The best couple of months of the year are upon us. Fall. Crisp air. Football. Back to school. Beautiful colors. Sweatshirt weather.
Most of us in business are staring down the edge of Q4 and perhaps beginning to reflect on how this chaos called 2012 played out. How can we finish strong? Make the numbers? Score that bonus? Most commonly, we’ll clip our travel budgets, push our machines and teams harder, and swap out some former “priorities” to improve our chase for the rewards and the 2012 finish line. We are going for the green, indeed.
There is another way to win. It is right under our feet. It’s the promise and the potential of people around us, our team, our “direct reports” (what an engaging term- not), our EEs (even better). While we have been rushing from back to back meetings, looking up and out and in for how we can best position and network ourselves and/or our cause, little seeds and pods of possibility have sprouted up in the shadow of Important Things. Bits of brilliance have been waiting for you under the canopy of summer. Still waiting…
Want to turn fall into the boldest growth spurt of the year?
Look around. Look beneath the leaves. Do some Q4 spending: spend some time with your team. Help uncover someone’s genius.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”
– Benjamin Disraeli
They are everywhere. Close. In the open. In the weeds. Everywhere.
Seeds: bold, brilliant potential.
In the madness we call “the workday” potential goes unseen. It exists undiscovered. It gets mowed over by other priorities. It’s lost.
How do we change the game? Master the art of discovery and the art of ignition.
How to begin:
- Go on the field (a.k.a. where your team is)
- Listen (no talking)
- Ask to learn (ask open ended questions to learn what the team is thinking, what ideas they have, what gift they can employ today…. and the other 12 zillion questions that may go here.)
- Listen (the gifts are there)
- Ignite (spark action… tap the potential)
Ignition starters (examples to get you going):
- How can we use your talent on this project today?
- What is one thing you can do to make “X” better?
- What idea of yours can we put in play today?
- Why is the team glad you are here today?
- How can you leave work elated today?
Mastery requires 10,000 hrs of practice. What would it take to get the first one…or two… recorded in your training log today?
Seeds not sewn produce nothing.
“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do” – Steve Farber
There is something alluring and safe about the Noble Rut… that place many career journeys are found. How does one arrive at this place? Design? Fate? Apathy? Poor choices at the crossroads? How about moderate “success” at some such set of skills without the critical underpinning of passion, curiosity, and zest? Perhaps the result of a family tradition of schooling and career path? Maybe the saddest yet: as an obligation to pay off a mountain range of post-secondary debt. The Noble Rut. The Dip. Muck.
Want out? Try a little love. That is what Chris did. He dropped the pre-paved, career path of selling big earth moving machines after more than a decade of Rut Nobility. He swapped crushed rock for something on the other end of the spectrum: fine food. He dropped “success” in pursuit of love. Today he is a culinary artist.
When you experience Chris present his art you are gifted with the grace of a man wholly in his element. The body language, the words, the magic spun in and around the glorious plates of color, texture, and flavors are authentic and passionate to the core. His world is a limitless field of possibility and a sustained display of being one with his work in the NOW. He offers a raw, rare aura of love. Noble Work, indeed.
Noble Rut or Noble Work? Where are you? Where is your team? You know what is at risk. Everything.
It took the unanticipated introduction to Chris and a magnificent oven roasted Chioggia beet salad to spark a Nobility check of my own. I am poking you to do the same.
Go find your love.
Simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau
It’s pretty easy to carry extra weight. Most of us are packing pounds of ugly plaque, slogging around in The Dip of work, relationships, life. A lateral move seems taxing, a leap nearly impossible.
Enter an awesome idea, a bold plan, a “what if”. We think, “Hell, I should go for it! I should move on and…” and then we look down… and in… at some battle scar and suddenly the railroad gates slam down, red lights and alarms go off, and we apply the brakes. None shall pass. We load up another 5 pound bag of dreams, guilt, hopes, rejection, ideas, and mistakes. Done.
Drop the weight.
Put boldness on our backs, not a backpack of failed attempts and should haves.
Feel the sun and the wind on our faces.
The funny thing about running light: when we get to those magnificent, unexpected places we discover that we have everything we need.
“Expect the unexpected, or you won’t find it.” – Heraclitus
We are 2 months in. No doubt our 2012 plans are being executed flawlessly. Hmmmm. Unlikely.
The majority of plans fail. There are zillions of reasons why from “we just threw a big goal up there to get the boss off our back last November” to “acts of God” and everything in between. A serious and frequent challenger of our plans is the speed-of-light kaleidoscope of change our businesses churn through every day. It is real. It is not going away. It doesn’t matter.
Wrenches are dropped in our perfect plans. Our new product bombs. Our suppliers file Chapter 11. Our high potential talent leaves.
A wrench is the best tool that could be dropped on us. It makes us dig down, spread out, look up, uncover a new idea, connect with a broader set of partners and tap reservoirs of dormant talent on our teams.
That wrench just might change everything.
Ask Jeremy Lin.