Anything’s Possible If You’ve Got Enough Nerve

 

I love that quote! How often do we get caught up in risk aversion or “what if” thinking and totally miss out on leveraging an opportunity while it’s still fueled by enthusiasm and naïveté?

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – J. K. Rowling

In case you don’t recognize the name, J.K. Rowling is the author of the immensely popular Harry Potter series. Prior to the success of Harry Potter, J.K. (then known as Jo) was pretty much destitute. She came up with the book idea while riding on a train. Good thing she didn’t spend too much time thinking about what the odds of success were.  She could have easily talked herself out of it.

Set goals big enough to be exciting, hard enough to be just out of your grasp, and then publicize them.  There’s nothing like a public objective to get the adrenaline rushing!

A Culture Of Innovation – How Do You Know?

While many organizations claim to operate within a culture of innovation only about 1/3 of Fortune 1000 companies have formal innovation metrics in place.  Lacking a measurement system does not mean the firm doesn’t value innovation.  After all, unless you are 3M and making your living by bringing new inventions to market, measuring innovation can be a little like nailing jello to the wall.  

Questions to ask:

  • When people try new things and make mistakes are they celebrated or vilified?
  • Have you lost valued talent from stifling creativity or empowerment?
  • Are ideas from the rank and file pushed to the side citing lack of time?
  • Do you have an open and transparent platform for collecting innovative ideas – one that encourages collaboration and maximizes the thinking power of the organization?

I’m a process oriented person – almost a conformist. I admire companies like McDonald’s for their efficiency and consistency through process. But I’m also highly creative. That means I’m open to changing processes in search of better results. I’m driven to find that magical balance between the need for efficient process and an appreciation for innovation. 

“Corporate culture is, above all, the most important factor in driving innovation.” Rajesh Chandy, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a charter member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy

Learning resources:

How To Create A Corporate Culture Of Innovation – Business Insider War Room

How Corporate Culture Promotes Innovation

5 Minute Productivity Push

Harvard Business Review posted an interesting case about an executive who turned her career around by listening to some difficult coaching and finding ways to alter her behaviours.  Below is an excerpt from Peter Bregman’s post that has the potential to change the way you look at your calendar forever.  If you’re interested in the full article, you can access it here.

Excerpt from “5 Minute Productivity Push”

Every day, before leaving the office, save a few minutes to think about what just happened. Look at your calendar and compare what actually happened — the meetings you attended, the work you got done, the conversations you had, the people with whom you interacted, even the breaks you took — with your plan for what you wanted to have happen. Then ask yourself three sets of questions:

•How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?

•What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do — differently or the same — tomorrow?

•Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

Like the idea of being super organized? Then you might enjoy this post from zenhabits entitled: How To Be Your Own Executive Assistant in 3 Easy Steps.

Painting with Words

Why do you blog?

There are as many different answers to this question as there are bloggers.  And by the way, the latest estimate of the number of public blogs is 156 million.

The blog you are reading is not my first.  About five years ago I was introduced to a site called CaringBridge.  I used it to keep relatives and friends informed during a family member’s critical illness.  Once the crisis was behind us I put blogging aside until I moved halfway across the country to my present location on the west coast. 

Two things led to my becoming a committed blogger.  The first is that I needed to find a different creative outlet when we moved to British Columbia.  Up until the move I was an avid painter but the wall-to-wall beige carpeting in our new home gave me pause.    Second,  I was  feeling a need for connectedness and words have always been my primary social tool.  In fact, I had begun incorporating words into my paintings – initially as accents, but slowly the words began to take a place of prominence on the canvas.  I still dream of painting an old tree with foliage made entirely of words.  I know I’ll do it one day.  That’s what vacations are for. 

So for me, blogging is a means of expressing my creativity and connecting with others by painting with words.

Do you have a blog?  Why do you do it?  Share your reasons in the comments section – perhaps we can create a mosaic of thoughts!

Would you like to make your own word picture like the one in this post?  Go to Wordle.net and have some fun.

Looking For a Better Job?

It’s an old and tired cliché – but it’s true.  Life is too short to spend time in a job you don’t love.

If you don’t wake up excited every morning, looking forward to what’s in store that day, it may be time to examine the suitability of your current job.

What’s stopping you from looking around?

  • Online career searches are quick and easy
  • If you want more information on a job family try joining a related group on LinkedIn.  Engaging in conversations with people in a given field is a great way to learn more.
  • Looking around doesn’t cost anything.  It shouldn’t, anyway.  In Canada it is illegal for any recruiter to charge a fee to job applicants.

Make Sure You Know What You Want

Before engaging with a firm or a recruiter, take some time to think about what you do really well.  Think also about what you don’t do well.  Imagine your ideal job.  The last time you lost yourself in your work, what exactly were you doing?  That could be your best first clue to a better position.

Get Outrageous

Not satisfied with your current situation? Forget about incremental improvement.  Dump all thoughts of patience.  Throw away any inclination toward slow and steady improvement.  If something is not working, start by identifying the strengths within your organization.  Declare what needs to change and create a vivid picture to represent the best possible state.  Then create an outrageous plan to achieve it.  Quickly.

Engage your trusted colleagues and write yourself a new future or draw a word picture.  Whatever.  Just get to it.

And get ready for heavy-duty pressure.  If you’ve taken sufficient time to identify organizational strengths – and have involved your people in the redesign process – this can be a gratifying exercise for your team or company.

I’ve embedded a video link on ways that top CEO’s deal with constant stress.  Listen as Justin Menkes outlines 3 critical qualities to help leaders keep moving forward:

  • Realistic optimism
  • Subservience to purpose
  • Finding order in chaos