Is Your Tribe Remarkable, Unfocused or Mainstream?

Which Tribe do you belong to?

That seems to be an over-riding, occasionally unsaid, concern in our society. Conservative or Liberal? Religious or Agnostic? One percent or ninety-nine percent? Blue collar or white-collar? Introvert or extrovert? College Graduate? Technical? Gender? Race? We have innumerable ways of identifying, classifying and limiting the understanding of ourselves and those around us.  Labels and categories carry assumptions and expectations, whether they’re true or not. And how much of this relies upon context? It’s something that has challenged our species for all time and it doesn’t seem to be getting better….

That’s a pretty broad brush with which to start a conversation.

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What are the Secrets to Being a Remarkable Leader?

Who’s your leader?

I have been fascinated for years by leaders and leadership. This has come about for a few different reasons.

As I have moved from the military to academic, then corporate and now entrepreneurial environments, I have experienced a huge spectrum of leaders and leadership styles (or lack thereof…), and have benefited from the journey. Whether I have worked for the best or the worst, I have learned a lot.  Reading about leaders and how they work with their teams and interact with people has been very interesting too. I always enjoy the more comprehensive view into their lives and who they actually were, the god and the bad. that comforts me as a human being, knowing that those who have been placed in these places of leadership suffered from flawed personalities and persevered.

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Do You Know The Lie of “Comfortable with Ambiguity”?

Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration fr...

Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration from Alice in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many jobs have you had where the expectation was that you would be “comfortable with ambiguity“?  Be honest….is anyone really Comfortable with Ambiguity?! Or is this just the company’s way of stating the obvious: everything changes, so hang on?

I wrote a post last year about being in the moment and how each moment was nearly certain to be different from the moment expected. Certainly my life is in a very different place now, and yours may be too.  I’ll bet it is, since this world is anything but static.
It’s interesting that I haven’t seen that particular phrase used quite as frequently as before (say 5 to 7 years ago…). Has anything changed? Has the workplace become more aware, more mindful of the realities and discomforts of change, thanks to greater awareness? There continues to be a lot of discussion of mindfulness in the workplace…perhaps this has created the environment where change and ambiguity don’t need to be called out. They are accepted as the norm and natural.

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Laser-focused Business Goals!

There are a lot of ways for business owners to formulate, define and drive to their business goals. A mentor I had while I worked at Microsoft had three goals he printed on a 3 x 5 note card and taped that to his monitor. He told me that if what he was doing didn’t directly impact any of those three things, he would not do it (where he was in the pecking order allowed him that kind of choice…). He was relentless and laser-focused on those goals every day. They were something of a mantra for him.

Seriously interested in being as successful in my career as he was in his, I gave this a try. While my place in the pecking order didn’t allow me the kind of flexibility to say “No.” to some activities that didn’t map to my goals, I gave it my best shot. What I began to find was that, while my goals may have been well-written and clear, the day-to-day required to get there became more difficult and a lot less fun. Needless to say, this was frustrating….

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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.

Comfortable with Ambiguity?

English: Diagram of Schrodinger's cat theory. ...

English: Diagram of Schrodinger’s cat theory. Roughly based on Image:Schroedingerscat3.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acceptance of ambiguity is a by-word in corporate America today, if job descriptions are any indication. Not just acceptance but whole-hearted embrace seems to be the price of admission.  I find this call interesting, if only because of its own ambiguous nature.

A bit of research into the history of the word yields the Latin ambiguus, meaning “moving from side to side” or “of doubtful nature”. Yet, while demanding a comfort level with uncertainty, we are also asked to drive clarity, provide forecasts, deliver cohesive plans, and prove ROI on all the above.  No small task if the very nature of life, let alone business, is unstable.

It occurred to me that there is a dual view to take in considering ambiguity. One is by science and the other by faith.

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The Tyranny of the Post

They say that any blog post really needs a point to deserve existence.  While conceding that there is an inordinate amount of pointless content out there, I agree.  However, even if I feel that I have a point, a story, a well-

Writing With Left Hand

Writing With Left Hand (Photo credit: indi.ca)

formed argument or discussion, you may feel differently.  Well, OK….whatever.

It has been too long since I’ve published anything here, and I have been progressively encouraged and shamed by a couple of sources: Steven Pressfield whose books “Do The Work”  and “The War of Art” continue to bug me, but in a good way, and the husband of a good friend of mine Steve Wiggins, who is a blogging machine and seems able to publish daily, regardless of ANYTHING (he can be found at http://sawiggins.wordpress.com/ and I can’t recommend his work more that this – he makes me think).
My work for the past 10 months has been all-consuming and very satisfying, including the usual road bumps along the way and the over-arching ambiguity that is part of the workplace in today’s world.  I’m not fond of uncertainty, but I AM beginning to come to grips with it. There will be more about the continuing journey through ambiguity.
I guess the point of this post is I’m not dead yet and I still have a viewpoint from within that you may find of interest.  There will be more.