Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin

 

The thing you can’t have becomes a powerful placebo

New MQA music format?

The efficacy of a technology, a shortcut, a medicine, a tool, a method—you get the idea—is directly related to how difficult it is to obtain.

Placebos work because our brain picks up where our belief begins.

Without some sort of conscious or subconscious trigger, the placebo effect never kicks in.

But when it does, it’s astonishingly effective. Placebos change performance, cure diseases and make food taste better.

Consider the case of the new music format, MQA.

The overdue successor to the MP3 files we’ve been listening to for a decade or more, MQA treats your music with more care, and the reports are it sounds better. A lot better.

Of course, most people can’t hear the difference in a double-blind test, particularly with disposable earbuds.

But that’s okay, because no one is double blind in real life. Instead, we have information about what we’re listening to and where it came from, and it turns out that knowing the provenance of your music can actually make it sound better.

The fact that MQA might actually sound better is a fine thing, but the lesson here is about the story.

The MQA rollout has been agonizingly slow, with dates promised and then missed, with absent bits of gear, with no easy way to get this new technology. Which makes it even better, of course.

The same is true for baked goods that sell out every morning at 8 am, and the new beta-version of an app that makes you more productive.

If you want your medicine to be more effective, consider making it difficult to get.

[PS I’ll be doing a Facebook Live Q&A about the altMBA. See you at 2 pm ET today, Thursday.]

What’s on tonight?

Have you done your due diligence?

The next thing you read, the next thing you watch–how did you decide that it was next?

Just a few decades ago, there were only three TV channels to watch.

Worse, it was pretty common for people to continue watching the same channel all night, rather than checking out the two alternatives. The 8 pm lead in was critical.

TV Guide, at one point the most valuable magazine in the United States, changed that posture. The entire magazine was devoted to answering just one question: What’s on right now?

It turned consumption into a bit more of an intentional act. I mean, people were still hiding out, glued to their TVs, but at least they were actively choosing which thing to watch.

The internet, of course, multiplies the number of choices by infinity.

And our screen time has only gone up.

But here’s the question: The next thing you read, the next thing you watch–how did you decide that it was next?

Was it because it was the nearest click that was handy?

Or are you intentional about what you’re learning, or connecting with, or the entertainment you’re investing in?

We don’t have a lot of time. It seems to me that being intentional about how we spend our precious attention is the least we can do for it.

Kicking and screaming (vs. singing and dancing)

Unfair things do happen.

You might be diagnosed with a disease, demoted for a mistake you didn’t make, convicted of a crime you didn’t commit.

The ref might make a bad call, an agreement might be abrogated, a partner might let you down.

Our instinct is to fight these unfairnesses, to succumb if there’s no choice, but to go down kicking and screaming.

We want to make it clear that we won’t accept injustice easily, we want to teach the system a lesson, we want them to know that we’re not a pushover.

But will it change the situation?

Will the diagnosis be changed, the outcome of the call be any different?

What if, instead, we went at it singing and dancing?

What if we walked into our four-year prison sentence determined to learn more, do more and contribute more than anyone had ever dreamed?

What if we saw the derailment of one path as the opportunity to grow or to invent or to find another path?

This is incredibly difficult work, but it seems far better than the alternative.

The Bad B’s of Leadership

The letter B

Bad leadership feels safe like baggy jeans and broken-in sneakers.

Bad leadership has a baffling capacity to walk comfortable paths while the world changes.

Bold leadership, on the other hand, feels dangerous like learning to walk.

Bold leadership feels like almost falling.

The difference between safe and dangerous, bad and bold is:

  1. Declaring hopes. Unshared dreams don’t happen. If you want to get somewhere, tell someone where you’re going.
  2. Forgiving.
  3. Stepping out so someone can step in.
  4. Expecting more from yourself and others.
  5. Trying something untried.
  6. Developing untested skills.
  7. Admitting failure publicly.
  8. Trusting someone new.
  9. Accepting new challenges.
  10. Asking when in doubt.

No wonder there are so many bad leaders. Bad is benign.

Bold leaders step out with UNcertainty.

Bold leaders step toward the edge. Brash leaders mock the edge. Bad leaders are so far from the edge they can’t see it.

From bad to be bold:

  1. Let reluctance show you who you are. What’s in you that blocks your future.
  2. Reject notions of feeling competent. They’re overrated. You aren’t reaching high enough if you make it the first time.
  3. Make growth personal. Tie new skills and challenges to character. How does facing fear, for example, help you become who you want to be? What new character-muscles create your future.
  4. Imagine the new you before she emerges. Describe who you are on the other side of uncertainty.
  5. Rely on trusted advisers, mentors, and coaches.
  6. Continue moving forward – don’t fix failures – leave them behind. Think next time all the time.
  7. Role play in safe environments. Test your wings before leaving the nest.

What can you do that feels like you’re almost falling?

More bad “B” words for leaders:

  1. Belittle.
  2. Beguile.
  3. Baby.
  4. Biased.
  5. Baggage.
  6. Boring. (By the way, anyone interested in me isn’t boring!)
  7. Backstabbing.
  8. Bragging.
  9. Brownnoser.
  10. Bottleneck.

For a longer list of important “B’s” for leaders visit the Leadership Freak Facebook page (7/2/2013).

What good or bad B’s for leaders can you suggest?

Add important leadership words that begin with “C” onFacebook for tomorrow’s post.

Cost reduce or value increase?

Organizations that want to increase their metrics either invest in:

Creating more value for their customers, or

Doing just enough to keep going, but for less effort and money.

During their first decade, the core group at Amazon regularly amazed customers by investing in work that created more value. When you do that, people talk, the word spreads, growth happens.

Inevitably, particularly for public companies, it becomes easier to focus on keeping what you’ve got going, but cheaper.

You may have noticed, for example, that their once legendary customer service hardly seems the same, with 6 or 7 interactions required to get an accurate and useful response.

This happens to organizations regardless of size or stature. It’s a form of entropy.

Unless you’re vigilant, the apparently easy path of cost reduction will distract you from the important work of value creation.

The key question to ask in the meeting is: Are we increasing value or lowering costs?

Race to the top or race to the bottom, it’s a choice.

Fear the fear, feel the fear

Most of the things we avoid are avoided because we’re afraid of being afraid.

Too meta?

Sorry, but it’s true. The negative outcomes that could actually occur due to speaking up in class, caring about our work product, interacting with the boss–there’s not a lot of measurable risk.

But the fear can be debilitating, or at the very least, distasteful. So it’s easier to just avoid it altogether.

On the other hand, artists and leaders seek out that feeling. They push themselves to the edge, to the place where the fear lives. By feeling it, by exposing themselves to the resistance, they become more alive and do work that they’re most proud of.

The fear doesn’t care, either way. The choice is to spend our time avoiding that fear or embracing it.

Posted by Seth Godin on November 01, 2013

Our pre-judgment problem

Most of us can agree that picking a great team is one of the best ways to build a successful organization or project.The problem is that we’re terrible at it.

The NFL Combine is a giant talent show, with a billion dollars on the line.

And every year, NFL scouts use the wrong data to pick the wrong players (Tom Brady famously recorded one of the worst scores ever 17 years ago).

Moneyball is all about how reluctant baseball scouts were to change their tactics, even after they saw that the useful data was a far better predictor of future performance than their instincts were.

And we do the same thing when we scan resumes, judging people by ethnic background, fraternity, gender or the kind of typeface they use.

The SAT is a poor indicator of college performance, but most colleges use it anyway.

Famous colleges aren’t correlated with lifetime success or happiness, but we push our kids to to seek them out.

And all that time on social networks still hasn’t taught us not to judge people by their profile photos…

Most of all, we now know that easy-to-measure skills aren’t nearly as important as the real skills that matter.

Everyone believes that other people are terrible at judging us and our potential, but we go ahead and proudly judge others on the basis of a short interview (or worse, a long one), even though the people we’re selecting aren’t being hired for their ability to be interviewed.

The first step in getting better at pre-judging is to stop pre-judging.

This takes guts, because it feels like giving up control, but we never really had control in the first place. Not if we’ve been obsessively measuring the wrong things all along.

 

The artist who dances on the edge

You are brave.

Such a generous soul, someone who doesn’t hesitate to leap when others shrink in fear.

Your work means so much to you and to the people you share it with, we can’t help but be inspired at the way you make your magic.

You’re a warrior in the service of joy and you never seem to stop standing up and speaking up and doing your very best work.

Sometimes, a particular audience doesn’t deserve you.

But that doesn’t matter in the long run, because of your relentless generosity in sharing your gift.

I can’t wait to see your next work, and the one after that.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2017
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