Showing posts from October, 2016

VUCA: It's not as new (or as scary) as it sounds

Have you heard about VUCA? If you're not a business guru, you may have missed this management acronym. It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. It's a slightly terrifying description of what is really business-as-usual in a world of change and interaction.

Management theorists might think VUCA is new, but here's how the 19th century poet John Keats described the quality that made writers great:

'At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously- I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.'

VUCA has been with man a long, long time, and the best of our thinkers have found ways to embrace it. If it's still too complicated for you: consider this picture. Is it health food? (No). Is it healthy food (Possibly).

In one category or frame, this i…

The difference between being grounded and being stuck

Could you use a little quiet forest time today? There's evidence that trees are good for people, but you probably don't need a study to tell you that walking in the woods can help you calm the noise in your head and begin to find space to move and to breathe.

Language is funny. Running and stuck seem to be opposites. In life, they are more like team-mates. Running holds you down while stuck jumps on you. The faster you move the smaller the intervals in which change is possible.

The solution is not to stop. Stopping is terrifying when you are already stuck. It sets off alarm bells that make it hard to think. The solution is to set yourself up for slowing down. That means walking instead of driving so that your muscles and your breath adjust. It means finding some trees and allowing them into your consciousness just enough to make space between the thoughts.

All of your time belongs to you. You may choose to give it to something or to rent it to something else. But you still ow…

Holding yourself accountable for your results

I love the word accountable. It's tricky and it's often misused, but it also opens up the opportunity to step fully into owning what we can change and where we can move next.

Here's what accountable doesn't mean: it doesn't mean taking the blame and it doesn't mean meeting someone else's expectations. It doesn't mean being embarrassed if you haven't achieved what you set out to achieve.

Accountable means that you have the ability to give an account of something within your control. This account can be a record of what you did and what result it had: in accounting, everything must balance so every action must have an equal and opposite reaction somewhere in the books.

Outside accounting, giving your account of an event or action means telling your story of how it happened. What I love about this is that every good story requires an interaction between the main character, other characters, and an environment. Everyone is "at cause" (capable …

What are you giving when you're giving thanks?

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada - a time to step back and give thanks. Lots of people will be thinking about what they are thankful for. I'd like to take a minute and ask a different question. What are you giving when you are giving thanks? 
There is nothing in your hands when you give thanks, so what you are giving is not a thing. And there is no action implied by giving thanks, so you are not giving service. What is left to give?
When we give thanks, we give attention to what supports or delights us. When we give thanks to someone, we give thanks to the characteristics and behaviours that support and delight us. This is what makes thanks-giving so powerful when it is directed to someone. For just a moment, we give all our attention only to what we see in them that helps and gives hope and makes us happier.
When we teach small children to say thank you, we teach them to prepare for a moment of connection. The child doesn't quite know how to give thanks, so instead th…