It's every speaker's dream to have an engaged audience. I was truly honored to present Culture Your Culture at The Design Collective's Salon in SF last night, which included lifestyle brand makers and creative directors, furniture designers, high-end plumbers, an auditor, life coach, product designers, purveyor of wall coverings, a UX designer, an architect, writers, and other creatives. Highlights from the dialogue are worth sharing!
Just noticed this on my Amazon.com front page. Even so, the company was 5 years old by the time I became a customer. It's a reminder of the old adage, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Yes, agility is a key competency, but there are some things can't be rushed. It seems that those that can continually manage the tensions between fast and slow, strategic and tactical, creative and analytical, etc. may have the best shot at success. Perhaps we must become the embodiment of oxymorons.
Like so many others, I’ve lost sleep over everything that’s been happening. I can’t even wrap my head around all this suffering. None of this is acceptable to me.
In the midst of all this, I’m clinging on to my faith and looking for signs of hope. Positive action must be taken in a negative world. There’s one thing we can all do:
GOOD things we are GOOD at for the greater GOOD.
We are wonderfully different from one another, gifted in so many ways. And yet, we are all connected in this shared world. We, collectively, individually, continually, and simultaneously, have to do so much good in our lives that the bad will never prevail. Whether we come from a place of privilege, being blessed, or having disadvantages, we can all affect this world for the better with our unique gifts and calling. This isn’t aspirational. It’s fact.
I know why I do what I do. These recent times have given us many more reasons on top of that. As much as we want to forget that which makes us uncomfortable, we need to honor our brothers and sisters and preserve our own humanity through our good deeds. Never losing attention to this will make sure we do that.
Won’t you join me?
My husband and I are big fans of professional cycling. No, that does not mean that I'm a cyclist myself. In fact, I'm not much of a sports person (nor an athlete), but for some reason this (and Irish rugby) have managed to keep my interest over the years.
Actually there are a few reasons. For starters, it's a fast-paced, exciting sport with a lot going on in a beautiful setting. What really appeals to me is that the Tour De France, which occupies my July, is a team-based competition. As any winner would tell you, they couldn't have done it without the team. This is really true. The peloton, the group that makes up most of the riders going en masse, has a distinct culture governed by its own informal norms. Teams both work together and compete against each other (sometimes simultaneously) in the context of this culture and the official rules. Their goal is to help their team leaders win. All this is quite the fix for a culture and organizational dynamics nut like me. I'm fascinated by all that and the race's rich history, good and bad.
Despite all this, I know that not everyone shares this same passion for spectating this sport, so I keep my tweets to a minimum. Still, for the two posts (and their links) below, everyone can learn something and be inspired by the analogies that can be made from cycling. After all, what better way to describe the ups and downs of life than this course from the Tour?
Two cyclists with the same adversity (bike mechanical), and two very different approaches. One was flexible, the other was not. Guess which one came up from behind to win at the end of the day?
Here's something that is both an inspiration and a challenge to you:
If ice-cream can help save the world through sustainability practices, so can you. No matter what your organization is in the business of doing, a lot can be learned from what Ben and Jerry's has done. Check out the article I linked to above. Lifecycle assessments will likely identify opportunities where you can not only become more environmentally responsible, but maybe even more efficient and ultimately, more profitable.
Empathy inspires people to help others. In the process, they find meaning, experience positive feelings, and reach deeper understanding not only for themselves, but for others too. This isn't intangible soft stuff. This is real. It is what makes us human.
The challenge with all iteration, regardless of topic or application, is persistence. This doesn't come easy to anyone, me included. I do it because I know it is a key differentiator--it increases the chances of success. The majority of everyone else will opt out early. I suppose that's why marketing calls it "satisficing" since requires some sort of sacrifice on one's part. Choose your poison: either sacrifice your comfort level, or sacrifice the potential result. I choose the former in favor of (hopefully) better results. Will you join me?
I regularly have "meeting days" in SF with potential clients or networking contacts. I almost always have the other person pick the place because it rewards me with a great find once in a while. Crossroads Cafe is one of them. The cafe is " a training school of the Delancey Street Foundation, the country's largest and most acclaimed self-help residential educational center for people who have hit bottom to completely rebuild their lives." The people who work there are part of the "community of last resort" and proud of it. They work hard and are friendly to customers and each other. Apart from the broad range of offerings and great prices, the cafe is a perfect place for some book browsing, quiet conversations, or contemplation by oneself. Their model is to use the bookstore/cafe as a training ground and stable environment to get people back on their feet. In working there, they are also giving back to the community, and thus the community gives back to them. It is a great virtuous cycle. Every community should have one of these. Leave it to the mindfulness and design expert I met with to show me here :)
Click on the pics above to learn more about the Delancey Street Foundation.
This is one of those instances where doing something over thinking about it especially significant. Personally, this holiday seems more like a celebration of our personal excess through gluttony (eating, shopping, or whatever else). Showing gratitude to others should be a day-to-day practice, one that is as good for the giver as it is for the receiver. Ever see that video from Soul Pancake about their research on happiness? It's worth every single minute to watch it, but I will cut to the chase with what they discovered:
1. For people that "actually picked up the phone and personally expressed their gratitude, we saw increases between 4 and 19 percent...Expressing your gratitude will make you a happier person."
2. "The person who experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the least happy person who walked in the door."
To translate this into the work context, behaviors that demonstrate gratitude are a great form of RECOGNITION. Isn't that important to your employees? Don't be a perpetrator of a gratitude #fail. Explain what you're grateful for, why, and its impact to those you want to thank.
I couldn't agree with myself more :) In this self-centered world of ours, we could all (not just children) use some lessons in empathy. Guess what? It's good for business and innovation too. Empathy is what helps us to understand our customers, our employees, and our stakeholders in ways others don't...and that helps us to create strategies and make decisions that differentiate us (read: better). Good design (and thus DOWE) starts with empathy--any innovation leader will tell you that. If you don't know where to start, begin with these ideas from the article--whether or not you are a kid (or just act like one).
A place to share interesting concepts that will inspire, spread, and/or apply new ideas. This page is dedicated to sharing my twitter feed, announcements, and blog posts.