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John Baldoni’s new book, Grace

John Baldoni as quoted in Skip Prichard’s newsletter:

“Purpose begins – as many have said –with our why. Purpose is the answer to, “What gets you up in the morning?” From purpose comes vision and mission. Vision is an aspiration; it is our becoming. Mission is our doing; it is our building. And here’s where grace enters the picture. Grace is our how.”

In more typical business terms our how can be considered our strategy.

Writing down a strategy without a clear vision and mission is like Alice wandering in Wonderland. Having a Vision and/or Mission without a strategy is like looking at a great photograph of a scene without any desire to experience it first hand.

Find Your Solutions in Understanding the Problem

“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Dig into the problem itself before beginning work or even brainstorming a solution. Einstein said if he only had an hour to solve a problem, he would spend 55 minutes on understanding the problem.

Socrates believed in asking lots of questions of anyone who came to him with a problem to solve, rather than offering a solution.

I coach business managers to let their team know to bring multiple options or ideas to them, not just the problem, and not just one option.

As N.V. Peale said, the seeds for a solution are in your deep understanding of the problem.

What to Do When Your Audience Thinks Different

Getting Your Idea Across to Business People who Think Different from You

It is tempting to present your ideas in the same manner that convinced you.

Your job was to collect and analyze the data not to present that data. Your job is to present the conclusion with 3 strong reasons why it is the best solution.

Then ask for questions and thoughts, followed by a quick repeat of the conclusion.

Getting Your Idea Across

Getting Your Idea Across to Business People who Think Different from You

It is tempting to present your ideas in the same manner that convinced you.

Your job was to collect and analyze the data not to present that data. Your job is to present the conclusion with 3 strong reasons why it is the best solution.

Then ask for questions and thoughts, followed by a quick repeat of the conclusion.

How to prove your point

Data may prove your point and drive away your audience at the same time

When we are trying to make a point, attract followers and support for an idea, we don’t want to appear to be expressing only our unsubstantiated opinions.

What to do? Use diagrams, not graphs and charts, use diagrams, simple drawings that make your point quickly and easily.

Grab a piece of paper or paper napkin if you are sitting in a restaurant, explain with a quick drawing. This is how it looks, this is how to get there, here is how I think it will fit, this is one way we can accomplish the goal, here is a mind map of the options we have.

Bottlenecks and Constraints in your Business

Where are the bottlenecks in your business?

Understand and acknowledge bottlenecks and constraints in order to address them before moving on. Diagram or list your options.

In Goldraitt’s book The Goal, which I recommend, a manager of a manufacturing facility learns about constraint theory, and you do too. It is clearer in a manufacturing process how constraints cause big problems and can be hard to recognize. The same constraint theory can apply in any and all parts of a business.

How are decisions made in your business? Are there some employees who make quick decisions, maybe some times not thought through, while others sit and stew over decisions afraid to make a move until every data point has been evaluated.

The interesting thing is that both too slow and too fast can be constraints, bottlenecks.

Build a process that finds and ‘authorizes’ moving forward when there is enough data to indicate direction without having to wait to be certain of all the details. Testing the water, understanding levels of risk, are important, even essential, but shouldn’t make everything stand still.

Recognize those constraints, those bottlenecks, for what they are and eliminate them.

In Search of Deeper Learning

Deep Learning

A new book by Mehta and Fine about remaking U.S. high schools says their research shows it is the extra curricular work in teams to accomplish a big task, such as putting on a theater production, where they learned and enjoyed the most.
The authors, credit these type of projects with instilling critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication, all I suggest essential in the business world. The authors also included content mastery though I would say given the ease of using technology to look things up, is not as important as having enough knowledge to recognize what you do and don’t know.
Instilling the the skills that make up critical thinking can improve collaboration and effective communication because it requires bringing in various viewpoints, asking good questions, listening effectively to each other, and working through more than one logical position or argument.

Crucial Conversations

Who do you attract into your conversations and teams at work? Are they as much like you as you can find? Do they think like you? Does that feel good!?

Consider for a moment what happens at work if everyone thinks alike. Why do you need more than one of you?

Instead consider for another moment what happens if you work with people who complement you, who think different, who add to the diversity and options to be considered. Now this may seem confrontational and difficult at first. But at least you would all be needed because you are not just clones.

Being open to the value of different opinions and viewpoints can result in much better decisions.

Your Knowledge, keep it growing

No one can take your education away from you. What you learn is yours forever. OK I know there are diseases that can rob our memories. I’m not denying that. But other than that your life is enriched by knowledge, by curiosity, by interest, by paying attention, by seeking more understanding, more than anything else you can acquire.

Yes, everyone can draw using stick figures

Drawing or diagraming information you want to explain helps everyone understand it better, including you. When you sketch using stick figures, or flow diagrams, or a mind maps, or any way to help visualization, you will be able to show as well as verbally explain. The process of doing the diagram helps you simplify the ideas in your own mind. The process of explaining using a diagram helps others understand, and later remember, what you showed them.