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….

The Challenge of “Always On”

A question I received this week was, “How do you balance the 24/7 of social media with an 8-to-5 work day?”

“Always on”, 24-by-7 is kind of scary. I live an area that, this winter, has lost power about 7 or 8 times in the past 2 months, so “always on” is kind of relative, but I digress…

The availability of the Internet is terrific when you need to do that search, find that restaurant, message your friend, research that project or notify the world of some truly significant event. However, if you’re a business owner, it can be intimidating. Since the Internet is always there, you may feel you need to be, too.

Well, maybe not….

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What am I part of?

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.


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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:

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 (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?

Who’s driving?

English: Alarm clock

English: Alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like every other breathing human being, my life is a churning dynamo of ups, downs, and decided neutrals (better known as the mundane).  As I slowly gain greater sense of awareness of the moment and the fleeting aspect of each of these moments, I am also becoming more aware of the “I” that can look at the “me” that is going through all of the changes taking places and, frankly, getting its chain yanked regularly and, usually, suddenly.  The challenge is to reside ever more in the observer “I” and not let the roller coaster of “me’s” experience drive me.

How does this manifest itself in everyday?  Consider this short episode:

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Social Media and Being a Professional

Illustration by John Tenniel of the Red Queen ...

Illustration by John Tenniel of the Red Queen lecturing Alice for Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been in a number of conversations lately where my colleagues and friends are grappling with staying on top of their game, so to speak, both online and in the office.  Not only are we coping with the well-known information overload, but we have the desire to improve, deepen and expand our skills, knowledge and expertise.  Each of us is evolving a methodology to accomplish this, but it changes a lot and, with so much change, it can be difficult to feel like you’re really progressing.  It feels so much like the Red Queen‘s comment in Lewis Carroll‘s Through The Looking-Glass : “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

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iNoob – Epilogue

Mac App Store

Mac App Store (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, this was a short series. My sixth month experiment as a PC-turned-Mac user is now complete….and I have a few things to report:

  • I really liked the speed of booting up or restarting.
  • The MacBook Air I used was extremely light, which was helpful given my lower back problems.  Years ago I had an ENORMOUS Lenovo ThinkPad which weighed a lot.  I liked the screen real estate, but had to take a deep breath to lift my computer bag in the morning….
  • Firefox on the Mac is a speed demon, unlike on my Windows machines.  Chrome clocks in about even on either one for me.

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iNoob – Chapter 2: Learning to be Productive

English: Product icon for MindView mind mappin...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been in the crucible of work with my MacBook Air for nearly 3 months now.  I’m finding myself feeling more at ease with many of the differences between Windows 7 and OS X. There is still the need to have a mixed environment for me to be productive AND happy.  One thing I found that I just NEEDED to do was purchase a copy of Parallels for Mac so I could get to Windows software like Visio, Project and Mindjet MindManager (there is a version for Mac, but I already own a license for the Windows version….). The installation of Parallels, Windows 7 and the various programs I wanted (including Windows Live Writer with the Zemanta plug-in, which is still my favorite blogging tool) went flawlessly.  Windows even boots faster in the Parallels environment than on my quad-core at home!

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iNoob – Chapter 1: Jumping into the Pond

I just started a new job and decided that things weren’t going to be tumultuous enough, so, on the recommendation of my new manager, I signed up for a brand

English: New 11.6 MacBook Air

Image via Wikipedia

spanking new MacBook Air as my work PC. This after working with nothing but Microsoft Windows since version 3.0 back in 1991.

Wow…lots of things to notice…

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