Cognitive Diversity and Jumping Off the Log

Collaboration Organizational culture Respect

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Key Point: Harnessing cognitive diversity, unleashing creativity and acting on it in the workplace, is every bit as important and transformative as embracing breakthrough digital technology. And as I emphasized in our previous blog, networks and the subsequent connectivity alters everything. So in this context, advanced human networks in organizations need to burst out like festival fireworks. The best organizations are creating new conditions to do that. The following strategic “people tenants” are, in my opinion, vital to open up the gates of those human networks. 

  1. Commitment to cognitive diversity.

I really appreciate the way Facebook embraces diversity. Regina Dugan is a senior executive leading one of Facebook’s most important “big idea” projects. According to a recent Fast Company article, she’s learned that assembling a diverse group of perspectives is essential to the creative process. I totally agree with her following comment:

“The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity. That means it’s not just about [getting] women in tech. It’s about broad voices, broad representation. But we can’t step away from the idea that in the workplace, diversity also looks like identity diversity. You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.”

  1. Confidence to create and always ask “what if?”

Imagine an organization where everyone regardless of job description viewed themselves as creators, scientists, artists, and everything in between. Everyday, people would come to “work” bringing a confident “what if?” mindset, zipping past the daily challenges of resistance, self doubt and procrastination with a compelling need to create and continuously reimagine. When we are in the act of moving and building, we flow and generate energy. And when we create, fear and resistance tends to fall away. 

  1. Getting S!#% done by actually jumping.

There’s an old riddle that says, “Three frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump off. How many frogs are left?” The correct answer is “three.” One frog decided to jump, but the implication is that the frog never acted on jumping. Winning organizations are not your typical frog. What if the culture of an enterprise expects solid judgment through mindfulness, and values and rewards the jump (regardless of the landing)?

I want to advance our organization through creating and promoting breakthrough collaborative, networked human systems, embracing cognitive diversity, confident creativity and the courage to act. This generates flow and when people and an organization find this movement toward a greater purpose, something magical happens.

Character Moves:

  1. Evaluate yourself and your team on the three elements above. Do you bring your unique cognitive diversity, respectfully seek it in others, confidently create through relentless “what if?” and do you dare to jump off that log?  

Jumping off in the Triangle 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: I seem to hear reason after reason why it’s best to live in a state of discomfort, where cognitive diversity and “what if’s” also exist. It’s not as “safe” or easy, but the worst skydiving story I’ve ever heard is one where someone decided not to jump and safely landed back in the plane. 

– Garrett

Dot. For Work?

Accountability Collaboration Transformation

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Key Point: I think we might all need a little help from Dot. Ok, maybe not all you Millennials or kids in the Z generation. However, I’m not so sure this idea isn’t applicable to all generations.

Dot. is a new, animated television show about a young girl cleverly named Dot. She uses technology to enhance both her educational experiences and recreational activities. It premiered this past Saturday on NBC’s preschool-oriented network, Sprout. The show was created by Silicon Valley veteran and best selling author, Randi Zuckerberg, and is targeting children ages six and under. It also aims to help parents who are struggling with how to best integrate technology into their children’s lives. And as a grandfather, I can certainly put myself in the same category, as some of my children are now parents of these wonderful, flourishing, little ones. 

According to Inc. technology columnist Joseph Steinberg, “Dot. shows parents many positive ways that technology can be used by young children to expand horizons and enhance activities, and helps foster discussion between parents and children about technology use. In the first episode – which I watched at Dot.’s premiere party in New York last week – Dot and a friend – armed with a tablet – go on an outdoor scavenger hunt in the woods along with Dot’s father. While Dot’s Dad discusses his own experiences doing a similar activity as a child a generation prior, Dot uses the tablet to both acquire knowledge faster, and to locate the required items faster, than her father imagines is possible; technology does not become a replacement for an outdoor activity – it becomes a tool to enhance Dot’s childhood experience both recreationally and educationally, and serves as a catalyst to facilitate conversation between Dot and her father about technology and its impact on non-technical activities.” 

I think Dot. is going to be a big hit. And after thinking about this a while, why not have a show for us “big kids” too? I’m talking about SHOWING how we might better integrate technology into our complete lives. Our company, like most others, is aggressively launching into the vast opportunity of fostering more collaboration and teamwork. One way of accelerating what I refer to as peer-to-peer power, is through better using technology tools like Google’s G Suite as part of our life. This is way more than old fashioned “training!” We need to see how everyday activities become richer, faster, more meaningful and social, through living the technology. We need a Big Dot. for Big Kids! 

Character Moves:

  1. Watch Dot. if you can, and let your imagination fly. Instead of thinking of the technology as just tools, or resisting it, challenge yourself into better integrating it into everything in the best possible way… To make us better people and colleagues! We’re worth it!

Dot. in the Triangle,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: Keeping up with evolving technology is crucial. For anyone attempting to learn more about technology, thankfully YouTube has become a hub for many “how to,” visual tutorials. If your device is popular enough, chances are someone has posted how it works and what it can be used for. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Alphabet of the Heart

Collaboration Respect

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Key Point: Dr. James R. Doty, a Stanford neurosurgeon and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, has written a book entitled “Into The Magic Shop.” It profoundly stimulates the reader’s thoughts and feelings. I’m going to send copies to our children and read key parts of it to our 8-year-old grandson. The book presents a compelling story (including convincing science), as a road map for living life to its fullest through harnessing the power of BOTH the brain and the heart.

“When our brains and our hearts are working in collaboration—we are happier, we are healthier, and we automatically express love, kindness, and care for one another,” he writes. “I knew this intuitively, but I needed to validate it scientifically. This was the motivation to begin researching compassion and altruism. I wanted to understand the evolution of not only why we evolved such behavior but also how it affects the brain and ultimately our health”. 

Science is helping us understand that the heart has its own intelligence system. When you think about the heart having its own “brain,” well that’s a “WOW.” In fact, the heart sends more signals to the brain than vice versa. The neural net around our heart plays a huge part in informing our reasoning and thinking. As Dr. Doty points out so wonderfully, our individual happiness and wellbeing depends on the brain AND heart working together as a system. The brain knows an awful lot but as the research in the “Magic” book illustrates, it knows exponentially more when it joins the heart. 

Many of us need practice and a framework for prying the heart open. I certainly do. In fact, data shows that many of us are impoverished for meaningful connection. In Doty’s work, he notes that 25 percent of Americans state they do not have anyone close enough to share a problem with. We have work to do here. Hence a the following summary of Doty’s “Alphabet of the Heart.” (For a richer outline, please read the book).

C for Compassion.

Open your heart for yourself and others.

D for Dignity.

Recognize the dignity of every human being.

E for Equanimity.

While acknowledging the ups and downs, try to find an even keel.

F for Forgiveness.

Seek forgiveness from those you have failed and those who have failed you.

G for Gratitude.

Keep in the front of your mind gratitude for all that you have.

H for Humility.

Remember that you are no better and no worse than others you encounter.

I for Integrity.

Value honesty and integrity and use it to guide your actions.

J for Justice.

Acknowledge your obligations in context of social justice.

K for Kindness.

Be kind to yourself and to others.

L for Love.

Let your heart be open to love from within yourself and from others.

Character Moves: 

  1. Open your heart up at work. Life and work are one. We need to practice connecting our hearts and brains in every part of our life; especially in the work place. It is time that the “heart” gets equal billing with the “brain.” We are learning that enormous organization value and a “cult” brand (hence profitability) depends on authentic emotional connections (the heart) between employees and customers… A fully integrated community. 
  2. Doty’s site offers exercises for us to help the brain and heart connect and work as a system. Just reading about this integration means little if we don’t practice. Like anything else of sustainable value, there is no easy path. It’s a “Magic Shop,” but any good magician requires hours of practice to become magical. 

Opening the Heart in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: There’s a reason we hear those sad but sometimes beautiful stories of elderly married people dying within hours of each other, with no perfect explanation other than a “broken heart.” It’s a thing. As Millennials, our “heart” is sometimes the last thing we let cross our minds… It’s supposed to be healthy, ticking and can be an afterthought. I’m interested in learning more about how the heart and brain connect in all aspects of life.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Precisely as We Think and Do!

Accountability Collaboration Personal leadership

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Key Point: We often hear the comforting phrase that problems are “rarely as bad as we think they are.” Yet Stoic philosophy points out that they ARE as precisely bad as we THINK they are.

One of the great philosopher Stoics, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, lived 2,000 years ago and was a philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and counsel to the famous emperor Nero. Together with Nero, he helped rule Rome during the first nine years of the emperor’s reign. One of Seneca’s well known quotes: “A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” What you think about most of the time, you become. If you see the world and yourself through a lens where life’s challenges and obstacles are viewed as true opportunity, then that’s likely what you will find. This connects with Marcus Aurelius‘ maxim, which essentially states, “what is in the way, is the way.”

The Stoics’ guide us with principles well beyond what sometimes is shallow, perhaps even naive, positivism. It is much more than seeing the glass as “half full.” It involves the following framework:

  1. Seeing things clearly. 
  2. Acting correctly.
  3. Enduring and accepting the world you can’t control, as it is. 

I think we need to attract and develop people who travel beyond self-accountability, resilience, and the many other wonderful values and character traits I often write about. We need these people AND ensure that they THINK about obstacles as THE opportunity to invent, reimagine and find ways to thrive .

The obstacle may be a poor boss, difficult colleague, poor economic environment etc. However, the idea of turning an obstacle around to propel us to a better spot is like rocket fuel… Modern stoicism fuel. 

Character Moves

  1. Recognize that people who can see obstacles with clear vision, a calm mind and then find ways to act in the correct way to take advantage of the challenges, are an inclusive group. You do not need an Ivy League MBA, or be of any group or class. The framework is available to all of us. 
  1. Study people who found a way to turn an obstacle into “the way,” and you will realize that their mindset and action set are there as examples for us to replicate (in our own unique way). Unfortunately, most of us just do not want to embrace the disciplined thinking and action. We too often define much of life’s challenges as insurmountable and unfortunately do not act with correct, disciplined forward action. We get stuck in inertia.

Stoic fuel in The Triangle,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… Wonder what that whole, “never as bad as you think it’s going to be” reminds me of? Oh yeah… My Millennial View, a few posts back. Funny enough, I whole-heartedly agree that “a man’s as miserable as he thinks he is,” too… Hmm… Here’s how I acknowledge and agree with both. It’s “never as bad as you think it’s going to be” actually partners with “a man’s as miserable as he thinks he is,” because the first controls irrational predictions and fears for the future, while the second is a positive mindset that helps you problem solve in the present. You can’t make positive progress on a present obstacle, if you’re scared motionless by over anticipating a negative outcome. Makes sense to me.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Mind Share Versus Market Share

Abundance Collaboration Teamwork

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Key Point: Mind Share is the principle of recognizing that abundance is created through the exchange of ideas and being collaborative. It works on the belief that the more we share, the more we have. Mind share also encourages us to ask what is possible. And thinking this way, along with appreciating that our personal view is only one (not the ONLY one), helps to generate ideas and build bridges between seemingly opposing thoughts. (Geez… Does the world need this attitude now more than ever)? Market share on the other hand normally determines who is right and who is wrong and focuses on taking from others versus expanding. Perhaps being driven exclusively by market share thinking, primarily at the expense of others, is too limiting? Can we really behave more collaboratively and still thrive in a market economy and highly competitive world? 

Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently by Angie McArthur and Dawna Markova Ph.D. is a thought provoking, timely and very important book. In our organization, the ability to collaborate and deepen relationships is getting much more attention. Why? We are becoming a world in which relationships create more wealth than transactions—when things carry less value than ideas. In a “market share” world, scarcity determines value: “I have it and you don’t.” In a “mind share” world, abundance is created through the exchange of ideas and collaborative action: “The more we share, the more we have.”

McCarthur and Markova eloquently state: “We take for granted that intelligence occurs within our own minds. We don’t realize that it also occurs between us. What keeps us from communicating effectively is that most of us don’t know how to think with people who think differently than we do… The most significant work we have done with clients, therefore, has been to develop strategies and practices that make it possible to unleash each person’s potential and to think across habitual divides. We teach them how to maximize the value of their intellectual diversity. We call this collaborative intelligence… One’s collaborative quotient (or ‘CQ’) is a ‘measure of your ability to think with others on behalf of what matters to us all.’

The authors provide a personal assessment tool in both the introduction and at the end of the book so that you can rate your own CQ. And they have developed four strategies for activating it: 

  1. Identifying and maximizing your own Mind Pattern, the “way you process and respond to information.”
  2. Identifying your Thinking Talents and blind spots in the way you approach challenges, as well as those of your colleagues.
  3. Identifying the way you frame questions, or Inquiry.
  4. Generating Mind Share, the “mindset shift required to generate alignment within your team.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Recognize that the ability to be inclusive, highly collaborative and deepen relationships is a PRACTICE.  
  1. Start with yourself and your team. How truly inclusive and collaborative are you? What’s your CQ? Find out.
  1. Read Collaborative Intelligence and/or Team Genius. Do not take for granted that you intuitively know or will just figure out how to skillfully collaborate and create more Mind Share.

More Mind Share in the Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: I think Mind Share is greatly important and an abundant approach. Unfortunately, when some parties involved would rather play the game of “Mind Take” and don’t pull their weight, then that’s where we have to be cautious. So, I understand the need to not completely discount Market Share. While Mind Share is ideal, it’s our responsibility to apply it but also not take advantage of it. “The more we share, the more we have” only applies when what we’re all adding to the pile. Luckily, teams can’t often win with just one “star player” alone, it’s up to us all to be “star players” with our own different talents and traits in order to make the best collaboration. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

‘I Really Need Your Help’

Accountability Collaboration Courage

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Key Point: How do you feel when someone asks you for help? (I didn’t say, ‘ask you for money’). I usually feel darn good that someone has the trust and confidence in me that they would ask. And I do not recall ever turning anyone down when they do. 

It was very hot in the church we went to this Sunday. Half way through the service, an elderly parishioner slumped down in the pew a few rows in front of us… Fainting spell? Heart attack? Stroke? Of course, no one was sure but at least six very knowledgeable people jumped in to help. Legs up, cold compresses, pulse check, ambulance called. And of course, the woman didn’t have a choice to ask for help. But, when she slipped into unconsciousness, help was there, and she needed it. I guarantee you everyone felt better as the event concluded. (The patient was ultimately ok).

It made me realize that often people at work (and life) really need help but are reluctant to ask for it. We think we can go it alone. I’ve lived and repeated this mistake in work and life. There have been times when the best thing I could have done is to realize I needed the support of others and wish I’d had the strength to request it. Frankly, my resistance went beyond hard headed perseverance.  I was just too proud, and as the wise saying aptly goes, “pride precedes the fall.” 

Margie Warrell is a keynote speaker and bestselling author of Brave, and she noted the following in a March Forbes article:

“When you don’t ask for help when you need it, you personally assume all of a burden that might easily (and gladly) be shared by others. And you also deprive those who’d love to assist you of the opportunity to do so. Everyone is worse off… Not only can it help us when times are tough and we’re struggling, but it also gives others the opportunity to make a difference while helping them feel more comfortable to ask for help themselves. When we support other people to be more successful, we discover opportunities for collaboration that ultimately enable us to be more successful ourselves. Everyone is better off.” 

Character Moves:

  1. Know when to ask for help and have the courage to do so. Don’t let your ego deprive others from contributing. It is important that you are genuine and honest when describing what you need help with. This includes identifying that you are struggling without knowing exactly what you require. When you go down for the count, asking for help can often be too little too late. 
  1. If someone asks for help, be a great listener BEFORE you offer solutions. Cross the bridge to stand as close as you can to the person requesting help. Stand in their shoes as best as you can. Be present, notice, and inquire. Clarity on how to best help follows empathetic listening. Do not blindly try to “fix it” for the other person. 
  1. Also have the courage to let someone know that they may require help. Often times, people are so stuck in mud, they can’t “back the car out far enough to look at what a mess they’re in.” They honestly don’t understand how much they need the support of others. Describe what behavior you see and what indicates they may need help. Offer it. Do it. 

Help in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: A fraternity buddy and I created a show for our university’s TV network, and during one of the segments, we invited a local psychic as a guest. He read my palm, and immediately told me I was “very independent.” That’s probably the only thing he had right, but, needless to say, even (probably fake) psychics can tell that asking for “help” with pretty much anything is not my strong suit. Ironically, I love helping others, but, still, I’m generally too darn stubborn to ask for it myself. That, however, doesn’t mean I’m always smart enough to mask it, or in a place where I don’t need it. The courage to ask for more help is something I’ll probably have to work on forever, but, in the meantime, I hope to help as many others as I can so at least it would justify any assistance that comes my way.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis