Chasm Jumping

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E92Shh … Secrets Husbands Keep to Ourselves; S1 E91If that, then this … ? The daily double?; S1 E90Day 90 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment; S1 E89Because If You Don’t Someone Else Will. It’s Worth It!;

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.  

Emerging to Rapid Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

26. Emerging Desktop Projector Company 

Part One described Proxima’s early navigation from a Start Up to an Emerging Growth stage.  

Today’s Part Two focuses on its path to Rapid Growth.

Growth Stage from Emerging to Rapid

The purpose of the bowling pin model is to approach niche market expansion in as leveraged a way as possible, to bowl toward the tornado. Each niche, you will recall, requires its own whole product to be fully complete before it can adopt the new paradigm. At the same time, it finds it much easier to buy in if vendors can supply references from an ‘adjacent niche,’ one within which it already has established word-of-mouth relationships.” — Geoffrey Moore, “Inside the Tornado”

Three Market Niches Inching Towards the Tornado

    • I represented an obvious market niche — the classroom trainer. It was a tough sale because underfunded human resources and department budgets would dictate the dollars for replacing what they already had with Proxima projectors.  
    • Maybe a tougher sale was to road warriors who had to be convinced to refrain from stuffing their laptops in the overhead bin for what would eventually become an iPhone years later in your pocket and stuff a smaller foot print projector above your Delta seat. 
    • The toughest sale would be to consultants like me who facilitated product development teams of engineers coupled with an intranet represented a third niche.

Talent Culture

We worked in a technology cluster of buildings in a parking lot shared with a super-computer company. Down a hallway, my office was on the right-hand side just past my boss’, the Vice President of Human Resources.  Frank, who was shorter than me with dark receding hair line and a mustache loved inspirational mottos.

He retired from the Navy having largely been influenced by a chain-of-command demanding allegiance to his boss and orders given him. He didn’t have the fast-paced technology experience, although to be fair he was fair and empathetic and believed in all those people development processes and procedures.

Looking back, he probably figured more structure, procedures would only help this technology company while building out his traditional HR department.

I wanted little to do with recruiting — thankfully Ian originally from Great Britain, who disliked my promotion of the principle of “collaboration” preceded my hiring.  It meant betraying your country to the enemy, as in England with Germany in WWII, he teased.

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Why his executive recruiter liked my background  which led to my offer.

    • 10 years experience working for Unisys and Fluor in the Mature Growth Stage
    • Including cross-silo adventures in Engineering, Software and Manufacturing, Shipping
    • Traditional Training and Development with an emphasis on applications at work
    • Organizational Development addressing resistance to change
    • TQM, Just-in-time, Continuous Improvement, Reengineering required to master current and future challenges

What attracted me was my vision of where innovation and technology was headed with that adrenalin rush.

    • It appealed to my build-it-from-scratch department bias 
    • An experiment or knowledge laboratory for discovering things on the cutting edge.
    • I tried to avoid classic supervisory classroom training-only. Proxima didn’t have many supervisors anyway.
    • I wanted to consult and facilitate teams, being more fascinated with the software and hardware engineering and research and development opportunities.
    • Each functional area was led by someone in over their heads, but with VP titles
    • Someone could parachute in from a larger company take a quick look around and tell everyone what to do in a 10th of the time an insider could do.
    • Major immune-system reactions — high change, transition management 

3rd CEO  

The newly recruited CEO didn’t have public company experience.  But, he had written book about how to combine US-style with Japanese-style leadership that Frank read and liked.  However, some of us realized later that he didn’t really follow those practices. 

We looked to him for leadership for building capacity to rapidly grow.

His Japanese contacts in the projector business helped us cheat as we sourced a lot of the components in our  projectors when we met our audacious goal of launching 6 new products into market niches in 6 months. 

My boss described him as someone who always “looked through a 40 foot straw.”  

Stuff that should have been on his CEO radar was missed.  

Product Road Map

Internally, I promoted “just-in-time” training bites, instead or “ just in case education” because trainees forgot 50% as they left the classroom,  and more of a focus on knowledge in circulation.  

My timing couldn’t have been better. A small startup named Tegrity showed how you could capture what was projected on a whiteboard during a presentation and bring edited markups back into your presentation.

Accelerating the Work of Engineering Teams  

We’d place the projector connected to a PC on a conference table and present one of their engineered “drawings” on a whiteboard as a slide. 

An engineer would say, “Look at that the metal case footprint — it is too small to include a fan.”  She’d stand up, walk to the whiteboard, draw a circle around the area, make other notations and I’d click the Tegrity button to add it as an updated slide in the “deck.”

We used to say working with engineers was like herding cats.  

    • In meetings they’d wander all over the tangents landscape.  
    • With Tegrity and a projector and a whiteboard you could focus their attention.  
    • With fewer arguments, misunderstandings, or differing frames of references you could progress must faster — which was the mantra — make it faster, lighter, smaller and brighter. 

And It Solved a Major Time-to-Market Problem

It took several types of engineers to work together on a team. 

    • When you had several teams going simultaneously you’d run out of certain kinds of engineers, usually at critical stages which caused delays.  
    • Small companies couldn’t hire and afford to keep all the technical talent it needed.
    • Like the engineers who were in charge of cooling down the projector while increasing the power required to work in a smaller “box.”  
    • They were in short supply.  

Ian would go to tech parking lots in Silicon Valley and intercept potentials before and after work for meetings dazzling them with San Diego.

One product manager came from Apple and most of us thought he walked on water.

So, if they were on Team A, they weren’t available to Teams B and C.  And, if they finally finished one team, they’d kind of roll from Team A to B.  

That’s when the shit would hit the fan.  

Sorry, but that’s when the team that was 75% of the way to their launch realized they messed up, would have to do some serious work around and miss their deadline.

Using Tegrity and an internal Internet we could capture that team’s oversight and correction and share the schematics almost in real time.  

Rapid Knowledge Circulation 

And, as other team members dispersed to join another team, they took the knowledge of that solution with them, showed it to the next team and in a way they cross trained each other.

So they would know when to check out the cooling and venting requirements earlier in their design

When I first experimented with it in a team meeting I got to the third slide the product manager and I made and an engineer called for a time out.  

I thought, oh no, here we go off on a cat-tangent.  

But, instead, she waved her hand between the bottom of the projector and the top of the conference room table and said the heat from this unit will warp the wood finish if we don’t do something about it.

Summary

Adding Two Sustaining-Associate Profiles

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

They develop the tools and manage the process of multiple new product introductions. They have to optimize the availability of internal and external team members — rolling people on and off projects — as the critical path for each product dictates.

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.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Start Up: Loosen — Leadership Crisis — Tighten

Emerging Growth: Tighten — Functional Crisis — Loosen

Rapid Growth: Loosen — Autonomy Crisis — Tighten

 We’re building on each of the 16 talent profiles so they may find a better fit at, not only in a particular Organization Type, but at a stage of growth as well.

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’ll amuse yourself like it was your job, and though it’s not, your professional life will benefit anyhow, as it spurs the relaxed frame of mind you need to come up with brilliant ideas that can be widely applied.” Scorpio

Who knows if this turns out to be a “5” day after all, but I’d love it if amusing myself was my job.  Oh, wait it was.

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “The point will be just to show up and see what you discover. If you can lower your expectation or, better yet, go in totally without one, you’ll be primed for a stellar day.” Aries  

Maybe not so much for today, but I invested a significant part of my life doing this and I have to say I encountered more stellar days than I ever expected.  I felt I embarked on an adventure of my life.

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: “When you really think about it, you have some beliefs that the people around you might be surprised by. It’s those rarified ideas that will open new thought processes to you and move you in a fulfilling direction.” Gemini

This could be relevant in two ways.  The first is political in the face of not heeding the science when many voters from across the aisle are dying from this pandemic in overcrowded hospitals.  The second could apply to this original research I’m writing up having grown tired of jigsaw puzzles.

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:Those who think they know are at a disadvantage, as their assumptions put up a barrier between themselves and the truth. It’s the ones who understand their own ignorance who will learn the most.” Cancer

True.  But, but not number one for me today.  Although the day is still early, eh?

“3”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): Those who have had happy hearts feel capable of achieving that state again and will take every opportunity to recreate the status. Those who don’t know what’s possible will take longer to come around if they ever do.” Pisces

I have to admit, this I’d be really stretching this TauBit of Wisdom to what happens if you just don’t know what you’re missing in your career.

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

S2 E91 — How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors

Rapid Growth is the stage when you need to build out your brand.  And it’s the time when you are most vulnerable to high turnover, which translate into major knowledge leakage.  And something your competitors will thank you for later.

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 91 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 6th 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 E90How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?; S2 E89Garage Bonking and Chasm Jumping; S2 E88Convincing Family, Friends, Fools and Angels

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E91If that, then this … ? The daily double?; 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?

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. 

Emerging to Rapid Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Just a quick recap.  To bridge the gap between a Start Up to the next stage the venture has to address its Leadership Crisis, or in reality the lack of leadership. The founder is content to grow organically, until, well the company doesn’t grow any more and angel investors may be ready to pull the plug.

To land in Emerging Growth the venture needs to tighten its operations with good old structure.

Stages of Growth

Start Up: Loosen — Leadership Crisis — Tighten

Emerging Growth: Tighten — Functional Crisis — Loosen

Let’s continue by adding to the first five of  16 talent profiles  we’ve covered so far.

Where to Find Best Fit

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Rapid Growth is the stage when you want to build out your brand.  And it’s the time when you are most vulnerable to high turnover.  Which translate into major knowledge leakage.

Rapid Growth: Loosen — Autonomy Crisis — Tighten

Back to that Yin-Yang cycle thingy.  The good news up until now was how we resolved the loosey-goosey lack of leadership crisis during Start Up by tightening and structuring operations in the Emerging Growth stage.

But, too much of one thing, like an overuse of a strength creates the next crisis.  And the prescription for over-tightening is, you guessed it, loosening by delegating and spreading autonomy around during Rapid Growth.

So if you’re building a “sticky” yet competent talent culture, you want to attract two talent profiles from the third of our organizational types — Sustaining-Associates.  If you recall, they are known for a high to medium mix of affiliation, improvement and mastery.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

111 Agile Tiger Teams thrive on the challenge of doing whatever it takes in high performing teams more than 50% loyal to their team leader.  They cultivate extraordinary teamwork as their core competency by emphasizing knowledge sharing in a culture of reciprocity, trust and community values.

112 Loyal Survivalists apply their skills as a marketer, in effect extending individual product brands into an organization known for multiple brands you can trust.

At the rapid growth stage one major challenge is how to make certain the organization sustains past innovations while renewing itself without losing sight of its core identity.  

Through their day-to-day behaviors they develop a trust mark that keeps bringing in new and long-term customers back again and again.

So let’s update our career options.

Where to Find the Best Cultural Fit

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

But, wait there’s still more … nine more to be exact.  

Evidence

Move along, nothing to see here. For the first time, no relevant TauBits of Wisdom for today.

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

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 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

S2 E68 — Take More Breakthrough Showers

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

Company of the Year to Start Up

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

Wrong.  

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

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

Paradoxy-Moron Wannabe

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

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

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

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

Again, not the closer. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The main point was:

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

But, I digress.

Learning Enterprise Initiatives

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

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

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

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

Avoid Supervisory Training Gigs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outplacement for Retreading Downsized Managers

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

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

Local Disk-drive Technology Company

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

And threats for those asleep at the wheel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So shower more ofter.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

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 E34 — Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …

What about synchronicity and meaningful coincidences? Haha.  That was a test.  We covered it on Friday as a discussion section of Conclusions in The One-Year Natural Experiment Report.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:Try not to get hung up on having a final, polished result because your time is better spent solving a number of problems, which you’ll never get to if you try to make any of them perfect.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 34 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 24th 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 E33Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?; S3 E32But, Why Should You Care?; S3 E31Treat It Like a Pawn Ticket to Sketchier Things

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

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?; S2 E31Getting Charged from Box Automattic-aly

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E33Day 33 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E32Day 32 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E31Day 31 of My 1-Year Experiment

Context

Oh, except this passage about coincidences from President Obama’s recent memoir, “A Promised Land” when he recounts his nomination at the party’s convention: 

“ … formally making the motion to vote me in as the Democratic nominee, the full meaning of my nomination hit me. By coincidence, it was the forty-fifth anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic ‘I Have a Dream’ at National Mall on that day in 1963: ‘We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.’”

What’s the purpose of the report you ask?  

To explain the gap between the subliminal seduction of horoscopes across the chasm to the “land of people with hardened filters” so entrenched they only see what they believe and consciously or unconsciously disregard the rest.   

Is there any hope for a path to bridge two polarized political extremes as Americans? Which sets up a deeper dive into the “Magical Thinking Tour” to unfold later.

Each morning, usually at 5:30 or 6 am, I do two things that activate my conscious and unconscious filters. One for selecting horoscopes and my second daily project, for screening lists of headline stories from each Apple News sources.  

How long it takes to select a flip-worthy story.   

Reminds me of how I remember my Masters thesis advisor saying he didn’t understand my research but gave me an “A.”  

I got to use a camera to record the scan path — where a person looked as I presented images a little faster each time and had them decide if it was the same or different image.  

I got to see if there was any connection between the speed of recognition of an image held in short-term memory and a similar eyeball pattern of search to find distinguishing features based on which to name the object.  

My one take away was at speeds when college freshmen couldn’t tell you what they saw, they could still recognize it. 

So, stuff comes in and we can’t see it, but we can react to it.

Which leads to a moment maybe three years earlier when I knew in my heart of hearts that law school wasn’t for me and returning to psychology was.  

Our professor using that annoying Socratic teaching method to sharpen our budding legal minds and kept on it and on it challenging everybody’s timid answer to why a holding in a legal case made good law.  

I hated it.  I read and reread case material I didn’t understand as homework. I lived by myself in a studio apartment on the more dangerous, but more affordable student side of the university town.  

But the professor in his mid-forties with dark hair and wire rim glasses drove home the point — a turning point for me — about the reliability of witnesses.  

When you and your girlfriend exit a movie theatre with another couple and one of you tries to fill the silence by asking, ‘So what did think about the movie?’ what do you say?  Do you list the plot structure attributes or how stunning the actress or handsome the leading actor was, or the music score, or …?  No, you answer you liked it or didn’t first.  And, then you list all the reasons why.

The second part becomes a position you discuss or defend with your friends over drinks.  

I realized I was much more interested in that sequence than imagining some future court room scene where I tried to trip up a witness on the stand into revealing there was a possibility she was wrong.

I wanted to know why someone did what they did.  Why your “lizard brain” has already decided and your logical brain explains your lizard’s choice after the fact.

Evidence

So Lizard, how did I do?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Am I?  No, not really.  As much as I love your duet, I’m not lifting your Holiday Tau today.  Sorry.

“2”  Steve Smith, 30, Stevie Nicks, 72: “You’re torn about whether to invest in a new tool. Definitely, using something different will amplify your capacities. Don’t rule out that which you make yourself. Tools of your very own will open up fresh avenues of exploration.” Gemini

Can I apply your Holiday Tau to writing the Report about My 1-year Experiment, and composing the second year — the pandemic experiment, and of course this year — the post-pandemic year (I hope) and the comparison of three years in April?  

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:Try not to get hung up on having a final, polished result because your time is better spent solving a number of problems, which you’ll never get to if you try to make any of them perfect.” Cancer

G&G, your TauBit of Wisdom tantalizes me today.  I forced myself to publish the first 9 days of My 1-Year Experiment in an evolving format. I forgot some of the editing and media limitations and the rules I followed before, which slowed me down at first, but maybe I should look forward to surpassing previous limits, eh?

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:If you keep the same rules, you’ll get the same shaped result. You’re going for something else. Your process is evolving. Take away one of your rules to let it expand unimpeded by previous limits.” Virgo

Thanks for the afternoon off, today Steve.  You Holiday Tau’s permission reminded me of a cartoon I saw of a teacher in a class room calling on a kid who raised his hand.  Yes Billy she asked and he said, “May I be excused my brain is too full?”

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62: “Mindfulness gets plenty of play in your world lately — so much so that one might forget about the utter joys of the opposite state. Mindlessness certainly has its merits, especially in the sunshine of spring!  Capricorn

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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