Monthly Archives: August 2014

Praise for Pause

Here is a pause in praise of pause. Pause – rest, peace, quiet, respite, a break from the everyday – is key in a world of distraction or what writer Linda Stone calls “continuous partial attention.”
So today’s post is a simple reminder to take a pause, to break from perpetual connectivity and to give something our whole attention.

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Savvy Saturday August 30th, 2014

Strategy is about making choices. You can’ t be all things to all people all the time.

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Savvy Saturday August 23, 2014

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.” – Frank Howard Clark, American Screenwriter

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Visual Business Inspiration

AH HA

Have you had an AH HA moment lately? You know, a light bulb moment, a moment of sudden inspiration, recognition or insight into a problem. Maybe it’s time to take a walk, read a book, start a conversation. Human beings are creators – let’s create great work, art, organizations and communities! AH HA.

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Savvy Saturday August 16th, 2014

We are not to judge thrift solely by the test of saving or spending. If one spends what he should prudently save, that certainly is to be deplored. But if one saves what he should prudently spend, that is not necessarily to be commended. A wise balance between the two is the desired end. ~Owen Young

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Savvy Saturday August 8th, 2014

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises. — Demosthenes

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Visual Business Inspiration

This one got us thinking (and talking)…

smart phone

Image from FastCo Design “An illustrated guide to our maddening relationship with tech”.

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3 Lessons from the “Quiet” Person in the Room

Last year I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It’s a non-fiction book that was on most of the bestseller lists in the United States and Canada in 2012 and early 2013. Cain does a great job at explaining how introverts can contribute to a more creative, empathetic, reflective and – in one word – balanced society.

The thing about “quiet” people is that they are not actually quiet. As Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology and the introvert/extrovert theory) says, introversion and extroversion are extremes opposites and most people fall somewhere between the two: “There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.”

And that’s why I think we can learn from the “quiet” person just as much as we can learn from the “noisy” one. The challenge is that we are overwhelmed by noise that the valuable qualities of “quiet” people are sometimes overlooked. Hence the imbalance in society and one of Cain’s central tenants in her book and “quiet” revolution.
So what have I learnt from the “quiet” person in the room?

#1. Listening combats isolation
As counterintuitive as it may sound, the best listeners – and usually the quietest person in the room – are less likely to feel the same isolation as vocally assertive extroverts. They are focused on listening rather than talking. They don’t seal themselves off from other people waiting for their next moment to talk. They listen and empathize and, in time, their listening abilities bring them to the real meaning of the conversation and the concern, fears, hopes and wishes of those they listen to.

#2. Empathy and diversity of thought leads to better decision making
Groupthink, “yes” men/women, status quo – all are results of lack of diversity in decision making. By involving more points of view, we are better able to represent the interests of our stakeholders. Quiet people, because of their empathetic nature, tend to see more points of view and can challenge groupthink if they are given the right opportunity. (For more info on how to do this visit Cain’s blog – there are some excellent articles on how to involve introverts in decision making and creative processes).

#3. It’s not always about charisma
In workplaces today, there is an emphasis on collaboration which can sometimes lead to groupthink as mentioned above. The solution is diversity of thought and to appreciate ideas not from where they come from (i.e. rank, title, popularity) but on their own merit. Charisma is not always the trait of the best leader – see Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last – but it does seem to characterize today’s leader.
Cain states that while charismatic leaders may earn bigger paychecks, they do not have better corporate performance. Quiet people have equally creative and valuable ideas that may not be heard. The best ideas are not always the loudest ones.

In closing, there is untapped potential in the “quiet” person that we can only begin to benefit from if we start to balance introversion and extroversion in our organizations. Extroversion has been the ideal for too long.

EMC

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Savvy Saturday August 2nd, 2014

“resisting the temptation whose logic was “In this extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK” has proven to be one of the most important decisions of my life. Why? My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.

The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”

Clayton M. Christensen

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