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Showing posts from February, 2017

Problem Solving Through Conversation

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I bet you've tried to talk about a problem with someone and come away more confused and unhappy than you started. It's happened to all of us. We know that other people's ideas hold some kind of key to finding what we need. Yet talking about our problems often leads to new problems.

Here's a better way. Understand what kind of help you want and behave in ways that make it more likely you'll get it. Consider these three possibilities:

Have a conversation to learn how someone else solved a similar problem. This means listening to their story and being curious about it. It doesn't mean leaping to conclusions or trying to apply it to your own situation before you've heard the whole story.Have a conversation to learn how someone was able to persist until they found a solution. This doesn't require that the problem they solved was like the problem you want to solve. Instead, as you listen to the story, ask questions about what was true in their attitude, their…

Work or Play: Focus on What You Want

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Some people say I work too hard. They're the people who know the difference between work and play. Play is supposed to be easy and light and fun and work is supposed to be serious and require an effort.

But it's easier to work too hard if you think you're playing. Imagine that someone at work told you to get down on the floor next to the closet and make art on a paper bag. You'd think the demand was preposterous.

I don't work too hard. It's possible I don't work hard enough. But I sometimes play on the floor until I get stiff and sore. It happens when I am playing with fascinating people making real a vision I can almost bring into focus. Like the best learners I know, I play until my eyes won't stay open.

Begin with the end in mind: choose a state and work toward it

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This is how I would like every day to wind down. It's a late afternoon on a beautiful summer day in PEI. It's one of my favourite times in one of my favourite places. I like the curve of the rocks, the movement of the water, and the peaceful fall of the light on the water.
To be able to experience this at the end of the day takes more than the drive to PEI or the wait for mid-summer. It takes showing up for the rest of the day knowing that whatever bumps I hit or waves I make will wind down by the end of the day. It takes remembering this as I am clobbered by an unusually big wave or turning my ankle on rocky ground.
The same movement around you can be unsettling or calming. The same light can be failing or falling as gently as a blanket. On a beautiful late summer afternoon it's easy to see the beauty in rocks and waves and fading light. It's not easy on a grey February day as yet more snow clogs the roads and tax time looms.
If you want your day to end peacefully, y…

Leadership begins with a shared direction

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There are two kinds of people: the ones who want to be the leader and the ones who don't want to be the leader. Sadly, there's not always a correlation between the ones who want to lead and the ones who are the best fit to lead.

Whether or not you think of yourself as a leader, think about this. Leadership requires that the person leading and the people following all want to move in the same direction. Often, this will mean that they share a goal or purpose. Sometimes it will mean that they share a problem or a belief. But they have to want to move and they have to want to move in the same direction before conditions are right for someone to become a leader.

If you're trying to take the lead, begin by checking what you know about where people want to go and what makes them want to move.