A gentle flight of fancy for young and old

One Inch Tall

If you were only one inch tall, you’d ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you’d walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You’d swing upon a spider’s thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You’d surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn’t hug your mama, you’d just have to hug her thumb.
You’d run from people’s feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write–
‘Cause I’m just one inch tall).

Shel Silverstein

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Exercise in extreme living ~ impersonate who you are not?

Extreme living ~ become a banker?

A few days ago, I suggested an experiment in extreme living: deliberately take a job you hate.  Why not?  Take a job you despise.  Become a banker or a politician.

Why would we want to live extremely?

A young member of the coaching world commented irritably – why would we want to do that?

Yes, indeed, all the the advice of the world of personal leadership is the same.  Be the person you want to be.

We can do what we don’t like because we trust ourselves not to be seduced by it

But the hallmark of someone who is utterly self-confident about their ability to find their purpose and meaning in life is that they can acknowledge what they are not. And they experiment with what they are not without fear that it will take over who they are.

Try this as a weekend exercise in extreme living

First do the simple personality test based on Paulo Coelho’s Virgin, Martyr, Saint or Witch?

Before you click to the other post, here are the three steps.

  1. Which are you: Virgin, Martyr, Saint or Witch?
  2. Which are you definitely not?
  3. Be what you are not for 1 hour this weekend – just one hour.

And if you can’t do one hour, try what you can.  5 minutes?

Grow your ability to live extremely weekend to weekend

Over time, the time that you can be what you are not, should grow longer.   And your assurance about who you are (with all the ridiculousness and humor of who you are will grow).

Once a week ~ impersonate who you are not?

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Friday Week’s Review: 10 minutes of your life in this creative agency!

Oh the coolest of Friday lunchtime games:  join this creative agency and plot your direction with a red flag, give yourself a sugar-fix (once) and block the opposition with an umbrella (once).

Then evade Creative Directors of various characters and particularly avoid bulldozers which will demolish your work and make you stay all weekend to redo it!

Interactive salaryman!

Positive psychology vs positive thinking

If you find it hard to explain why positive psychology is just the mindless repetition of positive phrases?  If you want examples of how we use the positive processes in life to live better, and indeed get things done, then look here at thefuntheory.com.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw&feature=player_embedded]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbEKAwCoCKw&feature=player_embedded]

A keen eye will also notice the little experiment (comparing this bin and that, or before and after); the design thinking – testing ideas in situ rather than ignoring context; and the narrative – show people doing what people do.

There is a competition too.  Deadline Mid-November

Quickly tell an internet optimist from an internet pessimist

LOGO2.0 part I
Image by Stabilo Boss via Flickr

20 questions: which do you agree with?

  1. The internet allows me to reach out and meet people I would never otherwise meet.
  2. The internet allows me to find what I want and organize it the way I like it.
  3. I love the way I have internet friends all over the world.
  4. I am amazed by the diversity of opinion that I encounter on the net.
  5. The beauty of the web is that I can hear the opinions of less powerful people before we make a decision.
  6. We can make our voices heard on the internet.
  7. It’s great the way that so much on the internet is free.
  8. I love the way people reward each other with gifts on the internet.
  9. It’s incredible the way we put together Wikipedia by donating whatever knowledge we each had.
  10. I love the way that my little contribution makes something bigger like Flickr work.
  11. It terrible the way people only talk to their own friends on the net.
  12. The information on the internet is so disjointed.
  13. I fear that people on the internet follow their own interests and disregard the views of others.
  14. I get so tired of the same opinions being voiced over and over again.
  15. It’s too easy on the internet to manipulate the opinions of vulnerable people
  16. It is too easy to bully someone on the internet.
  17. Valuable industries like newspapers will die because of the internet.
  18. If we don’t have property rights, then there will be no reason to compose good music or write good books.
  19. Wikipedia will drop to the “lowest common denominator”.
  20. At the end of the day, great works are accomplished by talented people who have worked hard and practiced long.

Are you an internet optimist or internet pessimist?

Scoring. The top 10 questions describe internet optimists and the bottom 10 describe internet pessimists.

The original list, in much more academic language, was written by Adam Thierer He is looking for a publisher, btw.

Your score? Are you an optimist or pessimist about life with the internet?

With my psychologist’s hat on

I ask:

  • What are the defensive positions that we want covered by the pessimists?
  • And would we trust them, anyway, to cover the weak spots?

It’s funny how the difference between optimists and pessimists is a canyon of trust.

  • How can pessimists lay out an approach to the internet that makes optimists trust them?
  • How can optimists lay out the internet so pessimists can trust it?

Have I got the questions right?

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Tip 3: find your future now not after the recession

Male and female ostriches "dancing".
Image via Wikipedia

Don’t ask who will be employed now

Today I commented on Jon Ingram‘s post about the way HR managers are responding to the recession and remarked that we should not be like the proverbial ostrich – head in the HR sand, butt in the breeze, where it is likely to be shot off!

Ostriches can run really fast (I’ve ridden one). A kick from them will also de-gut you as effectively as a kick from a giraffe.

So why don’t they run or attack, which they sometimes do?

Well, partly, they are none to bright (easily dazzled and then captured by reflecting the sun off your watch into their eyes).

But they are hoping that if they are quiet, that they will be safe.

So I am not going to be quiet.  It does not make me safe.

But I’ll also be kind, and tell you why I am blathering on about the wild animals of southern Africa.

Is the knowledge I acquired in southern Africa of use here?  Well, some is and some isn’t.

The point is that the competencies of yesterday are not necessarily valuable tomorrow.

We must distinguish what of yesterday we can take forward to the future.

We can respect the rest.  We can reminisce about it. But some belongs to the past and will not contribute to the business models of tomorrow.

Don’t bury your head in employment sand!

The questions we have to ask, and should ask each year in our strategy review are:

  • What competencies is this business or my career based?
  • How are these going to change? Incrementally, or suddenly and discontinuously requiring radical back-to-school training?

And in a bad downturn, we should also ask:

  • Can I use the slow time of the downturn to re-train and get some early experience in these new technologies?

Strategies for employers and employees

Employers should be actively building their team around the technologies of tomorrow.

Employees who have switched-off employers should be networking hard to find and build the team that is coalescing around the markets and technologies of the future.

Ask who will be employed in the future?

Here is a simple procedure

1  Grab an old shoe box

  • For one month, on an A5 envelope, every day write down one url to the future of your field with some notes about why you think it is important.  Date it!
  • For one month, on an A6 envelope, write down the contact details of a person who seems to be heading towards the right future and the nature of your contact with them.  Date it!
  • On the back of some other suitable scrap, jot down a daily diary of “what were the main events of today and WHY DID IT GO SO WELL”.  Keep your rough-and-ready diary in the box.
  • Print out a calendar.  Mark off each day and “don’t break the chain”.  Get the creative thinking charged up and humming.

2  At the end of the month, review and repeat

  • But this time discard one of the A5 and A6 envelopes as you add a new pair each day.
  • Keep the rough-and-ready diary going and remember to end by asking the question “WHY DID THE DAY GO SO WELL?”
  • And remember “don’t break the chain”.  Do this exercise daily however roughly.

You’ll be in the future before me!

Now, you’ll be in the future before me, so let me know how it goes. I’m particularly interested in how many months it takes you.  My guess is three at the outside.

And when you’ve done this,  we’ll “make a plan” to come back to rescue the ostriches!  We’ll have a figured out a role for them by then.

Right now, lets go out,  scout the future and be there when it happens!

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Light at the end of the tunnel!

Forget the recession for a moment

and look at this up-and-coming recruitment specialist in our midst! Funny, stylish, and on the nail.  If this is what Gen Y will be bringing our industry, we are in good hands!

HOW NOT TO WRITE A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT LETTER – DESPITE MY TEMPTATION!

Dear Client,

I’ve written to you today to talk to you about recruitment and I have chosen a letter in which to do this. I have opted for this pre-dated method of communication for a few reasons.

1) All of the carrier pigeons were out.

2) I can’t talk to your secretary anymore. Shy of knowing her bra size and favourite day of the week, I’ve come to know more about her than my own mother and whilst I enjoy hearing the words ‘If you’d like to send me an email, I’ll ensure your details are passed on to the right person who will be in contact soon’ more times than Michael Jackson say’s ‘chimone’, I feel my relationship with her is becoming one of those relationships that cause people to bungee-jump – minus cord. I know she’s lovely but her telephone sign off can only be heard by near-by dolphins and my ear-drums can’t take it anymore.

. . . for more, I’ll pass you over to Ian’s blog, Branded Jeanes.

Ian is a specialist recruiter in new media – the read-write web and everything that entails: SOE, coding, community management, etc.

Dream jobs during the slow recovery

Auckland waterfront at night

 

Image via Wikipedia

During the last general election in New Zealand, the National Party (conservatives) made a spirited move for power by offering sizeable tax cuts. So keen we all were to find out our share, we crashed the Nats’ site within hours of their announcement.

My share was considerable: NZD2000 or in purchasing power parity terms, twice what I spent on clothes per year. The Nats didn’t win though. And the big question was why not? We were obviously interested. And the amount was significant.

So why didn’t the Nats win? And is this story relevant to the UK as we climb out of the credit crunch and the threatened recession in a slow recovery?

People don’t like the bashing of people who are unemployed or on the benefit

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. There but for the grace of God, etc. etc. Both NZ and UK are individualistic, masculine cultures (each to his own) but both countries dislike power differentials and huge disparities of wealth. We knew full well what would pay for those tax cuts and in my case, NZD2K was not enough to persuade me to take bread off the table of someone who is unemployed.

Voters understand that our economic policy requires a million or so people to be out-of-work

Voters are not economics experts but most of us know the basics. We know that if everyone has a job, inflation would take off. Both NZ and UK have policies of keeping inflation down to around 3%. Our economic prosperity depends on several percentage of the population being out-of-work.  So how can we take a blaming tone?

We have new attitudes to work and employment

Jane McGonigal, alternate reality games designer described games as “happiness engines”. And she asks an important question: why don’t we design work that is as compelling, engaging and as fun as games?

We do know how to design jobs that are enjoyable. Indeed the basic techniques have been in the textbooks on management and psychology for over 30 years. And games designers use these principles every day.

We want work that is so much fun we have to pay people NOT to work and to go home and play games! That is the doable demand from the citizenry of the 21st century!

Can politicians rise to the challenge of work that is more fun than games?

I think the first step is a social media solution: set up happiness surveys on the internet. When we feel so moved, we log on and say “I love this job”.

Then we will know which sectors are getting the thumbs-up from their employees, and as the saying goes, what gets measured gets done!

And we can worry about how much to pay people to stay at home!

What do you think?

Hat-tip to Sirona recruitment consultants  who inspired this post.

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.

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3 fresh ideas in management

1 Flow

I love flow.  I know some people who think it is great to be in flow, or in the zone, for half-an-hour a day.  I am a flow junkie.  I go for all 24 hours counting a good sleep as good flow.

2 Crossing the Rubicon

But there is something I love more.

That is the rush when you have a crystal clear idea that you know will work and that is, in that instant, so obvious.

What is the name for that?

I know Peter Gollwitzer, the psychologist calls it “crossing the rubicon” – moving from wish to intent.

3 Corporate anthropology

This corporate anthropologist, studies the use of mobile phones by poor people and travels around the world studying the way phones are used.

My questions to you?

Why don’t we study flow a lot more than we do?

Why don’t we study people at work they way this guy studies phones?

Why aren’t we interested in why and when work is blissful and  fun?

Why are aren’t we interested in making jobs as enjoyable as Nokia tries to make its phones?

I could do spend all day trying to make work fun and never get tired of it!!  Could you?  Do you?

Good looking pleasing personality test

@ PersonalDNA

Refreshing interface, immediate report, advice, trait ratings and logo/description to put on your site.

AND ARE YOU GOOD LOOKING?

The original post was about a personality test but a lot of people arrive here trying to find out the meaning of being good looking.  So I’ve edited the page and added the key psychological points of being good looking.

It seems to me that most people know if they are good looking or not.  We also know that some people are born with great attributes: they have symmetrical faces and are tall and well proportioned.

For the rest of us, this is what we can DO about being great looking:

  1. Smile.  Smile when you speak to someone, smile when you go down the street, smile when you sing in church, smile when you talk on the phone, smile when you are alone.  Smiling tells people that you like them, or that at least you are willing to give them a chance.  And they like you for giving them a break even if they are a teacher, a traffic cop or just the utility man trying to do his job.
  2. Listen.  Look at the person and follow what they are saying. Watch their body language and fall into step with them. Dance with them.  Repeat what you think they said before you add your own story.  Walk in their shoes!  Most people are never ‘heard’ and the relief people feel when you listen is palpable.  Watch for it.  Just remember to smile when you start speaking yourself.
  3. Spruce up.  People like to interact with someone who takes care.  There is no set way of dressing.   Just take care. Wash, iron, end, brush.  Fold your clothes at night.  Clean your shoes.   If you feel good, people catch your mood and feel good too.
  4. Exercise.  Look after your bod.  If you hate sport, dance.  A good bod is a good bod.  If you are working two jobs.  Take the stairs.  Do neck exercises in the shower.  Do Pilates quietly on the bus!
  5. Gratitude.  The last thing you should do every night is think about the people who gave you a break: the canteen lady who dished your food, the professor whose lesson made sense, the bus driver who took your money.   If you forgot to thank them in person, well do it next time.  But every night, go to sleep on the memory of people who did well what they could have done badly.  You will sleep better and look forward to tomorrow, smile more readily, listen more easily, iron your shirt with more humor and bound up the stairs with more energy.

And it will show.  People will notice you and want to talk to you.  Which will make you smile!

Enjoy!  Five steps.  Smile. Listen.  Spruce up.  Exercise. Gratitude.

And let me know if this list helped.  Thanks for coming by here.  Evey page hit brightens my day.