With all thy getting, get understanding…

From second to segue
From magic moment to meaningful movement
From poignant pause to powerful proposal for progress

We change our level of awareness all the time. How much would we gain if we chose to be more clear to ourselves and to others, about who we are, what we believe and how those beliefs inform our actions in the marketplace?

Creating Understanding requires You to Me and I confirm that back to You.

Image: Rock Eel Digital

Many blog­gers teach oth­ers to keep things light, breezy and un­der 600 words. This post is none of those. If that’s what you’re look­ing for, I cheer­fully in­vite you to come back an­oth­er day.

This post is tar­get­ing those people who know that per­son­al de­vel­op­ment in­volves work and they are ready, will­ing and able to com­mit. Ex­po­nen­tial im­prove­ments in our busi­ness, and in resolv­ing the hid­den risks in our busi­ness arise out of liv­ing the truth that per­son­al growth is worth the work.

A series of in­ter­ac­tions yes­ter­day cla­ri­fied why I’ve al­ways chaffed at the “mem­ber­ship” pro­grams so pre­val­ent on the web. They are un­mis­take­ably prof­it­able and per­haps it’s not to much of a stretch to re­mark that they are the dom­in­ant form of web-based re­sid­ual in­come. For this par­tic­u­lar self-styled busi­ness ex­pert, their walk didn’t match their talk. That’s the take-away mes­sage: I’m for re­sid­ual in­come and I’m for mem­ber­ship pro­grams, yet I’d soon­er give up chocol­ate than

  • own
  • lead
  • or be a part of

programs that fail to deliver value arising out of the character witness of those involved. In our current market valuations recalling the Dutch tulip craze, making oodles of money is only loosely correlated with delivering value, (for the Startup Dot-coms out there striving to be the next Instagram or its current parent Facebook).

In the worldview to which I and roughly a billion-plus other people ascribe, while a perfect program can theoretically exist (such as the martial arts 11th Dan, which has never been awarded), any program is populated by imperfect people, so striving for character improvement is as much a business driver as a personal objective. Programs only deliver value consistently and sustainably if the leader models and witnesses that value through the character of their personal life. The idea that one can separate private character flaws from business performance is as foolish as the Cartesian idea (cogito ergo sum) that the mind is separate from the body.

To jump up several orders of magnitude, the US Navy SEAL teams definitely follow-the-leader, yet they also relentlessly cross-train so if the leader is compromised or lost, they regroup on the fly and the mission succeeds in spite of the tragic loss. Such is not the case with this individual, nor I would guess with most of the membership programs, on-line or off-line. In order to scale, humility is essential. Let me repeat that:

In order to scale effectively, humility is essential.

Without the humbleness born of a servant’s heart, which Joel Manby covers so well in his bestseller Love Works, so-called experts who refuse to learn from everything and everyone around them will fail from the outset. Learning from those who think differently is the essence of exponentially improving our risk posture, because it is those elements which we “know cannot fail” that bear the fruit of catastrophe most often.

To scale with people requires, counter-intuitively, doing things which don’t scale, to set the example of giving more than getting, for a stratified leadership structure (SLS) to work. “Why SLS?” is simple. If we use our so-called expert’s self-supplied example: they get 100 requests a day into their paid membership program that each would require 15 minutes, that calculates out to 25 hours. Clearly, even those who built healthcare.gov can tell That Dog Don’t Hunt, as we say in Texas.

So leaders worthy of the term understand their largest role (as a fraction of their time invested), is in growing their people, so that the role becomes a reward rather than wearing them out. This is not the latest management fad, it’s biblical, Ex 18:21-22, so it’s several thousand years old and has been verified in every conceivable combination of conditions worldwide, across every organizational culture ever implemented. the_kings_speech_movie_poster

Simple has never meant easy. We applaud the cash flow enjoyed by folks who just sell software; yet they’re not even in the same ZIP® code as those such as King George VI, whose strength of character at overcoming his personal challenge of stuttering, inspires the world, spawns the creative genius of filmmakers who produced The King’s Speech and consequently, delivers its own form of residual income, which is the point which inspired this post. The rest of this article will go live tomorrow.

In a great presentation which Keith Lowery gave at Hackformers on 15 Mar 13, experienced architects and maintainers of big data approach their craft with an increasing humility as they learn more and more about the complexity which we so often confuse with wisdom, intelligence and understanding.

Carpe Diem!

Matt

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A walk in the forest…

Systems Thinking teaches us how to scale our perspective to study the forest or the trees, while Systems Engineering tells us what to do with the data we find.

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