Thursday, 17 of April of 2014

Tag » MindLab

MindLab: We’ve been down this road before (part 2)

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As a young man history classes bored me. Now they fascinate me.

  • America’s first depression occured in 1819 when the government sold large tracts of land and provided “easy” credit. Hmmm, sounds like 2008.
  • We sing the praises of Silicon Valley (and worry about its competition) in the first part of the 21st century. Akron Ohio was a technolgy center at the beginning of the 20th century — for tires. Hmmm, maybe there is something to learn.
  • The sheet music publishing industry was rocked on its heel by the intrusion of the Victrola (record player) into homes around the country. The book publishing industry is being rocked by the intrusion of tablets into the homes and hands of people around the world. Hmmm, maybe they should lead the parade instead of watching the parade go by.

History isn’t so boring after all.


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MindLab: take time to (honestly) reflect

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The post-Christmas, pre-New Year time tends to be a bit slower for many of us. Take some time to reflect on the past year and honestly assess your role in both the successes and challenges of your team or business. What did you do (for better or worse) that impacted the performance of the people around you.

Reflecting is a hard-won skill found in people who are really trying to prepare for their future. It’s one of the eight skills I highlighted in my first book and it’s one of the top three skills least  used in most businesses. We have plenty of reasons for not reflecting (too busy is top-most) but no real excuses. It something we need to do if we want to improve.

The past is the past — spend a few minutes thinking about what you did right and wrong in 2011 and get ready for 2012. More adventures lie ahead of you. Happy New Year.


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MindLab: We’ve been down this road before

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George Santayana, the poet and philosopher stated: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Rufus Fears, my favorite history teacher, states: “One of the lessons of history is that we don’t learn from history.”

Unfortunately, both seem to be right on the mark. We’ve had tulip bubbles, dot-com bubbles, real estate bubbles, and, I’m sure, we will fall prey to another bubble in the future. Likewise, lifecycles are destiny and every product, every company, and every career will eventually mature and go into decline. And yet we are continually surprised when it happens.

Today’s Chicago Tribune has an article by Phil Rosenthal about the ten year anniversary of Enron’s bankruptcy. Ten years!!! Where does the time go and what have we learned?  Well, considering the reality of Tyco, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff and MF Global, we’ve learned that George and Rufus are still right.

What might this mean for me and you? Well, as part of today’s MindLab exercise, let’s start by spending a few minutes on the following three questions:

  1. Do I spend time to even try to understand past events and “learn from history?”
  2. Can I list even three lessons that I need to apply to my thinking about today’s actions?
  3. How do these lessons affect my vision, values and goals?

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MindLab: Think in bigger boxes

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Want to prepare yourself for the future? Think bigger than your job. Think about what happening in “bigger boxes” and consider how you and your job might be affected.

What's happening in your "bigger boxes?"

If you are serious about “thinking bigger” you need to “read wider.” Grab a recent edition of Business Week or The Economist and consider how some of these stories may affect you and your company in the not-too-distant future.


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MindLab: Time, the irreplaceable resource

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My friend Leo often works with organizations facing a tough decision. One of his opening questions is “How much time do we have? Five minutes? Five hours? Five days? Five weeks?” He tries to get his clients to deal with the reality of an irreplaceable resource. We can borrow money. We can use subcontractors. We can rent space. But we only have so much time and we have to use it wisely.

We don’t want to “shoot from the hip” nor do we want to succumb to “analysis paralysis.” But if you wait before you start acting, you only reduce the amount of time you have left and will force yourself to take greater and greater risks. How much time is left before your competitor forces you to react? How much time is left before your best workers retire? How much time is left before your kids are “grown and gone?” How much time is left before you retire?

How much time is left?


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