are you giving your team time? great thought from Mark Sanborn

1503358_1068801176467115_2328263038242587308_n

too busy to ponder?

2014 Sprin Flowers at Brown GablesGood morning! It’s finally getting Spring here in NE Indiana!! Flowers starting to bloom and a mallard walking around in the yard.

Question for you – how much time do you actually spend thinking about the important things? I mean actually thinking, reflecting, meditating, or pondering on the important issues in your life and in life in general?

I am inclined to thinking because of my personality. However, I am also a collector of information and the Internet is like a treasure chest to me! I can collect a vast amount of information. However, I have noticed that when I begin indulging my desire to collect information, I neglect thinking. I forget to consider the “why” behind things. I forget to think about how things connect.

I may have more information now, but I am less wise.

So, I have some questions that might warrant pondering:

1. Do you know what you really believe? Not what are the opinions of others that you might have adopted, but what do you really believe?

2. Do you know why you believe what you do?

3. If so, can you articulate well what you believe and why you believe it?

If you can answer question number 3 – “yes” and “yes”, then you will begin to have a profound impact on others.

If you can’t, you might want to spend some time pondering.

Have a great week!

BG

 

a disturbing lack of reflection

Louisana Flower 2014Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great weekend.

Alarm clock goes off, hit the snooze button, alarm clock goes off, snooze button again.

Rush to get dressed and then, maybe, grab a quick high carb (and sugar) breakfast as you head into the office.

As soon as arrive, you power up your computer and immediately begin checking your email and reacting to them. (OK, you also might have checked Facebook as well).

Then you check your calendar and look at when you will be hopping onto the meeting carousel. In between the meetings are rechecking email, sending email, scheduling more meetings, and making a stab at your to-do list.

In fact, you may even look at your calendar with some pride! Look at how it is full of meetings! My input is needed (and is vital!) to so many people. Why, look at my overflowing inbox, surely that is an indicator of my value to the organization.  In fact, I am so busy and vital to the organization that I need to do some (actually a lot) of this at home at night and on the weekend. My family understands because they know how important I am to the organization.

My busyness is surely a testimony to my importance. Right?

One thing seems to be missing – reflection. When did you take time to reflect on what you are doing and why you are doing it? When did you take the time to reflect on your priorities (in all areas of your life) and consider ordering your life around those priorities?

If you don’t take time to truly reflect on what is most important in your life and in your vocation, who is? Are you spending your life merely reacting to the various stimuli in the world around you?

Do you realize that most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their own lives?

Why not stop long enough to spend some time reflecting on what is most important (at home and at work) and then start acting in a proactive manner that is consistent with well thought out priorities?

It is your choice as to whether you live in a state of reaction to the world around you running frantically to catch up or if you live a life of intentionality based upon well thought out priorities.

Have a blessed week!
BG

 

is the internet reshaping your brain?

theshallows_custom-s6-c30What do you think? Are your reading habits changing because of the Internet? Have you noticed that where you once could sit down and enjoy a lengthy article or large portions of a book that now you quickly get bored and want something different? Are you as able to think deeply and at length about a subject or do you find it harder to sustain your thinking?

In his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains , Nicholas Carr says Yes!, the Internet is impacting the way we think. Read these quotes from the Amazon description of the book: 

“As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? . . . Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. . . Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. “

Also, read Michael Hyatt’s blog post on the subject.

Take a minute and think about how your thinking has changed since you started using the Internet. I am not an advocate of not using the Internet at all, but I wonder if I do need to review how much time I am spending skimming over this rich well of information and maybe spend more time in good books and complex articles.

The Internet is part of our lives now, but the question for me is – is the Internet a tool I use well or is it my master and shapes my thinking?

What do you think? How do you manage the impact of the Internet on your life?

BG

“The significan…

“The significant problems we face in life cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

Want to Get More Done? Take a Walk

Good morning! The flowers are blooming here, but it is still raining up here in the Midwest. Everything is pretty soaked, but as you can tell from this picture my daughter took that the ducks are having fun!ducks in water

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the communication and information that is coming your way? First there is your computer with your multiple email accounts, your myriad of websites that you “need” to check, of course Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Then there is your smartphone that keeps you connected though texts, email, Facetime, and the occasional call. It sometimes seems we start our day by turning on our computer or checking our smartphone and then we spend the rest of the day just trying to manage the flood of information coming into our lives and end the day more tired than if we had been digging ditches all day.

The one thing we are missing in our day is one of the most important things we need to be doing – thinking. Most of us are called knowledge workers these days, but sometimes it feels more like we are simply information processors. We need to be spending more time actually thinking. One of the ways you can do this is to disconnect from all your tech gear and simply take a walk. Leave your smartphone at your desk and take a walk and think. Try to do this in the morning when your mind is fresh and creative.

You will be amazed at how your creativity increases and the insights you will have when you simply disconnect from the firehose of information and take the time to simply think. Try it today and see what happens.

Go take a walk.

Peace and grace to you today,
BG

Four Stages of the Creative Process

Creativity is something that fascinates me – as a “left-brain” thinker, the “right-brain” folks intrigue me and I desire to better tap into my creative side.  My youngest daughter is an artist and the way she looks at the world is wonderful.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am reading Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman.  Pretty good book.  In the book, he lays out their Journey of Ideation.  This journey consists of four stages:

1. Investigation – this is where you gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data. This step usually leads to what he calls the destiny statement for the project.

2. Incubation – this is the longest stage.  This is where they “allow our minds to go out and play.”.  This is the brainstorming stage – both independently and collectively.  This is the time you are searching for the one elusive insight or idea that will provide clarity.  This is the “daydreaming” phase.  Usually they come out of this phase with hundreds of ideas.

3. Illumination – He makes the statement that ideas don’t appear, they evolve.  This is the stage where the editing of the ideas from the Incubation Phase takes place.  This is where they are attempting to illuminate the one Big Idea.

4. Illustration – In this phase, you are visually portraying and personifying the Big Idea.

Looks like an interesting framework for ideation.

How does your organization set up the creative process?

Blessings on your week!

BG

Which Hat To Wear?

Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great weekend.

Do you ever had that nagging feeling that there is some aspect of an issue that you have not addressed? Or maybe in one of your meetings everyone seems to be saying the same thing? Or maybe the strongest personality in the room is overly pessimistic or optimistic so everyone else adopts the same approach? Regardless, you know that you are missing something.

Well there is a way of parallel thinking that will help you and your team fully think about and discuss issues. It is called The Six Thinking Hats. In this approach you learn how to separate thinking into six distinct functions and roles that help you to have a more robust analysis of the issue.

First is the White Hat – this aspect just deals with the information that you have or need. Just the facts.

The Green Hat deals with all the possibilities, alternatives, new concepts, and so on.

The Yellow Hat is when you explore the positives and look for value and benefit.

The Black Hat is where you look for the difficulties and dangers and explore why something might not work.

The Red Hat deals with emotions, hunches, and intuition. Here is where yo express your fears as well as hopes.

The Blue Hat is the managing of the thinking process ensuring that all of the “hats” are used in the process.

So, if you want a more robust examination of an issue, try wearing the Thinking Hats.

Have a blessed week serving our Lord!
BG

Twelve Questions That Could Improve Your Team’s Decision Making

Biases can and do distort our reasoning – especially when making important decisions.  Things such as confirmation bias, anchoring, loss aversion, and etc.  These cognitive biases and others have the potential for distorting our judgment.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Before You Make That Big Decision . . .” the authors suggest a “decision quality control checklist” of 12 questions to use to help discover defects or biases in the decision-making process.

“Is there any reason to suspect motivated errors or errors driven by the self-interest of the recommending team?

Have the people making the recommendation fallen in love with it?

Were there dissenting opinions within the recommending team? (NOTE – regardless of its cause, an absence of dissent in a team addressing a complex problem should sound an alarm)

Could the diagnosis of the situation be overly influenced by salient analogies? (In other words, is it too heavily tied to a past success story?)

Have credible alternatives been considered?

If you had to make this decision again in a year, what information would you want, and can you get more of it now?

Do you know where the numbers came from? (Are the numbers fact or just estimates? Who put the first number on the table?)

Can you see a halo effect?

Are the people making the recommendation overly attached to past decisions?

Is the base case overly optimistic?

Is the worst case bad enough? (Check out the post on the “premortem” – click here)

Is the recommending team overly cautious?”

These questions can be a powerful tool in rooting out defects in thinking of a decision making team.

Blessings on your week!
BG

Four Stages of the Creative Process

Creativity is something that fascinates me – as a “left-brain” thinker, the “right-brain” folks intrigue me and I desire to better tap into my creative side.  My youngest daughter is an artist and the way she looks at the world is wonderful.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am reading Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman.  Pretty good book.  In the book, he lays out their Journey of Ideation.  This journey consists of four stages:

1. Investigation – this is where you gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data. This step usually leads to what he calls the destiny statement for the project.

2. Incubation – this is the longest stage.  This is where they “allow our minds to go out and play.”.  This is the brainstorming stage – both independently and collectively.  This is the time you are searching for the one elusive insight or idea that will provide clarity.  This is the “daydreaming” phase.  Usually they come out of this phase with hundreds of ideas.

3. Illumination – He makes the statement that ideas don’t appear, they evolve.  This is the stage where the editing of the ideas from the Incubation Phase takes place.  This is where they are attempting to illuminate the one Big Idea.

4. Illustration – In this phase, you are visually portraying and personifying the Big Idea.

Looks like an interesting framework for ideation.

How does your organization set up the creative process?

Blessings on your week!

BG