7 remarkable lessons I learned from physical therapy

A result of my recent annual physical was getting a referral from my doctor for 4 weeks of physical therapy to help deal with a long-standing issue I have with shoulder and neck pain that links to severe headaches. I just finished up this course of therapy and am likely going to be getting some more, since it is helping a lot.

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How To Solve the Biggest Problem with Diversity

There was an item on the local news the other night that I found fascinating. A number of students at the university campus were holding a rally advocating for a Diversity Center as a gathering place that would acknowledge the diversity of the campus and provide a place and programs that would focus on that aspect of their identity.  Given the cash-strapped condition of higher education, my immediate thought was “re-inaugurate the Student Union as the Student Diversity Center and you’re done!”

As I let this information further settle, I began to wonder about the surface focus that our culture has taken in the intervening years between the concepts of Student Union and Student Diversity, what that says about our culture, and the dangers and opportunities this presents, both for our culture, and then, turning the thought on its side, for business.  Yeah, I have an exciting thought life….

Want to Be Heard? Listen…and Hear…

Detail

Detail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember the little plastic animals, usually dogs, that people used to place in the back windows of their cars?  These plastic pooches would nod their heads as the car moved, giving the impression that they were looking around. Sadly, I see this plastic behavior sometimes taking place in meetings I attend. Someone is presenting an idea, a report, training or just carrying on conversation, and some of the people around are making appropriate nods and noises, but their follow-up conversation and engagement belies their inattentiveness.  Even if they ARE listening, they don’t hear what is being said.
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Co-working and #H2H

Citizen Space, a coworking space in San Franci...

Citizen Space, a coworking space in San Francisco, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the U.S. Census, more than half (51.6 percent) of all businesses that responded to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) were operated primarily from someone’s home in 2007. Just over 72 percent are sole proprietorships.

What does this mean?
It means there are a lot of us sitting in a room by ourselves a lot of the time.  When the need to focus is keen, this can be really helpful. However, we are human beings, and none of us operates all that well in a workplace vacuum.

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Just Don’t Call It Change

I attended a very interesting forum yesterday. The topic was what they termed the “triple bottom line” of sustainability: Environmental, Economic and Social. The members of the panel were from varied industries and sizes of companies and all had unique stories and perspectives on how they have approached sustainability in a way that truly benefits everyone. It was thought-provoking and I intend to write some more about it in a different post.

However, a comment that one of the panelists made leapt out at me. In telling how some of the changes that the company had made and continues to make to enhance their sustainability, they had found that couching the efforts as improvement instead of change had a significant impact on the feelings that other team members had about the efforts and their buy-in.

As she said at the time, “No one wants to change, but who doesn’t want to improve?

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Build a Business by Giving

I recently found out about a 7-week course focused on building a business that was both profitable, engaging and fun.  I couldn’t resist that combination, so I dropped the company a mail and asked for them to get in touch with me so I could find out more…to see if it would really be something that would address my needs and give me some tools and best practices. I was contacted within the day and the owner asked if we could have a call to talk about it.  I agreed.
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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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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.

First Thoughts in a New Community

2012_09_17 Community Management IMG_0841

2012_09_17 Community Management IMG_0841 (Photo credit: joelogon)

OK, so I’m stepping away from the fire hose for a moment. I’m today wrapping up, if that even makes sense when you’re on the road, week #5 in my new gig as Senior Community Manager at SDL. Collecting and prioritizing my thoughts and experiences will likely take some time, if only because so many of them do not categorize very simply.

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I love it when a plan comes together….

Swooshable Planning

Image by Bohman via Flickr

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to sit in on a quarterly meeting of some of the hardest working folks I know. My company calls them Product Planners.  The difficulty of what they do is hidden by the simplicity of their title…if you’ve never worked in an enterprise that is tracking released products, fixing them as needed, and then planning new ones with the added uncertainty of forecasting their popularity, then you aren’t aware of the tricky dance these folks do.  Years ago while watching one of my favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies, I remember Crow T. Robot remarking, upon seeing a credit for someone tasked with Planning, “Oh, that’s what I want to do….I’ve always wanted to Plaaaaaan!”

I thought it was a bit odd too, at the time.  Now I know better.

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