The unglamorous work of doing good (2)

I recently delivered some food parcels to families in our area. This was “helping those who have less” in one of its clearer and more concrete forms. I was happy to do it, but it didn’t feel that great: I loaded up my car, delivered the packages to some people who said thanks, and then drove home. It didn’t feel…

The unglamorous work of doing good (1)

The side of the tracks Among the most rewarding pieces of “good” that I’ve ever done was to start a micro-savings group for a small community of men and women who lived along a railway line in West Jakarta. It was hard: hot, dusty, dirty and smelly from the rubbish that they recycled for a living, always smokey from cigarettes…

Values in tension (1)

I’ve been thinking a lot about values recently. I mean things like justice, peace, loyalty, family, courage, etc. etc. I think it’s super important to understand your values, to make good decisions for yourself and for the world, but it’s also easy for those values words to replace thinking. You can use the word in a sentence without really having…

People stuff

It helps if you… Have a track record with someone Share goals Have a similar work ethic Have enough experience to have some perspective Are doing okay (aren’t desperate; can [let them] leave) Listen Always have something good to say Know who’s doing what Keep promises Share the assumption that you’re committed to the work, to doing it well, and…

The process

This is the process: Do some work. Just start. Work on it until the excitement of fresh ideas crumbles on contact with reality into the funk of “Why am I even bothering?” Recognise that this is part of the process – and that learning to get through it is quite possibly the key to success. Make something that’s so-so. Edit,…

Seth Godin on authenticity

Here’s the authentic Seth Godin with one of his best riffs: Authenticity is a crock. Authenticity is overrated. Authenticity is a trap. Because the last time you were authentic you were three months old lying in diapers with poop in them, crying. Ever since then you have done things with intent. You’ve done things on purpose. You wake in the…

The operative word

Misquoted dialogue from Madam Secretary: “With the lives of tens of thousands of people on the line I hope this works.” “Hope being the operative word.” “Isn’t it always?”

Operationalising culture

It’s important to think and talk about your values – to know what’s important to you, why you do what you do, and how you want people in your team to relate to each other and to the work you do. Then you have to live out these values – apply and embody them, demonstrate their importance and their worth,…

Seth Godin on difficult conversations

I highly recommend this week’s excellent episode of Akimbo about Difficult Conversations. Here’s my summary: There are lots of conversations that we think of as “difficult”: telling someone you manage that you’re not happy with their performance; complaining about customer service; asking a friend to change their behaviour. We often find having these conversations hard and even avoid having them…