What am I part of?

Community
I use a lot of different tools in my work every day, as I’m sure you do. Like many computer-bound professionals, I use Microsoft Office apps like Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel (although I have had a hard time
getting used to viewing Excel more as a tool and less as an adversary, but that’s another story…). I use more than one Internet browser, since each provides different kinds of efficiencies. I use a to-do list app, a social media monitoring tool and a couple of analytics tools, and I use Evernote for all my note-taking and snippet needs…oh, and Windows Media Player for tunes (as a former pro musician, music helps me focus).

As a user of each of these, am I part of a community of experience for each of them?  Well, kind of.

Do I think of myself as a REAL card-carrying Member of these communities of experience (whatever that is….)? Not so much…until I need help or want to try something different with any of the tools.  Then I search diligently for where the associated community hangs out online and look for some guidance.

No one I know has the time to  play around with tools and services to force something. We all have timelines and milestones, and most of us want to go home at 5 PM. If someone else has done it first and better, I want to find out how they did it and model that behavior….not ‘hunt-and-peck’ around it until, hopefully, eventually, maybe I stumble across the right way to do it.

Um…..no.

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Scary and Hard To Do

Scream Cropped

Scream Cropped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read an article recently by Laura Cioca, Director of Media & Engagement at W2O, about something she calls ‘Fauxthenticity’.  She defines this as ‘the tendency some brands have towards assuming we’re all complete idiots.’

She goes on to describe it as a kind of creative laziness that ‘pretends that a brand’s participation in community has anything to do with people.’  She then lists a number of examples, all of which I have seen before and recently.  It’s sad really….

It seems to be a gospel truth in social business and so-called ‘thought leader’ articles that treating your customers and others in your interactions as Human Beings (that is, people with which you have and nurture relationships) is the competitive path to better business, greater earnings, products of higher quality and greater relevancy, and a degree of innovation not possible within the closed confines of the conference room.  So, if this is the Actual Truth, why is it generally ignored?
Well, to boil it right down, it’s hard to do.

Get out of your way

Ego suspension. There it is.  What does it mean?

listening

listening (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

I have been doing quite a bit of research and consideration of the skills required to be a truly effective listener, collaborator, influencer (more on that later) and generally a better human being. It turns out that ego suspension is critical to this direction of growth and one of the hardest things to do. Ever.

The Change of the Moment

mindfulness 1.0

mindfulness 1.0 (Photo credit: Mrs Janet R)

Like it or not, most of the passing moments bring something a bit different than what I am expecting.  That’s really just a fact, an observation. Whatever I plan, even in the midst of doing something that I feel like I have complete control over (like writing this post…), moments seem to move in a slightly different way than I thought they might.  Most of the time the changes are so small, so quantum-sized that they are virtually unnoticeable. That doesn’t change the fact of their existence.  What does change is my perception and acceptance of them.

Listening is Visual

Recently I had the privilege of spending several hours with some new members of the community I work with.  The scenario was a bit backwards, as

Listening

Listening (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

their particular community is a couple of decades old and I’ve only really known them for several months, but we are “new to each other”, so to speak.  It was a LOT of fun and extremely educational.

The first part of the meeting consisted of time set aside for me to make a presentation that I had worked on for a couple of weeks and spent some time rehearsing. I went over it again on the plane to the meeting and once more for good measure a half hour before the meeting began.  Upon entering the meeting room, I noticed no projector….um…..OK. The lead at the meeting told me that, since I was the only person with an actual presentation, they had decided not to have a projector.

Doctor Who and Abrupt Change

Doctor #11 and Amy with new TARDIS

Doctor #11 and Amy with new TARDIS (Photo credit: ChocolateFrogs)

I recently watched the most recent Doctor Who episode wherein he regenerates from the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) into the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi).  The final change was much more abrupt than other regenerations that I’ve seen in the newer series.  Capaldi’s expression is wonderful….he looks stupefied.  He says several things in rapid succession (my favorite is “Kidneys!  I’ve got new kidneys! I don’t like the color.”) but the one that really grabbed my attention was when he asks Clara, “Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?”  You can watch the change here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01nzqm6

Disruption, recovery and space

While completing my Masters degree I was vicariously introduced to Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School and his many works (a sample) concerning disruptive innovation.   Greatly interesting stuff and

Disruption

Disruption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

required reading for anyone in business or those who are creative and wish to understand the business world’s take on how this is perceived and understood, as well as the potential effects thereof.

That said, disruption and innovation as buzzwords have become less exciting through overuse and misunderstanding by some technologists and businesses, particularly as they apply to their organizations.  While, as Bill Gates has said, today’s business goes “at the speed of thought”, and agility is critical, there seems to be a lack of understanding concerning the fragility of organizations consisting of people executing on previous editions of goals, commitments, hierarchies and business models.  There are degrees of change that can be accomplished that help alter the direction of a business, a ‘mid-course correction’ on company strategy, if you will.  There are also methods and timings of rolling out these changes, or more radical degrees or types of change that will break an organization.
When considering disruptive change within a company, several areas should be considered. Along side the change, whether to strategy, execution or model, leadership should realistically assess:
(A) How long has it been since the last disruptive change to the organization?
(B) How long it will take to affect the change completely?
(C) How long will the ‘after change stabilization’ take?
(D) How much lost productivity can the organization withstand while the stabilization takes place and the company can begin executing effectively on the new direction?
(E) How clearly do the members of the organization understand the reasoning driving the disruption and can they clearly see the value of the strategy?
(F) What is the degree of ambiguity this will create for all interested parties – customers, partners, shareholders, communities…..everyone….and what is required to manage it through the disruption?