Yes, I know it's the second to last day of January, and we only have 11 months to go, but I have needed to get my head around a few things. I'm struggling to believe it is 2020! In my youth, this year was akin to science fiction. It was too far into the future for us to even contemplate what it would be like, what we would be doing, thinking, dreaming. Well, here we are. Scary. So, as an exercise to help me get my head around a few things, I want to share with you what I think we all need to give thought to over the next 11 months. Those things that will be important. Those things that we need to contemplate. Those things we need to get used to.
Be more Curious. In this age of Social Media, Surveys, opinion pieces and fake news, the principles of science are being raped! If we lose our sense of curiosity we risk our very existence. We risk our human powers of judgement, sensibility, rationality and choice. We may as well be machines - affected, offended, motivated and de-motivated by every scrap of misinformation that passes our eyes and ears. Pseudo science and bad science are being re-packaged as Good Science, and sold to willing buyers. Be curious. Remember, good science is where one study has shown a theory may be correct, and as a result many scientists go on an exhausting journey of trying to disprove that study. If multitude studies have backed the finding, and they have all been peer reviewed, there is a chance that the theory may be true. But nothing is absolute in good science. Bad science is very simple -and we see examples of it everywhere. One study has given a "surprising" result. The bad scientists ignore every other study that disproves their one study and claim they have a breakthrough (good example - anti-vaxers). Pseudo science is where surveys, opinion pieces, or three blokes from Raetihi and their dogs, give their views to an "influencer," and it quickly becomes the newest thing - backed by science. This stuff makes my blood boil! So be more curious. Question everything. There is a huge amount of bullsh*t out there, lets throw it back in the faces of the bullsh*ters!
I feel better now! Secondly, think more strategically. Our businesses and business people are becoming far too "short-termed." If we plan for what has happened today, and try and fix it tomorrow; if we spend our working days covered in the mire of todays and yesterdays problems, we tend to forget what business, and life, are all about. Short-termism is destroying some businesses, without their owners realising it until its too late. Think about the construction industry and the failures that continue to take place. Short-termism here is just ensuring we get the next job, at any cost. Short term advantages are obvious - we can keep our staff employed, we survive until tomorrow, we keep breathing. If those businesses thought more strategically and longer term, they would never sign up for a loss-making project. Why would you? If the industry is so cut throat that blood is everywhere, then down-size, change direction, do something else!
Leadership and Accountability. I have been involved in businesses for some time now. I don't want to think about the number of years that have rushed by, but I have talked, listened and thought about business a lot. And one thing always comes to the top of the pile when I ask business people what their biggest challenge is. People. Not a surprise. But more specifically, "how can I ensure my people accept accountability for what they do?" This is closely linked to Leadership. How can our leaders ensure they provide the environment for their people to accept accountability, and deliver to those expectations. Well, I've been thinking! Accountability is a personal choice, not something that we force on our staff. WE need to make the personal choice to play above the line (not be the victim and blame everyone else) and accept we are accountable, before we can expect our people to. In turn, it is a personal choice for them, as well, to accept that they will play above the line and be accountable. Not until we are all playing above the line and asking ourselves, first, "what can I do to help solve this problem?" can we expect accountability to be pervasive. I will be working on this with all my clients, in the year to come.
Lastly, and I did intend to list more but as usual I have raved on a bit, Clayton Christensen passed away last week. He was 67 - born in 1952 so I could relate to him in many ways! He was a giant in the academic and business world. A deeply religious man that managed to overcome serious health issues through his life to become Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, Rhodes Scholar, and the spark for a number of well accepted business theories. "Disruptive Innovation" is probably the best known idea of his and something becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. I want you to watch a 19 minute TED talk video from 2012. I urge you to put aside the 19 minutes - if you can't you are not managing your time well enough! If you do one thing in the next 5 days I want you to watch this. You will be moved by it. Have some patience when you watch it - that patience will reward you. You will notice that he has a walking stick and his speech falters at times. Six months prior to this TED talk he had an ischemic stroke, causing him to lose the ability to speak. He had agreed to this TED talk prior to his stroke, refused to cancel, so learnt how to speak all over again. You may note that he looks at his notes once, and does not have speech cues. The title of the talk is "How Will You Measure Your Life." Click here to watch the video.
Keep focused, be curious, think strategically and be healthy