Two Dogs Dining
Break time. Stop saving the world (or your company) for the moment and simply enjoy this video. Laughing aloud allowed.December 29, 2016
Big Blues From the Viagra People
The concept was a simple one: help organizations increase teamwork and decrease complaint by getting employees to write and perform original blues songs.
The concept resonated with a lot of industries, especially Big Pharma.
Oh yeah, they had the blues, lots of blues, like the "Now We Gotta Compete with Generic Drugs from Canada Blues," and the "No One Trusts the Drug Companies Anymore Blues," and the always popular, "Our Pipeline Is Empty, But Our Inbox is Full Blues."
So we weren't all that surprised when Pfizer came calling...
They had a big conference coming up and wanted to do "something different" to engage participants -- all of whom were high ranking business leaders.
And so they did.
Unlike most bands -- or business simulations, for that matter -- our service began long before we took the stage.
For each client wanting the complete experience, we'd write a custom blues song weeks before -- a kind of musical caricature of their company that we'd perform to kick off our performance -- a modern day Greek Chorus routine that loosened up audiences while modeling the message of the evening -- to speak (or in our case, sing) the truth.
And though we always shared our lyrics with clients long before an event, rarely were we asked us to modify what we wrote.
Pfizer was a different story.
From their perspective, our lyrics were "incendiary, politically incorrect, and might be taken the wrong way."
Customer-focused as we were (and not wanting to blow a good pay day), we revised our lyrics overnight and submitted version 2.0 the first thing in the morning.
Pfizer didn't like our new version, either. Or version 3.0, 4.0, or 5.0.
After five failed attempts, we decided to drop the custom song and focus on the classic blues songs that made up the bulk of our play list.
But doubt had crept into our client's mind. He was now officially nervous and wanted to see the lyrics to all our songs.
"Piece of cake," we reasoned to ourselves. The lyrics we'd be sending him had been performed for more than a hundred years all over America and were a huge part of the DNA of the nation.
True. But they weren't part of Pfizer's DNA. Our client had major issues with every song we sent them.
So we emailed him the lyrics to another ten classic blues songs. He rejected those, too.
Now, we had the blues. Like the legendary Robert Johnson, we stood at the crossroads, Blackberries and guitars in hand.
"Gentlemen," I began the damage-control conference call in the most corporate voice I could muster, "with all due respect, you have just rejected the lyrics of the most popular 20 American blues songs from the past hundred years. Remember, you are engaging the services of a blues band, not a polka band. You've got to have more trust in us."
Ooooh... the "T" word!
They hemmed. They hawed. Them hemmed again. And then with a semi-shrug of their collective shoulders and the growing recognition that their event was just a few days away, they chose the seven tamest songs and gave us a tepid thumbs up.
"But remember!" they warned, "the show must end no later than 9:30 sharp. Not a minute more."
When we got to the venue, I could tell we were in for an interesting night.
Though our client greeted us pleasantly enough, something was off. Outwardly, he was fine. Inwardly, he was anxious, uptight, constricted, nervous, sweating, and silently obsessing about how he was going to cover his ass should his worst nightmares about the evening come true.
The band picked up on his mood and immediately tightened up.
Knowing that good music doesn't issue forth from tight musicians, I sent the band backstage for a glass of wine and some small talk while I filibustered with the client -- the theater now rapidly filling with hundreds of people who made a lot more money than we did.
"Remember," the client reminded me again before the lights went down, "the show must end at 9:30 sharp!"
The band's first two songs that night were lame. Very lame. Channeling the tension of our neck-on-the-line client, the band was playing it safe -- not exactly a formula for foot stomping blues.
By the third song, thank God, the band found its groove. The audience relaxed and the songs they wrote and performed were some of the funniest we'd heard in a while.
I looked at my watch. It was 9:27. Quickly, I signaled the band to wrap things up when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the client making his way to the stage.
Actually, "making his way" wasn't the right phrase to describe his approach. "Storming the stage" was more like it.
I looked at my watch again. Now it was 9:28 and the client was getting closer by the nanosecond. I spoke faster, much faster, doing my best to finish before the bewitching hour
Two sentences from closure, the man bounds up the stairs and lunges towards me.
"Keep playing!" he blurts. "Tell the band to keep playing! This is really going well! Forget the 9:30 deadline. Keep playing!"
I signal the band and they segue into BB King"s "Let the Good Times Roll" -- the 12-minute version. South Side Denny takes off on a blistering guitar solo.
South Side Slim is wailing at the top of his lungs. Screaming Sweet Pea Fradon is bringing down the house. Blind Lemon Pledge is on top of his game.
Everyone in the audience is singing and dancing and clapping and laughing.
The pharmaceutical blues? Gone. At least for the momentDecember 27, 2016
Why Train People to Become Masterful Brainstorm Facilitators
December 23, 2016
100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes To Innovate
1. "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs
2. "Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." - Alfred North Whitehead
3. "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk
4. "If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles Kettering
5. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller
6. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney
7. "You can't solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level." - Albert Einstein
8. "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." - Miles Davis
9. "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." - Carl Jung
10. "There is only one thing stronger than all the armies of the world: and that is an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo
11. "If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think."
- Clarence Darrow
12. "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck
13. "To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act." - Anatole France
14. "It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas."
- Charles Peguy
15. "There's no good idea that cannot be improved on." - Michael Eisner
16. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin
17. "We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything."
- Thomas Edison
18. "The best vision is insight." - Malcolm Forbes
19. "Genius is infinite painstaking." - Michelangelo
20. "Nothing will change the fact that I cannot produce the least thing without absolute solitude." - Goethe
21. "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together, go to the making of genius. Love, Love, Love. That is the soul of genius." - Mozart
22. "Swipe from the best, then adapt." - Tom Peters
23. "Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself." - Robert Louis Stevenson
24. "You can expect no influence if you are not susceptible to influence." - Carl Jung
25. "Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed." - Albert Einstein
26. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe
27. "Sit, walk, or run, but don't wobble." - Zen proverb
28. "The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites." - Carl Jung
29. "We don't know who discovered water, but we're certain it wasn't a fish." - John Culkin
30. "I will act as if what I do will make a difference." - William James
31. "There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start." - Charles Baudelaire
32. "What is now proved was once only imagined." - William Blake
33. "Remember, a dead fish can float down a stream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream." - W.C. Fields
34. "99 percent of success is built on failure." - Charles Kettering
35. "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow
36. "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein
37. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
38. "The ultimate creative thinking technique is to think like God. If you're an atheist, pretend how God would do it." - Frank Lloyd Wright
39. "I start where the last man left off." - Thomas Edison
40. "Never confuse motion with action." - Ernest Hemingway
41. "The greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child." - Thomas Edison
42. "No matter how well you perform, there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Sir Laurence Olivier
43. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt
44. "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later." - Miles Davis
45. "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." - Linus Pauling
46. "Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyorgi
47. "A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind."- Antoine Saint-Exupery
48. "Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn't do nothing." - Duke Ellington
49. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky
50. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki
51. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - General George Patton
52. "The man with a new idea is a crank - until the idea succeeds." - Mark Twain
53. "A problem well stated is a problem half solved." - Charles Kettering
54. "The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil." - Thomas Edison
55. "Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." - David Lloyd George
56. "The silly question is the first intimation of some totally new development." - Alfred North Whitehead
57. "A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor." - Victor Hugo
58. "Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money." - William J. Cameron
59. "Systems die; instincts remain." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
60. "You will never find the time for anything. If you want time, you must make it." - Charles Burton
61. "Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission." - Peter Drucker
62. "One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive one." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
63. "The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind." - Thomas Carlyle
64. "I failed my way to success." - Thomas Edison
65. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
66. "The way to succeed is to double your failure rate." - Thomas Watson, (Founder of IBM)
67. "Innovation opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze." - Peter Drucker
68. "The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast." - Peter Drucker
69. "You can only be as good as you dare to be bad." - John Barrymore
70. "No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered."
- Winston Churchill
71. "Conclusions arrived at through reasoning have very little or no influence in altering the course of our lives." - Carlos Casteneda
72. "After years of telling corporate citizens to 'trust the system,' many companies must relearn instead to trust their people - and encourage their people to use neglected creative capacities in order to tap the most potent economic stimulus of all: idea power." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter
73. "If the creator has a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely would have meant for us to stick it out." - Arthur Koestler
74. "If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May
75. "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have." - Emile Chartier
76. "There's always an element of chance and you must be willing to live with that element. If you insist on certainty, you will paralyze yourself." - J.P. Getty
77. "Almost all really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are just produced." - A.N. Whitehead
78. "Our best ideas come from clerks and stockboys." - Sam Walton
79. "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein
80. "Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction." - Pablo Picasso
81. "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx
82. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
83. "Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way." - William James
84. "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." - Jonathan Swift
85. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Alan Kay
86. "If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it." - Gordon MacKenzie
87. "Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most." - Fyodor Dostoevsky
88. "There is a vitality, a life force, that is translated to you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and will be lost." - Martha Graham
89. "We have approximately 60,000 thoughts in a day. Unfortunately, 95% of them are thoughts we had the day before." - Deepak Chopra
90. "Confusion is a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood." - Henry Miller
91. "I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore. What is reality? Nothing but a collective hunch." - Lily Tomlin
92. "Now that we have met with paradox we have some hope of making progress." - Niels Bohr
93. "Microsoft is always two years away from failure." - Bill Gates
94. "We've reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy. - Gary Hamel
95. "If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied." - Alfred Noble
96. "I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it." - Steven Wright
97. "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." - Steve Jobs
98. "I am looking for a lot of people who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." - Henry Ford
99. "You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere." - Lee Iacocca
100. "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John CageDecember 18, 2016
Tis the Season to Tell Your Stories
'Tis the season to tell your stories, folks! Your families are gathering. Your friends are coming to visit. The tribe is reconvening, whether it's around the fire, the dining room table, or the turkey in the kitchen. Wherever you find yourself, you will have lots of opportunities to share with others -- not just the gifts you bought at the mall, but the stories of your life -- memorable moments of truth that have moved you and are likely to move others.
THIS is what people will remember, not the device you give them, not the card, not the pumpkin pie. So tell your stories! And when others tell theirs, stop what you're doing and listen. Stories, well-told and well-listened, are one of the best ways to connect with others and REMEMBER what's truly important in this life.December 17, 2016
How to Facilitate Breakthrough Brainstorming Sessions for Your Clients in Three Hours or Less
Here's the deal: You are one of the creatives in a high flying PR, Marketing, or Communications company and have been asked by one of your clients to lead an upcoming brainstorming session. That's the good news. The-not-so-good news? Even though you're an idea-generating machine, facilitating sessions that bring out brilliance in others is not your forte. And to raise the stakes even higher, your client wants more than just "ideas". Your client wants remarkable, actionable ideas and wants the session to be highly engaging, energizing, and worth their precious time. Get it? The heat is on, big time.December 16, 2016
TAKING YOUR ORGANIZATION'S PULSE: The Current Reality CheckUp
Just like a GPS needs to know where you are in order to guide you to your destination, savvy business leaders need to know where their organization is in order to navigate its way forward. Enter Idea Champions' Current Reality Check-Up -- a highly engaging needs assessment process that provides movers and shakers with deep insight into the mindset, perspective, needs, and values of their workforce and customers.
If your organization has a big conference coming up, a company-wide initiative to launch, or simply wants to raise the bar for employee engagement, begin by understanding the current reality -- WHAT IS. Your ability to clarify what's next will then emerge organically with the least amount of wheel spinning, waffling, and wasted effort.
Put simply, if you want an accurate prognosis, begin with an accurate diagnosis.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF A CURRENT REALITY CHECK UP
Idea Champions' Current Reality Check Up goes far beyond the scope of a traditional need assessment and includes six key components:
1. ONLINE POLLS
Customized surveys for your workforce and customers -- thought-provoking questions that provide a clear snapshot of what is going on in your organization. What's working. What's not. And where your opportunities for growth abide.
Building on the insights we've gleaned from the online polls, we'll engage a cross-section of your workforce, executive team, and customers in a series of one-on-one or group interviews -- either in-person or via phone. We dive into the deep end. No wading.
3. TACIT KNOWLEDGE MINING
Here's where we identify a selection of your organization's best practices, success stories, and lessons learned -- the collective know-how of your workforce too rarely identified, shared, or celebrated. HINT: If you want to change your culture, begin by changing the stories that are told.
4. SENIOR LEADER REALITY CHECKS
If there is one thing all senior teams have in common, it's this: they don't always see eye to eye, especially when it comes to understanding the mindset of the workforce or how customers perceive their organization. That's why we give Senior Leaders a simple way to predict how their workforce and customers will respond to our poll. We then analyze the gaps, interpret the results, and engage your senior team in an exploration of the causative factors, as well as fertile areas for future improvement.
5. THE CURRENT REALITY CHECK-UP REPORT
An easy-to-read, no-nonsense summary of what we have learned from polling and interviewing your workforce and customers. We know your time is precious. That's why our Summary Reports cut to the chase, are clearly written, and are free of tiresome corporate-speak.
6. ONSITE PRESENTATION OF OUR FINDINGS
While we are perfectly fine with presenting our findings to you in a written report and/or virtual meeting, we prefer to do it LIVE, in person. Situation allowing, it's far more impactful, providing vital opportunities to explore the results of our findings and possible ways to ensure rapid progress.
THE BENEFITS OF A CURRENT REALITY CHECK-UP
1. INCREASED SENIOR LEADER ALIGNMENT: Your key stakeholders get a golden opportunity to go beyond their collective assumptions and come to agreement about what is really going on within the organization.
2. INCREASED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: There's nothing quite like being asked "What do you think about X?" to increase people's level of participation -- especially if they know that Senior Leaders are committed to doing something different in response to what employees think and feel.
3. INCREASED CUSTOMER LOYALTY: If you include your customers in your Current Reality Check-Up process, they will experience, first hand, your organization's commitment to excellence and customer service-- two outcomes that will further solidify your relationship with them.
4. BIAS-FREE NEUTRALITY: Because Idea Champions has no axe to grind, no hidden agendas, and no turfs to protect, you can count on the results of our needs assessment being as free of bias as humanly possible. "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is our motto. We constantly check our own possible assumptions and blind spots in order to ensure that we're not going beyond what we actually KNOW. We're adding to your knowledge set upon which your decisions will be made, and we realize that those decisions have very real consequences. Our goal is to provide you with accurate information and useful insights that will help you make better decisions going forward.
Intrigued? Click here or call 845.679.1066December 15, 2016
24 Quotes on Good Communication
1. "The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said." - Peter Drucker
2. "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw
3."Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people." - William Butler Yeats
4. "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." - Epictetus
5. "Speak when you are angry -- and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret." - Laurence Peters
6. "In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do." - Stephen Covey
7. "The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them." - Stephen King
8. "Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." - Walt Disney
9. "Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. "The two words information and communication are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." - Sydney Harris
11. "Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." - Rollo May
12. "Humor is the affectionate communication of insight." - Leo Rosten
13. "Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break." - Earl Wilson
14. "Communication is everyone's panacea for everything." - Tom Peters
15. "Two monologues do not make a dialogue." - Jeff Daly
16. "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." - Plato
17. "Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." - D.H. Lawrence
18. "Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening." - Emma Thompson
19. "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway
20. "You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." - Scott Peck
21. "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." - Mark Twain
22. "That which we are capable of feeling, we are capable of saying." - Cervantes
23. "I have an answering machine in my car. It says, 'I'm home now. But leave a message and I'll call when I'm out.'" - Steven Wright
24. "Give me the gift of a listening heart." - King Solomon
Thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur for locating a bunch of these
A Cool, New Way to Capture Ideas
If you are reading this blog, I am 95 percent certain you value the power of BIG IDEAS. I'm also certain that you've experimented with various ways of capturing your big ideas: Notebooks. Voice memos. Post-its. Napkins. Whiteboards. Mind maps. And who knows how many other techniques. If so, you are likely to be intrigued by Chuck Frey's newly published guide about how to set up EVERNOTE as a way support a complete, end-to-end creative process. We like Chuck. You will, too.Great Quotes on Customer Service
The following quotes are dedicated to the good people of Nations Roof, a forward-thinking client of ours who continues to impress us with their commitment to providing extraordinary customer service.
"Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price." - Lauren Freedman
"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary." - Sam Walton
"Make a customer, not a sale." - Katherine Barchetti
"Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They DO expect you to fix things when they go wrong." - Donald Porter
"Always do more than is required of you." - George Patton
"It's easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back." - Seth Godin
"Here is a powerful, yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get." - Nelson Bosell
"Make the customer the hero of your story." - Ann Handley
"Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they'll come back. We have to be great every time or we'll lose them." - Kevin Stirtz
"A lot of people have fancy things to say about customer service, but it's just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, persevering, compassionate kind of activity." - Christopher McCormick
"Customer service is the new marketing." - Derek Sivers
"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity." - Don Alden Adams
"Don't find fault. Find a remedy." - Henry Ford
"Seek first to understand. Then to be understood." - Steven Covey
"Any customer that walks away, disrespected and defeated, represents tens of thousands of dollars out the door, in addition to the failure of a promise the brand made in the first place. You can't see it but it's happening, daily." - Seth Godin
"Every great business is built on friendship." - James Cash Penny
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." - Will Rogers
"When the customer comes first, the customer will last." - Robert Half
"The customer's perception is your reality." - Kate Zabriskie
"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours." - Ray Kroc
"Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you." - Heather Williams
"There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth. Investing in quality talent, and ensuring they have the skills, training and tools that enable them to empathize and actively listen to customers are central to providing consistently excellent service experiences."- Jim Bush
"No amount of advertising can repair the damage done by failing to properly address a customer's concern." - Albert Schindler
"The reputation of a thousand years may be undermined by the conduct of one hour." - Japanese Proverb
"Whether you are big or small, you cannot give good customer service if your employees don't feel good about coming to work." - Martin Oliver
"Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain. They'll just walk away." - Marilyn Suttle
"Don't reinvent the wheel. Focus on winning one customer at a time. Be honest and sincere. Do what's right. There's nothing magical about this. That's been my guiding principle. To make it work, you have to live it every day. Make it your mindset." - Robert Spector
"Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?" - Brian Tracy
100 Days of Rejection
Entertaining and inspiring 15 minute TED talk about a fascinating experiment launched by a young entrepreneur and what he learned about how to turn rejection into opportunities.December 05, 2016
We Were Made for These Times!
What follows is an extraordinary call of the heart by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Not only is it worth reading, it's worth reading aloud -- so you hear it and feel it as well as see it. Then, you get to decide who you want to share it with -- and how. This is a piece of deep, soul-inspired, primal writing that deserves to travel to every corner of the Earth.
"My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."
Clarissa Pinkola Estes: American poet, post-trauma specialist, Jungian psychoanalyst, and author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
25 Reasons Why Brainstorming Sessions Fail in Your Company
Whenever I ask my clients to tell me about the quality of their company's brainstorming sessions, they usually roll their eyes and grumble, noting several of the phenomena below.
Recognize any of them in your organization?
1. Lame facilitation
2. Wrong problem statement
3. Unmotivated participants
4. Hidden (or competing) agendas
5. Insufficient diversity of participants
6. Addiction to the status quo
7. Lack of clear ground rules
8. Sterile meeting space
9. No transition from "business as usual"
10. Lack of robust participation
11. The extroverts take over
12. Habitual idea killing
13. Attachment to pet ideas
14. Discomfort with ambiguity
16. Endless interruptions
17. People come late and leave early
18. Premature adoption of the first "right idea"
19. Group think
20. Hierarchy, turfs, and competing sub-groups
21. Imbalance of divergent and convergent thinking
22. No tools or techniques to spark creativity
23. Inadequate idea capture methods
24. Premature evaluation
25. No real closure or next steps
Who can you meet with, this week, to explore new and better ways of improving the quality of your company's brainstorming sessions?