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Yes I Will…

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

It is said that the Ancients found ways that belie present day humans. Their conclusions were not so prodigious as necessary; they had neither the technology nor the data we rely on today. Their “will” was a “must.” Far different, we move by the conveniences of this latter-day sainthood; the earnings of a world whose urge is to ease life; not to improve it. It’s an arguable position, but for a measure of the emotional intelligence of today’s species. America may be the saddest nation in this world, for the level of depression that afflicts its people. To assuage the pain of “too much to deal with” we have given ourselves over to a mutation that both multiplies and divides us at the same time. It is the progenitor of directives that ease us into a “must do” world that relieves us of the responsibility of old, to solve our own problems.

Yes I will; No I won’t; I must! Which will I choose?
The answer may begin with self-awareness, and the choices that compel us by it, or the guilt that cripples; depression. Our path is the measure of Emotional Intelligence, and not IQ. Though much is made of the two, vogue notions of the adaptive-self helps little; it is ancient man that informs best. This is not because we have inferior tools; rather, that we have little energy for more than the “daily do’s.” We don’t have time for all things, so spare little time for things that slow the clock to live the meaning in our lives, and not its busyness; the inveigling of an anxious spirit.
Kahlil Gibran is noted for his wisdom. In it he offers that he learned “silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” If this sounds like a prescription for depression, you’d be right. So how did he, and do we find the same productive mood. He slowed time by the self-awareness of his condition; then gave it over to consideration. He understood the importance of doing all things with time, because nothing else retains it.

Much like the Lebanese poet, painter and philosopher Gibran, the poet JD McClatchy wrote in his meditation on the contrast and complementarity of love and desire: “Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” and what we choose to attend to — our fear or our faith, our woundedness or our devotion to healing — determines the quality of our love. How we navigate our oscillation between these inescapable polarities is governed by the degree of courage, openness, and vulnerability with which we are willing to show up for and to our own hearts. “The alternations between love and its denial, constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart.” Martha Nussbaum

The force of Gibran’s words, and others, sounds very much like the urgings of Jesus. But the world respects its own; unlike God, who selects His own. To our benefit or demise, as both contend for our attention, we have lapsed into the religion of “right virtue signaling, a perjorative neologism; the daring imposition of one upon another. The “must” in social upheaval. How then might we survive this new wave of “good and evil” taking up swords?

If the ingenuity of this age is to manufacture ease, the wisdom in the ancients was to find it in themselves. However inconvenient, we are ultimately alone with our choices and their consequences. These are the bane and the boon of our existence: to be one, while desiring the other. In this matter, the integrated elements of Emotional Intelligence are instructive: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

The mind may carve a path to reconstruction that focuses on the failure in others. We might, in this vein, bear enmities toward them as motivation for behavioral modification. “I hate people like that,” is a typical epithet for the emotion we expect to fuel desired change in us.  It would be a mistake; it doesn’t! Just as succeeding in the market requires a focus on competitors’ strengths, not their weaknesses, reveals opportunity; so too must we find good behavior as a model motivation. In simple terms, a model of healthy living is to relax, exercise, and eat real food. Few would argue against the value in it. Then why do we expect that by 2030, 50 percent of our population will be considered obese, with a body mass index above 30? The seductions awaiting an anxious spirit are simply too compelling. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in a food market look carefully at the baskets of others to count the volume of convenience foods purchased; especially young mothers stocking up to feed  their children. A Walmart Super Center devotes single aisles for each of the following items: snacks, ice cream, candy, frozen meals, and a deli counter with such delights as mac n’ cheese, mayo and tuna, chicken, egg, and ham otherwise known as salads, a euphemism for “comfort food.” Try making tuna salad with a piece of fresh tuna and EVOO and spices. You probably won’t like it, yuk. It tastes nothing like Bubble Bee.

Self-awareness counts knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses; a first step to a life of real ease. Ask what events or behavior triggers anger, sadness, and joy in you. Once you have these in mind, you can adapt and redirect your moods, growing patience with your thoughts and actions; taking time. This is self-regulation. Next find the motivation in your approach to things, the real meaning or purpose in what you do, or hope to accomplish—your goals. Helping others provides enormous satisfaction. But you cant give something to others that you don’t have yourself. This is where Empathy helps. It feels another’s state—their fears and discomfort. It awakens the desire in them to feel worthy of another. This level of relationship heals—them and you. Social Skills make empathy easier to accomplish, and to transfer in relationships. We need others. It’s the rung on the ladder to self-fulfillment that leads to self-esteem. Our belonging to others is vitally important; the loss of our sense of community is the root cause of American’s sadness. We matter to each other, not just Black lives. This requires a willing spirit, the ability to manage through conflict, and the empathy that builds relationships.

Faith and fear cannot occupy the same moment. Learn to trust yourself, love yourself, and to love others as yourself. The Ancient of ancients, Jesus, wasn’t wrong about this fundamental learning. We will come to a consensus with this view, or we will lose everything. The Ancients knew.

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

April 20, 2021 |

The Game Is On…

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

If your organization has an enlightened view of opportunity, it is (no doubt) building a meritocracy — a value based system of rewards that elevates human capital. These days that means that you’re likely in a war for talent. And if you’re not, you may be facing a conundrum that damns the innocent. The “best and the brightest” are increasingly rare, and like sliced bread, everyone wants them. But the talented, unlike sliced bread, are harder to come by. If you’re not looking further than your recruitment ad in the local newspapers, your dreams of a productive society of “knowledge workers” busily building the future of your organizations may be a “sugar plum vision” with no ties to reality.

Alternatively, you may be thinking that the “homegrown” approach is best, and have begun efforts to grow opportunity and an “execution culture” in your organization by an investment in personal development. It’s the right stuff. Sadly, organizations too quickly lose their energy for this as well, leaving the choice between talent acquisition and growth the whimsy in this corporate porridge. Both are necessary, both are right — you choose!

Talent — the fulcrum issue
“Talented people need organizations less than organizations need talented people.” This may sound a little bold, but would warm the cockles of the late management guru, Peter Drucker. Technology plays an increasingly significant part in this drama that has seen the traditional contract between employer and employee change — a permanent job in exchange for an employee’s loyalty to the “knowledge worker” of Drucker’s imagination — who holds the means to production in his hands. The lifespan of an organization/company is 30 years; a different market model has made obsolete the norm of the last century in which the company outlived the worker. Today’s worker will serve 50 years in the workplace, outdistancing his employer by 20 years.

Some have called this “Karl Marx’s revenge” in suggesting that computers are the modern day means of production. They are now in the hands of the common worker that literally means, “cheap enough to buy, small enough to house, and easy to operate.” A dramatic example of the influence of the ordinary worker is the so-called pajama revolution. Bloggers have repeatedly outflanked the mainstream media on domestic political news, and social networks have replaced newspapers and magazines as the forum for conversation among individuals with common interests. Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, with no background in the media, enjoys up to a half-million page views a day for his blog — instapundit.com

Not coincidentally, the more open a society becomes, the more available the means of production, the more “an aristocracy of talent will replace an aristocracy of birth.” It’s obvious where the talent in a society lives — with those who are educated and with means. This does not diminutize “nature,” but rather, reveals the benefit of “nurture” as a disequilibrating force in individual achievement.

Simultaneously, organizations are losing many of their advantages, such as job stability, security, and healthcare benefits. Even those with a yen for the old are finding it difficult to provide. Half of America’s 100 largest industrial firms in 1974 had disappeared by 2000. The very diversity that large organizations use to spread risk may have transferred to individuals by the power vested in the tools of capital improvement — computers and the talent to innovatively employ them. Consequently, fewer people are finding sustenance in the corporate world. Job tenure among the most stable age segment of the worker population (54-65) shrunk from 15.3 years in 1983 to 10.2 years in 2000.

New business starts in the U.S. (pre-recession) skyrocketed; some 50,000 each month hand out their business cards. The percentage of one-man firms is enormous, and growing at 4-5% per year. The upshot is a steady decline in the number of people willing to wear the “company collar.” Some 40-50% of workers openly express their interest in moving to a different company, and roughly 40% of middle managers have regular conversations with recruiters. Even top-level managers change organizations frequently on the way to the top, further demonstrating the talent necessary to great accomplishment. Youngsters, too, are typically in demand. Given a stable economy, unemployment among college graduates is low, enabling a greater sense of their own worth. In some part, this is the result of increased information about employers and salary experience across industry segments. Clearly, the internet is responsible for this awareness.

The talent magnet
Most in business are familiar with the term, UVP. Unique Value Proposition is the raison d’etre of product and service groups, and the solvent that greases the skids between seller and buyer; add value to the customer and s/he is “sold” more easily. Organizations that are struggling to answer the question: “How do we attract and keep the best people,” as are most, would do well to adopt a form of this equation commonly referred to as EVP. Employment Value Proposition is the new PERK in corporations, and it is quickly turning organizations, worldwide, into practitioners of what behaviorists call “white magic.” Listening, as it is commonly known, to the motivations of its people has replaced the employee handbook as the way organizations predict workers’ behavior. This is because few actually know what is in them, even though they are signed as a condition of employment.

Organizations still hold sway as the choice of those building careers; even superstars come to realize that their success is largely the result of the mechanisms that come together uniquely in larger organizations —the intellectual stimulation of working with others, the sense of belonging to those around you, even the sacraments of office life. Further, organizations are fonts of the talent that fuels growth and opportunity. Clearly, organizations have advantages.

So what must organizations do to attract the talent they seek? First among equals, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) argues for a focus on EVP. Compensation and benefits are an important part of the mix, but a friendly culture, accomplished and talented co-workers, and the potential for personal growth and opportunity weigh heaviest as motivators for today’s corporate confrère.
After a study of about 90 companies, the CEB concluded, “the rewards for managing an EVP effectively are huge, increasing a company’s pool of potential workers by 20% and the commitment of its employees fourfold. It can even reduce the payroll: companies with well-managed EVPs get away with paying 10% less than those with badly managed EVPs.” But there is work to be done; roughly, three-quarters of new recruits believe organizations fail to deliver on their promises, after attracting them to full-time employment. This may contribute to the annual survey results that mark 70% of organizations as dysfunctional.

It suggests that organizations put more effort into defining their EVP, says the CEB. Most human resources departments emphasize their organization’s achievements — past and present — but potential employees are more concerned about culture, personal growth and opportunities, and earning potential. Understanding the needs of the local market is important; Midwest employees are most interested in health and retirement benefits, while technology workers in the San Francisco Bay Area emphasize innovative product and equity sharing as important determinants to where they work. And the mode of message delivery has changed too. Since workers put more faith in what past and present employees say, companies must go beyond typical recruitment ads and institutional advertising, and reach out to prospective employees through social networks — associations, health clubs, community service organizations, and the like. Champions are often used to encourage their friends and social contacts to consider employment with them.

Winning the talent game
The most effective thing organizations can do to attract talented people is to encourage long-term employability. And the best way to accomplish this is to create a learning culture. This not only builds loyalty in workers, but also fosters an execution culture. According to one survey, 94% of those questioned thought that it was they, not their employers, who were responsible for security. However, workers do expect employers to help them grow their skills set. It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that very few organizations deliver the training and development they aspire to. The average company in America invests only $800 per employee per year in learning and development (LD). Anomalies (which are rare, indeed) are companies such as Chase Media Group, which spent over $1700 on LD per employee in 2006, and doubled that in 2007. On average, companies provide LD for only two-thirds of their employees.

To improve the effectiveness of LD may require that organizations use peers to conduct learning sessions. The informal nature of this approach works best, according to a survey by Deloitte, where “67% of respondents said that they learn most when they are working with a colleague, with only 22% saying that they do best when conducting their own research, and only 2% were happiest with a manual or a textbook.”

Clearly the best way for companies to win the talent war is to become learning organizations. Sadly, very few know how.

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

April 20, 2021 |

The Catalyst

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

The work of a manager is said to consist of planning, organizing, coordinating, and controlling. The role is usually that of the doer in organizations, leaving the vision and ideation to leaders. Clearly, good managers are also leaders, but the distinction applies, especially to the catalysts in organizations.

 
A catalyst is defined as a substance that increases the rate of chemical reaction without itself undergoing change, or somebody or something that makes a change happen (in someone or something) or brings about an event.

 
Among the most common chemical catalysts are enzymes, whose “activation” energy is responsible for causing change in a process or other chemicals and compounds by it—a kind of organic synthesis. As with humans, catalysts that increase the rate of reaction are called positive catalysts or, simply, catalysts, while those who decrease the rate of reaction are negative catalysts or inhibitors.

 
Consultants and coaches, for instance, are such catalysts, causing something to happen without change to them. Their positive “activation” energy causes catalysis, or the effect of making something happen that would not have happened without them. To be sure, catalysts in organizations have a way of getting involved just enough to spur others to achievement, to their credit, while remaining in the background.
They are influencers, but not authority figures, under most circumstances. Increasingly, consultants (as catalysts) are moving from the so-called doctor model to the partner model. The doctor model positions the client as suffering from a disease or ailment and needing expert advice to cure it. This approach has a number of failings, not least the tendency to make the client an expatriate in his own affairs. The partner plays the role of a friend, philosopher and guide. As such, he is more involved in the business and can act as a provocative thinking member of the client’s team and help avoid likely problems.

 
A good catalyst is always thinking about how to bring people and processes together to multiply their effect. They are the collectors and connectors of people, the “deal makers,” the “banners and buttons” types who see hidden gains in the obvious and whose desire is to help. When there is a catalyst present, things start to happen by the natural tendencies of the role. And, like most good managers, after gathering the necessary elements for a reaction to occur, the catalyst gets out of the way.

 
Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, in their book, The Starfish and the Spider, describe the catalyst as one of the keys to decentralization that is integral to any open system. In their preferential model, the starfish represents the quintessential open system, where decentralization of the key elements of organization act both to guarantee continuance and to provide necessary succession of those key elements. It is the reason that such social networks and websites as Facebook and Wikepedia can continue without hierarchy or the authority of anyone in command.

 
In their view, the absence of structure, leadership, and formal organization has given way to a model of decentralization that had lain dormant for millennia. Much like the starfish, the catalyst figures prominently as one of the five legs of organizations necessary to achieve decentralization.

 
To succeed, the catalyst must have tools. He may be the progenitor of good things, but he cannot lead the implementation. This must be accomplished by others, independent of formal leadership. That is, the catalyst causes a reaction, and workers must then exercise their self-leadership to make the changes necessary to achievement.

 

The Catalyst’s Tools
Genuine interest and investment in people and things—To the catalyst, all information is lined with opportunity. In it, and the people who carry it, are nuggets that have been hidden in plain view, things that most just do not see. When we are genuinely interested and invested in others, the information they have starts to flow. A catalyst combines it with information he has gathered from others to form an idea that brings people and ideas together for productive gain. But we must see real value in others and meet them where they are. It’s never about the catalyst.

 
Cataloging of people and experiences—When was the last time you looked for a felt pad to deaden the sound of a door closing? You knew you put it somewhere, but where? Catalysts depend on their ability to collect people and experiences and map their contributions to form opportunities for all. They move easily along these interconnected highways, creating new connections and forming fresh opportunities with them.

 
A sincere desire to help—What is the first question to ask another at a networking meeting? “How can I help you?” We are social creatures, quick to form with others who demonstrate sincere interest in us, in our abilities, in joining to make something happen. Things happen on byways—two-way streets. We participate because we benefit from membership in something. It’s what Maslow called “belonging,” the third level on his hierarchy of needs.

 
Emotional connections first—Most catalysts are clever people, but they tend to lead with emotions; it’s what forms real bonds between people. It’s also what helps form decentralized organizations, that sense of belonging to something larger than the individuals tending it. A shepherd loves his flock, and they are devoted to him—but is a servant above all.

 
Trust and tolerance for the unknown—Things happen best when from any direction. A basketball team depends most for its success on different members stepping up at various times in a game or season. The team is often led by surprising contributions. Not knowing something is better than knowing everything. In the latter there is no opportunity for growth.

 
Getting out of the way—After putting the key pieces of a venture together, the catalyst steps aside and ultimately leaves.

 

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |

More Tools: Read Smart, Read More

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

Effective managers are usually good readers. But maybe reading wasn’t a strong suit growing up, and despite the fact that you are doing well in your field, you always wanted to be a better reader. Your instincts are right. Better readers are more successful. It’s true, for a lot of reasons, but for one in particular — good readers have more information on which to make better judgments. It’s that simple.

 
But, how do you become a good reader? For years my children and others would pose the question to me. So, I began to consider the question more carefully. And while there are many “tools” that aid the goal of becoming a good reader, a few simple basics can make a big difference. Consider the strategies below, compiled over the years, among the tools that improve your odds at success … in anything you do — not least, reading.

 
#1 Determine what you want to know — First ask: Why am I reading this text? Is it with a purpose (in learning) or just for pleasure? What do I want to know after reading it? Once you know this, you can examine the text to see whether it is going to satisfy your goal.

 
An easy way of doing this is to look at the introduction and the chapter headings. The introduction should reveal the target audience and what the material seeks to achieve. Chapter headings provide an overall view of the structure of the subject.

 
Finally, ask whether the book meets your needs. Does it presume too much or too little knowledge (on the part of the reader)? If it doesn’t fit your need, find another.

 
#2 Determine how deeply to study the material
 — When you only need the shallowest knowledge of the subject, you can skim material. Read only chapter headings, introductions and summaries when this is your goal.

 
If you need a moderate level of information on a subject, scan the text. Here, you would read the chapter introductions and summaries in detail. You may then “speed read” the contents of chapters, selecting and understanding key words and concepts. Diagrams and graphs help at this level.

 
Only when you need detailed knowledge of a subject must you study the text. First skim the material to get an overview of the subject. This gives you an understanding of its structure, into which you can fit the detail gained from a full reading of the material. SQ3R is a good technique for getting a deep understanding of a text. This is the technique that follows a sequential method of examining any document, as outlined below.

Survey — Survey the document: scan the contents, introduction, chapter introductions and chapter summaries to pick up a shallow overview of the text. Form an opinion of whether it will be of any help. If it does not give you the information you want, discard it.

Question — Make a note of any questions on the subject that come to mind, or particularly interest you following your survey. Even scan the document again to see if any stand out. These questions may be considered as study goals; understanding the answers can help structure the information in your own mind.

Read  — Now read the documet. Read through useful sections in detail, taking care to understand all the points that are relevant. For some texts this reading may be very slow, especially when it contains a lot of dense and complicated information. While you are reading, it can help to take notes in “concept” or mind mapping format. (More on that next week)

Recall —
 Once you have read appropriate sections of the document, run through it in your mind several times. Isolate the core facts or the essential processes behind the subject and then see how other information fits around them.

Review — Once you have run through the exercise of recalling the information, you can move on to the stage of reviewing it. Reread the document, expand your notes, or discuss the material with colleagues. A particularly effective method of reviewing information is to teach it to someone else!

 
#3 Active Reading 
— When you are reading a document in detail, it often helps if you highlight, underline and annotate it as you go on. This emphasizes information in your mind, and helps you to review important points later. This also helps to keep your mind focused on the material and keeps it from wandering.

 
If active reading helps, you may want to photocopy information in more expensive texts, then read and mark the photocopies. If the benefit you get by active reading reasonably exceeds the value of the book, then the book is disposable, so don’t buy it.

 
#4 How to study different sorts of material
 — Different sorts of documents hold information in different places and in different ways. They have different depths and breadths of coverage. By understanding the layout of the material you are reading, you can extract useful information much more efficiently.

Reading Magazines and Newspapers — These tend to give a very fragmented coverage of a topical area. They typically concentrate on the most interesting and glamorous parts of a topic. This helps to sell copies! They will often ignore less interesting information that may be essential to a full understanding of a subject. Typically areas of useful information are padded out with large amounts of irrelevant waffle or with advertising.

 
The most effective way of getting information from magazines is to scan the contents tables or indexes and turn directly to articles of interest. If you find an article useful, then cut it out and file it in a folder specifically covering that sort of information. In this way you will build up sets of related articles that may begin to explain the subject.

 
Newspapers tend to be arranged in sections. If you read a paper often, you can learn quickly which sections are useful and which ones you can skip altogether.

Reading Individual Articles — Articles within newspapers and magazines tend to be of three main types:

News Articles — Here, the most important information is presented first; the information is generally less useful as the article progresses. News articles are designed to explain the key points first, followed by detail.

Opinion Pieces — Opinion articles present a point of view. Here, the most important information is contained in the introduction and the summary, with the middle of the article containing supporting arguments.

Features — These are written to provide entertainment or background on a subject. Typically the most important information is in the body of the text. If you know what you want from an article, and recognize its type, you can extract information from it quickly and efficiently.

 

#5 Reading “whole subject” documents
 — When you are reading an important document, it is easy to accept the writer’s structure of thought. This can mean that you may not notice that important information has been omitted or that irrelevant detail has been included. A good way of recognizing this is to compile your own table of contents before you open the document. You can then use this table of contents to read the document in the order that you want. You will be able to spot omissions quickly. This is why left margin subtitles with right margin text make easy reading of this kind of material.

Background — This project developed out of a need for easy access to playground equipment as a way to encourage physical activity in secondary school children.

Basic Science & Philosophy — Exertion leads to accomplishment. Things not ventured are not gained. The natural urge to accomplish and fit in is more easily satisfied with simple exercise and equipment. Not everyone is a natural athlete, but most find acceptable levels of athleticism when exercise is cooperative and fun, such as pushing a merry-go-round and jumping on to join others in the accomplishment.

 

#6 Using glossaries with technical documents
 — If you are reading large amounts of difficult technical material, it may be useful to photocopy or compile a glossary. Keep this beside you as you read. It will probably also be useful to note down the key concepts in your own words and refer to them when necessary, again using “concept” mapping — a good study method for students.
Whatever your need or desire for reading, good readers are made, not born. Give it a try. If you do, I’m betting that you’ll be reading more success in your tealeaves.

 

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |

What you see is what you get…

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

Or is it? Authentic people are “as plain as day.” The notion qualifies great athletes (Tiger woods), politicians (Honest Abe), those of character and verve (Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Elizabeth Cady-Stanton), and many more. Yet, “all that glitters is not gold (the BL Madoff IS, the lure of lotteries, first loves, etc.). “What is seen is seldom what it appears to be” (69 percent of all employees don’t work out over time, hidden problems with the purchase of housing and cars, etc.)

 
Genius may be defined as the precise management of intuition and information. It generally describes those that influence models of achievement in extraordinary ways—those that by their personal productivity (Henry Ford), intelligence (Einstein), perseverance (Edison), and sensitivity (Mother Theresa), benefit others. They see beyond the moment (JFK—NASA), the functional use of ordinary things (Craig Newmark–Craigslist), the expansive opportunity in simple expression (Steve Jobs–calligraphy, unique design), mass manufactured electric cars (Elon Musk’s Tesla), the inspiration in a common ethic (Billy Graham), etc. Each chose Chess over Checkers, anticipating moves that change the character and meaning of ordinary things.

 

Personal assessments … of most things, are flawed at best,
and for reasons that define the human condition and
defy objective reality—the drive to certainty in all things.

 

It is said that opportunity and solutions are often hidden in plain sight. Consider the cell phone. Endowed of convenient communications and simple functions in its seminal guise, many joined to satisfy the desire to “be in touch” at all times in a package smaller than most wallets of the day. But what was Apple Computer thinking when it introduced the iPhone into a crowded market of device manufacturers—unique design, unusual functionality, radical form factor, and a touch screen bereft of buttons (but one)? Was it only these, when even freshmen marketing students all know that features-based business models fail the moment a competitor adds the feature to a broader platform. The exceptional practical value of LAN technology quickly devalued the segment’s nobility soon after Microsoft built LANs into its ubiquitous Windows OS platform.

 
Wisdom suggests that we see beyond what we are looking at, listen to what’s not being said, reach beyond our reality, ready ourselves for the unexpected, and search for the extraordinary. Science refers to this persistent urge in some as intuition, or the adaptive unconcious1 at work; a sixth sense that confirms our analog condition and practice. Data models reveal the experience in it. We pause with caution over most things, dress to the image of ourselves, walk a straight line, bend to avoid breaking, and so on. In the end, we are conservative by nature, despite the inveigling of the hegemonic 4th estate that means to capture us by its insatiable appetite for mindshare.

 
When we pause to consider things; get “in-touch” with our feelings, good things happen to most. They are moved to greater understanding, perception, critical analysis, emotional and spiritual risings, productive energy, and acceptance. We pine over the disappointing behavior in others, and equally painful outcomes, but until we can defend another’s position, though different from our own, we are not likely to see anything but that difference.

 
As “the two Steves’” walked to the stage of Ricky’s Hyatt House in mid-’76 to present their latest computer to the Peninsula Marketing Association, a powerful influencer of the day, one thing waas clear. Though both were eager to talk about their latest accomplishment, it was Mr. Jobs who revealed the seminal personality that would drive their venture from that day forward. The Apple Computer achieved notoriety—all things “computer” were a fascination as this nascent industry gave birth to a revolution—but was relegated to “the computer for the rest of us” after Microsoft and IBM teamed up to capture the OS market that drove hardware sales. No love lost between visionaries Gates and Jobs over this, until they looked beyond the moment. Gates would later lend Apple $150 mil to help it through a thin time, and Jobs would later allow the native porting of the Windows OS on Apple Computers. Though personal growth and maturity carved the competitors; [sic], combatants, into “coopetitive” pillars of the new industry, it was not until after the millennium that their fortunes would switch. The introduction of the iPod and later the iPhone far outpaced the sales of PC’s. Perhaps, a student of General MacArthur’s2 war game strategies, Job’s had revenge in mind; not coincidentally, looking ahead to when his genius for design and user convenience (the ever-present hip cricket) reached a form factor many times the integration of the PC and more powerful by generational leaps. Apple’s iPhone is the most functional, design smart, and popular “computer” the world has ever known. One can’t help but wonder if he (Jobs) saw a vision of the very same over the 30+ years it took to meet up with it. This may be the time to take up Chess.

 

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |

The CEO

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

Few if any see themselves as anything but special, at least in some ways. The “positive affect” is born in the human spirit and encouraged by both physical and emotional attributes that increasingly are evidenced in multiple behavioral studies. The effect is not only evident in ourselves, but it is, not coincidentally, our desire for the significant others in our lives—parents, religious figures, partners (all kinds), and leaders. Our desire to see others as special is rooted in our sense of belonging, what Abraham Maslow identifies as the third “hierarchical” need in humans. So strong is it that we usually, and near automatically, put our trust in societal leaders hoping that their brand of “special” will deliver our hopes in real terms.

 
In the workplace none is positioned so uniquely as the CEO. He or she is keeper of the flame in most organizations, and not surprisingly the one on whom most depend for the decision-making that leads to both organizational achievement and individual fulfillment, despite the current flock of imposters in the news. The model of an effective CEO may rely on three key strengths for the leadership necessary to group effort. Under each is a long list of characteristic behaviors. Only some will appear on this printed page; the rest are online at www.townlink.com/news and views/ROI.

 
Strength of self-mastery, of action, and of relationship, as suggested by Laurie Jones, OD consultant, author, and speaker, are the pillars of successful leaders. Under each is a list of the qualities that empower leadership and results. See if you can identify your leader (and yourself) among them. While you’re at it see if you can identify the CEO Laurie had in mind.

 
Strength of Self-Mastery
1. He knew the power in the “I am” model. That is, he knew that we must “be” the person we wish to become or accept mediocre results. To register commitment requires that we openly express our achievement goals. We do not solve problems we don’t have; thus the first of the 12-step process used in so many “help” programs is the declaration “I am.” Whether the abuser, abused, or achiever on any front, we are seldom as good on paper as when openly accountable to others.

2. He stuck to his mission. When we have our mission firmly in hand it’s difficult to be distracted and submit to opportunism, where everything that looks good is an opportunity. Many are unaware of their mission, their purpose; and consequently confuse real opportunity with titillations.

3. He believed in himself. Confidence may be the greatest asset of a leader. It is founded in the belief that ordinary beings can and do achieve great things, and not in the view that the greatness is in the leader. We cannot be of two minds and expect purposeful achievement.

4. He took ownership. Everything we have has been given to us; even original thought has its cousins. If the CEO is truly the “servant of the house” then s/he is shepherd of the peoples’ assets. Leaders feel the full measure of the inheritance that is theirs; and the responsibility that attends it. The achievements and the failures are meant for the same purpose—to humbly serve.

 

Strength of Action
1. He saw all things as living. When we see opportunity in all things and people the possibilities for them are limitless. No artifice, we must first believe before we see.

2. He took action. The shear force of action taken by leaders has more than the effect of their words or deeds; it takes on life through others, multiplying its affects as they go. Good leaders play their hands several cards ahead.

3. He had a plan. “Fail to plan, plan to fail” as the saying goes. Good ideas have the brilliance of gold, but like gold lose their luster (value) when not put to work. When we get comfortable with the sound of thought, the clamor of productivity gets louder.

4. He formed a team. The inaudible sound of leadership whispers: “follow me.” We cannot change the world alone.

5. He called out the elephant. Good leaders confront issues, and they know when to do it. CEOs have to be good at calling out the question that is hanging in the air.

6. He saw things differently. When we see beyond “what is” to “what could be” and “what should be” (to make a difference in the marketplace) the potential for achievement rises dramatically. Are the iPhone and iPod just a phone and music player, or a way in which to make the use of such tools exciting and fun?

 

Strength of Relationships
1. He gave others a vision greater than themselves. We all hope for a better reality; leaders who offer it have a great gift to give, and usually lots of followers. Our significance is magnified by a clearer image of it. The best leaders are visionaries.

2. He said “Yes” to all things. When we embrace others, their initiatives on some level, we say “Yes” to them and to the things important to them. No CEO says yes to all decisions, but the good ones always say yes to people and their sincere efforts at achievement.

3. He empowered women. The imbalance between men and women in business remains, but it’s changing. Better than 50 percent of startups are lead by women, it’s nearly the same in medical schools, maybe because patients prefer them. Good leaders don’t turn away energetic and talented people, regardless of gender.

4. He was transparent. When we hide things from another we are saying one of two things: we’re better than they, or we don’t trust them. If we appear distant from others, closeted, it is harder for people to identify with us. Leaders practice full disclosure, and delight in relating their experiences to others.

5. He was the servant of the house. It’s what separates great leaders from all others. Good managers ask only two questions (ultimately) of their reports: “How’re you doing with the ‘thing’ we agreed you would do;” and, “What can I do to help?”

6. He viewed others as his greatest accomplishment. So many CEOs leave their organizations in poor shape, not in market terms but in the collective ability of their staff to carry on. Few would choose this legacy (viewing others as the greatest accomplishment) because too few fail to see their people as their greatest accomplishment.

 

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |

Words

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

Much is gained and lost by the spoken word. Though many can be turned to meanings beyond the parochial definition of them, words carry the power of life’s pleasures and pain. Instructive, colorful, poignant, of character, and misspoken, words–by their meaning and tone—are the avenues to the honor and horrific in human endeavor.

 
In efforts to prepare our world, for the opportunity and growth we all seek, we choose the words that aid this seminal desire in each. Those careful and patient with their words add treasure to the pursuit. In a world increasingly given to the constructionism of a post-modernist society, we have created the moral tribal communities that destine Left and Right. More important than service to another is the need (absolute) to “measure and place” each, according to his tribe. All this, while speaking of an emerging a one-world democracy. In the process, we shock our neighbors with the taboos and constraints, that either collects or warns them off. The results are often the ardor of totalitarianism or surprise as we wake the next morning to the “wrong candidate,” assumed or elected.

 
In the parlance of casual or contentious tribal ethic, we find meaning in the “whatever” that either enumerates or dismisses the footsteps to fulfillment. The term (whatever), taken up by youth and the youthful of past generations, is a sanctioning expression of the choices in unique individuals finding their way. Not so much for the word itself, but by its use as a dismissive, we find a convenient way to hurry to the next thing; often leaving bruised others in our wake.

 
Few would argue against the power in words, though too few are patient enough with them to gain their essential might. Prodigious indeed, words given meaning by a powerful phrase of action magnify their power and influence. We must engage our audience first before hoping to influence it. All that is digestible must first be ingestible. How we say what we say is easily as important as what we say. To give meaning to words, is to justify the conclusions we arrive at with the truth in them. A “cut-flower” society is not rooted in anything. It looks good, but withers quickly.

 
In his letter to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul reveals a way “through gentleness to everyone,” in expressing the words that form a more perfect union among us in this season of gratitude and joyfulness. Indeed, “whatever”!

 
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 8-9 NIV

 
In this season, especially, our words carry greater purpose when gratitude, for all things, informs them. Seeing everyone, and everything, as an opportunity helps.

Happy Holidays

 

Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at
fjrepi@gmail.com, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |
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