The True Definition of Comedy
October 25, 2012
The Kindness-At-Work Manifesto
This just in! We're here for just a little while. No one gets out of here alive. Not even Donald Trump. So while you're here, remember to be kind and go beyond judgment, blame, and impatience -- especially when things start getting stressed out. Like on-the-job.
Here's my inspired rant on the subject, just published in The Huffington Post.Super Cool TED Remix
Edutainment to the max! Go full screen. Turn up the volume.October 24, 2012
100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes to Innovate
100 Simple Ways to Be More Creative On the Job
Here's the deal:
You are creative.
Really. I mean it.
Maybe you know it.
Maybe you don't know it.
But the fact remains:
you are creative.
Unfortunately, your creativity
show up on the job.
tend to subvert creativity
and make it hard to access.
If this sounds familiar,
my newest article in
The Huffington Post
will be useful to you. Enjoy!
REAL ROI: Return on Imagination!
If you are a champion of innovation, chances are good that you've encountered the ROI beast more than a few times -- bottom line-oriented senior leaders looking at you cross-eyed and questioning the value of your efforts. Stop the madness! Change the game! Send them this slide show today!
The Six Sides of the So-Called Box
Unless you've been in a coma for the past 20 years, I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase "get out of the box." It's everywhere. Whole industries have sprung up around it, including mine.
No one can deny that getting out of the box is a good thing to do. Seems like a no-brainer, eh? Kind of like helping little old ladies cross the street. Or tearing down the Berlin Wall.
But before you start planning your heroic escape, answer me this:
What the heck is the box, anyway?
What is this so-called thing that keeps us so contained, confined, caged, trapped, claustrophobic, and otherwise unable to succeed?
Let's start with the basics. A box has six sides, including the top and the bottom.
If we can understand what these six sides are, we'll know what we're dealing with -- and this knowledge will improve our chances of getting out. Or, as Fritz Perls once said, "Awareness cures."
Let us proceed...
1. FEAR: If you want to raise the odds of being trapped in a box for the rest of your life, all you need to do is increase the amount of fear you feel.
Fear inhibits. Fear paralyzes. Fear subverts action. Indeed, when fear rules the day, even reacting is difficult. Fear not only puts us in the box, it makes it almost impossible to get out the box.
Fear of what?
Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being revealed to be an impostor. Fear of this. Fear of that. And fear of the other thing, too.
Do you think it's an accident that Peter Drucker devoted his entire life to driving fear out of the workplace? Or course not.
Fear sucks. And precisely what it sucks is the life right out of you. There is no box without fear. Get rid of fear and you get rid of the box.
2. POWERLESSNESS: Powerlessness is the state of mind in which people think they have no choice -- that they are victims of circumstance, that the act of attempting anything new is futile.
It's why Dilbert has become the patron saint of most cubicle dwellers.
Some in-the-box people have dwelled in the state of powerlessness for their entire life, going all the way back to childhood, overpowered (or disempowered) by parents, schools, and who knows what else.
If you work in a corporation, you've seen this powerlessness paradigm in spades -- as the "powers-that-be" don't always take kindly to the ideas, input, and grumblings of the "rank and file."
If you're feeling powerless, not only are you in the box, it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to muster the energy, intention, or urgency to get out of it.
3. ISOLATION: Boxes are usually small and confining. Rarely is there room for more than one person. Isolation is the result. There's no one to talk to, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to collaborate with.
Curiously, solitary confinement is the biggest punishment our society doles out -- second only to the death sentence. Being cut off from the tribe has been a very effective "behavior modification" technique for centuries.
When you're in the box, that's exactly what's happening.
And while your isolation may give you a momentary feeling of much-needed privacy, safety, and relief from the judgment of others, it's fool's gold. Sitting in the dark, being completely on your own, vision obscured -- all reduce your chances of getting out.
4. ASSUMPTIONS: Assumptions are the guesses we make based on our subjective interpretation of reality. They are short cuts. Lines drawn in the sand.
We end up taking things for granted because we are either too lazy to get down to the root of things or too entranced by our own beliefs to consider an alternative.
Ultimately, it is our assumptions that shape our world. The world is the screen and we are the projector, seeing only what we project -- which is all too often merely a function of the assumptions we've made.
As one wise pundit once put it, "When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees our pockets."
Bottom line, we see what we are primed to see. Change your assumptions and you change the world -- starting with your own.
5. MENTAL CLUTTER:
If you find yourself in the box, it would be fair to say that the box contains you. But what do you contain?
If you are like most people in today's over-caffeinated, twitterfied, fast food, information overloaded world the answer is: too much.
With the amount of information doubling every few years, most of us have way too much on our minds. Too much to do and not enough time.
We have no time for musing. No time for pondering. No time for reflecting. No time for contemplating, incubating, or making new connections -- behaviors that are essential to true out-of-the-box thinking.
The result? Not a good one.
We glom onto the first seemingly "right idea" that comes our way -- or else desperately try to declutter our minds with an endless series of mindless distractions that only increase the amount of clutter we need to process. Ouch.
6. NARROW MINDEDNESS:
When you're in a box, it's hard to see. Sight lines are limited. Vision is obscured. We become shortsighted. Our vision conforms to that which confines it. We become, soon enough, narrow-minded.
I'm sure you know a few people like this. Their ability to see beyond their immediate surroundings has become disabled.
When this kind of phenomenon becomes institutionalized, we end up with a bad case of "next quarter syndrome" -- especially in organizations ruled by the need to constantly please profit-seeking shareholders.
Few people are thinking six months out. Few are thinking 12 months out. And almost no one is thinking five years out. Everyone is trapped by the short-term.
What we call "focus" becomes a euphemism for tunnel vision -- just another form of narrow-mindedness that makes getting out of the box about as likely as my credit card company rescinding their usurious late payment fees.
OK. I hope I've not depressed you. That's not my purpose. Neither is it my purpose to obsess about the "problem." But until we know what we're really dealing with, all this hot talk about "getting out of the box" is just hype and a complete waste of time.Create 'Til You're Blue in the Face
October 13, 2012
56 Reasons Why Most Corporate Innovation Initiatives Fail
of the possible
detours along the way.
article of mine
(And yes, it's still possible)
Social Media Without Electricity
October 10, 2012
The Cult of Monetization
This just in
My rant on
how not everything
needs to be monetized!
Yes, it is possible
for a blog
to just be a blog,
not a cash cow
not a profit center,
not an income stream
not a money maker,
not Groucho's cigar.
Just a blog.
You will not be billed
for reading this
How to Create an Idea Factory
Want to see your BIG IDEAS manifest more than they do? Check out my most recent article in the Huffington Post. The solution has less to do with your ideas than it does your support team.October 03, 2012
14 Ways to Go Beyond the Email Blues
Get too many emails?
Sick and tired
of sorting through them?
Want to jump start
an email etiquette revolution?
Here's your starter kit --
my email liberation rant
in the Huffington Post.
(Yes, you can forward it to others and still honor what it's all about).
October 02, 2012
MORE HUFF POST GOODIES OF MINE
Brilliance is a Volume Business
By the way, not every composition of Mozart's was a winner. Even Einstein had some bogus theories. And when Michelangelo was asked how he made the David, he simply replied "I got rid of everything that wasn't."