Now

When are you going to write your book?” – Bob Steinmetz

Every time I talk to him, my friend Bob asks me the same question.  Over the years my answer has evolved from, “Someday,” to “Soon,” to “Maybe next month.”  I’m happy to announce today that my answer is, “Now.”  I started writing my book today.

A few months ago I practiced what it might be like to write a book by writing a book proposal.  The proposal wasn’t accepted, but it prompted me to start learning about how I might publish a book on my own.  With the help of two awesome new authors, Dr. Dan Diamond and Michael Hannan, and the encouragement of two established authors, Rich Sheridan and Dr. Bob Sutton, I finally felt ready to write.

Looking ahead, I know I’m only going to have my limited moments between the time the kids finally, FINALLY, go to bed each night and when my eyelids refuse to remain aloft to write. Yet, this lack of minutes will not slow my progress.  I’m committed (well, I will be once I hit publish on this post) to getting the book published as an ebook and paperback by April 1, 2016.  Everyone’s always called April “my month,” and this year that’ll be true.

Watch for “Engineering Accelerated Results: How to Rapidly Drive Results Without Driving People” coming soon.

I always ask you, “Why not try?”  Writing this book and committing to publish it by a specific date is me living my values.  I asked myself “Why not try?” and I no longer had a reason to stay stopped, so off I go.  <Zoom!>

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Reservoir of Untapped Genius

There is…an enormous reservoir of relatively untapped genius–that is, the capacity for exceptional accomplishment–which existing systems of motivation have failed to reach.” – Saul Gellerman, Management by Motivation (1968, page 204)

In June 2014 in London at what is lovingly called Gilbfest, I had the privilege to give a presentation based on my work with Driving Change over the past 10 years. The presentation was titled, “Building an Innovation Implementation System within a Large Organization.”

An innovation implementation system would:

  • shrink the time between idea launch to full implementation
  • create a growing number of observable, successful implementations each year
  • reduce the distance (real and figurative) between people in the organization
  • increase the number of proven leaders of organizational change.

The innovation implementation system was based on organizational physics that mirrors the physics of a hydroelectric system of river, dam, transmission, and industry.

Like potential energy stored in falling water, people in organizations have an inherent capacity for creating innovations.  You don’t have to add innovative people, thoughts, or behaviors to get the process started.

These innovations (which start as single ideas or inventions) flow whether the organization harnesses them or not.  Hence, it is to an organization’s benefit to install an innovation implementation system as soon as possible.  Every day that passes innovative ideas flow out of your organization without producing a benefit for you.

The implementation breaks into a few steps.

  1. A Reservoir Step: How to Collect Innovative Ideas
  2. A Power Generation Step: How to Harness Urgency
  3. A Transmission Step: How to Connect Innovations with the Organization and Beyond
  4. A Results Step: How to Create Sustainable Power and Results

The Reservoir Step is to simply ask for ideas AND volunteers to implement the ideas.  Ideas without volunteers lack potential energy.  It is only when an idea is embodied in a person within the organization that the idea can be funneled into power generation and transferred energetically downstream.

The Power Generation Step is propelled by volunteers who carry forward their ideas by driving change, not people.  They don’t demand others do what they won’t.  Instead the volunteers invest their time in modeling the change, sharing what they’ve learned, and removing the obstacles for others to follow them.

DPDC

The Transmission Step links the hierarchy of the organization with the network of volunteers, using the energy of both to accelerate the idea forward.  As John Kotter expertly explains in Accelerate, it is hierarchy AND network, rather than the traditional hierarchy OR network battle that allows organizations to benefit the most.

The Results Step demands sustainment (defined as the ability for the idea to continue without injection of new energy from the original idea volunteer) as the measure of final results.  Too often launching an idea is considered the end point, and all of the work up until that point is like a spark at the end of a frayed electrical line–light and heat accomplishing nothing.  This can be prevented through a commitment to partner with the downstream benefactors until the innovation can stand on its own.

As in a hydroelectric system, there is much engineering behind each of these steps, but these four steps are a complete outline of a working innovation implementation system that that I’ve built, run, and benefited from many times.

If this outline intrigues you and you’d like the detailed schematics of the innovation implementation system, feel free to reach out to me.  Together we can harness the reservoirs of untapped genius in our organizations.

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Circumnavigation for Transformation

70 % of all transformation initiatives are significantly challenged or fail altogether. One of the main reasons is that an Agile tranformation consists of two parts: process transformation and people transformation and many organizations overlook the second part.”— John Kotter, author of Leading Change

This quote appeared in an email I received earlier this week as a follow-up to attending Agile 2015 in Washington, DC.  It’s always nice to see two parts come together into a whole.  I’ve been working in the people transformation space with Kotter’s model for years now and I’ve enjoyed my eight month introduction to Agile.  This fall I’ll be carrying the message in this Kotter quote around the globe.

September 28 through 30, I’ll be in Warsaw, Poland at Agile By Example. Check out the details on my speaker profile page.

The following week, October 5 through 9, you can join me at the Agile & Lean Development Conference in Penang, Malaysia.  Conference registration details will be posted soon.  Comment on this post if you want more details.

If you’d have told me a year ago that I’d be where I am today or planning for this busy fall, I wouldn’t have believed you.  I guess that proves, even to a seasoned change agent, that the future can surprise you.  With 70% of transformations still failing, I’ve got lots of work to do and thankfully, I love doing it.

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Getting Things Done

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I find the best way to get things done is to just start getting things done.

But shouldn’t I prioritize the tasks first? Not necessarily.

But shouldn’t I make sure I have an exhaustive list? Not required.

Lately I’d let my maximizing tendencies get in the way of my achievement tendencies.  I had to stop trying to get everything perfect, or everything right, before beginning.  I just had to begin. And, so I did and I had a wonderfully productive weekend. (So much so in fact that it is the wee hours of the week and I am still up accomplishing things, like finally returning to blogging)

So, if you’ve been feeling stuck, feeling frustrated, feeling unproductive, may I suggest: Just get one thing done.  Just one.  Then turn one into two. And two into three. Why not try?

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Moving on to better things

It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Don’t I know it! I’ve spent the past several months toiling to make this impending move to Oregon a reality.  The new home is moving quickly toward closing and the old home has finally been listed for sale. The Roosevelt quote reminds me that each moment of toil is bringing me closer to better things, for me, for my family, for my new organization.
As the holidays quickly approach and the weight of so many to-dos presses down, I encourage all of you who are ready to move to better things to steal yourselves to the task ahead.  2015 will be filled with labor and painful effort.  You will be asked to offer grim energy and resolute courage.  It’s up to you to move yourself forward to better things.  I know you can do it.
Why not try?
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Until you have won

Today is a rare sunny winter day in the Pacific Northwest, so my kids have seized the opportunity to head to Evergreen Rotary Park.  The are enjoying our few last days as Bremerton residents by playing at the park I and the Beyond Accessible Play team worked three long years to build. Their play adventured leads me to this week’s quote of the week:

…be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann

I’ve meant to post the speech I gave at the playground dedication ceremony in September.  Now seems like the right time.  Here is the speech:

After three and a half years of living this project, from the big idea to the small details, it is difficult to choose what to say and what to leave out.

The sights and sounds of beyond accessible play surround us and I’m overwhelmed.

I’m overwhelmed by  the constant support this project has received, from individuals and families, organizations and associations, clubs and troops, military units and grant committees, Kitsap Bank and community foundations, city leaders, county leaders, state and national leaders too.  People will long forget what we say here and they may quickly forget what we did here, but they will never forget what they do here.

They’ll remember the friends they make.  They’ll remember mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, aunt or uncle pushing them on the swing or riding on the teeter totter beside them.  They’ll remember how they felt loved enough by their community to be honored with a beautiful place to play.

And, 30 years from now, according to the research, they’ll remember that people with different abilities can accomplish a lot and are worthy of the job they’ve applied for.  Lives decades from now will be made better by beyond accessible play today.

When we started this project, we just wanted a place for our boys to play, with maybe a ramp to a slide and a bucket swing.  Today, I’m still learning all the different ways this project will touch and change lives in our community.

Whether you were with us from the very beginning, joined us along the way, or are gathered here for the first time today, know that you have changed the world beyond measure.

The playground is truly the place where the community comes together.  Thank you for helping us reach our dream of a place where ALL may play.”

 

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Geshido

Geshido” – Chelsea Grace

Google “geshido” and a list of links to a climbing shoe pop up.

rock wall climbing

That’s not the geshido we’re talking about here.

Geshido is a word coined by my good friend Chelsea Grace.

She uses it as a call to action.

“Geshido!” she’ll cry.

If you’re part of a Lean obsessed organization, you’re probably assuming that geshido is also some Japanese word that means “seek the truth” or “watch carefully” or something. Nope.  Here’s what it means:

Get sh*t done!

This week, as you struggle or jump from bed to face the challenge ahead, feel free to use “Geshido!” as your rallying cry.

When you feel weak, “Geshido!”

When you want to rest, “Geshido!”

Whenever you want to make the people around you stop and stare, “Geshido!”

Have fun geshido-ing this week.  I know I will.

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