Complicated

A good friend and colleague of mine introduced a wonderful new term to my vocabulary – The Complicator.

I see them in many many places now, and I wish I had this cue to spot them earlier.

Generally I confused them with Chicken Little – people who always thought the sky was about to fall and couldn’t see the upside of anything.

Complicators however are a little more insidious and beguiling. They constantly complain but at the same time they seem to move things forward. You admire the effort, and say to yourself

“Wow in spite of all those problems they made progress, good on them”.

And that is it, they’ve got you. hook line ( that’s a tangled line, and not as strong as it should be, and by the way the hook is made of the wrong metal, and not really appropriate for catching those kind of fish) and sinker (it should be heavier, but we found a way around it, modified it, talked to the design department, rang the supplier, then the sea was drained of all the water so it didn’t matter anyway).

You get the point.

I like to keep things simple, minimise the drama, focus on the outcome and not embellish the journey. Complicators do just the opposite. If you asked them to go to the corner dairy to get some pens for the office the story would go like this:

“That Dairy is hardly ever open (you know it is right now), the last time I went they were working on the footpath outside (3 months ago), damn what time does my favourite program begin…

They want you to say “Hey look it’s alright I’ll go…” to which they reply

“No, no, its fine, be back shortly”

That’s the game. Eric Berne describes them well in his book Games People Play.

So my question is – what the hell do you do?

My thoughts:

No, can’t print that one. Lets try another…

Give them an out for their plea’s for attention

Say “No I’ve heard that already what has changed?”

Say “Yep you told me that so what do you plan to do about it?

Say “Hey, it’s great you recognise the problems, it’s also great you know how to solve them. What I want to hear are the solutions”

All the other options involve weapons, cars, buses and combustible materials.

Have a great day, I’ll struggle to get through mine because, because, because….

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With the remarkable success of doubling my visits for each of the first three days since I got my blog back and running under a new address, I’m encouraged.
So thanks whoever you are.
In return a new post is coming out in a few minutes.
Bless
Richard

Spot the "differents"

OK so I’m biased.

Well I don’t mean to be, but I am. Worse, I think I am less biased than most. But then, I’m biased.

I love the anecdote of the medical professor presenting himself to a rather erudite audience and saying “statistically speaking 50% of this room are practitioners who are worse than the average”, to which the response was flat denial, loud guffaws and probably outright terror from some.

We all like to think we are someone else at times. Not just average, and certainly not less than average.

And maybe a sure sign of this for me is when I see someone being different I say to myself “Go you good thing”, knowing that I no longer have the courage or motivation to “dance like nobody is watching” (other than to make my children laugh”).

The reality is I like to think I don’t conform, but I do, lots.

And because I do, how much of me have I lost, how much of we have we lost, and how much real leadership have we lost?

I expect the answer would terrify us.

Which is why I say “go you good thing” (but not yet so anyone can hear), why I look for the lights in the eyes, the mischief, the different view, the person who snubs etiquette, the noise, the silence, the independent thinker, the colour, the quiet withdrawal from boorish company and I celebrate the difference and know there is better to come.

It is also why I am terrified. Because I am unsure where we grow this,  I know we are poor at supporting it, and I am sure we seldom celebrate it.

For me it takes “different” to make “exceptional” otherwise the best you can be is very good at what someone else has already done.

Part of the challenge is picking the right “different”. ‘Me too’ and pretenders only get in the way and make the road harder for those with something truly valuable to offer.

What differences make a difference to you?

How could we support them?

Do you have your own story of being different and getting so frustrated you lost your ‘zing’?

I’m interested to hear.

If you’ve stumbled across this blog, welcome, you won’t know I have been missing.
If you have visited this blog because you have wondered what I am up to – welcome back. I’m going to try and breathe some new life into it.
I have concluded I am a compulsive blogger. It’s good for the soul. I am not worried about who cares, I am worried about giving my thinking a way out.
At the same time it helps me get myown  thinking straight, and if along the way that helps somebody else, then I am an even happier camper.
Enjoy what has preceded this post, and enjoy what follows.
I’m happy to hear your thoughts, any time on any matter.
Go Well
Richard

There are no shortcuts in life, but you can short-change yourself.

How?

By taking the ‘easy’ way out.

What I think smart busy people have realised is that it is as easy to work hard on the right things as it is hard when you to try to take things easy.

I confess, for me being idle is an horror too great.

Iwonder however whether a lot of our productivity is tied up in the misguided notion that being busy and productive is the hardest way to live your life.

Spending most of your woken day at a job where you produce nothing is just painful. I’ve been there. Anybody who believes that is a good way through life has already started making life difficult.

Of course I am not promoting being a slave to your work or just pulling long hours and never seeing your family. Work life balance is hugely important (and this includes ‘time out’)

My focus is on the 40- 50 hours you spend at work.

Make them count.

Make the hours of your employees count too.

I would rather send people home early because they did what was needed doing than keep them here in the hope they’ll ‘fill in time’.

I concede it is a difficult balance, but leaders should not be ashamed of expecting more of themselves and their employees in being more productive.

The thing is – and here is the kicker – I believe this often doesn’t happen as the managers concerned aren’t doing it themselves and therefor are not prepared to ask their reports (note I changed from leaders to managers, because I have just demoted them all!)

And this doesn’t just apply to being productive.

So the next time you see a manger not asking for more, see what they are not doing themselves first.

Then decide- am I a leader or a manager!!

How is it we can run and catch a ball without making complex mathematical calculations?

Well, inbuilt for most of us is a process called the gaze heuristic.

The gaze heuristic is a heuristic employed by people when trying to catch a ball. Experimental studies have shown that people do not act as though they were solving a system of differential equations that describe the forces acting on the ball while it is in the air and then run to the place at which the ball is predicted to hit the ground. Instead they fixate the ball with their eyes and move so as to keep the angle of the gaze either constant or within a certain range. Moving in such a fashion assures that the ball will hit the catcher.[1][2]

How is this relevant?

Several times people have mentioned or alluded to the basic premise leaders are born not bred. Certainly for much of my management career I have believed this.

Now I don’t.

Well not absolutely.

I think as a guide it stands, but I think it ignores two critical aspects:

Firstly even born leaders need to keep being bred – to learn new skills, to revisit things they knew before, and to keep learning what they didn’t know they needed to learn.

Secondly there are always leaders lurking who wouldn’t be classically picked as future leaders, and circumstance can mean they pull themselves through or someone or something else does.

I’ve harped on long enough in various guises about the first aspect. The second aspect though needs to be noted.

Leaders looking for, and at, leaders can’t afford to ignore those ‘not born as leaders’. They may go about things quietly or  lead with dogged determination – not the sort that barks everyone day and trumpets their glory (they are pretenders) – I mean the ones who have a belief in themselves and a self knowledge that they have plenty to learn if they wish to lead effectively. There are endless variations.

I typically observe these unheralded leaders as being either fearless or, at times, verging on what appears to be reckless ignorance. They are full of surprises.

My aim with this post is to speak out for those leaders ‘not born as leaders’, and to draw out some of your thoughts and experiences on this topic.

These ‘not born leaders’ support one of my belief’s that you can grown anybody into a pretty damn good leader.

And because ‘we’ don’t, perhaps that is why the old wives tale of born not bred has perpetuated.

References

  1. ^ “ScienceDirect – Psychology of Sport and Exercise : Fast and frugal heuristics in sports”. http://www.sciencedirect.com.
  2. ^ “Gut Feelings” (The Intelligence of the Unconscious) By Gerd Gigerenzer. Viking, 2007.

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