Park it

Have you ever felt that emotional, cloudy feeling in your brain when something seems so hard that you don’t know what to do next?

I have.

When the speaker makes the wrong assumption. Someone changes their mind. An agreement is broken.

Our mind can cope with only a few challenges at a time. In meetings, when more than 3 barriers are raised, notice how everyone’s confidence and constructiveness drops?

There’s a simple way to overcome this. Since our brains black out, it’s best to create a ‘parking lot’ on the whiteboard.

The parking lot is somewhere issues, blockers or cons can be stored and addressed at a later time. They are things raised during discussion, verbalised, noted and recorded.

Our brains love this. We don’t panic that they may be forgotten. We don’t stress about getting sidetracked. We don’t accuse people of hijacking the meeting.

When the time comes to go through the parking lot issues, you will find that the emotion has dispersed and once unpacked they are much easier to solve than previously thought.

The Parking lot technique is a simple way to keep meetings on track (and on time!) and to keep everyone focused on achieving the same thing. Try it!

The expert of sharing

We see great leaders as experts in their fields. Visionaries of change and thought leaders defining the decades to come. The smartest, fastest or loudest.

Are they really that special, though? Are they that much braver than the rest of us? Of course not.

Great leaders gather people together and praise the latest ideas of others, steal like an artist and motivate the talented people in the group.

They aren’t always bright or talented.

So I want to propose something radical: leadership is an illusion.

Leaders aren’t the best in their niche. They’re the best persuaders, motivators and sharers.

They keep tabs on everyone that matters and distribute ideas that they know other people can convert into something great – with their influence.

Who are we sharing the best stuff with?

Who’s better equipped to make the changes we need to make?

What can we do today to be a better leader, not just a smarter expert?

Fixed or flexible

flexible

It’s frustrating when someone comes along and ditches the plan. The plan we all agreed was the best path. The one we graphed and colour coded and said, in unison, ‘approved’.

It’s also frustrating when someone can’t break from the plan. The plan that is so constrictive, inflexible. The plan that’s stopping us from making something even better.

Both ways of thinking are perfectly fine, but can be equally dangerous.

Often I find myself in both camps. When I’m invested in the plan, I can’t stand it when people break it. When I want to break the plan, I can’t stand people who want to keep it.

Understanding the type of people you work with (and for), either planners or breakers, is a massive help.

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There goes the shop

Whoops, there goes the shop.

The place you invested so much time in just disappeared overnight. No fire, flood or lightning strike.

It’s gone – vanished.

If this really happened we’d be shocked.

And it just happened. The physical store has all but vanished for many industries. It’s not coming back, ever.

Like most hobbies of obese Westerners, shopping is done on the lounge with a smartphone.

How will we adjust to this digital way of life? Can we still connect and build relationships on a 6 inch screen?

Do people behave differently when searching for things in a store compared to on a phone? Can we still grow our business without a physical address?

The answer is always yes. The how is much harder.

I’d give anything for her to feel pain

I heard a story last night about people who can’t feel pain.

The implications of this condition are horrible with children seriously harming themselves unintentionally.

A quote from the father of one of the affected girls stuck with me.

“I’d give anything for her to feel pain.”

Perhaps the worst parts of life, failure, heartache, loss, are all necessary. Devastation leads to renewal. Green shoots of growth comes in the aftermath of the bushfires black ash.

Pain indicates danger. Risk tells us that we’re alive. Failure means we can try again.

Life is best with highs and lows, what can you learn from your lows? I hope your pain makes you do something extraordinary.

Pick your own career

This post originally appeared on medium.com.

There’s a trend emerging in the dialogue of my generation of recent graduates and it’s terribly depressing. It consists of blaming previous generations and taking zero personal responsibility.

We blame the system for educating more and more people and, by extension, a greater supply of graduates for a limited number of jobs.

We complain that debt and recruiters conspire to make our lives hell.While these things may be true, they are muttered while playing video games, eating burgers and doing absolutely nothing to change the situation.

An alternative.

Quietly, without fuss, a group of young people are doing something completely different and succeeding.

I’m talking about everyday 20-somethings who, despite the system, actually get jobs. With or without qualifications they manage to overcome the conspiracies and land incredible jobs in amazing organisations.

How?

They ignore the excuses and take control of their careers. They develop skills that are in demand, quickly and cheaply. They test ideas, interview techniques, applications, networks and through pure perseverance they succeed. Continue reading “Pick your own career”

Ideas that change the world

Occasionally the small decisions we make can have a big impact. Round It Up America are making an impact.

The idea is simple. What if every time we bought something online or instore we rounded up the nearest dollar and the difference was donated to charity?

roundupforcharity

Customers get a daily dose of philanthropy plus the benefit of not budgeting for a 3.68 purchase. And charities benefit from the combined goodwill of thousands of consumers.

The little ideas, scaled to the world, can change the world. 20 cents here and there can become $10,000 very quickly.

What little thing can you do to improve the world today?

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When all is said and done.

What will people remember?

You’ve turned up on time, reply to all your emails and you’re the best at excel. Easily the best.

However in your next interview they won’t see your efficiencies, reports or your phone manner.

They want to know how you think about problems, change people and how your personality will fit with their team.

So how should we invest our time at work? We should focus on the big things. The presentations people remember, the opportunities to redefine your mission or to drastically change the way you treat your customers. That’s what matters.