Two roads diverged in a wood and You...

Thinking introspectively and about your purpose in life can be hard and scary.

It isn't very tangible.  How do you know you are making progress?  What are you supposed to think about?  How do you show results when you are done?

Imagine two people with only one difference.  One sets aside a half day every month to think introspectively, cultivate new beliefs and refine purpose.  The other does not.

How might their paths in life diverge over time?

Embrace the fuzzy intangibles of questioning your purpose, your growth and your next.

It may not feel like progress in the short term, but it will produce in the long term.

Take the path less traveled by and it will make all the difference.

What works today, won't work in the future

One way to strengthen a company is to make it reliable and consistent.

One way to make a company irrelevant is to keep it reliable and consistent at the same.

There is tremendous pressure on established companies in mature markets to "stay the same".  Wall Street loves consistent numbers.  Yet, the very thing that makes us successful today, can be what prevents us from achieving tomorrow. 

Wouldn't it be great if we could just keep doing what we do - without fear of disruption?  Imagine how comfortable that would be.

...but then we wouldn't need leaders.  Leaders routinely assess trajectories of those they lead.  They are the eyes to the future.

Ask yourself today, am I ok with our current trajectory, or must we change?  What evidence do I have to support my conclusion?  Do my trusted independent advisors believe the same?

 

Practice makes perfect

Something amazing happens when you practice.  Your performance actually improves.

Take music for example.  This excerpt is from the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.

When researchers in a separate study polled a sample consisting mainly of education professionals, more than 75 percent believed that singing, composing, and playing concert instruments requires a special gift or talent.
However, ...one factor, and only one factor, predicted how musically accomplished the students were, and that was how much they practiced.

Now apply that principle to value creation.  The one who practices value creation the most performs the highest.  

How valuable do you want to be?

If you are a reader and haven't read the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, do yourself a favor and head over to Amazon to make it happen.

What makes us reliable, makes us hesitant

Life is about action. Nobody gets rich on theory alone.

But being disciplined and focused on meeting commitments is also what makes us hesitate to invest in innovation.  Innovation is something different that creates value. 

Discipline driven doesn't like different.

Need proof? As a Lumina Practitioner, I examined anonymized, normed data from over 5,200 Lumina Spark portraits taken from US, Europe & Asia.

74%, or 3,969, of participants reported over-extending their reliability and being hesitant to change.

What can we learn from this? Building a workforce that is disciplined and focused on meeting commitments also makes it hesitant to change. 

If you want to succeed at building sustainable innovation capabilities, design your processes so the quality of your people's reliability works for you, not against you.

Creating value requires new behavior

If you want to innovate, you must create value.  And if you want to create new value, you must change behavior.

Yet, the most common mistake in innovation seems to be a disregard for examining the barriers to new customer behavior.  

Perhaps it's easier to tinker with a product or a service offering we created ourselves than it is to deeply understand what prevents your customers from using it. 

Maybe it's because 75% or more of people in large organizations cannot explain how value is created.

If you want to innovate more reliably, focus more energy on overcoming barriers to adoption.  It's rarely a bad investment.

 

Analytics are not enough

We humans did it again.

We used a simple label for a process that describes a part and not the whole.

Analytics.

The word most use to describe the process of examining data and information to create value for the business.

Examining the data is only the middle part.  It should be preceded by defining a decision to make and followed by an action that is linked to advancing the goals of the organization.

Perhaps the imprecise label is why we so often spend so much time analyzing and less time deciding and creating value.

Begin with the end in mind

All too often analytics are an exercise in curiosity.

Yes, curiosity is great for learning, but in analytics it isn't all you need.

Analytics should enable a decision.

The problem is most don't take time to determine why, what or how we will decide.

If you want to elevate your capabilities in analytics follow these three steps before you invest time analyzing.

  1. Define the decision to be made (problem or opportunity?)
  2. Define why it's important to make the decision (what's the value?)
  3. Define how you'll decide (criteria?)

Fortune Favors the Bold...

Probably because only the bold can face feedback without being fearful.

When you boldly overcome your fears to truly listen to feedback...

When you boldly overcome your reactive nature to listen to understand, not to respond...

Your understanding of how others perceive you becomes more accurate, and you grow in empathy for others.

Both are worth a fortune!

I've never heard "I'm just here for the paycheck."

Maybe it's because of the cliché we've learned to avoid saying it.

But I have observed an intensive defense of the right to remain the same.

Yes, your paycheck is generally associated with the here and now, what has already been done. 

However, the here and now is changing.  Maybe not suddenly, but gradually. 

Even though the weeks feel similar your customer is changing.  Subtle changes that feel like no change at all.  Like yesterday was the same as today.  Except it isn't.