Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thinking about Strategy While Running

It was 6 a.m., the time had just changed (spring forward an hour) a few days earlier and it was pitch-black outside. I ran to a nearby track and there was another runner using it. As a general rule, for safety reasons, I watch for cars and other people. As I ran on the track, I thought I knew the location of the other runner on the track, but I couldn't see him. I quickly scanned the rest of the track and caught site of him further along than I had anticipated he would be. It surprised me; and prompted me to pay closer attention and anticipate. This feeling sparked a thought about scenario-building in the strategy process....

Scenario building, for example, is anticipating and creating a picture of at least three futures - the likely, best and worst case scenarios. You reduce the chance of being surprised and increasing your risk by investing in preparation for other scenarios as seriously as the likely scenario.

How would scenario building have impacted your business the last three years? The next three years?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Forgive and Enable Bad Behavior?

I had a conversation with a friend today about this dilemma.  
How do you move an important relationship forward when you've been wronged and the other person doesn't realize it or thinks you've wronged them?
Here's more detail: 
    • They haven't reached-out and are probably not going to reach-out to you....
    • The relationship is necessary, valued and is in everyone's best interest... For example, a family relationship or a long-term business relationship...
    • The other person is not especially skilled at healing relationships...
Do you ignore them indefinitely? Do you reconnect with them and pretend nothing ever happened? Do you risk another conflict by telling them how wrong they are? 
What do you do? Here are a few ideas:
    • Ask the other person if the two of you can "start over."
    • Make a request to avoid a similar situation again by discussing each others' behavior and what you both need to avoid.
    • Avoid getting personal, focus on changing the behavior, not the person. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Offering a Pew is not a Stinky Proposition

For logistical reasons I was at church this morning in a pew that probably would hold 15 people. I was waiting for my family to arrive (there are 7 of us) and before they did so a family of 8 arrived (it's hard not to notice a family of this size) looking for a place to sit. The father stopped at my pew and I shared that my family was yet to arrive and I was saving seats.

This family of 8 ended-up sitting in two different pews... Not exactly the picture of togetherness and unknowingly, I choreographed it.  

Well, I should have offered my pew. 

It was an opportunity to convenience someone else. In other words, I let an opportunity to be kind pass me by because it was inconvenient... Instead, I behaved not unlike how many of us do everyday. I worried about my convenience and I realized this morning, my acts of kindness usually occur when it's convenient for me.


The truth hurts even when you are sharing it with yourself.

The meaning of life is to love. To die unto oneself and do something for someone else even if it's inconvenient. Even when you are at a low point, the best answer is the opposite of what is convenient to do - something for ourselves. The quickest way to pull out of a low point is to do something for someone else. Whether it's personal life or business. 

The more we are kind when it's inconvenient, I imagine that the feeling of inconvenience diminishes over time and kindness becomes convenient all of the time. If I can ever attain this level of kindness, I feel I'll know to offer my pew and it will feel convenient. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Are You; Deaf?

A man wanted to test his wife, who he thought was deaf. She was doing the dishes and he walked-up behind her  and said, "can you hear me?" She didn't reply. He stepped closer and asked again, "can you hear me?" She kept right-on doing the dishes without saying a word. A third time, the man said, in a louder voice than before, "can you hear me?"

His wife replied saying; "of course I can hear you. You're the one who's deaf."

Sometimes we receive unexpected answers. Sometimes we don't perceive the reality of a situation. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Take a Risk, It Probably Won't Be Fatal...

I'm sharing this with you in the hopes it sparks an idea you can use....

There are three major trends in the commercial construction industry - designing and consructing a building on a computer screen before building it physically (building information modeling or 'BIM'), increasing collaborative behavior (called integrated project delivery 'IPD' or collaboration) and removing wasted movement from work processes or 'LEAN' construction.

I started a forum to measure how collaborative the construction industry is (using BIM and LEAN as needed) and answer the question - "how do we raise the bar and increase collaboration further?"

The result is the 'BIL' Forum and below is the description"

"This one of kind forum draws together BIL subject experts and practitioners from across the nation to Austin, Texas.  This is an opportunity to build relationships/leadership, deliver just-in-time support and select a common objective to reach collaboratively. BIL is the day after the annual AEC Leadership Super Forum, which is a separate event.

The (IPD) Collaboration Academy Advisory Board will also be awarding the 2012 Collaborators of the Year Award, at a special luncheon during the BIL Forum. This national award program recognizes leadership on (IPD) collaboration.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's the distinction between TRUST and COLLABORATION?

1. Trust is primarily used as a noun, whereas collaboration is primarily used as a verb.
2. Trust is something to be used. Collaboration is an "action." It's energy in motion.

3. Trust is an input and collaboration generates outputs.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop Being Domesticated, Be Outraged for a Change - KONY2012

Many people I work with are blessed with alot of resources. These resources are not ours of course... We are stewards of these resources and their will be an accounting (if not now, later). This is not opinion. It's natural law like gravity or death.

One man has spent 8 years shedding light on Kony, a man who has been committing crimes against humanity for 30 years - abduction, murder, sexual enslavement, etc... We're not talking about a few incidents. We're talking about more than 30,000!!! 

Technology has helped with communication about such people and has made it easier to be outraged AND do something.

Technology has raised the bar on the level of stewardship expected from everyone. It is more difficult to say you didn't know or not know how to do something.

Go to

Friday, March 9, 2012

How Can You Expect Someone to Buy When You Don't Know What You're Selling?

I delivered a strategy retreat this weekend for a healthcare organization. After I was hired, the Board members took the initiative and sent me their SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of their organization even before we arrived for the weekend. While they had very good ideas, they were taking an "outside-in" approach to strategy formulation.

There is a "rightly ordered" approach to strategy formulation, there is strategic thinking, strategic planning and strategic execution. We are naturally good at planning (which is the reason I received the SWOT analysis before the retreat) and not so good at the thinking (working from the inside-out). As far as execution goes, well, we have some room to grow their also.

While we used the SWOT analysis content during the retreat, we began the retreat by asking the question: "How do we improve the client's condition" and doing some strategic thinking.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Real Voyage...

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Any learning is richer when multiplied by two or three, etc...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Do You Continue to do The Same Thing?

I woke my children up for school this morning and I went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. My oldest son came to the kitchen table with a deeply creased scowl on his face. It wasn't unlike the scowl I had seen on his face for many other days for the last two weeks. He and his younger brother had been quarreling spiritedly again while dressing for school.

At breakfast, I asked him how he could do something different to avoid future quarrels (just as I had asked on several other occasions in the last two weeks). My rationale was that it was his problem and not mine and I was only there for support. I would just continue this unproductive behavior pattern right along with them.  

Well, what could I do different even in a support role? Talking to my oldest son first thing in the morning during breakfast wasn't working (the definition of craziness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result).

The learning here is, it's not just about someone else adjusting to a situation. Even in a support role, indirectly impacting a situation, there is a responsibility to adjust if no change is occurring. Later today, I'll visit with my son about the morning quarreling on the way to soccer practice to hopefully draw-out a different result than what's been experienced so far. It will be a different part of the day and I'll use a different approach.

I won't continue to do the same thing.