Help Wanted

Atlas, it's time for your bathCreative Commons License woodleywonderworks via Compfight

News Flash: You probably aren’t the first person to try to make your change happen.

Often, you’ll find multitudes of groups and individuals, current and past, local or national or global who have tried or are currently trying to create the change you’re seeking in the world.

Chances are good that you can find on your own some of those people, commonly referred to in our Guiding Coalition as “settlers.”

Chances are better that you’ll need some help to find more settlers.

Please don’t be afraid to ask for that help.

A simple question like, “Do you know anyone or any group who’s tried to….?” can unlock whole treasure chests of contacts, successful or not safe-to-fail experiments, and more.

Now, if you’re not the person driving the change, but are instead the person hearing the question, “Do you know anyone who…” you have a very important obligation to the world.  You should do what you can to provide at least one settler’s name.  By making this contacts we are helping make the future of our world, one connection (one settler) at a time.

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#GCdrive

Wow! What a busy day…launched GC Drive week training, kept my voice going throughout the day (something that was not a given before the day began) and had great participation from the class all day.  Then I took a quick trip to Seattle to meet up with like thinkers (Michael Cheveldave, Hilbert Robinson, Steve Holt, and more).  Now I’m home and my head is aching, so no big post tonight.

But…

1.  Big thanks go out to Rogue Polymath (aka Jay Johnson) for creating the tag #GCdrive to follow on Twitter over the next two days.  Check out the feed now to see what was covered so far.

2. Captured this thought during my ferry ride home.  It screams for its own cartoon.

Q: What’s a surefire way to tell someone has tricked themselves into thinking complex problems are simple?

A: They give you a list of problem categories to choose from and one of the choices is OTHER.

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A Platform for Bravery

Over on Seth Godin’s blog I found a great post about organized bravery.

He advocates for people to create platforms for bravery where people can try and fail, learn, risk, and escape the narrow confines of a “not my job” world.

What does a platform for bravery look like?

I’ve seen them come in many forms including great teams, dedicated work groups and passionate volunteer organizations.

The best form I know of is the committed friendship.  Bosses come and go and coworkers ebb and flow, but friends sustain us.

Be your friend’s platform for bravery and let them be yours.

Challenge them to “try it and see what happens.”

Accept their dare that you do something important today to make your change happen.

Remind them that “not my job” is a cuss phrase in your friendship and you don’t tolerate friends who cuss.

I’m here for you today my friends.

Stand on our friendship.

Use it as your platform for bravery.

When we’re brave together we’ll drive some amazing change.

Why not try?

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Talk Yourself Through

No matter how you think best, whether in pictures or in words (in print or spoken), if your change is stuck behind an obstacle, find someone else passionate about your change and talk yourself through the obstacle.

Draw them the diagram or write out a few paragraphs and e-mail your writing to them, or have a nice conversation with them.

Don’t pull away from others as your change bogs down (which it will from time to time).

Instead, engage your other change believers and talk yourself through it in the way that works best for you.

You’ll be surprised how fast that big obstacle shrinks down to nothing when you work through it (or over it or around it) together.

Why not try?

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Who’s Who (in the Zoo)

When you’re driving change, you’ll need the help of people you’ve never met.

How do you find those people and create a connection with them?

First, you must know what my long-ago-boss’-boss called “Who’s Who in the Zoo.”

In organizations governed by their org. chart, you must know who the head of each section/division/department/whatever-you-call-it is, if you hope to ever get information from or about that group.

Even more important in organizations governed by their org. chart, you want to know desperately who the person is within that section/division/department/whatever-you-call-it who actually helps people.  Too often the boss is the boss, distant and unapproachable.  Instead, look for the person on your level or below in that group, who can tell you who really wields the power or controls the information.  These are the true “who’s who”s to map.

Finding the person on top of the org. chart is easy.  Check the company or organization’s website.

Finding the person who actually does the work or has the information is harder, but it is manageable if you’re willing to do a bit of digging.

I’d go looking for these people in non-organizational organizations, such as a management organization, a union, or a Toastmasters Group.  Frequently, the socially-inclined people in the organization are the socially-inclined people outside the organization.  These are the people that enjoy making a new acquaintance, get excited about serving a new acquaintance and can be lasting connections for you to the organization.

If you can’t find them there, go looking for the person through your current connections.  Ask the people you always go to for advice on “Who’s Who in the Zoo,” to tell you who they know in that group, and would your connection mind if you used their name to introduce yourself to the person.  Most times, I’d bet your connection agrees.

Last but not least, go to their organization area (e.g., their office spaces) and start asking people for help.  “Excuse me, can you tell me who I should speak to regarding…?” Most times, they’ll point you to someone, who will point you to someone, who will get you to the person you want.

Let’s review:

1. Check the org. chart.

2. Look for them at non-group group functions.

3. Ask your connections to connection you.

4. Ask at the organization directly.

Making a connection may take some effort, but if the connection is essential (which it often is), your investment of your time will be rewarded in the end.

Why not try?

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Can you find 1,000 people?

Seth Godin lays down a challenge:  Can you organize 1,000 people committed to your cause, product, or interest? If you could, imagine what you could do.

If you couldn’t name 100 let alone 1,000 people, don’t fear.  Start small.  Besides, not all change requires 1,000.

If you own a business in a competitive market, 1,000 may not be enough, but you can start with 20 and work your way from there.  Or if you want to improve your local school, a core group of 25 or 50 parents may be all you need to change the reading curriculum or gain funding for the after school arts project.

Building relationships is a strength of mine.  I’m energized by meeting new people, getting them to like me and forming a strong bond with them.   I build the relationships because I enjoy knowing more about the people around me: what their strengths are, how their family is and what they want to accomplish at work and in life.

Today I finished addressing, stuffing, licking and stamping the last of my 275 Christmas cards; 275 cards going out to co-workers, friends and family. My husband likes to joke that we send a Christmas card to anyone I’ve ever walked by in the Pentagon.  While that’s funny, if I actually did that I could probably send 750 more.   If asked I could tell you how I met each person on my Christmas card list, I could go on and on about what they mean to me and why it matters so much for me to send them a family photo and a letter each year, just to let them know I’m thinking of them over the holidays.

What if you aren’t a relationship builder? What if you’re the technology guy or the details woman?  Then find someone to partner with who is a relationship builder.  Maybe this partner know nothing about your cause but they know everyone who needs to know.  Let them offer their strength while you offer yours.

Wondering how to find this relationship building partner?  Start a Facebook account, link to your friends and look to see how many friends they have.  In all likelihood, their Facebook friends represent only a small percentage of the people they know.

If you’re a manager, look for that employee that you probably think talks too much.  If they’re always talking to different people, they may be the employee that knows who’s who in your workplace’s zoo.  They can get you at least a few steps closer to the person you need to partner with.

So whether you build your own 1,000 or borrow someone’s  if you want to make a difference, start gathering your group or tribe or army today.  And, try to have fun doing it.

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