Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin

No way out

That’s why we burn the boats when we land on the beach.

Because the only way out is through.

It’s pretty easy to bail out of a course (especially a free online course that no one even knows you signed up for).

Easy to quit your job, fire a client or give up on a relationship.

In the moment, walking out is precisely the best short-term strategy. Sometimes this place is too hard, too unpleasant, too much…

The thing is that the long-term strategy might be the opposite.

The best long-term approach might be to learn something, to tough it out, to engage with the challenge.

Because once you get through this, you’ll be different. Better.

We always have a choice, but often, it’s a good idea to act as if we don’t. (As long as we are aware of our neutral choice)

Mental load and the worry cache

It’s well known that the team that wins an Olympic relay isn’t the fastest at running or swimming—it’s the team that handles the handoffs the best.

The same thing is true of your job.

The tasks could be done by many people, but someone who is great at your job embraces the mental effort necessary to do task switching, to read between the lines, to keep many balls going at the same time. Strategy and tactics both.

Sometimes, we think that these are the things that get in the way of our work. In fact, they are the work.

Writing a sentence is easy. Deciding what to write in the next sentence is hard.

Making decisions is exhausting. It involves perception and analysis and most of all, taking responsibility.

Pretending to lead and manage is a trivial task, because there’s no, “what if?”

It turns out that the mental load of management is primarily around experiencing failure.

Actual failure, sure, but mostly potential failure. Imagining failure in advance.

All the current things that could go wrong. And more important, the things you’re not doing that will be obvious oversights later.

Our brains work overtime to cycle through these, to learn to see around corners, to have the guts to delegate without doing the work ourselves (even though that creates more imagined points of failure).

Scan, touch, consider, analyze, repeat.

The other thing that’s a huge load: Worry.

Unlike all the things I’ve already mentioned, worry isn’t actually part of your job.

Worry (expressed through non-productive pessimistic cycles over things out of your control) is antithetical to the work you’ve agreed to do.

Clear your cache of worry.

It’ll free up your processor to focus on the useful stuff.

Make two lists

On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks:

  • People who don’t like you.
  • Deals that went wrong.
  • Unfair expectations.
  • Bad situations.
  • Unfortunate outcomes.
  • Unfairness.

It’s all legitimate, it’s all real. Don’t hold back.

On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have:

  • The places where you get the benefit of the doubt.
  • Your leverage and momentum.
  • The things you see that others don’t.
  • What’s working and what has worked.
  • The resources you can tap.
  • The things you know.
  • People who trust you.

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer.

Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror.

Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it’s safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what’s happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you’ll do all day.

 

Off the hook with Milton Friedman

Nearly fifty years ago, Milton Friedman published a polemic, an article that altered the way many people think about corporations and their role in society. (Almost all economist articles are polemic: Subjective and ideological)

Countless writers have explained why it’s poorly reasoned, dangerous and wrong. (Including business school deans, Harvard Business Review and Fortune).

The simple message of the simple article was: “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits…”

Friedman does add a parenthetical, “so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud,” but it’s clear that his emphasis is on the first part.

Businesses, he argues, should show no corporate responsibility, do nothing to further the goals of an ethical society, do nothing to improve the lives of customers, employees or bystanders—unless these actions coincidentally maximize profits.

An interesting question that most people haven’t focused on: why did this dangerous idea catch on and stick around so long?

Here it is 2017, and the Chairman of one of the largest pharma companies in the country is gleefully telling patients and the FDA to live with the costs of his profit seeking, at the same time he pays his CEO more than $95 million a year. Because he can, and, like many who lucked into top jobs at big companies, because his excuse is simple: He’s just doing his job.

If the idea is so wrong, if it leads to an erosion of the social contract and the deaths of innocent kids, why are we still discussing it?

Because it’s simple, because it diminishes responsibility, and because it comes with prizes and warm chocolate cookies for those in charge.

The simplicity of the argument matches up with its mendacity. There’s no need to worry about nuance, no need to lose sleep over choices, no endless laundry list of social ills to worry about. Just make more profit.

Do this, get that.

A simple compass, a north star, a direction to go that absolves the employee/boss of responsibility for anything complicated or nuanced.

People love mechanical simplicity, especially when it benefits them.

The official rules of baseball are more than 250 pages long. Why? Because working the system, cutting corners and winning at all costs long ago replaced playing by the spirit of the game.

Since the league can’t count on people to act like people acting on behalf of the community, they have to create ever more rules to keep the system in check.

The problem is far worse in a supposed free market.

When humans stop acting like humans and instead indicate that they have no choice but to seek every short-term benefit and cut every possible corner, we can no longer trust each other to act responsibly.

Off the hook feels like a simple way out.

“I’m just doing my job, and not thinking hard about the side effects (or to be more accurate, the effects) of my actions. Not only that, but one of the things that’s part of my job is lobbying to have fewer rules. Because working the refs is good business. And because everyone is doing it, I have no choice but to do it too.”

Of course, it’s difficult for us to solely blame poor Milton. Lots of us have bad ideas, I’ve certainly had plenty. No, we need to blame ourselves for letting selfish corporate officers get away with this reasoning.

When we go to work, or partner with, or buy stock in a company that signs up for Milton reasoning, we’re rewarding people who have long ago stopped acting like people.

Profits are fine, they enable the investment we need to produce value. But almost nothing benefits from being the only thing we seek, and the pursuit of profit at the expense of our humanity is too high a price to pay.

Here’s a different version:

A business is a construct, an association of human beings combining capital and labor to make something. That business has precisely the same social responsibilities as the people that it consists of.

The responsibility to play fairly, to see the long-term impacts of its actions and to create value for all those it engages with.

[PDF]

An overlooked secret to effectiveness (and happiness)

Knowing where ‘enough’ is.

More might be better for awhile, but sooner or later, it can’t always be better.

Diminishing returns are the law, not an exception.

If we look to advertisers, marketers, bosses, doctors, partners and suppliers to tell us when we’ve reached ‘enough’, we’re almost certainly going to get it wrong.

It’s okay to stop when you’re happy.

Is more always better? Sometimes, only better is better…

[Chip asked a friend, a professional, how does he know when to stop making things better. His answer, “when my budget runs out,” is a sad commentary on how some of us think about ‘enough’.

It might let you off the hook, but as a professional, isn’t the hook where you want to be?]

Choosing your spot

It’s difficult to find the leverage to make a difference.

At your job, there are probably people with more experience than you, more domain knowledge than you, even more skills than you.

The same is true about your competition.

But there’s one place where you can make your mark: Your attitude.

You can bring more generosity of spirit, more enthusiasm, more kindness, more resilience, more positive energy, more bravery and more magic to the room than anyone else, at least right now. Because you choose to.

That can be what you stand for.

These aren’t soft skills. They’re real.

Three ways to add value

Tasks (doing), decisions (choosing), and initiation (starting something out of nothing?)

Each of the three adds value, but one is more prized than the others.

Tasks are set up for you. Incoming. You use skill and effort to knock them down one at a time and move to the next one.

Decisions often overlap with tasks. There are alternatives, and you use knowledge and judgment to pick the best one.

And initiation is what happens when you start something out of nothing, break the pattern, launch the new thing and take a leap.

When we think about humans who have made change happen, institutions who have made a difference, cultural shifts (paradigm shift) that have mattered, we must begin with initiation

Posted by Seth Godin on May 19, 2017


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 965,561 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 476 other followers

%d bloggers like this: