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

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

 

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

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 99 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 20th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty; S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps; S2 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program 

Part One.

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

One of 10 campuses in the UC System

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

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

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

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

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

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

More on that engagement later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working for Yourself

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

Working for an Organization

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

Continued in Part Two.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

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

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 98 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 16th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps; S2 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications; S2 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation? ; S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing; S1 E96Old Rabbits Die Hard; S1 E95No Back to Work Days or Hump Days Allowed

Context

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

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

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

Multinational Food and Consumer Goods Corporation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Sustaining-Associates Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

180 – Degree Shift in Success by Stage

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

Maturity

Loosen Control Tighten

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Where to Find the Best Fit

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

It’s a classic pattern. 

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E97 — Frame Blindness and Decision Traps

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

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

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 97 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 15th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E96Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications; S2 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex; S2 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

9. Consultant Life and Mutual Fund Company

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

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

116 Institutional Traditionalists

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

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

114 Brand-as-Experts  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was all too happy to oblige!  

Evidence

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

Wait, what?  

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E96 — Two Kindred Spirits Drawn to Mature Complications

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

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

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 96 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 14th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E95The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex; S2 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts; S2 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

16 Talent Profiles found in Four Organization Types

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Methods and Metrics  

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

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

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E95 — The Founder’s Curse Unleashed by the Edifice Complex

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

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

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 95 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 13th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E94Sustained Growth: Slicing Turnover and Grooming Experts; S2 E93Who It Takes to Keep Growth at It’s Peak; S2 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

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

Part Two

25. Director Continuous Improvement 

Turbulent Industry

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

Corporate Education

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

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

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

Adding Analytical Specialists to Sustain Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Continuous Process Improvement

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

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

Manufacturing from Southeast Asia

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

Time-to-Money

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

Edifice Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Cowboy Product Managers

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

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

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

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

Nothing.

A Dressing Down and Out

My facilitator and I exchange stunned looks. 

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

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

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

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

With that she stormed off. 

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

Immune System Rejection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They won, I Lost

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

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

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

“This won’t be your best meeting.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

Advancing from Sustained Growth to Maturity

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Five Major Stages of Growth for Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

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

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

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

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 93 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 8th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

 

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E92Herding Cats Towards a Tornado; S2 E91How to Master Rapid Growth Without Gifting Your Competitors; S2 E90How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

Organization Type

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Sustaining-Associate Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Growth Stage

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

110 Analytical Specialists in the Sustained Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Third Growth Stage for 110 Analytical Specialists

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

Why?

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

Which we’ll discuss in our next episode.

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4516 to 4636.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

 

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

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

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 91 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 6th day of August in the summer of 2020.  

 

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E90How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?; S2 E89Garage Bonking and Chasm Jumping; S2 E88Convincing Family, Friends, Fools and Angels

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E91If that, then this … ? The daily double?; S1 E90Day 90 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment; S1 E89Because If You Don’t Someone Else Will. It’s Worth It!; S1 E88Who’s Marc Maron and What’s da Vinci got to do with him?

Context

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

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

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

Emerging to Rapid Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Stages of Growth

Start Up: Loosen — Leadership Crisis — Tighten

Emerging Growth: Tighten — Functional Crisis — Loosen

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

Where to Find Best Fit

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Rapid Growth: Loosen — Autonomy Crisis — Tighten

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

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

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

So let’s update our career options.

Where to Find the Best Cultural Fit

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Evidence

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4516 to 4636.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E90 — How Many Road Warriors Does It Take to Fuel Our Growth?

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 90 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 2nd day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

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

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

Consequences of not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Key points to keep in mind:

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

Bridging Leadership Gap Between Start Up to Emerging Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

Emerging Growth

26. Emerging Desktop Projector Company 

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

Growth Stage from Emerging to Rapid

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

WTF?

In general it goes like this: 

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

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

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

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

Customers

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

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

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

They created presentations in their computers.  

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

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

Founder

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

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

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

2nd CEO

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

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

Long Time Employees Loosing Out

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

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

Summary

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

How can that be true?  

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

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

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

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

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

Stages of Growth

Start Up: Loosen — Crisis — Tighten

Emerging Growth: Tighten — Crisis — Loosen

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Where to Find Best Fit Cultures

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

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

Part Two: Evolution from Emerging Growth to Rapid Growth

Evidence

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

Aren’t we all?

Random ones that make me want change my sign. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead: 

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4516 to 4636.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E89 — Garage Bonking and Chasm Jumping

It’s a culture that encourages individual imagination and achievement, as well as, stellar out-of-the-box thinking. It caters to the special kind of mindset that is driven by a desire to create the future — the most original, best and brightest among gadflies, concept champions, mavericks, the unconventional and eccentric.

“5”  Steve Harvey, 62:While many pay lip service to a principle, you’re all about the proof, the hard evidence that the idea will work. You want to live the improvement, and so you’ll roll up your sleeves and get to work.” Capricorn

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 89 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 1st day of August in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E88Convincing Family, Friends, Fools and Angels; S2 E87Start Ups Aren’t For Everyone. Are They a Better or Worse Fit for You?; S2 E86How To Avoid a Disastrous Career Like Mine

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E89Because If You Don’t Someone Else Will. It’s Worth It!; S1 E88Who’s Marc Maron and What’s da Vinci got to do with him?; S1 E87 — Pipe Bombs Destroy Vacation Bliss; S1 E86Day 86 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment

Context

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

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

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

Now we’re building on each of the 16 talent profiles and how they can take advantage of opportunities in stages of organizational growth from Start Up to Maturity and from Decline to Reinvention.

Five Major Stages of Growth for Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The longer it takes to convert visionary influence into early pragmatist orders tests the start-up’s capacity for survival.  

It has to generate enough cash initially, and then stabilize its business by eliminating cash flow problems. 

And that my friend is the crux of the problem.

Oh, and the vast majority of “garage” Start Ups “bonk” against the garage door and never make it out of the first stage.  

But if they do, they may not make it out of the growth stage or prevent themselves from becoming a mere shell of their former mature selves or worse yet decline and go out of business.

Consequences of not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

If your organization continues unchanged, the reversing success factors will trigger failure during the transitions from Start Up to Growth, to Maturity, into Decline and Reinvention.

Many of the Executive MBA students I advised hadn’t considered that the key success factors they operated under currently could derail their employer’s success in the near, medium or distant future.

It’s sorta like what brought you to the party has to be reversed to make it to the next stage.  So, first they had to realize which stage they were in and which was next.  And then, they had to identify the new and opposite set of key success factors — 180 degrees different.

Results of Mastering 180 Degree Opposite Set of Key Success Factors

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

In a start-up the founder sells a compelling vision of their future.  Just like our clients’ at Think!City did.  Or what happened to Proxima’s early employees who wore a lot of hats and loved it.  They also expected to be first in line when it came to heading up functions.  

That transition from organic free flowing ways of creating a company turned out to be the opposite of what helped them in the second stage.  And pissed off a lot of them when outsiders from bigger companies stepped all over them when they were hired.

Case of “Arrested Development”

It ain’t pretty.  But, it’s so predictable.  My Executive MBA students had to figure out how to close the “gaping chasm” and with their course work and the help of mentors I matched them with, how to navigate the “transformation” required for a bumpy landing into the next growth stage.  Not every employer makes it, at least not at first.

Now we’re going to walk through each stage’s crisis challenge — crossing the chasm between each growth stage — and identifying the 180 degree solution required.

Solving Each Stage’s Unique Challenge

Stage of Growth

Crisis Challenge

180 Degree Solution

Start Up

Leadership

Tighten Operations

Emerging Growth

Functional

Loosen Operations

Rapid Growth

Autonomy

Tighten Operations

Sustained Growth

Repetition

Loosen Operations

Maturity

Control

Tighten Operations

Decline

Red Tape

Loosen Operations

Reinvention

Culture Blindness

Tighten then Loosen Operations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Bridging the Gap Between Start Up and Emerging Growth  

During the final leg of the product development process the looming deadlines and commitments tense the work that increases velocity and accelerated activity.

Teams work at hyper-speed. So it takes a certain kind of person to put up with last minute shifts in direction and make or break pressures.

What kind?

The most original, best and brightest among gadflies, concept champions, mavericks, the unconventional and eccentric. It’s a culture that encourages individual imagination and achievement, as well as, stellar out-of-the-box thinking. It caters to the special kind of mindset that is driven by a desire to create the future. 

What about the leadership crisis? 

Bridging Leadership Gap Between Start Up to Emerging Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

It’s a culture that encourages individual imagination and achievement, as well as, stellar out-of-the-box thinking. It caters to the special kind of mindset that is driven by a desire to create the future. 

What about the leadership crisis? 

Once the start-up survives and begins to grow, new knowledge about efficiencies and quality is required. 

More employees coming into the organization can’t be managed exclusively through informal communication, as before.

And, coming in after the fact, most new employees aren’t motivated by that same intense dedication to the product and its vision.

New capital needed to fund expansion. And new accounting procedures for financial control. So, the founders find themselves burdened with the unwanted management responsibilities. They long for the good old days and still act as they did in the past.

They don’t realize that’s the kiss of death.

Not until the crisis arises out of the conflicts.

So when the key talent begins to ask, “Who will lead the company out of this confusion and solve the management problems we are facing?” 

It becomes painfully clear that the answer is not the founder.

Two Talent Profiles Attracted to Emerging Growth

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51:It’s not expensive to amp up your powers of attraction, nor does it require special talent or particular features. The more present you are to the moment, the more attractive you are.” Scorpio

How can I disagree?  Who would want to.  I’m flattered that this is a legitimate Holiday Tau for me, but I’m not feeling its relevance today — so far.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:  

Your imaginative powers are strong and your sense of purpose even stronger. Mentors help you pull together a plan. The new season will be marked with a sense of belonging and group pride. You’ll rebuild with your team. There’s a stroke of financial luck in November and shiny new tools will make more possible.

Wait, how wouldn’t this be a perfect birthday present for either 107 Resilient Product Teams or 108 Core Business Group talent profiles?

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Selflessness leads to satisfaction. It’s the moves you make to see other people smile or to alleviate their worry or their suffering that will ultimately bring you the most joy.” Cancer

I have to agree in general, and even though it’s Saturday, I’m not experiencing this one yet.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King,72:Though work may go faster when done by others and fun may be more affordable when someone else is paying, this doesn’t change your plan. You’re determined to do it yourself.” Virgo

I have to experience what I teach and learn from my mistakes before I can turn the work over to somebody else.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41:You’ve been at the task for a while now and are ready for the new challenges that can be thrown in your mix. What some would consider to be increasing stress from every direction, you consider fun.” Sagittarius

Just as long as I’m not a German Short-Haired Pointer and the new challenges aren’t squirrels scampering from limb to tree limb laughing at me.

“5”  Steve Harvey, 62:While many pay lip service to a principle, you’re all about the proof, the hard evidence that the idea will work. You want to live the improvement, and so you’ll roll up your sleeves and get to work.” Capricorn

Not only for my self as I have been field testing this work, but for matching mentors to students to help them apply what the professors taught in their Executive MBA course work over a decade.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): Check your sources. There’s plenty of bad information out there today, which would be a regrettable share. You can avoid mistakes. Pause, question, and then make your move.” Pisces

Wow.  Doesn’t sum up this whole Season Two so far — our collective Pandemic Year?

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 4427 to 4516.

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 E88 — Convincing Family, Friends, Fools and Angels

We flew into Manhattan, digitally videoed almost all of their software engineers, surfaced their “core foundational story” and crafted a marketing and advertising campaign for the CEO, and the internal story to keep and retain the brains in the fold.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:The brilliant solution will be simple, but it’s not always so easy to think like that. What would an outsider see? A child? Ask the naive questions that your sophisticated mind often skips.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 88 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 31st 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 E87Start Ups Aren’t For Everyone. Are They a Better or Worse Fit for You?; S2 E86How To Avoid a Disastrous Career Like Mine; S2 E85How to Up the Odds in Your Favor

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E88Who’s Marc Maron and What’s da Vinci got to do with him?; S1 E87 — Pipe Bombs Destroy Vacation Bliss; S1 E86Day 86 of My 1-Year Natural Experiment; S1 E85What happens when the fear subsides?

Context

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

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

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

Now we’re building on each of the 16 talent profiles and how they can take advantage of opportunities in stages of organizational growth from Start Up to Maturity and from Decline to Reinvention.

Five Major Stages of Growth for Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Start Ups

Their founders are often described as a maniac on a mission. In the very beginning they grow organically through loose collaborations. Innovation leads to an IPO or acquisition by a larger company like Google or Amazon or other more mature players in the space. 

What they develop, independently, usually dramatically speeds up a standard process, or eliminates major steps, or in some radical way revolutionizes business-as-usual.

30. Venture Guidance

As a Systematic-Professional advisor I prepped potential startup entrepreneurs seeking investments from a group of entrepreneurs and former executives who agreed to pledge $50,000 each as seed or A-series funding.  Presenting with a deck of 10 slides, after being coached individually, they stood and delivered to a group of us role playing the sharks and throwing them curve balls challenging their assumptions.

Wannabe Entrepreneurs Seeking Angels 

I’d meet each person with a great idea, hear them out, conduct a preliminary in take 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 agree to pledge $50,000 each as seed or A-series funding.  

In my own career I had 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.

Individual Tech Coast Angels investors rarely got their money back on my clients.  

Our game plan was to divide the amount you needed by $50,000 increments and then you knew how many of those investors you needed to convince. Two for $100,000 or 20 for $1 million.

If our wannabes “graduated” from our “harassment” they submitted an application for an invitation to the next Tech Coast Angel meeting of all investors.  If they passed their initial screening, then they were invited to present to the large group. And, if lucky, to other Angel investors in the region until they collected enough $50,000 commitments.

Before Shark Tank

One of the mentors I invited to participate in The Executive to Executive MBA mentoring program provided a service just like Shark Tank, but way before. His proposition was for a founder to present to his group , get evaluated on strengths and weaknesses, work on the weaknesses with advisors within the network and pitch again.

Part of his value proposition, besides providing billable hours for advisors in their network, was introductions to investors who favored their model of vetting startup ideas.  

The Angels usually recouped their investments when the venture capitalists invested with hundreds of millions or they made their money when a startup was acquired by a larger company or registered for an initial public offering (IPO) on one of the stock exchanges.

But to be honest, the statistics rang true.  Most start ups fail within the first 5 years, but that’s after tapping into friends, family and fools and maxing out all of their credit cards and taking out second mortgages.  If one of my clients didn’t secure Angel Funding, then the game was over.  They never jumped the chasm to land on emerging growth. 

27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company

At Think!City and again as Systematic-Professional consultants, we crashed our models together — learning and development, knowledge creation, media production, internet communities, strategy, advertising and marketing. 

We worked together in a highly creative environment within a corrugated metal building designed by a local architecture firm in Laguna Beach, on a curve in Laguna Canyon Road.

Start Up Talent Culture

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

From our studio we continued internal and external branding with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100.  I fell headlong into sharing new knowledge that springs out of new innovations.

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. 

Start Up #1

One of our clients, Interworld, was so new their CEO, a 101 Breakpoint Inventor,  just didn’t know how to talk about what they did.  So, we flew into Manhattan, digitally videoed almost all of their software engineers, surface their “core foundational story” and crafted a marketing and advertising campaign for the CEO, and the internal story inside to keep and retain the brains in the fold.

The CEO was able to coherently sell Interworld’s story to potential investors and customer within an advertising campaign framed by their brand.

Before engaging the 103 Commercial Innovators and 105 Marketing Athletes in our process Interworld’s turnover rate hit 90%. But, because they had told us what their core foundational story was, they fervently believed in that mission they defined and the vision we fedback to them.  And, they voluntarily stopped taking the two or three daily recruiter calls from Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Interworld loved our work. 

Start Up #2

A technology opportunity emerged quickly which focused primarily on retail investors throwing money at an e-commerce platform that addressed Amazon’s bookselling initial business.  They saw the writing on the wall. The business model customized each “brick and mortar” business and took them online with the same look and feel of the store. 

As each new company signed on, the company with the platform, Online Retail Partners, learned new stuff, and developed newer bells and whistles they then shared with their “investment partners”.

The retailers knew their business, but didn’t understand technology.  So they invested in a company that did.  And as Online Retail Partners grew out, the new and legacy retail investors would share in the rewards. 

Warren of Incubating Start Ups

So, up on the 11th floor of a dingy gray building with only one operating elevator and noise chugging steam heaters sat a warren of start-up companies squirreled off into sections of large and small rooms — basically large enough to fit in tables with chairs facing each other and a lot of digital screens and yards and yards of cables.  

Online Retail Partners was one of them. We arrived to surface their business model like we did at Interworld.  The CEO laid out several problems for our help.  He said they worked on Internet-time — ever accelerating time-to-market like we faced at Proxima creating 2-way “meeting room tools”; they couldn’t afford any stinking time away from their pace to go to no stinking training; they “popped” retail businesses online in 75 to 90 days in a slow quarter; they needed to hire and assimilate 100 new employees and …

When we met them they had a core team of 5 or 6 geniuses — 103 Commercial Innovators and 105 Marketing Athletes — who learned how to finish each other’s sentences.  Everything worked like butter.  Nothing bad happened, until they began to break up the foundational team as they took on new partners and spread them out among them.  

Chaos But In a Good Way

New hires told us they would see people walking around between the shared couches and conversation areas in the incubator, back to one or two other tabled rooms, but had no idea which one of them was the team lead on a project they were hired into.

To us it just seemed like a ferris wheel spinning faster and faster until somebody launches out into space.

Crazy creative Dave and I interviewed those first geniuses and recording those on digital video with B-roll footage to capture the early warehouse environment with exposed pipes — kinda like where we worked in the corrugated metal building in the bend of Laguna Canyon Road.  

No Time For This

First of all they couldn’t agree on how many product development steps it took from new idea to finished product — in their case a password and access to their customers online environment.  We interviewed them separately, then held a group session where in an old school way had them draw their product development process on butcher paper taped to a wall

A new hire came up to me and said that was the single best thing that happened to him in the first 30 days — watching them convince each other what their process should be — as he was sitting off in the conversation pit looking on.  

He told me as we were breaking down the lights, that when we identified who we interviewed, asked for their phone and email he found out who his boss was and finally knew what he should be working on in “Phase 1”.

Team Follows the Leader to the Next Company

The CEO, who came from Staples of all places, body-snatched the original team almost intact from one of Amazon’s competitors and gave them complete freedom in founding the company.  And the technology team’s leader —  a 101 Breakpoint Inventor —   absolutely walked on water all the others said, so his personality, reputation and competence provided enough “stickiness” in the beginning.  But the second and third wave of new hires didn’t know him or about him.

So, as they grew, turnover accelerated.

Stickiness and Accelerated Time-to-Mastery

Our challenge was to accelerate each new team member’s time-to-mastery, without drawing too much away from everyone’s concentration on shortening product cycles, and without sending them to orientation off-sites for a week like we did in the old days.

Crazy Dave and I knew from our experiences with “Strategic Safari Tools” and technology innovation challenges circulating the new knowledge innovation teams “throw off” as emerging best practices was critical to their survival as they tried to scale and grow.

We focused on those emerging best practices.  We drew out the product development phases, using our digital video we briefly explained what happened in of them from my interview with each expert, using just the first frame of their picture we captioned them with their email and phone number.

It became embarrassingly easy to find each other quickly and efficiently. And solved the eternal problem with best practices for as long as I can remember.

In the old world, when you finished a project the leader was to see to it a best practice was written up — what the situation and context demanded, something about surprises, what worked well and what didn’t, and maybe a question about “if you had it to do again, what would you have done differently?”

Product geniuses didn’t have the time to write something up.  They raced around attending to first-time problems and gnarly solutions.

Knowledge Leakage

We used to call it knowledge leakage.  It just evaporated. But the issue was composing something in writing. 

If you wanted me to write up a best practice about what we’ve covered here it would be a chore.  

It’s so much easier for you to interview me,  to pull it out of an expert and capture it.  As you interview them, they’re given the opportunity to unspool.

They’re replaying it for the first time from beginning to end and re-discovering what they learned, but hadn’t thought of before.  It could be the real lesson.

We Slowed Them Down Until …

I found a software tool that scanned down through the audio tracks of video and logged in time codes and content automatically.  They provided an editor tool and a search function so we could very quickly zero in on all the instances that “Phase Five” appears in that hour of tape.

We didn’t all have to be in the studio at the same time.

That was the real pinch point in our behind the scenes magic.  With ORP or Interworld, or 18Global, or even Zany Brainy we couldn’t slow them down and the way we did business originally did just that

Our Systematic-Professional practice offered digital asset management — that just-in-time, just enough capability delivered to any creative team member’s desktop.

We Practiced What We Preached

Our Verage searchable knowledge base allowed us to view the entire 1-hour digital video, a smaller section of the video or little snippets within a clip.   If someone rolled onto our production team without having traveled to Ireland, Australia or Dallas they could view everything to get up to speed with the client.

Summary

Why are these talent profiles magnetized to Start Ups?  Usually the “Maniac on a Mission” aka 101 Breakpoint Inventor thrives on the highest degrees of Independence, Speed and Disruptive Innovation. 

As founders they bet it all on the line — “Go Big of Go Home!”  Usually they’ve cultivated a loose team of co-conspirators who may not entirely grasp the expansiveness of vision, 

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

but as one 103 Commercial Innovator told us, “Whenever Ian calls, we know to drop everything and join him.”  They know the new venture, base on past adventures, promises to be one-of-a-kind that they will regret if they don’t hop on board the train leaving the station — destination unknown.  Wherever founders take them the market, industry or themselves will never be the same.

Start Up Culture Attracting Three Talent Profiles

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

The early team can’t all share founders need for disruption and speed at the same highest degree.  To bring the vision to life and launch it into the marketplace some team players need medium degrees independence, disruptive innovation and speed to function aka 103 Commercial Innovators without unnecessarily challenging what the founders see that they can’t yet. Part of what they’re able to bring to the table is a translation function.  Figuring out how to define and deliver a proof of concept, a rapid prototype — something that is more tangible even for the rest of the team.  They’re always on the lookout for commercializing early applications of the vision, figuring out strategies for licensing their intellectual property and setting up joint R&D projects to fill in missing pieces and technologies. 

The first two usually hang out in Paradoxy-Moron organizations and can stay and grow as that organization matures through growth stages and reaches maturity. But finding a home in another start up, as serial entrepreneurs often do, they’re joined by folks, 105 Marketing Athletes who value speed (high) and affiliation (medium), but interject a focus on new knowledge creation.  They plug the holes in knowledge leakage that cutting edge processes produce by capturing it and sharing it and protecting it as proprietary processes almost as much as intellectual property.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

 Life always gets more interesting when you follow that whisper of curiosity. Your interests and skills evolve. You’ll take risks and gather up the freedoms available to you on the other side. You’ll be applauded in a familiar group and accepted into an elite one. You’ll win with someone you feel driven to impress.

The whisper of curiosity — I love that turn of phrase.  This ain’t my legitimate Holiday Birthday, but it certainly applies to how I’ve led my career and original research which I’m trying to stuff into this here “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” my work-in-progress.

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

Go in?  With this pandemic I hardly go out.  I pine for a stellar day, but I’m not seeing the signs of one yet, but it’s still early.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:The brilliant solution will be simple, but it’s not always so easy to think like that. What would an outsider see? A child? Ask the naive questions that your sophisticated mind often skips.” Cancer

So often I had to ask myself that question and asked my clients similar sets of questions to move over, under, or around seemingly insurmountable barriers.

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 4427 to 4516.

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

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