Progressive. Conservative.

We all have change that we’d like to see in the world.

There are things we’d like to abolish. There are things we’d like to see start or grow, and take their rightful place in our culture.

We’re all progressive – maybe even radicals.

And we’re all conservatives too.

There are things we want to protect, changes we want to prevent, or reverse.

It’s a shame that we can’t agree on what these things are. That is to say, it’s a shame that other people don’t agree with what I think those things are.

You know, the right things.

Family and community, taking care of people, responsibility, freedom, goodness.

Things like that.

Today’s status quo

On the other hand, doing something a particular way because that’s what everyone else does – or because it’s how it’s always been done – is a recipe for stagnation and frustration.

And if you’re doing it for a place in today’s status quo, you might be heading for disappointment: tomorrow, the status quo will have moved on, and what you did might not mean what you thought it did.

Here’s Seth Godin:

Are you making these choices simply because of today’s status quo, knowing that tomorrow the status quo won’t even be what it is today?

Seth Godin – Akimbo – The Wedding Industrial Complex

When to decide

Decide before it happens. Ahead of time, when it’s easy to decide, when you can plan a strategy – set up a game – that will make it easier for you to do what you want to do when the rubber hits the road.

If, for example, you want to be a runner, the time to decide whether or not you’re going to go for a run today is not in the morning when it’s cold and dark, ten minutes before your run.

You can gameify it. You can make a deal with yourself that you’re allowed stop running, but first you have to make it to the mailbox. You have to put on your shoes and your running clothes, and go out the door and run to the mailbox and then you’re allowed to make a decision that you’re too busy, or too tired to run.

Seth GodinAkimbo – The Wedding Industrial Complex

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Seth is spot on. I’d add a couple of things:

  • Make it as easy as possible for yourself – put your alarm out of reach so you have to get out of bed, have a cup of coffee or a drink in the fridge, find those socks, put out your shoes the night before. Get the thin end of the wedge** on your side.
  • Running clothes first. Shoes second.

**Apparently I’ve never posted on this – coming soon…

Conservatism and the status quo

Edmund Burke and Friedrich Hayek make good arguments for leaning towards conservatism (small c).

For all its problems, the relatively stable equilibrium we live in is a blessing. It depends on a lot of intertwingled factors. It wasn’t planned or made: it evolved and accrued.

The faster the world changes, the more valuable stable touchstones of culture, family, relationship become.

Which parts are of the social structure are held up by the piece you’re pulling away at? Is it a keystone?

Who else depends on the type of person you’re disrupting? Are they a keystone species?

Look before you leap.

** Russ Roberts‘ Econtalk is a great place to go to hear a well-intentioned person working from this point of view.

Starting line

Where’s the starting line?

Sometimes we’re a few steps further down the track than the people we want to take with us:  we’ve given it more thought, we’ve done it before. We want it more.

We’re so keen to get people over the finish-line that we don’t notice that they’re still milling around at the start – or even that they’ve chosen to stay in bed.

How far away are you? How many steps backward will you need to take if you want to take them with you?

What do you need to communicate? What are the thousand other important things that you don’t?

When are you going to stop talking about techniques for crossing the finishing line and help them to put on their shoes?

 

*see also: Clarity. Simplicity. Focus.

 

Crocapocalypse

Due to an unforeseen but crocastrophic mistake (or an unhelpful linking of two  different wordpress sites in my browser – not sure which), I accidentally deleted the entire contents of driverlesscroc last night.

In the absence of an equal and opposite category, I’m posting this under ‘Processes – ways to get things done’.

I’ll be restoring as many posts as I can get my hands on in the next few days.

Lessons learned:

Back up more often – my last back up was from October 18th.

Use Google Cache – google saves every site their webcrawler visits, which let me find most of the missing posts (click the little arrow next to the site link to visit the cached version).

Triple, quadruple check and don’t do such foolish things.

Podcast: a few minutes to worldwide distribution

It turned out that when I got to 121 minutes I wasn’t too far off worldwide distribution and an audience (okay, potential audience) of billions.

Not that I want an audience of billions, but it’s amazing to think about it. Pow – you have distribution that the biggest media companies in the world could only dream of a couple of decades ago.

Back to the podcast – the morning after this post I installed the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin for wordpress, and their stats add-on (both free) muddled through with filling things in, and then found this excellent article from elegantthemes.

And now I have an RSS feed that makes my podcast downloadable or streamable to anyone with a web browser or a podcast app on their phone.

I’m not on itunes or Google play yet – they’re not exactly the point, and take some extra registrations – but I’ll get there eventually.

For now, here are my amazing stats:

DC podcast stats

iphone users show up as iTunes downloads. I’m not actually on iTunes yet – I just serve a classy demographic.

Team performance (3): Learning and individual growth

Richard Hackman‘s third lens on teams and team performance looks at what happens to the individuals on the team.

Individual Growth

What happens to the individuals? Did they learn something? Did they grow and develop professionally, or was this a waste of their time or something that frustrated and alienated them?

Richard Hackman

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Team growth and individual growth are interrelated, but distinct. Team growth is (primarily) related to the team’s ability to work well together as a team, and whether their ability to get the job done is improving, and the improvement is sustainable.

Individual growth is about personal learning and development:

  • Are the members of my team developing their own vision?
  • Are they and exercising and deepening – or possibly redefining – their values?
  • Are they gaining new tools – ideas, skills, understandings – that will serve them and others well, beyond the team?
  • Are they developing significant relationships and resources that will help enrich their lives and the lives of those around them?

How is what you’re doing now going to make their lives better in future? How is the work of your team an act of generosity the teams of the future?

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I listened to Andy Kaufman interviewing Richard Hackman on the People and Projects Podcast.

Team performance (2): Team Growth

Richard Hackman‘s second lens on teams and team performance is about the team getting better at what it does over time.

If you’re leading a team, your evaluation of the team’s performance can’t be based solely on whether you delivered the goods last time. You’ve got a bigger picture to think about, including whether your team is getting better over time.

Team Growth

Team growth is key too: “What happens to the team itself over time? Does it grow in capability? Is it a better performing unit after its completed this project than it was before?

Richard Hackman

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As your team delivers the goods this time, is it getting stronger and better able to deliver the goods next

  • Is the team clear about a shared vision what it’s trying to achieve and where it’s going?
  • Are your values being strengthened through this project or are they compromised and in danger of withering?
  • Are you developing shared standards and practices that will make doing the same jobs easier tomorrow?
  • Are team members getting better at their individual roles?
  • Are you getting better at communicating, cooperating, helping each other out, having fun while you work?
  • Is the wrapper of essential resources and partnerships around the team being strengthened? (think ecosystem, not machine)

I listened to Andy Kaufman interviewing Richard Hackman on the People and Projects Podcast.

Team Performance (1)

I’ve just been listening to Richard Hackman on teams and team performance. His first lens for evaluating team performance is straight forward:

Delivering the goods

Did you get the job done? How well did you do it?

Who is the legitimate receiver, user, reviewer of this performance and what to they think of it? Did you serve the client first?

At a non-profit leader you might have several ‘customers’: the people you serve, donors, the team itself. If you can’t keep everyone happy, where do your priorities lie?

I listened to Andy Kaufman interviewing Richard Hackman on the People and Projects Podcast.