S3 E36 — Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky

Luck is a form of superstition. We already mentioned how Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity, which he described as “a meaningful coincidence”.  Some evidence supports the idea that belief in luck acts like a placebo, producing positive thinking and improving people’s responses to events.

“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 Thursday’s Episode 36 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 29th 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 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity; S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …; S3 E33Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas; S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?; S2 E34Why Is This Kicking Off the 4th Industrial Revolution?; S2 E33What Happens When Your Business Collapses?

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment ; S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E33Day 33 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. Diving deeper into Wikipedia I found luck. 

Isn’t that what we all hope for? Yeah, I thought so and that’s why this section of the natural experiment’s conclusions is:

Do I Feel Lucky?

Harry Callahan: You’ve Got To Ask Yourself One Question: ‘Do I Feel Lucky? ‘ Well, Do Ya, Punk?

There’s Dirty Harry and Harry Bosch.  While Michael Connelly’s  Detective Harry Bosch doesn’t believe in coincidences I just read a passage in “Black Box” where he drew energy after getting lucky — he knew reporters follow a story which leads to another and another or to a trusted source.

“But Bosch stayed positive.  He’d gotten lucky with Pistol Pete and the serial number.  There was no reason to think it wouldn’t hold. 

Of course, Harry had a run in with his newer Lieutenant a page or two later …

“So much for his luck holding… he felt that more than his luck suddenly ebbing away.  His momentum and positive attitude were eroding. It suddenly felt like it was getting dark out.”

We talk about luck in improbable, negative or positive terms as random or chance events beyond our control which occur all around us.

Luck is a form of superstition. We already mentioned how Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity, which he described as “a meaningful coincidence”. 

Some evidence supports the idea that belief in luck acts like a placebo, producing positive thinking and improving people’s responses to events.

Richard Wiseman did a ten-year scientific study… concluding, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune.

His research revealed that, Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. 

They are skilled at: 

          • creating and noticing chance opportunities, 
          • making lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, 
          • creating self-fulfilling prophecies via positive expectations, and 
          • adopting a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

We’ve heard from two Harrys, a Michael, a Carl and a Richard.  What say we turn our attention to four of my favorite Steves?

Evidence

You know Zahnny, I have to disagree with your opening premise.  I could agree if you added “but there are certainly ideal tribes which I call Talent Cultures in organizations, and (this is a big and) if you know which of 16 Talent Profiles you can claim, then you can more easily select the best and worst organizations and growth stages to pursue. 

To your second Holiday Tau observation — yes, organizational change happens slowly and, thank you that fact alone provided years of consulting fees for me in mature companies heading towards decline, but desperately wanting to reinvent themselves.  

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “There are no ideal groups, though it’s fun to imagine things being better. Organizational change tends to happen very slowly; changing yourself is relatively quick and doing so will affect the entire group.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Which way should I interpret your TauBit of Wisdom, Steve?  My first take more easily fit this passion project, especially as I write up my natural experiment’s report.  But now rereading it — probably influenced by Zahnny — I might reclassify it from practical, project and task orientation to how I went about my role as an external consultant and an intrapreneur in those declining organizations.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): Because you want to make your work the best it can be, you’re willing to entertain new ideas. You’ll banter, twist and play around with your resources. Changes and add-ons will take it to the next level.” Aries

WTF G&G?  How lucky am I?  All three of today’s Holiday Tau, yours included, describe what was foremost in how I approached my professional career and peeled away the onion layers to find the simplest answer to complicated challenges. Thanks, Steves.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:Complex problems may not require complex solutions. However, finding the solution that works may be a long and winding journey that seems complicated indeed! Regardless, stay in it for the long haul and the satisfying end.” Virgo

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. 
    • Or, in “Black Box,” Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch adventure he writes, “But Bosch stayed positive.  He’d gotten lucky with Pistol Pete and the serial number.  There was no reason to think it wouldn’t hold.”  Of course, Harry had a run in with his newer Lieutenant a page or two later … “So much for his luck holding… he felt that more than his luck suddenly ebbing away.  His momentum and positive attitude were eroding. It suddenly felt like it was getting dark out.”

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 E73 — WorkFit: Chopping Off 12 Losers at the Intersection of Speed and Independence

So, what does mean when only one out of the list of 13 original worse fit organizations remained on the list of when independent identity intersected with a rapid pace as a dozen vanished?

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): The day is marked by a resilient spirit of independence that has you preferring your own company, keeping your own council, deciding for yourself without worry or need of any outside reassurance.” Pisces

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 73 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 2nd day of July in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E7220 Niche-Specific Opportunities Found After Making Soul Crushing Mistakes; S2 E71 My Top 13 Worst Jobs of All TimeS2 E70Persistent Failure

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E73Do You Need a Little Leo da V Time Too?; S1 E72It’s Taken so Long, I Could be Wrong; S1 E71Isn’t There a Placebo for This?; S1 E70Lingering Fear My Cover Was Blown

Context

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

It all began with the future of talent development.  I facilitated a human resources task force that listed 19 trends out of 100 that they felt would impact the composition of employees in companies of the future.

They evaluated generation X, Y, and Z demographics together with baby boomer statistics. 

They considered the increase in free agent preferences and globalization with new technologies including alternative energy. 

They sorted each of the 19 written on post-its into four clusters on the conference room wall and then free associated about the unique story each cluster told. 

Finally, they drew a box for each scenario so they could better see boundaries differentiating one from another.

And it became easier to flesh out a vertical line in the middle and a horizontal line. 

Those lines intersected in the middle like a “+” where the internal smaller boxes touched each other.    

Pretty soon the team saw the two outer vertical borders of the four boxes representing higher degrees of one dimension and the same for outer horizontal borders.  

So stories emerged along the vertical axis “+” which corresponded to an identity ranging from independent on the top and affiliated at the bottom.

And, along the horizontal “-“ axis the pace or speed on the left hand-side and time-for-mastery on the right hand-side.

Are you thinking what I was thinking?  

Now back to me.  What if we combine the two sets together and sort the 20 better and 13 worse positions I already identified to figure out why? 

So we’d have a High Degree of Independence at the top and a Higher Degree of Affiliation at the bottom. 

And a Higher Degree of Speed at the left margin and a Higher Degree of Mastery at the right hand margin.   

Here’s the display of my 25 of my 33 positions resorted first by the combination of three dimensions: high degrees of independence, speed and mastery.

I keep the original number for each opportunity and identify whether they came from the original worse or better fit lists.

First I consider 7 of 25 combining high independence and speed.

High Independence & Speed High Independence & Mastery
6.   Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Worse Fit
23.  Organization Development — Technology: Better Fit
24.  Startup — Quantum Learning Systems: Better Fit
25.  Director Continuous Improvement: Better Fit
26.  Organization Development — Tech Company: Better Fit
30.  Venture Guidance: Better Fit
32. Consultant — Product Development Merger: Better Fit

To refresh your memory from the previous episodes, I include snapshots of situations I encountered for each.

High Independence and Speed 

Better or Worse Fit?

6.  Vocational Rehabilitation Services— Three private companies offering B2B services for insurance companies.  Didn’t like opposing sides.  Close micro-management. Clients had back injuries and required work modifications or a transition into a different job classification — Worse Fit

23. Organizational Development – Technology — Climate for Innovation, (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.”) World Class Manufacturing, Skunk Works, Trends and What ifs to find value during high change, Mergers and Acquisitions — Complex, Disruptive, Accelerated Changes, Just-In-Time, Safari. two different immune systems develop equal and opposite anti-bodies over five years, but especially in the first 18 months of selling something that even we didn’t understand — Better Fit

24. Startup — Quantum Learning Systems — Safari, Organizational Learning to accommodate speed of disruptive innovation, anticipating new opportunities and rapid learning as a basic skill set for reinvention — Better Fit

25. Director Continuous Improvement — Spearheading the introduction of continuous improvement and needed a director to manage facilitators from all functions. Its corporate immune system and talent culture reflected their preferred seat of the pants high pace flavor of time-to-market product introduction. Product managers wanted to know with was more important, driving revenue or scheduling yet another series of non-productive meetings — Better Fit

26. Emerging Desktop Projector Company— 200 employees generating revenues of roughly 200 million dollars required a full-time director of organizational development and training. It provided the challenge of high degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed. Introduced me to tools for capturing new knowledge creation for product development teams short staffed with critical talent — Better Fit

30. Venture Guidance —Prepped potential startup entrepreneurs to seek investments from a a group of entrepreneurs and former executives who agree to pledge $50,000 each as seed or A-series funding.  In a deck of 10 slides after being coached by us individually, they’d have to stand and deliver to a group of us roll playing the sharks and throwing them curve balls and challenging their assumptions — Better Fit

32. Consultant — Product Development Merger — Advised two former competitors to define gated product development process with input from all stakeholders from innovative idea to manufacturing — Better Fit

Next time we’ll focus on my worse or better experiences in organizations whee I operated with higher degrees of independence and mastery.

Summary for High Independence and Speed  

So, what does mean when only one out of the list of 13 original worse fit organizations remained on the list of when independent identity intersected with a rapid pace as a dozen vanished? 

I rated Vocational Rehabilitation Services as a worse fit, because I had transitioned from more traditional professional psychology positions into a newly privatized services offering, largely spun out of insurance companies that had written workers compensation policies for employers in the State of California. 

My professional training downplayed the business development and sales emphasis that new companies require quickly to grow. 

It just wasn’t for me.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:With your attention pulled by recent developments, it may be hard for you to concentrate on work. Devote yourself to the repetitive, tedious and necessary parts. You’ll be most productive while mentally processing life.” Cancer

Boy, that’s true for me.  How about you?  But, we introverts don’t mind the isolation so much as do the extroverts who tend to socialize for their energy replacement.  Just give me some time to concentrate on this manuscript and I’ll be happy.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:Don’t worry about starting things off on the right foot. Just lean forward and see which foot sticks out to prevent your fall. That’s what progress is — a precarious tilt; catch yourself; right yourself; repeat.” Virgo

Given that I’ve become more vertically challenged until I can get this damned left-knee replaced, I’m not too thrilled with this TauBit of Wisdom.  It hits too close to home.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54:Why do you like the hard challenges? They practically demand you grow stronger. You want to be a force of nature, not a victim, acted upon by other forces of nature.” Libra

Really?  I do?  The challenge needs to capture and sustain my attention or else I lose interest rapidly.  I do look for patterns so I can anticipate the direction of forces important to decisions in my life.  It’s just my nature.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41: You have your choice of routes today. As a rule, the bendy roads are more exciting and more dangerous. It’s all about sightlines. None can see around the curve. How comfortable are you with uncertainty?” Sagittarius

This reminds me of a story Joel Barker told illustrating anticipation with open filtering.  Maybe on the bendy road snaking outside of Jerome, Arizona on the route to Sedona, a convertible screams around the curve obviously enjoying the freedom of the road. Driving a bit more cautiously, but heading in the opposite direction a local with his elbow hanging out the drivers window sees them approach.  As they barely squeeze past the convertible driver yells “Pig!”. To which the local yells back, “Go to Hell!” and watches the convertible in his rear view mirror, muttering to himself.  And just then he crashes into the pig crossing the road.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:There’s someone who gives you undivided attention and places the focus exactly where it matters most to you. A solid case could be made for the premise that this is the very definition of love.”Aquarius

How should I rate this TauBit of Wisdom?  Let’s see, how about a “5”?  She’s looking over my shoulder isn’t she?  Doesn’t matter, Emma the Baroness is the very definition of love.  Right dear?

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): The day is marked by a resilient spirit of independence that has you preferring your own company, keeping your own council, deciding for yourself without worry or need of any outside reassurance.” Pisces

So, which day isn’t marked by this kind of spirit?  

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 4073 to 4231.

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 E72 — 20 Niche-Specific Opportunities Found After Making Soul Crushing Mistakes

Why did these employment opportunities land on the this list?  A feeling of independence or affiliation?  Or allowing for creative expression? Or trying and succeeding at something new?  See for yourself.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:The pro is just an amateur who has made and recovered from many mistakes. Your personal life will benefit from the application of a few marketing principles, particularly, knowing your niche and differentiating yourself.” Virgo

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 72 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 28th 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 E71 My Top 13 Worst Jobs of All Time; S2 E70Persistent Failure; S2 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E72It’s Taken so Long, I Could be Wrong; S1 E71Isn’t There a Placebo for This?; S1 E70Lingering Fear My Cover Was Blown; S1 E69Anniversary Trip of a Lifetime Deep in the Heart of Tuscany

Context

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

Up next I list 20 of my better fit jobs and clients I’ve engaged with in contrast with the 13 worse fit in my previous episode.  The key question is what was it about each project or employer that discouraged or inspired me.  

Let’s turn to the better fits now.

Worse Fits Better Fits
1.   Manufacturing 14.   Bank CD Conversion Tracker
2.   Gas Station Attendant 15.   Good Humor Ice Cream
3.   US Army 16.   Graduate Student Assistant
4.   Auto Insurance Agent 17.   Graduate Assistant Internship
5.   Retail Sales Big Ticket 18.   Vocational Rehabilitation Services
6.   Vocational Rehabilitation Services 19.   Artist — Cards, Poetry, Photos
7.   Professional Training Company 20.   Information Preneur — InFox
8,   Independent Contractor Outplacement Firms 21.  Research & Development — Career Change
9.   Consultant Life and Mutual Fund Company 22.  Trainer, Management Development
10. University Extension Instructor 23.  Organization Development — Technology
11. Consultant Leadership Academy  24.  Startup — Quantum Learning Systems
12, Director Electronics Distribution Company 25.  Director Continuous Improvement
13. Consultant Professional Services 26.  Organization Development — Tech Company
27.  Knowledge Management — Brand Company
28.  Knowledge Media Business
29.  Key Executive Advisor
30.  Venture Guidance
31. Consultant — Defense Company Spin Off 
32. Consultant — Product Development Merger
33. Advisor — Executive MBA Program 

Better Fits

Why did these employment opportunities land on the this list?  A feeling of independence or affiliation?  Or allowing for creative expression? Or trying and succeeding at something new?  See for yourself.

14. Bank — Challenge of manual to technology operations. Problem solving. detective following a pattern of clues. No paper work. Solved, move on, keep my mind engaged.

15. Good Humor Ice Cream — Variety, independence. nothing in common 

16. Graduate Student Assistant — Never received great grades in under graduate classes; more serious after the Army — more autonomy, flexibility, enjoyed research and knowledge work.

17. Graduate Assistant Internship — Working for the State of California half time and professional services startup 50%.  First job in psychology field.

18. Vocational Rehabilitation Services — The more interesting patients were cops, firefighters and sheriffs who filed stress claims. Set up the first behavior modification steps to more objectively evaluate patients and group job club reinforcement for self-placement while marketing not selling. Exposed to Outplacement.  Something new.

19. Artist — Cards, Poetry, Photos — Creative expression combining my new found love of photography with prose and poetry.  Considered creating a line of greeting cards and posters.  

20. Online Membership Start Up Information ‘Preneur based on ways of “making money while you slept”. Money in your mailbox. Experimenting with personal computer. Named it InFox for Information Exchange 

21. Research & Development — Career Change — Field testing my approach — tried to sell to Orange Coast and Coastline Community Colleges. Orange County the Association Training and Development

22. Trainer, Management Development — Research, trends and past information interviews. Internal Outplacement – sold it and got permission. Learned on the job — improve quality, introduce new technology, teach and facilitate sales teams (I know, right) and at corporate headquarters send high potential managers in the developmental pipeline to university executive programs for rounding out.  I learned large-scale organizations resist change like an immune system does. Developed and refined my skill and talent to package new ideas — newer ways of doing things better — than the tried and true, especially during a decline when hundreds of employees receive their pink slips on Fridays.  Oh you need a plan A for thriving in the good times and a plan B for surviving in the dark times.

23. Organizational Development – Technology — Climate for Innovation, (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.”) World Class Manufacturing, Skunk Works, Trends and What ifs to find value during high change, Mergers and Acquisitions — Complex, Disruptive, Accelerated Changes, Just-In-Time, Safari. two different immune systems develop equal and opposite anti-bodies over five years, but especially in the first 18 months of selling something that even we didn’t understand.

24. Startup — Quantum Learning Systems — Safari, Organizational Learning to accommodate speed of disruptive innovation, anticipating new opportunities and rapid learning as a basic skill set for reinvention.

25. Director Continuous Improvement — Spearheading the introduction of continuous improvement and needed a director to manage facilitators from all functions. Its corporate immune system and talent culture reflected their preferred seat of the pants high pace flavor of time-to-market product introduction. Product managers wanted to know with was more important, driving revenue or scheduling yet another series of non-productive meetings

26. Emerging Desktop Projector Company — 200 employees generating revenues of roughly 200 million dollars required a full-time director of organizational development and training. It provided the challenge of high degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed. Introduced me to tools for capturing new knowledge creation for product development teams short staffed with critical talent.

27. Knowledge Management — Brand CompanyStrategy and Brand Consultancy. We crashed our models together — learning and development, knowledge creation, media production, internet communities, advertising and marketing. We pioneered a way of capturing the essence of a brand on digital video, searched through audio tracks for the touch points and reused portions of the interviews for orienting new coders hired at accelerated rates.  

28. Knowledge Media Business — Three of us tried to make a go of our pioneering efforts to capture the new knowledge being spun off so it wouldn’t fall through the cracks for Paradoxy-Moron organizations.  But the market didn’t support it and we had to go our separate ways.

29. Key Executive Advisor — Heading up the regions outplacement for C-suite services paid for by their former company. I covered delivered individual and group facilitated services for offices throughout the Southern California Region from San Diego to Woodland Hills, Pasadena and West LA.  It dawned on me that who you knew made the most difference for people at this level I created an online community for information and insight sharing and of course for trusted referrals.

30. Venture Guidance —Prepped potential startup entrepreneurs to seek investments from a a group of entrepreneurs and former executives who agree to pledge $50,000 each as seed or A-series funding.  In a deck of 10 slides after being coached by us individually, they’d have to stand and deliver to a group of us roll playing the sharks and throwing them curve balls and challenging their assumptions.

31. Defense Industry Commercial Spin Off — To commercialize electron-beam sterilization of fruits and vegetables and hamburger meet to extend their shelf life.  Doctors had invested after a round of salmonella outbreak.  He had another client which was reinventing itself trying to both innovate and control their product development process. I learned that the talent cultures that inhabit defense contractors are no way the talent cultures that you need to commercialize a startup.  

32. Consultant — Product Development Merger — Advised two former competitors to define gated product development process with input from all stakeholders from innovative idea to manufacturing.

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

So, yes I admit at this point I wanted to know for myself and for others I would advise, just how do you match your talents to opportunities that bring out the very best in you so you can succeed over the course of your career(s).

But, there’s the flip side.  The perspective from the employer and client side as well.  We’ll turn to what Human Resource Executives discovered next.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:Should you impart your exact vision, or should you be more collaborative? The art is in what you leave out. When in doubt, choose space and let people fill it with their imaginations.” Scorpio

Boy, as you scan down the list, doesn’t this describe what drew me to each of them?  Collaboration. Imagination.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: Don’t worry about being original today. You already are and cannot help but be. Copying work you admire will prime you for eventually creating your own masterpiece.”  Taurus

I selected this TauBit, not for today, but for how I operated in those better situations that required something newer, but maybe not bleeding edge new.  As an idea packager, I needed access to better ideas which meant original research.  It meant throwing out a wide net.  It meant copying and note taking.  It meant rearranging and recombining.  It meant all of those processes coming together for creating new knowledge and innovation. 

“3”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: There’s a world of difference between what people say and what they do. Your comprehensive understanding comes from observing others in action, all the while knowing that each move speaks volumes.” Leo

Sure, in the same way a detective interviews witnesses with low stress questions at first and then builds to more difficult queries while all the time observing their reactions.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:The pro is just an amateur who has made and recovered from many mistakes. Your personal life will benefit from the application of a few marketing principles, particularly, knowing your niche and differentiating yourself.” Virgo

Ok, so I’m definitely an amateur.  “Mistakes” is my middle name, so paying attention to marketing principles within the pipeline I need to activate couldn’t hurt, eh?

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41: You are wise to the fact that urgency is usually a disguise people use to get more quickly to the result they want. Take back the power. Do things on your timetable, not theirs.” Sagittarius

In one way this TauBit of Wisdom comes naturally to me and all you other introverts out there, right? In another way too many people who I won’t name want the answer, but not the understanding.  You know they’re hungry for the meal, but not the preparation by following a recipe.  If you aren’t careful, you’ll create a co-dependency if you cave in.  They’ll be back later wanting the same result from you.

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62:Different languages exist within the same language. You listen to what people speak and speak their language back to them, thus creating an atmosphere of trust.  Capricorn

Isn’t this at the core of active listening, which all of us consultants, coaches, psychologists and advisors practice?

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:You’ll find yourself aware of your own presence and wondering who the ‘you’ is who seems to be witnessing you. In this way, you are similar to most of the great gurus and spiritual-seekers who have walked this earth.” Aquarius 

Wait!  Gurus and spiritual-seekers wandering the earth?  I’ve noticed this phenomenon as I fill in these sentences today and over time as I obsessively kept a journal.

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 4073 to 4231.

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 E71 — My Top 13 Worst Jobs of All Time

Not everyone loves the work they do.  Not everyone can make a living doing what they love to do.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:Aligning to the belief systems of those around you is a survival mechanism. Sometimes, the right answer is hard to see because everyone around is agreeing to the wrong answer. But don’t worry; things are shifting.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 71 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 27th 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 E70Persistent FailureS2 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?; S2 E68Take More Breakthrough Showers

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E71Isn’t There a Placebo for This?; S1 E70Lingering Fear My Cover Was Blown; S1 E69Anniversary Trip of a Lifetime Deep in the Heart of Tuscany; S1 E68Overcompensating for Disappointing Results?

Context

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

Not everyone loves the work they do.  Not everyone can make a living doing what they love to do.  The trick is to find how to navigate through your career(s) using your most enjoyable skills and talents do something, working for yourself or someone else, which is in high demand and pays well. 

Here’s what I’ve only recently come to understand about “why” out of a total of 33 jobs I fell into or choices I made led to my best and worst fits. First the 13 worst fits … 

Worse Fits

Better Fits

1.   Manufacturing
2.   Gas Station Attendant
3.   US Army
4.   Auto Insurance Agent
5.   Retail Sales Big Ticket
6.   Vocational Rehabilitation Services
7.   Professional Training Company
8,   Independent Contractor Outplacement Firms
9.   Consultant Life and Mutual Fund Company
10. University Extension Instructor
11. Consultant Leadership Academy
12, Director Electronics Distribution Company
13. Consultant Professional Services

For a more detailed description of why I felt each of these jobs landed on my “Worse Fits” list, check out my previous episodes.

Worse Fits

      1. Manufacturing — I felt brain dead. no intellectual stimulation. No affiliation with co-workers. No variety.
      2. Gas Station Attendant at a 24 hour Mobile — nothing in common with fellow workers, mind drifted, same routine
      3. US Army — not loyal, not much in common with lifers, got to know minorities better, but more challenging work in preventive medicine; hated standard operating procedures, “There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Army way.”
      4. Auto Insurance Agent — Learned about reoccurring income as a business model for professional services, just not into the amount of sales effort and prospecting for leads.
      5. Retail Sales Big Ticket — Hard on my feet, low amount of shoppers, didn’t feel like it was in their best interest to buy from this department store; more a consumer advocate.  Learned about tricks of the trade, bi-polar character.
      6. Vocational Rehabilitation Services — three private companies offering B2B services for insurance companies.  Didn’t like opposing sides.  Close micro-management. Clients had back injuries and required work modifications or a transition into a different job classification. 
      7. Professional Training Company — Focus on customizing suite of supervisory training programs.  Seemed old school, been that done that, couldn’t engage my attention and I didn’t sell new business, but it made sense to my growing knowledge management “Robin Hood” sense or 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 in slow moving mature organization types while craving the adrenalin rush of working in Paradoxy-Moron companies. It just didn’t satisfy the idea packaging  talent I developed when the ideas were old and trending towards commodity knowledge.
      8. Independent Contractor Outplacement Firms — I activated Plan B as an independent contractor delivering outplacement group training sessions and coaching at two firms. For the second I held down the fort while the founder underwent heart surgery.  He recognized my heart wasn’t in his business and his pressure to sell.  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.
      9. Consultant Life and Mutual Fund Company — Can you interject innovation into a century’s old mature company?  It was a complex, complicated maneuver with tons of new knowledge and new ideas packaging.  But, I yearned for a return a more Paradoxy-Moron organization that thrives on high degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed.
      10. University Extension Instructor —teaching reengineering and continuous improvement as an idea packager thrilled and challenged me, but it represented a hell of a lot of work for low pay.
      11. Consultant Leadership Academy — Medical laboratory that didn’t present the challenge of high degrees of disruptive innovation, independence and speed.
      12. Director Electronics Distribution Company — regional distribution company tried first grow nationally and then internationally.  They ran into complications with the technology required to translate currencies for product ordering.  Instead the acquirer from Europe already had systems in place. Less about innovating and more about sales. 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.”
      13. Consultant Professional Services — Advised software startup who seemed to be the Swiss Army Knife of surveys with additional functions and features that could fit almost any requirement in the human resources development profession. Their niche was their ability to conduct a survey and generate findings almost immediately instead of weeks which increased the probability that leadership development could be initiated right away. 

Does this list make me a winer, instead of a winner?  Or does it show something else?  And just what is that something else?  Next we turn to the twenty jobs, organizations and projects I worked on that provided a better fit for me.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:Aligning to the belief systems of those around you is a survival mechanism. Sometimes, the right answer is hard to see because everyone around is agreeing to the wrong answer. But don’t worry; things are shifting.” Scorpio

Is there a better way to describe what seems to be at the heart of those companies and clients that made the Top 13 Worse Fit list? The belief systems I encountered along the way struck me as a form of tribal warfare.  What is it about these 13 compared to the remaining list of Better Fit?  For me, that is.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “What drops into your life doesn’t need to be labeled ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ just yet. For now call it, ‘what’s happening’ and know that you’ll make more sense of it on a later day.” Aries

Isn’t this what I’m doing by writing the introduction to “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit”?  At the time of each of these 33 projects and employment opportunities I hadn’t considered that there may be different Organization Types which attracted me or repelled me yet.  

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: A million people could see the very same thing you see today and have a different view of it than you. Your unique point of view will allow you a discovery or invention.”  Taurus

This WorkFit project and manuscript originated with a small team of human resources experts — so not quite a million — but by harnessing the perspective of those professionals allowed me to develop my original research through further discovery.

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Secrets tend to hide in plain view. They will be discovered readily by the people who most want to know. Many are too self-involved to understand the thrill of deciphering puzzles. Not you.” Leo

Give me a good fictional book of mystery or a complex and complicated challenge to work through and I’m a happy camper.  

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:The truth has power. It speaks to the gut and brings about emotional responses like laughter, tears and experiences of profundity. You’ll feel this today as you witness and tell the truth.” Libra

So, I’m a strong believer in the power of truth, but don’t you agree it has been drowned out by those who have alternative agendas and conspiracies to spread?

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Your opener may seem humble and unimpressive, but that’s because you’re still setting things up. You’re a strategist at heart and, like a chess master, you’re already working several moves ahead.” Aquarius

Yes, I am a strategist at heart.  While I may be working several moves ahead, I can easily get lost without finding my way back to the board.  Too many pieces in too many combinations in too many timeframes become too confusing.

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): To take advantage of one opportunity, you have to leave all other experiences behind. You hardly ever think of what might have been, but today, a slight glimpse at an alternate path will intrigue you.” Pisces

Ok, you’ve got my attention.  Where is this intriguing alternate path about which you speak?

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

S2 E70 — Persistent Failure

I failed so many times at start-ups that I could pick apart most of their plans and presentations almost instantaneously.  But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t a sucker for ideas I felt would be sure hits.  Even after I left the SBA program I continued to meet and mentor some of my entrepreneurs.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Stay aware, head on a swivel, as you make your way to the crossroads. Transitions are always a little more dangerous. The intersections of life hold potential for much good and bad fortune.” Libra

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 70 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 26th 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 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?; S2 E68Take More Breakthrough Showers;  S2 E67Here’s What I Didn’t Know That Will Help You

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E70Lingering Fear My Cover Was Blown; S1 E69Anniversary Trip of a Lifetime Deep in the Heart of Tuscany; S1 E68Overcompensating for Disappointing Results?; S1 E67Don’t Misunderstand Me

Context

This is the continuing story of how I learned important lessons from the school of hard knocks. And it’s an introduction to my second volume of books I described in the previous episode. I had already changed careers and switched industries by following the future brought to us by technology companies.

Key Executive Advisor

He asked me if I’d be interested in becoming their Key Executive Advisor.  I learned I’d be heading up the region’s outplacement services for C-suite executives paid for by their former companies.

Clearly this was a major stretch for me.  Fake it until you make it, right?

Rose colored glasses again?  You bet.  I immediately envisioned a 360 degree opportunity.

Here’s how I sized up what I could do: 

        1. Advise executives by surfacing their unique value propositions, circulate creative briefs describing them, pitch  their 90-day plans during the round of interviews and hit the ground running after the negotiations. 
        2. Once hired, then have them assess the organization’s current team they’ve inherited against the new direction — with our organizational consulting services. 
        3. Have them define the missing talent necessary to execute their plan, engage us to outplace executives and managers that who no longer fit. 
        4. Recruit from us executives they’ve likely already met and sized up, that matched their new talent requirements.    

Rinse and repeat.

Easy for me to see, but I had nobody local to pitch it too.  

The headquarters was on the East Coast where those kinds of decisions were considered, approved, but more probably rejected and denied. 

Their motto I came to believe was stick to your knitting and hit your numbers within your own functional silos. 

So I washed my hands of the whole proposition and dug in to accelerate my learning about how to deal with executives.  Up until then, like sales, not a strength of mine. 

My suite of offices were completely different than space devoted to the majority employees from lower paying companies, cubicles with workstations and a generic phone.  

It mirrored the “mahogany row” they were ejected from — with an executive assistant just for them, with offices offering privacy with doors that closed.  We were selling a normalized service.  Come spend the same hours as you would working, but this time devote them to your job search. 

I delivered individual and group facilitated services at offices throughout the Southern California Region from San Diego to Woodland Hills, Pasadena and West LA.  

It dawned on me that for executives, who you knew and who knew you,  made the most difference for people at this level, so I created an online community for information and insight sharing which became a source for trusted referrals.

Just as I was hitting my stride the parent company had been acquired and after about 18 months began consolidating services, cutting back on rental overhead and getting rid of us six figure advisors in favor of those high volume cubicle contracts at lower rates.

Shocked into Venture Guidance for SBA

Usually I see these things coming.  

Not this time, though.  

Maybe because between advisory sessions, group work and regional office visitations I had been experimenting with writing my first blog, The Journal of 2020 Foresight.  

Having been outplaced again, I worked out of a rival’s outplacement office ironically resurrecting my consulting practice  while I spent half my time coaching wannabe entrepreneurs who sought angel funding helping them on their presentation, in much the same way it’s done on shark tank.  

I’d meet each person with a great idea, hear them out, conduct a preliminary intake against the criteria for receiving our free services provided by a budget from The Small Business Association.  

Instead of qualifying for a business loan at a vetted SBA bank affiliate that they’d have to pay back, we were there to vet their idea against evolving criteria provided to us by Tech Coast Angels — a group of entrepreneurs and former executives who agreed to pledge $50,000 each as seed or A-series funding.  

In a deck of 10 slides, after being coached by us individually, the wannabes had to stand and deliver to a group of us roleplaying the sharks and throwing at them curve balls challenging their assumptions.

I failed so many times at start-ups that I could pick apart most of their plans and presentations almost instantaneously.  But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t a sucker for ideas I felt would be sure hits. 

Even after I left the SBA program I continued to meet and mentor some of my entrepreneurs who failed to dazzle the Angels.

Defense Contractor to Disease Prevention Start Up

One of my former client reached out to be because he left the disk-drive company that built the corporate headquarters and experienced “Edifice Complex” curse.  He needed my help with his San Diego defense contractor client that struggled with a spin off.  

They tried to commercialize electron-beam sterilization of fruits and vegetables and hamburger meat to extend their shelf life — which definitely represented thinking out of the box, Jack-in-the-Box.  

Doctors had invested after a round of salmonella outbreak.  He had another client which was reinventing itself trying to both innovate and control their product development process. 

Too Many Product Innovations

I learned that the talent cultures that inhabit defense contractors are in no way the talent cultures that you need to commercialize a startup.  

And, instead of doing what I loved to do, facilitate more innovative ideas from all corners of an enterprise, too many ideas can be a bad thing.  

Especially if you don’t have a process in place to kill projects that go nowhere to free up resources — budget and talent — for higher probability minimum viable projects.

It was this last client who was located in the research park of the local university that required me to drive on campus for product meetings.  

One late Friday morning, after a Starbucks meeting near the John Wayne Airport,  I decided to take the afternoon off.  So I drove towards the heart of the campus, parked my silver gray 4 Runner in the town center and began aimlessly wandering. 

I strolled past outdoor restaurant tables filled with undergraduates and professors who like me were just enjoying another spring day in Southern California when a voice rang out, “Steve, is that you?” 

Synchronicity or Serendipity?

That simple question startled me and jerked me back from my daydreams to reality. I turned around, couldn’t zero in on the voice’s location and began believing I imagined it.

But haven’t I emphasized that particular moment when you realize all your hard work meets the probability that someone you’ve just met will recommend you for a position or client who has a need, but hasn’t yet crystalized the requirements until you walk in with a pitch? 

Yup, but for my ex-C-Suite clients I advised in the Key Executive program

But, this time it was for me.  

Another colleague wanted an update.  And, eventually asked if I wanted to work with her at the University in the Business School advising the Executive and Healthcare Executive students.  I aced the interviews with the team.

The Director approved a long-term retainer for conducting advisory services and for teaching seminars customized to Executive MBA students needs.  Basically, he wanted someone to create the program from the ground up.

The opportunity lasted for a decade which I view as a field test or a laboratory for the content in these second volume books.

I proposed a curriculum to the Director for him to review, “Why would anyone choose to come back to school for an executive MBA (and spend over $100,000 over two years) when you’ve got all they’d ever need in this curriculum?” he asked.  

We should probably keep this our own little secret, since the University is paying both of us he went on to say.

But enough about me. For today, haha.

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “As the bees get nectar, they accidentally spread pollen. Do they know they are the reason the flowers bloom? Like the bees, you will unknowingly cause beauty just by doing what comes naturally.” Scorpio

So, we’re talking about an organic eco-system that’s interdependent, right?  So if for some reason bees die off then the flowers and vegetables don’t bloom and seeds don’t fall and — is this what we’ll be leaving for our grandchildren?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Of all the things you could wish for, an easy route won’t be one of them. It wouldn’t be wrong so much as just off-brand. You welcome the opportunity to get stronger and smarter through challenging work.”  Aries 

Haha, off-brand.  That’s a good one.  But I have to say I bore easily if my work hasn’t been complicated, complex or on the edge where the new knowledge you create and circulate, I check out.  But, every damn time? 

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: You’re not afraid to answer the call of duty and, in fact, the best things you’ve experienced have happened because you both answered and went above and beyond such a call.”  Taurus

Really?  Not today.  So far, anyway.  I answered my call to duty years ago as an Army veteran, but I’m loathe to remember anything good that came out of it.

.“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Let no one, not even you, offer a limiting idea of what you’re capable of. You don’t know what you can accomplish until you accomplish it. Your tenacity knows no bounds.” Cancer

Hopefully you find this inspirational, uplifting and relevant for you today.  It’s not for me.  But, then it’s not my “official” Holiday Tau either.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:You have paid your dues and done your time. You showed up how they wanted, so you know what that’s like. Now, you’re inclined to do it your own way, to show up how you see fit. It works.” Virgo

It dawned on me that making a living as an artist probably won’t age well when I’m old and gray.  So with family responsibilities I chose to write on the side — to exercise my creativity on things I wanted to do in smaller time slots — at night, before work and at lunch.  Now with work out of the way, I am truly indeed seeing how it fits and works doing it my own way.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:Stay aware, head on a swivel, as you make your way to the crossroads. Transitions are always a little more dangerous. The intersections of life hold potential for much good and bad fortune.” Libra

Here’s the added caveat during a pandemic — who knows how long this transition to locked down mode will last and how desperate we may all become for a normal life once more, when none may available on the other side.

“3”  Steve Harvey, 62:You’ve already done the ‘dance like no one is watching’ thing and now you’re into the refinement of movement assumed by consummate professionals. Because if all goes well, someone will be watching.”  Capricorn

Over these initial chapters I’d conclude I became good at interviewing, because I assumed the view of an outside consultant.  And war stories they cared about flowed naturally from my lips.  But once the deal was signed or the offer extended I danced like everybody was watching as I faked it until I made it.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:The thing you didn’t think you had time for will now be taking up many hours of your day. But if it weren’t good for your personal development, you wouldn’t feel so compelled to manage it.”  Aquarius

Isn’t there such a sigh of relief when you finally land a new job, discover how the internal weather blows, and master those obstacles thrown your way in the normal course of your assignments?  Yup.  It’s the same feeling I felt tempted to follow allowing my networking and marketing activities slip slide away.  Hey, I just landed a long-term retainer!  And then out of blue the flow you began coasting on dries up.

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

S2 E67 — Here’s What I Didn’t Know That Will Help You

My distinguished career began with jobs I hated. I didn’t know why.  It ended with me advising executives and executive MBA students not to make the same mistakes I had made over the years, when I knew why.

This is a continuation of my story

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Do you actually know your strengths? They are so inherent that it takes another person to point them out for you to even begin to realize what they are.” Aries

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 67 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 20th 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 E66The Romance of a Good Humor Man in Detroit; S2 E65Pandemic Uncovered 11 Life-Changing Secrets You Shouldn’t Ignore; S2 E64Let the Beers and Weekend Partying Begin

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E67Don’t Misunderstand Me; S1 E66Do Your Proposals Lead to Contracts?;S1 E65Focus Your Mental Energy; S1 E64 — Father and Son Rituals out of Storage

Context

My distinguished career began with jobs I hated. I didn’t know why.  It ended with me advising executives and executive MBA students not to make the same mistakes I had made over the years, when I knew why.

In my research and first hand experience I distinguished between working for yourself independently (which could free yourself up to live anywhere your heart desired), or to follow the more traditional path and work for someone else instead. 

Which translated into focusing on geographical regions where the jobs were and the employers were located. In 90% of the cases, my executive MBA students chose the latter.

Privatized Services B2B Business Model

Next up,  three more professional services businesses, but with a B2B business model for which insurance carriers paid private companies to offer vocational rehabilitation services to workers injured on the job and who were probably unlikely to return to their occupation.  

Originally most cases I saw were for back injuries and thus required work modifications or a transition into a different job classification.  

I provided testing, counseling and monitoring as an independent contractor — being my own boss — until I added a marketing skill set (carefully differentiated from sales) for the third private company.

I became their employee in a business offering outplacement (coaching managers and professionals through their layoffs into their next job) retail career services to people out of work, but not paid by their former company (and who likely wouldn’t pay $3,000 to $5,000 out of their pocked because they had put off looking for a job until it was too late and had to eat and have money left over to buy gas) and our vocational services paid by the insurance carrier — or as in most of my clients paid by “self-insurers” like the City of San Diego and its counterpart, the County of San Diego.

For this last job I commuted 1 hour and 30 minutes from Orange County to Hotel Circle on the 8 freeway in San Diego.  

I drove along the coast starting just north of San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and San Clemente — the South Coast region of Orange County Beach Towns — through the long stretch of Camp Pendleton into North San Diego County past towns like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Leucadia and Encinitas, Del Mar and down into San Diego County’s Torrey Pines, La Jolla, and finally past Pacific Beach and Mission Beach where I tried to land my first position in my psychology profession, but to no avail.

Online Membership Start Up

Light bulb.  

I had uncovered job search related data and reports. 

Somebody wrote a book I found at a library promising how you could repurpose information into reports and sell them — making money while you slept. 

I already rented a PO box in Laguna Beach.  

I liked money.  

And, sleeping. 

And, Laguna Beach.  

So I ran ads for my InFox business.  I began and ended my commute in Laguna so I mailed reports and received requests efficiently.  

Alas, the cash flow trickled and dried up.  InFox turned out to be one more attempt at becoming rich and famous as an information entrepreneur. 

But, I couldn’t afford to pay for the electricity to keep the light bulb next to my bed lit.  

A couple of years earlier when I sketched out my “Where do you go from here” dreams, I thought writing poems and taking black and white photos could turn me into a greeting card mogul until that light bulb dimmed.

Modifying Group Job Search Behavior

But on Hotel Circle Drive, applying behavior modification principles I learned in graduate school and at the Behavior Modification Institute to clients in job search groups made me realize that I enjoyed facilitating teams and dispensing advice. 

The County of San Diego sent us a steady stream of stress cases — cops, sheriffs and firemen.  I enjoyed interacting with them figuring out their next career move. 

But I needed to move on.  

Where else closer to home, in what other job that included groups, could I find a better fit? 

And, more importantly how could I rebrand myself to qualify for a career change?

Aha.  

Rebranding Seeds

In Orange County the Association Training and Development is where corporate trainers and consultants affiliated. Burned out school teachers in their late 20s credentialed in classroom education transitioned into the profession in droves.  Why couldn’t I?  But, I worked in San Diego and commuted 3 hours daily.  So, for the association I volunteered to create a position referral service . 

I fielded new openings and published them in their newsletter. 

Which gave me advanced warning through the service I built of openings at premier Orange County employers when recruiters called me with their descriptions. 

No decision maker has the time or patience to interview everyone who believes they are the perfect candidate.  So human resources manages a funnel with a wide front end designed to screen candidates out and narrow the flow of probable candidates to the top two or three to present to the decision maker.

But, training and development was a function in human resources.  They happily disclosed information to me not available to the general public.  And with a little sleuthing on my part offered a way in outside of normal channels. 

“5”  Steve Smith, 30: “You don’t get your shot when you’re good enough or when you deserve it.  You get your shot when it comes up.” Gemini

So, during my nearly year long career transition as weeks turned into months my faith had been tested.  Was this plan I doggishly followed as sound as when I confidently kicked it off?  

I really didn’t control the outcome.  

It felt like the rip tide had taken me out to sea from Newport Beach and took all my energy to swim against it to shore hundreds of yards away from where my beach towel and umbrella sat.  

And then swoosh a wave pushed me with so much speed and power back into shore that I totally wasn’t ready or prepared.  But I’m grateful for it.  I got my shot in my first job of my new career.

Internal Consultant 40,000 Employees

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

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

Here’s what I didn’t know.

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

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72: “If you think too far into the situation, you’re likely to get lost in details and complications, making it impossible to take a stance.” Virgo

Right after I accepted my first job in my new career — the one I talked my way into with transferrable skills and had to fake until I made it — I felt my new career slip away.

A crisis threw me and all my colleagues in our internal consulting unit into high alert.  

With a partner I just barely met, we worked out a comprehensive system for laying off engineers and project administrators. 

But, we couldn’t sell it to the executives with the purse strings.  Until, we surfaced their resistance and dumbed down our pitch to what would happen in the first thirty days.  

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

Which woke me up to life in the fast lane as I processed hundreds through our internally run outplacement programs. 

But, that my career wasn’t in jeopardy.  I helped improve quality, introduce new technology, teach and facilitate sales teams (I know, right) and at the corporate headquarters send high potential managers in the developmental pipeline to university executive programs for rounding out.

Immune System Reactions to Dramatic Change

I learned large-scale organizations resist change like an immune system does.  

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

What else?  Oh, you need a plan A for thriving in the good times and a plan B for surviving in the dark times.  

Plan A is what I followed when I was recruited by an organizational development and strategy consultant for one of his clients and who was familiar with articles I published in the association’s newsletter.

Climate for Innovation

I met with his client, the general manager, of one of the California divisions that prided itself on being the tail that wagged the dog headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.  

Was it just dumb luck that every time the three piece suit wearing CEO with red tie and black glossy shoes visited the division it was casual day? 

Actually, everyday was casual day so I take that question back.  

My Plan A dreamed I’d be working for a high-tech company with very bright engineers that worked on bringing products to market in record time.  

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.” 

Our GM told everyone that each time the CEO walked the halls he didn’t understand what we were doing, but as long as we hit our numbers he wasn’t going to interfere. 

And, then all hell broke loose when an impending merger of equal sized players became 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. 

I participated as an organizational development director with the new corporate task force which tackled the rebranding and communications campaign.

Now I learned about how  competitive rivals with two different immune systems develop equal and opposite anti-bodies over five years, but especially in the first 18 months of selling something that even we didn’t understand.

The most fun I had was during that 5-year run applying what I had just learned in a new setting.  I had been recruited to orchestrate a “cultural change” by doing all right things, in some case just the opposite of efforts in my previous job.  

One of my co-conspirators called what we had going, “A license to steal, but in a good way.”  As long as we helped move the needle towards a “Climate for Innovation” we were appreciated.  But, when our senior executive sponsor couldn’t resist the temptations headhunters persistently dangled in front of him, it was over abruptly.  

What took five years to institutionalize fell apart in 6 months.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “A scattered mind can get focused right quick with the broom of intention to focus it. Write down your top aim, and then give yourself a timeframe in which to accomplish it.” Scorpio

So necessary today as I struggle with the next two volumes I write to complete “The Knowledge Path: Live. Love. Work. Play. Invest. Leave a Legacy.” However, today a broom is quite literal for prepping our backyard patio to host our pandemic “Fathers Day” tomorrow. 

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Do you actually know your strengths? They are so inherent that it takes another person to point them out for you to even begin to realize what they are.” Aries 

How can you pursue the best fit for you in your career trajectory if you don’t know what your strengths are, what you love doing and what is in demand?  And, that my friends what my original research is all about in my work in progress, “Volume Two Manuscript”.

“5”  Steve Smith, 30: Capture your heart’s memories. If you don’t, who will? The way you see it may not match how others do, but it is nonetheless a vital part of the story.” Gemini

Likewise, this describes my other passion project’s work in progress, “Volume Three Manuscript.”

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:Every generation evolves. You’ll notice today how you do things differently from the way your parents did, and their parents… and you’ll get a sense of what is working and what’s not.” Virgo

And, this captures what the first volume was all about, “The Knowledge Path: Live. Love. Work. Play. Invest. Leave a Legacy.”  The second volume addresses work. The third volume teases out what it means to consider the wisdom you’ve accumulated in the form of a legacy.

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 3808 to 3911.

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 E66 — The Romance of a Good Humor Man in Detroit

This is the second volume of books.  The first volume described how to discover where to live.  And a path to follow, the knowledge path.  I originally distinguished what you would learn by choosing either to work for yourself independently which could free yourself up to live anywhere your heart desired, instead of where the jobs were and the employers were located.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You’re tough and resilient. Why? A lot of it is your sense of humor. It’s hard to say which came first, the laughs or the hardship, but you’ve found a way to bring them together.” Libra

 

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 66 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 19th 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 E65Pandemic Uncovered 11 Life-Changing Secrets You Shouldn’t Ignore; S2 E64Let the Beers and Weekend Partying Begin; S2 E63Easier Than Finding His MacBook Air Password?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E66Do Your Proposals Lead to Contracts?;S1 E65Focus Your Mental Energy; S1 E64 — Father and Son Rituals out of Storage; S1 E63Day 63 of My 1-Year Experiment

Context

Here’s my story

First the school of hard knocks

At one time I listed all of the jobs (37) I held in addition to lemonade stands, grass mowing, baby sitting — those early entrepreneurial ventures in my neighborhood.  

One of my first “real” job had been offered to me by a friend of my parents.  

I remember meeting him in a cocktail party in our living room as he told the other “guys” — while the “gals” had gathered in our kitchen — that he had new found respect for those freight truck drivers — which didn’t at all sound like the kind of “country club” conversations my sister and I used to sample on bathroom breaks to the lavatory just up the hall — because he tried to maneuver one straight back into his loading docks without denting or scratching the other trucks already being loaded.

Manufacturing

Turns out he offered me a job in manufacturing — which I was grateful for at the time for the money, but drove me crazy.  

Here’s what I did.  

Shipments of aluminum tubing of different sizes were stacked up at one end of the manufacturing warehouse.  

The assembly, bending machine and welding operations were at the opposite end.  

I teamed up with some other guys to load the correct size tube on to oversized Home Depot kinds of carriers and push them to the other end.  

After a while I got to work the bending machine and cut parts for assembly.  The final product was a gas station light pole slightly angled at the top where the florescent lamps shone brightly.

I hated it — no air conditions and the fans did little to dent the 90 degree summer heat and humidity.  

The smell of sweat soaking in the welders uniforms from the thirty-minute lunch break-for-it race by car down to the local bar and back made me nearly nauseous in late afternoons.  

My co-worker had greased back black hair, a pock-marked face from bad adolescent acne, and daily tried to convert me to the lord.  

He was the getaway driver who snuck to the bathroom minutes before lunch and ran out after punching the clock to the parking lot, hopped into his near muffler-less Ford and idled until the welders piled in and then pealed out. 

I felt like I was becoming braindead.  

And dead tired every night. 

Downtown Banking

Home from college one summer another friend of my father’s, more in line with the country club banter I expected, said he needed summer interns to work at the Bank of the Commonwealth in downtown Detroit.  

Our job was to find hundreds of thousands of “missing” dollars in my first transition to new technology introductions.  

A half a dozen of us pulled gobs of paper certificates of deposits from massive filing cabinets to be compared to an “inventory print out” from data already programmed into the new software system. It intrigued me at first, in a way that a detective novel would.

But, for each “mistake” we found we had to fill in multiple paper copies for distribution to different departments, which at one time I calculated was a loss for them.  Especially when you calculated  our hourly rate, the time it took to fill out the forms and the dollar amount of discrepancies.  

After a week we all figured out three things.  

Most of the errors were attributed to rounding up or down errors in the software versus the manual accounting system, many CDs were supposed to expire on their maturity date, but the program failed to stop paying them out, and we college students bored easily.  

The jobs kept on coming but very few of them “fit” me. 

Gas Station Attendant

As gas attendant at a 24 hour Mobile station I learned to change oil.  And some minor tune-up and diagnosis tips that came in handy for maintaining my first car that the boring jobs paid for. 

Good Humor

Oh, I became a Good Humor Ice Cream man — something which sounded romantic and felt nostalgic — because my grandmother was a big fan and took my sister and me for treats.  

I filled in for drivers who had the day off.  So each day brought a new route  which injected variety into 9 hours of monotony, and on the hot days you made children (and yourself) happy by munching from a delicious menu of popsicles and ice cream bars.

What I liked about it was “working for myself” and you didn’t really see the other drivers until the end of the day when you dumped your changer into the coin counter and tallied the paper money.  

We didn’t bond as a team or socialize since we had very little in common.  This was a summer gig for many of the drivers who stuck around until the season turned too cold in Michigan.  Then some of them who saved enough money survived fall in the north until the department stores needed Santas or they followed the winter migration of snow birds south to Florida.

I was glad to return to college in the fall.

The Wrong Way

I left law school to fulfill my military obligation which is a polite way of saying it.  In the army I learned two things I can talk about.  

One was how unprepared the service was for us after drafting massive numbers of college graduates. We entertained ideas of what our future would look in college. Not at all like those who enlisted, despite our brainwashing in basic training, and we just weren’t loyal like the Lifers were who continued to re-up.

We took on more skilled MOS specialties.  

I graduated from medic to preventive medicine and worked in an air-condition laboratory for processing water samples.  And we hung around with the officers — many trained in medicine — in my unit which caused frustration up and down the chain of command.  

I learned I wasn’t cut out to blindly follow orders as standard operating procedures when it seemed like there were more efficient processes that could deliver the results in half the time. 

You know what they say, “There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Army way.”  

Graduate School

Returning to graduate school and earning my masters degree in psychology set the stage for my next job as a graduate student assistant. 

It was way more to my liking, because it provided little structure, a teaching schedule and some office hours for meeting with undergraduate students and grading their papers.  

This was my first taste of knowledge work that I really enjoyed and was good at. 

I discovered research spoke to me.  

But I was a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, graduating with a dual emphasis in experimental psychology and clinical psychology the application side.  

And, I lived off campus in a trailer park among farmers fields.

Insurance and Big Ticket Items

Veterans benefits even with the grad assistance position stipend didn’t pay all the bills so I took the insurance exam to sell auto insurance and when that didn’t pan out as well as I hoped (you had to SELL) I tried my hand at department store retail, specializing on big ticket appliance items.

The bills got paid, I moved some merchandise, but my brain spaced for long periods of my shift.  

Charlie intrigued me, though.  He was a bi-polar superstar salesman.  He “closed” so many shoppers that the credit department couldn’t keep up.  

He showed me his strategy to slip some questionable contracts near the end of the day and near the bottom of the stack so they’d be overlooked the credit employees in the rush to finish their work punch out.

In an odd way Charlie reminded me of the seasonal Good Humor Santas.  For six months he was a whirling dervish breaking all kinds of sales incentives and earning bonus awards.  And, then he disappeared for six months. 

A fascinating case study.

Psychology Profession

When I moved to California I printed up 100 resumes and cover letters and in shotgun fashion mailed them to every psychology-sounding organization I could find in a geographic area from Pacific Beach and Mission Beach in San Diego County to South Orange County and later to greater Orange County.

Just as my $3000 grubstake dwindled down to the hundreds from unloading my trailer in farming country,  I received two phone calls.  

The first from a psychologist who sheepishly told me their business wasn’t really a business, but more of a side-hustle or a moonlighting operation.  

But I hit pay dirt with the second and only other response.

I didn’t quite understand the scope of the offering until later.  

Somehow I’d be set up as an intern — like a graduate assistant working for the State of California in the mornings.  

And in the afternoons I’d leave the hospital to head down Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa and take a left on Pacific Coast Highway to drive through “downtown” Newport Beach past the Balboa Bay Club and valet parking restaurants including the Rueben E. Lee a floating riverboat docked in the bay.   

I’d continue up a hill past Jamboree and the entrance to Balboa Island on my right and further on PCH until on the left I’d take a left into Newport Center and Fashion Island.

And then a right until I came to Edwards Theater and pull into its parking lot, but continue behind it to the Behavior Modification Institute’s parking spots shared with the Athletic Club.

Professional Services Business Model

This was a side-hustle startup, with a Professional Services business model twist. 

Now we’re talking.  

Chalk this adventure up to the best fit side of the equation.  

And I didn’t have to sell.  

But, then a few years later no-one else sold much of anything.  

My dream fizzled.  

I’d made it to an office overlooking a vacant field which sloped downhill eventually giving rise to palm trees silhouetting Corona del Mar, and higher up on the horizon and further out the island and the peninsula with the white frothy waves and blue Pacific Ocean.  

For a few years I’d drive home to my CDM apartment from my morning job for lunch and then hike up the hill through the field of ground squirrels and owls.

I probably missed them more than they missed me.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:Your attention is a precious commodity that you nonetheless give quite generously to your loved ones. They are, in fact, spoiled by the many benefits bestowed by your listening ears and the pupils of your eyes.” Cancer

Sure.  When you become a parent it’s what you do.  At first the listening kicks in when something thumps from another room.  Or a blood curdling scream highjacks your attention from some important task.  And, then outside where so much more harm can come in a New York Moment you keep those precious, spoiled little heirs in your peripheral vision while your ear antennas blanket the playing field like GPS signals.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You’re tough and resilient. Why? A lot of it is your sense of humor. It’s hard to say which came first, the laughs or the hardship, but you’ve found a way to bring them together.” Libra

Sure, there’s a term for that, besides “Dad Joke,” which has cursed me all my life. It’s just too difficult to resist a pun.  I’m not looking for a silver lining to hardships like everyone is experiencing today during this pandemic, but just an unexpected twist on what somebody just said using an alternative meaning for a word they used.

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41: You don’t know what connects you with someone, though you can be sure there is an important and mysterious reason you converge in this same place and time.” Sagittarius

Wait, can you, really?  It’s true I don’t know what connects with you.  But by the time you find this for some important and mysterious reason, I’ll have moved on if not in place, in time.

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 3808 to 3911.

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 E65 — Pandemic Uncovered 11 Life-Changing Secrets You Shouldn’t Ignore

Or, you would work for someone else in a specific location — at a headquarters, in a division, a region, an office … but the key was at their place of work.  Then came the pandemic just as the driving beat of AI platforms and tools swept through. Employers and executives tasted for themselves the flavor of working remotely.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Be on the lookout for ways to repurpose the past. Discarded scraps from one project/relationship/era can be reworked and turned into something new.” Aries

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 65 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 18th 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 E64Let the Beers and Weekend Partying Begin; S2 E63Easier Than Finding His MacBook Air Password?; S2 E62 — “Shh. Did You Hear That?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E65Focus Your Mental Energy; S1 E64 — Father and Son Rituals out of Storage; S1 E63Day 63 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E62Next Reality?

Context

So if I’m honest I’m drawing from last week’s focus on my legacy and my search for wisdom (Volume Three Manuscript) to fill in with some reworked experiences that better fit this passion project in progress, “Volume Two Manuscript”.

This is the second volume of books.  The first volume described how to discover where to live.  And a path to follow, the knowledge path.  I originally distinguished what you would learn by choosing either to work for yourself independently which could free yourself up to live anywhere your heart desired, instead of where the jobs were and the employers were located. 

Its theme was how to live, love, work, play, invest and leave a legacy.  

Or, you would work for someone else in a specific location — at a headquarters, in a division, a region, an office … but the key was at their place of work.  

Then came the pandemic just as the driving beat of AI platforms and tools swept through. Employers and executives tasted for themselves the flavor of working remotely. 

Superior advantages of mastering knowledge work

Whoa, they discovered this way of working, well worked for them — making them more productive and efficient.

The implications for all of us — the intended consequences and unintended consequences — as individuals it is better to have been mastering knowledge work rather than service work or manual work. 

Why?  For two reasons.  You have options that others don’t have.  

You can remain employed during disruptions like a pandemic which forces physical distancing at your home in your neighborhood with or without partners, spouses and children who require daily bandwidth and homework assistance.  

The newer normal translate into inconveniences, frustrations and the time to reflect and enjoy deeper bonding.  

So, that’s one.  

Free to move about the country

The second is, if you can work remotely aren’t you also untethered from having to live where you do right now?  Aren’t you free to move about the country and still remain employed?

While the second book in the first volume examined all the ways you can become a ‘Preneur they all rely on variable income.  

You needed to master a sales process which translates well to media channels and subscription business models.  

Not all of us are cut out to succeed. I know this much about me, I’m not.

But if you are already employed, already have the tools necessary to provide value to your employer while working remotely like all the other knowledge workers delivering distributed work, then head out on the highway and follow 11 steps to the quality-of-life you want and deserve.

My distinguished career began with jobs I hated, but I didn’t know why.  It ended with me advising executives and executive MBA students not to make the same mistakes I had made over the years when I knew why.  

But, that’s not entirely true.  

What I discovered wasn’t they should avoid the jobs and organizations and stages of growth that I did.

Or even find the positions in specific types of talent cultures that brought out the very best in me, because they were the best fit.

That’s what I did. 

But, to understand the “why” that made them tick and pursue their own best fits working with sixteen different talent tribes at the intersection of seven dimensions.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Be on the lookout for ways to repurpose the past. Discarded scraps from one project/relationship/era can be reworked and turned into something new.” Aries  

How can you separate your work life from you life life? Your work life consumes at least eight hours out of every day Mondays through Fridays if you let it.  Your life life provides the context.  Who was it?  Maybe John Lennon who sang something to the effect that life happens when you’re busy making plans.  So if I’m honest I’m drawing from last week’s focus on my legacy and my search for wisdom (Volume Three Manuscript) to fill in with some reworked experiences that better fit this passion project in progress, “Volume Two Manuscript”.

“5”  Steve Smith, 30: Study and cultural exploration will bring you good fortune. You will feel determined to do your unbiased research, and you will refrain from forming an opinion until you have all of the facts.” Gemini

In this case the cultural exploration focuses on talent cultures you find within certain types of work and client organizations and which may be about to move through a new growth stage which requires a transformation from the past. All covered in my “Volume Two Manuscript” in progress.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You’ll have ideas, and you need the right people to bounce them off of. People who absorb your energy and agree with you are not good bouncing prospects. Look for the hard and deflective types.” Leo

In the beginning, I collaborated with a small team as an offshoot from the Orange County Development Roundtable (OCDRT) who met weekly.  We bounced ideas off of each other to sharpen elements and discard others that just didn’t make sense.  From those humble beginnings a framework emerged and a theory I further developed and tested over a decade with hundreds of Executive MBA Students who had been in the workforce for at least seven or eight years.

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62:The research suggests that improving your weaknesses, while noble in intent, is far less effective than leveraging your strengths.”  Capricorn

We can thank Peter Drucker for this truism.  But he went further and advised managers, leaders and executives to find talented people who excelled at what you didn’t and delegate assignments to them as a way of further developing their strengths through experience.

“3”  Steve Nash, 45:Because of the complexity within the crevices of the human heart, people fit together unexpectedly and in ways so particular that they would be impossible to duplicate.” Aquarius 

Unexpectedly, maybe.  But in my work experience fitting together people from a diverse set of talent profiles leads to better team results after forming, storming, norming and performing processes.

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 3808 to 3911.

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

S1 E169 — Lockouts and Taxing 1-Year Season Coming to an End

What’s been going on? Having immersed myself in piles of paper receipts, credit card statements and downloadable interest and dividend statements I got to wondering if I need to claim a business in 2019 given the anticipated renewal of $250 for web hosting due this year? 

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

“5” Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69: Your creativity comes from the connections you make between things, what you choose and how you bring them together.” Taurus

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 169 in the first season of “My 1-Year Natural Experiment” on this 13th day of February in winter of 2020.

Context

Simultaneously I’ve encountered being locked out of the remaining five websites other than Know Laboratories, which is I’m the master administrator of the multi-site network, by WordPress / Zip Pack.  

What else piles up?

Is the ride over or was it just a bad day and night?  @knowlabs, my master digital magazine which drives “Fresh from the Labs …” as a benefit for Tier 1 “Balboa Island” Patreon supporters picked up just one new follower moving from 1215 to 1216 this morning.  

It wasn’t that long ago when only 800 or so people chose to find my magazines in their personalized feeds.  

What’s going on? 

Sometimes I’m surprised, but the pattern I notice is competing activities combined with slower story feeds pick up towards Wednesdays and Thursdays.  

The topics change according to regional and local news.  I blend vacation (Chamber of Commerce Visitors) with local, more mundane stories about what’s it like to live there year round (Realtor Neighborhood Comps).  Still when I share stories to LinkedIn here’s what they draw:

LinkedIn Analytics

1842 Followers “A New Year’s Wish” 1 mo. 502 views

Evidence

You know, I’ve always liked your TauBits Steve.  And, it’s not just because you’re the celebrity icon representing Emma the Baroness and me.  I’m pretty sure you deserve a high score for this Holiday Tau if I understood just exactly it means.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “You’re a creative person trying to communicate about a need that goes beyond what word, images, music, tastes or anything you’ve experienced could possibly fulfill.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Researcher’s Note: Nope, this isn’t my birthday — still eight and a half months away. Is this meaningful work what Zahn is referencing?  I like it.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

“Here comes the meaningful work — work that’s measured in how far it can take you, also in how far you can take it.  Where stop will be an important thing to sense, as you’ll be switching vehicles for the next leg of your journey.  Your grateful heart and exemplary hosting skill will contribute to many happy occasions.”

Spot on.  I’ll add the pattern and pace of people, places, things, organizations and information accelerating as they pass through our lives.

“5” Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69: Your creativity comes from the connections you make between things, what you choose and how you bring them together.” Taurus

Thanks Coach Kerr, I believe anticipation leads to resilience and makes it easier to adapt to whatever change is required rather than falling victim to energy depletion stress brought on by having to always catch up when time runs out.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54:Change will be a mixed  bag.  Relax. It’s better when you expect the work without dreading it.” Libra

Good God, I certainly hope you’re right, Steve. 

“4”  Steve Howey, 42:The habit you’re trying to form will be worth the persistence.  Also, it will get easier.”  Cancer

Haha.  My LinkedIn Analytics support your supposition, but the peaking of my digital media followers at 1216 gives me pause.

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41: It feels good to deliver something that people want.  This is just the beginning.” Sagittarius

End of the Week “Knews” for FOSs

Trends — 

Short-Form — 

Long-Form — 

    • Tau is also used in some contexts to represent the golden ratio, defined as half of 1 + the square root of 5. This number, about 1.618, has shown up all over art and nature, including in defining the shapes of nautilus shells and plants with spiral forms in their leaves or petals. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-tao-of-tau/ 
    • Exulting in his impeachment acquittal, President Trump took a scorched-earth victory lap Thursday, unleashing his fury against those who tried to remove him from office while looking ahead to his reelection campaign.Trump, speaking to a room full of supporters at the White House, declared the impeachment proceedings a “disgrace” and complained anew that it was “a very unfair situation,” echoing his broadsides hours earlier that stunned the crowd at an annual prayer breakfast.“It was evil, it was corrupt,” Trump declared at the White House. “This should never ever happen to another president, ever.”

Progress and Procrastination — 

    • Procrastinate while feeling empty after trying to figure out what this nation has become by watching the Senate acquit Trump without calling any witnesses.  What’s up with that? 
    • Every time I get notified about a new software update I feel panic about what it will do to my inspiration files, where my next manuscript is mapped out,  like it did to my hypercard files.  The manuscript is now mostly upgraded to .isf formats, which will not be supported with the upgrade.

Speaking Volumes — 

    • Treating  “11 Simple Steps for Finding the Authentic Quality-of-Life You Deserve” as a missing chapter from Volume One, the first 5-book series and a bonus offer, for example. 
    • There’s the quote today from Kevin Parker on Tame Impala, “The feeling that time has passed and you didn’t even realize it — that’s the driving emotion of this record.”  He spoke about being able to see “exactly which chapter I’d finished and which chapter was just beginning.” And, about a recent success that has given him a platform for artistic leeway to do only what he wants. 
    • The what’s-in-it-for-me in Volume Two is you’ll be able to choose the next organization that offers the right degree of challenge and opportunity in a work culture that brings out the best in you.  And, maybe just as importantly when you’re choosing between job offers which one to take and which one to avoid and why.
    • From Alvin Toffler’s classic book, “Future Shock” about the pace of change and turnover of people, places, things, (nouns)  lead to a hunger for the past nostalgia. “Time and emotion forecasts; intelligent strategies may well prove the only adaptive response to life stress.  Life stress is here to stay.  In the ‘Transient Age,’ when people, places, things, organizations and information accelerate as they pass through our lives.  Transience, novelty and diversity stretch and mutate our limits of adaptability.” 

Banking and ATMs — 

    • So it helps if you are a founder or a comedian?  How does that work on a crowdfunding platform like Patreon? 
    • Sobering plateauing of digital magazine followers (1215 to 1216) may be serious or a blip?  LinkedIn analytics (502 views) feel promising.

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

S1 E168 — A Mammoth Thank You to Kobe and Steve Jobs

This is what has become of the President’s Weekend extended family ski (and snowboard) trip to Mammoth Mountain.  Emma the Baroness hitched a ride with Shaggy and SLO Girl as I waved “Good-Bye” and they disappeared out of sight when they turned the corner in Shaggy’s 4-Runner onto Longleaf.

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

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The joys of reuniting are not possible if you never part ways.  So while you can’t be with your loved ones at all times, you’ll hold in your heart the wonderful anticipation of being together again soon.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 168 in the first season of “My 1-Year Natural Experiment” on this 9th day of February in winter of 2020.

Context

Shaggy and I talked a little bit about the text I shared with Shaggy and Jazzy about Dave McCoy’s passing.  After they left for Mammoth, I flipped “McCoy” into my Western Skies & Island Currents digital magazine, which somehow got tagged @skiing and identified it as “theknowledgepath.com— by Steve Howard.”  

Los Angeles, is in the throws of mourning and favorite moments of Kobe Bryant’s legacy and now this news. Dave McCoy lived to be 100 and his passing was expected and not shocking like Kobe’s.

On top of that, every time I get notified about a new software update I feel panic about what it will do to my inspiration files, where my next manuscript is mapped out,  like it did to my hypercard files.  The manuscript is now mostly upgraded to .isf formats, which will not be supported with the upgrade.

Thank you Steve Jobs.

So, now I feel an urgency to write Volume Two. How will the “Work” chapters in “Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy” unfold? 

The what’s-in-it-for-me in Volume Two is you’ll be able to choose the next organization that offers the right degree of challenge and opportunity in a work culture that brings out the best in you.  

And, maybe just as importantly when you’re choosing between job offers which one to take and which one to avoid and why.

Initial outline:

      1. “01113 SPIP Idea Packagers” 
      2. What do you further need to understand to make sense? 
      3. Code: explain the three dimensions with medium and high degrees 
      4. Organization Type: One of four, Talent Culture with many types, but two major previous growth stage stuck in control crisis favoring two other (Brand-as-Experts and Institutional Traditionalists) — 
      5. Decline Stage as best fit addressing a crisis compared to the previous stage
      6. Control to strengths exercised beyond their usefulness and effectiveness leads to Red-Tape Crisis 
      7. Bring in Idea Packagers and Thought Leaders to overcome blindness and dug in resistance to change. From outside of the organization.
      8. Thought Leaders hail from Paradox-Moron with a different Code; Talent Culture; complementary talents and approach. 
      9. Worse Fit (Sustaining-Associates, Rapid Growth, Autonomy Crisis) 
      10. Thought Leaders and Idea Packagers coach and advise through the transition to reinvention from decline or the organization may not make it in its present form.
      11. Reinvention Growth Stage (back to as “clients they’re motivated to change in a decline” in “011 Introvert Secrets”).
      12. Advising CROs Reinvention Team, one each from each Talent Organization Type, Inner- and Outer-Directed; High and Medium Degrees of all Dimensions;

At the core of the manuscript two At-a-Glance descriptions — Profile-at-a-Glance describing you and talent cultures, and Organization-at-a-Glance describing your best fit and worse fit type of employer.

Profile-at-a-Glance

Talent Profile

Degrees of:

Code

MBTI Equivalent — Introvert or Extravert

Inner Directed or 

Outer Directed

Organization-at-a-Glance

Best Fit

Organization Type

Stage of Growth

Crisis Challenge

Worse Fit

Organization Type

Stage of Growth

Crisis Challenge

Turning to my Holiday Tau, what inspiration or bit of wisdom can I lean on?

Evidence

Since I’m home alone, Zahn’s addresses Emma the Baroness and my situation apart with a hint of joy at the end of the extended vacation I can’t enjoy.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The joys of reuniting are not possible if you never part ways.  So while you can’t be with your loved ones at all times, you’ll hold in your heart the wonderful anticipation of being together again soon.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Researcher’s Note: I know, I know.  Look it might be easier if and when today’s birthday is actually my birthday.  Here’s a hint.  Whenever people congregate outside at night they wear masks.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

“Your dreams swirl into a desire to be of service, producing some of your best ideas yet.  The practical help and mentorship you seek in the next 10 weeks land at the intersection of usefulness, creativity and commerce.  A thriving relationship will spread joy all over your life.”

Fewer Steves equated into a better chance to win the Tau competition.

Look, if any famous Steves would bring the strongest TauBit of Wisdom, I figured it would come from an inventor and two comedians.  Alas …

“3”  Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You are not a train on the road of life — an engine that moves in predestined grooves.  You are free to make the turns, merge to the onramp, leave the town or country and know new lands.” Leo

Hey G&G for my home alone panic and sense of urgency, I’m swiping your Holiday Tau.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:When things get a little tense, it might help to think of this as an adventure, or the movie you are starring in.  If you take a moment to sense it, you’ll get the feeling there’s an invisible audience out there rooting for you.” Virgo

Wait, this might be a three-way tie.  Has the Apple upgrade upset my well, Apple cart?  Volume Two — Work manuscript wasn’t on the front burner at all, because it had already been theorized with a team of experts and then field tested over the last decade with Executive MBA students stuck at a point in their career while aspiring to qualify for the C-Suite in their current of another organization. 

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: It takes many years to know yourself well enough to pace yourself.  Of course, this is different depending on the particular endeavor and your time of life.  When you overdo it, just know that it’s part of learning.” Sagittarius

End of the Week “Knews” for FOSs

Trends — 

Short-Form — 

Long-Form — 

    • Tau is also used in some contexts to represent the golden ratio, defined as half of 1 + the square root of 5. This number, about 1.618, has shown up all over art and nature, including in defining the shapes of nautilus shells and plants with spiral forms in their leaves or petals. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-tao-of-tau/ 

Progress and Procrastination — 

    • Procrastinate while feeling empty after trying to figure out what this nation has become by watching the Senate acquit Trump without calling any witnesses.  What’s up with that? 
    • Every time I get notified about a new software update I feel panic about what it will do to my inspiration files, where my next manuscript is mapped out,  like it did to my hypercard files.  The manuscript is now mostly upgraded to .isf formats, which will not be supported with the upgrade.

Speaking Volumes — 

    • Treating  “11 Simple Steps for Finding the Authentic Quality-of-Life You Deserve” as a missing chapter from Volume One, the first 5-book series and a bonus offer, for example. 
    • There’s the quote today from Kevin Parker on Tame Impala, “The feeling that time has passed and you didn’t even realize it — that’s the driving emotion of this record.”  He spoke about being able to see “exactly which chapter I’d finished and which chapter was just beginning.” And, about a recent success that has given him a platform for artistic leeway to do only what he wants. 
    • The what’s-in-it-for-me in Volume Two is you’ll be able to choose the next organization that offers the right degree of challenge and opportunity in a work culture that brings out the best in you.  And, maybe just as importantly when you’re choosing between job offers which one to take and which one to avoid and why.

Banking and ATMs — 

    • So it helps if you are a founder or a comedian?  How does that work on a crowdfunding platform like Patreon?

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