S2 E73 — WorkFit: Chopping Off 12 Losers at the Intersection of Speed and Independence

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you thinking what I was thinking?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Independence and Speed 

Better or Worse Fit?

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

23. Organizational Development – Technology — Climate for Innovation, (A fast-paced, innovative culture that attracted the best of the best. Our motto was simply, “It’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”) World Class Manufacturing, Skunk Works, Trends and What ifs to find value during high change, Mergers and Acquisitions — Complex, Disruptive, Accelerated Changes, Just-In-Time, Safari. two different immune systems develop equal and opposite anti-bodies over five years, but especially in the first 18 months of selling something that even we didn’t understand — Better Fit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary for High Independence and Speed  

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

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

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

It just wasn’t for me.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4073 to 4231.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E72 — 20 Niche-Specific Opportunities Found After Making Soul Crushing Mistakes

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

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

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 72 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 28th day of June in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E71 My Top 13 Worst Jobs of All Time; S2 E70Persistent Failure; S2 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

Let’s turn to the better fits now.

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

Better Fits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. Organizational Development – Technology — Climate for Innovation, (A fast-paced, innovative culture that attracted the best of the best. Our motto was simply, “It’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”) World Class Manufacturing, Skunk Works, Trends and What ifs to find value during high change, Mergers and Acquisitions — Complex, Disruptive, Accelerated Changes, Just-In-Time, Safari. two different immune systems develop equal and opposite anti-bodies over five years, but especially in the first 18 months of selling something that even we didn’t understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4073 to 4231.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E71 — My Top 13 Worst Jobs of All Time

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

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

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 71 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 27th day of June in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E70Persistent FailureS2 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?; S2 E68Take More Breakthrough Showers

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

Worse Fits

Better Fits

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

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

Worse Fits

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

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

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E35 — This Ain’t No Zemblanity

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …; S3 E33Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?; S3 E32But, Why Should You Care?

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

That’s the preparation part of organizing you luck.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead: 

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E70 — Persistent Failure

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

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

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 70 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 26th day of June in the summer of 2020.

 

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E69How Can You Tell Who’s an Engineer at a Party?; S2 E68Take More Breakthrough Showers;  S2 E67Here’s What I Didn’t Know That Will Help You

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

Key Executive Advisor

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

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

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

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

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

Rinse and repeat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shocked into Venture Guidance for SBA

Usually I see these things coming.  

Not this time, though.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Contractor to Disease Prevention Start Up

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

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

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

Too Many Product Innovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synchronicity or Serendipity?

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

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

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

But, this time it was for me.  

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

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

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

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

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

But enough about me. For today, haha.

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E68 — Take More Breakthrough Showers

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

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

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

Company of the Year to Start Up

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

Wrong.  

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

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

Paradoxy-Moron Wannabe

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

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

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

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

Again, not the closer. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The main point was:

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

But, I digress.

Learning Enterprise Initiatives

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

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

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

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

Avoid Supervisory Training Gigs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outplacement for Retreading Downsized Managers

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

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

Local Disk-drive Technology Company

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

And threats for those asleep at the wheel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So shower more ofter.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

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

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

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

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

This is a continuation of my story

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

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 67 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 20th day of June in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E66The Romance of a Good Humor Man in Detroit; S2 E65Pandemic Uncovered 11 Life-Changing Secrets You Shouldn’t Ignore; S2 E64Let the Beers and Weekend Partying Begin

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

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

Context

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

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

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

Privatized Services B2B Business Model

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online Membership Start Up

Light bulb.  

I had uncovered job search related data and reports. 

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

I already rented a PO box in Laguna Beach.  

I liked money.  

And, sleeping. 

And, Laguna Beach.  

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

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

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

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

Modifying Group Job Search Behavior

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

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

But I needed to move on.  

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

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

Aha.  

Rebranding Seeds

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

I fielded new openings and published them in their newsletter. 

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

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

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

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

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

I really didn’t control the outcome.  

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

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

Internal Consultant 40,000 Employees

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

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

Here’s what I didn’t know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immune System Reactions to Dramatic Change

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

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

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

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

Climate for Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, then all hell broke loose when an impending merger of equal sized players became delayed due to alleged bribery for government contracts at the other company and the ensuing uncertainty about who would be doing what and what our new identity would be. 

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence

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

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

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 3808 to 3911.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S2 E64 — Let the Beers and Weekend Partying Begin

And, by coincidence I heard my name called out as I walked past another set of outdoor restaurant tables.  I spun around.  A middle aged caucasian woman in her late 40s or early 50s sporting a short, no muss hair style dressed in a brown professional power pantsuit waved in my direction.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:You are in a proactive mode and will lean into your gift for imagining, organizing and executing your next move. There are at least two key happenings that today’s plans will smooth right out.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 64 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 14th day of June in the summer of 2020.  

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.

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

Table of Contents

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E63Easier Than Finding His MacBook Air Password?S2 E62 — “Shh. Did You Hear That?”; S2 E61Pink Behind the Reflections

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E64 — Father and Son Rituals out of Storage; S1 E63Day 63 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E62Next Reality?; S1 E61 — Investment of Time and Effort

Context

Last week I focused energy for writing several chapters which illustrate my situations and scenes for my memoir, and this week I turn to fleshing out evidence for my second volume devoted to “Working”.  

One day in my consulting career after a late morning meeting with a client at a Starbucks on MacArthur Blvd, near the airport with three names — SNA (Santa Ana), Orange County and John Wayne — I took the less traveled path back to my office.  

Doing things differently to satisfy your own curiosity will be lucky for you.

I parked my silver green 2000 Toyota four wheel drive 4-Runner with the black side wheel trim in the University Town Center across from the University of California, Irvine’s campus in a 45-minute spot near the entrance to Trader Joe’s, Pete’s Coffee and Tea and the meandering open patio which opened up with tables and a fountain and more store fronts. 

With no particular destination in mind, I began wandering in the warm noon sun which felt good on my back.  

I wondered if the consultant, we nicknamed “Be Cross”, whose arm I twisted to lead my volunteer board through strategic planning up in Big Bear at a board member’s cabin, still maintained an executive suites office in the 10-story professional building that anchors mixed use ventures. But, I have to say I wasn’t curious enough to actually enter the building, trace my finger over building tenets and ride the elevator to find out.

I passed tables with students taking a break, asking each other what plans they had for the weekend with many calling it quits on an early Friday afternoon.  Let the beers and weekend partying begin. Students, right?!

And, by coincidence I heard my name called out as I walked past another set of outdoor restaurant tables.  

I spun around.  A middle aged caucasian woman in her late 40s or early 50s sporting a short, no muss hair style dressed in a brown professional power pantsuit waved in my direction.

I hate times like these when you know the person, but from a different sphere of your life and you can’t place her face with her name.

Steve, it’s me, Nancy.  She wanted to know what I’d been up to since she left the firm where we offered outplacement services a mile or so from the multi-named airport to take a training position at a start-up beginning its emerging growth stage just before the Great Recession took hold.

Still with Right?  

I’d been hired by another Steve, who had been a corporate trainer at a competitor tech firm in Irvine, but now ran the management consulting office.  In my role I advised “Key Executives” while they waited for their generous severance packages to expire after a year or two before considering their next move.

No I told her remembering after about a month or two after she left I did too.

Nancy wanted to know what I’d been up to.

 So I told her about advising startup businesses who wanted to pitch angel investors for venture funding, coaching an HR executive who spun out of a San Diego based defense contractor into a startup applying their electron beam technology into a commercial marketplace, teaching leadership workshops about managing and developing teams based on their Myers-Briggs temperaments, and finally co-authoring “Adapt! How to Survive and Thrive in the Changing World of Work.

We traded quick have-you-heard-from so and so’s, but had to stop because her salad order arrived as did the woman professor’s sitting across the table from her. 

Nancy introduced me to the professor with a more dark, severe, no nonsense style — the kind she could shake dry while dressing and rushing off to her first class of MBA students.

“Listen,” she said, “can I get one of your business cards I might have something you might be interested in.”

No need to agonize about your choices today because there won’t be any wrong paths, just paths that get there a little sooner or later.

I took her’s and placed it in my light blue casual dress shirt breast pocket after we hugged and I shook the professor’s hand while immediately forgetting her name.  

That’s me.  Great at faces, horrible at remembering names.  Even after saying them mantra-like over and over again.

Oh, well I tried.

If I am honest, I was oozing into an early weekend vibe.  I continued on with my meandering past the professional building, checking out women students in halter tops, and restaurants and shop windows.  

On a whim when I hit the opposite end of the center, instead of returning by retracing my steps I decided to follow my nose and walk up the switchback cement ramp installed for handicapped folks to what had been the heart of the campus as I strolled across “Campus Avenue”.

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “In a parallel universe, secluded from the routines, pressures and responsibilities of everyday life, there’s an oasis you’ve built for yourself out of your own curiosity and interest. Visit and become revitalized.” Scorpio

I don’t know about a parallel universe, but this COVID-19 pandemic provides fewer “outside distractions”, but for an introvert like me the outcomes are the same, except for the visiting and revitalization in person.  I do confess that I may follow my curiosity and interests to a greater degree.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “You have a different experience of the world than any creature who has ever walked it. You’ll be met with appreciation as you share your unique insights with someone you trust.” Aries  

So you’re saying I’m like a snowflake, unique in every way?  Haha, the second part of this TauBit remains to be seen, but I’m not holding my breath.

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: People need to hear your version of the story, but you’ve held back because you want to get the sentiment just right. It’s worth putting work into, but don’t overthink it.” Taurus 

The sentiment, hmm possibly, but just recalling the scene does require a lot of work just bubbling it up from memory aided by extemporaneous notes.

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:You are in a proactive mode and will lean into your gift for imagining, organizing and executing your next move. There are at least two key happenings that today’s plans will smooth right out.” Cancer

Sometimes work on one project can be applied to another.  You know I’m working on two works-in-progress.  The first about work and the second about a broader legacy.  I believe the legacy aka “Volume Three Manuscript” adds color with stories about what I learned and taught, my original research aka “Volume Two Manuscript.”

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:Normality can be an anxious dictator. Hit pause and step back. The wider view shows a much broader range of ‘normal.’ Step back again and there is no ‘normal’ at all.” Libra

So I rated this lower than a “5” because we left normal last year.  We have no choice so far during this second season but to hit pause.  The wider view must include a personal scenario assessment which unfolds from Deloitte and Salesforce meant for business and the society in which business works as the pandemic turns “normal” inside out.  I guess the broader range might answer how long and how intensely will we citizens be effected?

“4”  Steve Nash, 45:You’ll come across those people you seem predisposed to like. They speak your language, share your values, get your humor. There’s more connection to look forward to in the future.” Aquarius 

I’m taking the essence of this TauBit to mean from within the mentors I recruited for the business school and those colleagues I worked with over the years.  

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

Not so much for today, but this TauBit of Wisdom didn’t make sense for me when I first encountered the truism that you can’t move forward into new beginnings until you close down endings.  You have to put down past baggage first before you can travel lightly into your future.  As I write chapter drafts recounting the highs and lows in my life and at work, it is true I’m finding intriguing glimpses of tributaries I could have taken going with the flow.

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 3634 to 3808.

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 E60 — She Began to Weep…

Curiosity drives discoveries in science and innovation.  It pushes knowledge forward.  But, predictability and certainty favor the status quo and our homeostasis because without them our mind grinds to a halt. So what can you do?

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:When the solution eludes you, tackle it backward, inside out or upside down — any other way than the usual. What’s needed is a fresh approach.” Cancer

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 60 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 7th day of June in the summer of 2020.  

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

Table of Contents

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

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E59See What You’ve Been Missing; S2 E58Check Back in 18 Months; S2 E57Science and Medicine or Politically-Motivated Misinformation? 

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E60Overlapping Cycles of Life; S1 E59Where Did All the Dillon Millennials Go? Eureka!; S1 E58Judging a Stroll from the Hotel Santa Barbara to the Lobero Theater; S1 E57More or Less in the Know

Context

So, if you’re an introvert like me, then you understand how the forced solitude brought on by this Pandemic gives me the wonderful opportunity to work on my neglected manuscript I’ve been calling “Volume Three — a Legacy.”

Here’s an excerpt from the first draft or Chapter One .

AJ noticed him heading her way. “How’d you sleep?” she asked sitting in the kitchen as the sun rose in the East chasing the last moments of gray away.  Except for the gray she felt in her chest.

“OK, I guess, well no not really.  It’s just so weird sleeping in my old room.” Shaggy replied as he walked on the still shiny dark brown laminated wooden floor from the living room and past the long teak table in the dining room where all the family gatherings took place — Thanksgiving, especially Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — into the glaring California illuminated morning light.

“Coffee’s ready,” she said.

“Oh, OK, great.” Shaggy mumbled. He rubbed his tired eyes and turned left into the white u-shaped kitchen with white cabinets surrounding stainless steel dishwasher, stove, microwave and refrigerator.

Following his nose sniffing out the early morning fragrance just past the refrigerator on his right he mumbled something that AJ couldn’t hear as she sat in “his seat” with her back to the ever brightening morning streaming in through the sliding glass door.

“You wanna sit here?”

He opened the only unattached white cabinet on the opposite wall which hung above the light gray backsplash next to the white bay window behind the sink and next to the kitchen table.  He grabbed a dark blue mug, spun and headed back to the coffee maker.

“No, thanks.  I’m gonna just sit on the couch for a minute or two and sip this Folgers.”

Timing was off.

AJ landed at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California from her home with Darin in Winter Park, Florida in Orange County where it is normally three hours later on any day of the week, especially on this one.  

The one she hadn’t been looking forward to.

Which is why she was up first.  Why she had tossed and turned in the other guest bedroom at the top of the stairs. Why she laid awake with a deeply sad feeling beginning three hours earlier at 3:30 am PST.

Shaggy walked past the blonde oblong wooden kitchen table to AJ’s left to the first of two matching couches that separated the kitchen from the family room in one big room.  

He could see himself in the mirror display on the opposite wall as he padded the few steps deeper into the room and stopped turned left and found his spot on the first couch facing the second butted up to the light gray painted wall and the mirror displays.

The smaller mirrors distorted his image.  

And being 6’ 4” and under these circumstances this morning the distorted reflection mirrored his internal morning fog.

AJ rose from the kitchen table deciding to join him instead of talking to his back.  She slid down the small space between Shaggy’s couch and the fireplace next to the patio door walked 6 or 7 steps on gray tile hearth into the family room and maneuvered herself carefully around the round dark wood coffee table that now separated her and Shaggy.

Her view back into the kitchen would be the money shot if she and Shaggy decided to put the place on the market.  To her left the original white cabinet doors along the floor hid blankets for winter viewing of the big black screen TV from each couch when the California temperature dropped into the 50s.  Brrr. Except for anybody else not living in Florida or California.

They hid board games from childhood and all kinds of things that would eventually require sorting and boxing, not something she was prepared to entertain at this moment.

And the original bookshelves displayed pictures of the two blond brothers, Shaggy and Jazzy, AJ’s photoshoot near high school graduation.  And, books and plates and CDs, and a wine rack and more pictures and photo albums and ….

“Remember when Jazzy was a baby and you could hold him in the crook of your arm between you hand and elbow?” she asked out of the blue.

“No, not really. I was only four when he was born at Hoag Hospital, but I do remember you visiting every summer,” Shaggy said. 

To AJ’s right on the end table next to the wicker basket on the floor for collecting “The Los Angeles Times” newspaper Jazzy loved to use for starting a fire was a photo showing AJ in a white wedding gown smiling and a slice of a backdrop from the Outer Banks hotel where she and Darin tied the knot and Shaggy celebrated with a canoe filled with beer followed by his gigantic migraine dwarfing hangover the next morning — actually afternoon.

“I remember the back yard before they changed it.  It didn’t have the tan slope stone walls, but I think the black wrought iron railing stretched across the back from side to side.  And there used to be giant ficus trees in corners and a small round cement patio surrounded in grass,” she told Shaggy.

“Yeah,” he said.

That’s where they tossed a whiffle ball and played catch until probably Shaggy began hitting the ball with the big red plastic bat over the fence and down into the slope on purpose.  

“Somewhere there’s a picture of all of us in front of the tree on the grass around here I bet,” she said. “And probably that one where we four kids posed in front of the then white front door on the red brick entrance.”

“I remember when our parents threw that karaoke party when Jazzy graduated high school and I graduated college and you and Darin flew out for the Mexican foot catering affair.”

“That’s the one where Darin tipped over the container of margarita salt on the grass which killed it in no short order, right?  Dad never let him forget.  He once wrote on a birthday card that to commemorate the occasion they had a brass metal plate made up engraved with the date and his name and …” she began to weep.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday:  

You’ll be called on to do something you haven’t done before. You’ll be both inspired and inspirational. A group will form around your leadership as you apply past experience to figure things out. Results beyond your expectations will come at the start of the new year. Your family grows in March 2021.

OK, let’s check back in 9 months!

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “It only takes one connection to make your personal life go from being a stale routine to an inspired journey. You’ll make that connection today and a transformation will occur in the weeks to come.” Aries  

So you’re saying this connection is an antidote for pandemic cabin fever?  That transformation … will it come from a person kind of connection or from a answer that has eluded my pursuit?

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: You’ll be gifted with an emotion that is one click beyond passion and desire: rage. Rage doesn’t have to be angry or negative, but it’s always powerful, and best focused on what’s important to you.” Gemini

OK, this TauBit of Wisdom scares me and intrigues me.  How do you focus it without doing irreparable damage?

“5”  Steve Howey, 42:When the solution eludes you, tackle it backward, inside out or upside down — any other way than the usual. What’s needed is a fresh approach.” Cancer

Thanks for breaking the log jam.  I just couldn’t figure out how to start this manuscript.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Whomever you align yourself with, you grow to be more like. It isn’t necessary for you to have a personal relationship with your role models. You get to choose them from the whole wide world.” Leo

There’s such a long list, but one of the most influential is Toffler (see immediately below) and more recently Kurt Andersen who wrote “Fantasyland” which is both an update and a framework in which to view Future Shock.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72:Your famous adaptability will kick in. From the outside, your behavior may look illogical, but there’s definitely a method to your madness. When an unusual situation crops up, an unusual reaction is warranted.” Virgo

Should this be true about me, I feel the need to honor Alvin Toffler who alerted me to disruption and how to adapt or accommodate changes on the horizon.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41: Passions build slowly. At first, you don’t even realize what you want. When leanings turn to yearnings and become undeniable in their message, it’s a blessing that doesn’t feel like one.” Sagittarius

Who can resist such a phrase, “learnings turn to yearnings”?  But the point of the message mystifies me, why doesn’t the blessing feel like one?  It’s still early in the day, so maybe it will be revealed in the evening or late afternoon.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45:Emotional skill and intelligence can be earned through both negative and positive experiences. Today will bring scenarios you will use as examples of what to do and what not to do.”  Aquarius

Well, of course I’d rate this TauBit of Wisdom a “5” given what it looks like we’re being trapped in for the foreseeable future. So take some time to review the Deloitte and Salesforce sponsored scenarios. 

“3”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): The possessions that you get the most value out of are the ones you use every week and maybe every day. As for the others, the more you can let go of, the lighter you’ll feel.” Pisces

So that would be describing the 500 pieces jigsaw puzzle sitting for days now on our dining room table?

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead:  

Curiosity is a slightly uncomfortable state of mind, as it relies on the tension between knowing and not knowing. The tension is resolved with an answer. So tenacious is our need for answers that our brains will just fill in the blanks with anything that enables us to push forward. 

The human brain craves certainty. 

Without it, we are paralyzed. Certainty facilitates action, commitment and movement. Where there is no certainty (and reality offers very little of it) humans do the next best thing; we make a good guess and come up with a theory that will allow us to go onward. If to assume is human, then not to assume is superhuman. Anyone can say, “I’m right,” and live to defend that. But it takes humility, higher thinking and a willingness to be uncomfortable inside the tension of curiosity to go to the next cognitive level — to question, wonder, revel in mystery and leave the loop open to possibility.

Whether or not today’s forecast gains currency over the next 7 days, I believe the insights ring true for me — curiosity drives discoveries in science and innovation.  It pushes knowledge forward.  But, predictability and certainty favor the status quo and our homeostasis because without them our mind grinds to a halt.  Without answers we jump to guesses and theories and conspiracy theories, unless you are the rare person who focuses the unresolved tension onto the next higher cognitive level.  

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 3634 to 3806.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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

S3 E30 — Steal These TauBits, Please. It’s Only Fair!

No jealousy allowed.  Yesterday I confessed to swiping all the Holiday Tau I wanted. Why? I was only receiving  17%  of the total available Tau on any given day. So I was envious of the other 83%. 

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “While many scan the conversation for arguing points to dig into, you have better luck listening up for possible common interests. Bonus: Trying to see another person’s point of view is just good practice.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 30 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 17th day of April in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

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

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E29Why 83.3% of the Time I Swiped Your Tau; S3 E28Why I Stole Your Daily Horoscope for a Year; S3 E27What the World Needs Now Before It’s Too Late; S3 E26Following Alice Down the Rabbit Hole

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E30It’s Crazy. Why does Amazon Prime Work, but Netflix Doesn’t?; S2 E29Three Months That Changed the World; S2 E28Hosting Norwegian Zooms While Trump Eliminated the Virus in April; S2 E27Why I Have to Keep Leo da V on a Leash and So Should You

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E30Day 30 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E29Day 29 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E28Day 28 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E27Day 27 of My 1-Year Experiment 

Context

But, today I’m adding more to the Findings Section of the 1-year Natural Experiment’s Report.  These TauBits of Wisdom describe me well.  I can legitimately claim them (as can Emma the Baroness).

Scorpios (Oct. 24 – Nov. 21) Steve Zahn, Henry Winkler

Best Fit For Me

Work Organizations and Cultures

Your research will lead you to concepts, next steps and, most importantly, people who can help you take them.

Why did I pick it? 

If I’m true to myself (INTP / Idea Packager) and work on all of the Volume Two, Three, and Tau manuscripts at the same time,  I feel what I write about is truthful and useful and original.  And, by publishing to Patreon I can write freely and link to something else I wrote on my website and in my blogs. For instance I can work in the story about constant commoditization, how artistic work drives audiences to social media in a siren server kind of way.  And if that, then it means artists receive pennies on the dollar in royalties while the platforms thrive and grow in value.

Knowing about new possibilities gives you more choices.  You could attain the perfect coach or mentor or, at the very least, find the book you need.

Why did I pick it?  

Here’s what I’ve learned.  Listening to almost everyone else’s advice works for extroverts based on how their brains are wired — as I learned from “The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World.” To just pick one passion project at a time, focus on it and complete it works for them.  But,  as an introverted INTP life story writer and idea packager,  my strength is associative or lateral thinking.  I know it is also my weakness in the extreme, so the best I can do is treat my passion projects as category buckets and fill them each a little as I go.

Legacy and Wisdom

For you, intuition isn’t a part-time thing. It’s always engaged. Today it will be a significant driver for you.

Why did I pick it? 

It suggests how our brains work.  How we navigate through life weighing facts, yet making the actual decision based on the best intuition and logic.  Passing that TauBit of Wisdom on to others who are like me may find it valuable too.

Vitality follows those on the edge of the known.  Anyone doing what they know they can do is playing it too safe to feel successful.”

Why did I pick it? 

I’ve lived by the mantra in my career, “Anticipate, Innovate, Iterate and Excel” which leads to my theory about companies and organizations that practice it as a core competency — Paradoxy-Morons.  And, why I’m attracted to an organizations at the Reinvention stage of growth driven by Chief Reinvention Officers (CROs). You’ll notice  I began adding topics to the bottom of each day in the 1-year experiment that add to the amount of time to compose the day, but offer glimpses into broader possibilities: Tau, Trends (What’s Next), Short-Form (Where), Long-Form (notes from books), Progress and Procrastination, Speaking Volumes (1,2,3) and Banking and ATMs (Analytics)

Practical Projects

Your story is more interesting than you think and spaced with valuable information and inspiration.  How and when you share it will be important.

Why did I pick it? 

At first, I felt embarrassed by describing the horoscope angle, to this project, but nearing  the last 30-days I feel I’ve got some sound underpinnings in psychology and  neuroscience identifying parts, pathways and functions of the brain responsible to a large degree for reason and creativity. And if this, then that propels me into what the Volume Three’s Manuscript can become, or to an entirely other manuscript can become.

It seems like good ideas are being snatched up all around you. Actually, they were snatched up long ago and are just getting reworked. Seek anticipated inspiration.”

Why did I pick it? 

This time frame over a year is unique enough that it might attract a following, but it allows me to link to something already written in a pre-COVID world just as it is ending.  How will fortunes and forecasts change over the next year? Tying people, places, things, ideas, information and trends together in new and original ways can begin to answer the questions with new ideas. The real work of an idea packager is anticipating new and novel ideas partially hidden in patterns driven by trends or forecasts.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “While many scan the conversation for arguing points to dig into, you have better luck listening up for possible common interests. Bonus: Trying to see another person’s point of view is just good practice.” Scorpio

Today, should I pick it? 

Emma the Baroness and I are hosting longtime friends who traveled with us to Italy, but have moved twice, returned to California, but have returned to sell their house while pulling up stakes for good to live in Arizona. We disagree on their choice of watching Fox News and the perceived unfairness of business closings located next door to each other, enjoyed the other 99% of the evening catching up. 

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Hi Steve. It’s easy for me to agree with your Holiday Tau today and I’ll include it in my bucket for Legacy (Volume Three Manuscript).

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “There is no how-to manual for what you are trying to accomplish today. The most important thing is that you know what you’d like your desired outcome to be. Send that star to the high heaven to guide the journey.” Pisces

Thanks, Harv.  I feel your TauBit of wisdom echos the first description of me listed under Practical Projects.

“5”  Steve Harvey, 62: “There’s so much you know that people will want to learn from you, but this is going to happen over a long period of time. You’re wise to be a little mysterious and give out one nugget of wisdom at a time.” Capricorn

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of digital magazines jumps from 7930 to 7981 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

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

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

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