Tag Archives: Change

Whatever You Do, Will Always Be, What You Did…

Two Resolutions That Can Change Your Life (Part 2)

How much power does your mirror have over you?

Not your vanity, your image of yourself…

We grow and we change, but we cannot escape the fact that we are the products of the decisions we’ve made and the actions we’ve taken.

Your past actions are just that — the past.

Don’t think your past controls you?

Try going home for the holidays and staying in your old room for a couple of nights.

The liar in the mirror is not our friend.

It’s the voice in our heads that tells us we’ll never measure up.

It’s the tape that plays reminding us of our limitations.

But the power of the liar, the source of the voice, the writer of the tape is US.

That scared part of us that believes if we change, we won’t be us anymore – which leads us to the Second Resolution That Can Change Your Life…

Resolution #2

FORGIVE YOURSELF: What you did made you who you are…

If shame or regret or anger characterize how you view certain aspects of your past, resolve to forgive yourself in the new year. Forgiveness isn’t about excusing or forgetting, you may still have some things you need to do to make what you’ve done right with others – but forgiving yourself can be a freeing and healthy experience.

Did some things in the past you aren’t so proud of?

Still doing the same thing or did you learn from it and/or get help? If so, your past was the primary ingredient of a new and better you!

Self-denial or continuous self-punishment isn’t the answer, not only is it bad for you but you’ll be robbing those around you of all the contributions you could be making instead.

We are what we do and yes, what we did.

As always, I invite you to share your comments, ideas and stories with me, directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected,

-Jeff

Forgiving the Unforgettable…

Two Resolutions That Can Change Your Life (Part 1)

Like a child of time,
Each new year holds infinite promise and potential,
Undefined, uncharted and unconstrained.
And like a child,
Day-by-day,
The new year grows and ages,
Becoming old, entrenched, well-worn and purposeful.
Hard-won wisdom yields to the beat of time
And a new year is born.

Strange, wonderful, exhilarating, frightening and sometimes maddening, 2016 was in many ways, more than we could have asked for and more than we wanted.

And while it may be difficult to know what the new year holds, my growing experience with time, tells me some things won’t change without real concentrated effort.

Sure, the new year may finally bring back that beach body you’ve been fighting for since your oh-so-sexy youth and yes, you may finally stop that nasty habit of ______ (insert nasty habit here) but if you want to make the new year—a year-to-remember, try tackling two resolutions that will change your life forever!

Resolution #1
FORGIVE HIM/FORGIVE HER: Can something broken ever be truly fixed?

This is the year you really find out.

Forgiveness isn’t reconciliation or excusing or forgetting.

In fact, the challenge is to forgive the unforgettable.

Forgiveness is about acknowledging the emotional offense and pain your lover, parent, sibling, friend, business associate or other breaker-of-trust once caused and then letting it go – really!

This cleansing process can be one of the healthiest decisions you make.

If the offense is history—let it be history.

If the only thing making it relevant is your unwillingness or inability to finally let go of the anger, it may be time to consider alternatives.

No I don’t know the specifics of what you are dealing with.

I can’t possibility know how my words relate directly to your life and I’m not offering any medical or psychological advice, but I do believe that life goes by too quickly to waste one second on things we can’t change.

As hard as it is to truly forgive others, it’s nowhere near as difficult as the Second Resolution That Can Change Your Life…. And that’s the subject of next week’s blog.

As always, I invite you to share your comments, ideas and stories with me, directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected,

-Jeff

Is Your Organization Going Senile?

The social contract, the implicit agreement that once bound workers to organizations for entire careers, is no more.  Off-shoring, right-shoring, belt tightening and a tsunami of technical innovation shifted job demand from trade skills to knowledge work and changed the career landscape in less than a generation.

Hierarchical command-and-control structures that simply asked employees to “show-up, shut-up and do it our way” were replaced with a bottom-line, “what have you done for me lately” mentality that offered no guarantees. As a result; employees have become willing to change jobs with increasing freedom and frequency, reducing job tenure by 2/3, from 11+ years to about 3.5 years.

With employees just as likely to move out as they are to be moved up, our organizations simply don’t have the capacity to retain memories, experiential lessons, recollections and the know-how that only comes from having been there.

So what does this mean for your career?

If you’ve been around for a while, market the benefits of your longevity… to both your productive prowess and the value of what you remember!  Over 95% of all information goes unused or lost, so if you can access what’s in your brain – that may be worth something.

If you’re a new to mid-career worker, as you consider job promotions or job moves, also consider the types of experiences you’ll have right alongside of the other benefits you’ll receive, because someday your memories of those experiences may be a big part of your personal brand value.

Let’s face it, many of our organizations are graying right along with the workforce. A graying organizational design can’t cope with the winds of change and the opportunities that ride them… They might have once but who can remember?

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Until next week, STAY CONNECTED!

-Jeff

Do You FEEL It? Why Our Relationship With Work is Broken (Part 1)

 The Dog Proverb
太平犬,
(nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luàn lí rén)
“Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be human in a chaotic time”

Do you feel it?

It is everywhere and nowhere – all at once.

There is an undercurrent spreading across the globe.

It is HAPPENING RIGHT NOW in boardrooms, at the ballot box, in classrooms and on playgrounds all over the world and it is BIG. It’s so big, that its effects are being felt in real time, in every aspect of our lives and it’s about to change everything.

Angst, anger and the nagging feeling that our systems, processes and values no longer meet our needs, dominates our social discourse. The lines that separate countries and companies, political parties and notions of self are reforming, literally before our eyes.

We are experiencing the first global social systems upheaval in all human history that is being played out as-it-happens on the screens of our life: TVs, computers, tablets and in the palms of our hands.

When it happens, no matter where it happens, we see it, we hear it in the words and faces of those affected and we can feel it as it unfolds.

Nowhere is this undercurrent more vividly evident than in our professional lives.

The evidence is undeniable and growing with each passing moment.

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WORK IS BROKEN

We try harder and accomplish less.
We are loyal but change jobs more often.
We feel under appreciated and overworked.
Our careers have become one of our greatest health risks.
And our organizations too often behave compulsively, like addicts, looking for the next profit fix.

Something has to change…

Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll examine why Our Relationship with Work is Broken, what it means to you and how it may impact your career. You’ll learn what to watch out for, how to protect yourself and how to steer your organization clear of the wreckage and thrive, while others wonder what’s happening.

Somewhere in history, the west altered the dog proverb and turned it into a curse translating it into English as “May you live in interesting times.” My friends, these ARE interesting times and I look forward to sharing the practical and tactical insights we’ve learned from some of the world’s top business thinkers, historians, sociologists and plain old folks like you and I that have wisdom of their own to contribute.

As always, I look forward to hearing what you think at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,

-Jeff

DONALD TRUMP: PROPHET OR POISON… 3 REASONS WHY THE WORLD OWES HIM!

Hailed or hated, prophet or poison, Donald Trump’s presidential bid has fundamentally changed political discourse in ways that will benefit our nation and the world.

Here’s why:

  1. Symbols & Systems: Humans are incapable of understanding complex systems as a whole. Instead, we rely on symbols to help us comprehend what we otherwise could not. For example, it is impossible to conceive the intricacies of the entire world or even a large city, so we use maps to represent its various parts.  Change the symbols and you change the way we view the system. Political punditry aside, I think it’s fair to say that Donald Trump is not your typical republican candidate. In fact, he’s not a typical candidate—period. He’s challenging our accepted symbol of political leadership.
The word is not the thing and the map is not the territory.
Alfred Korzybski
  1. Petulance & Permissions: Surrendering ideology in favor of anger, angst and frustration with the status quo, Trump appeals to groups of people that defy political boundaries. His raucous ranting and insult slinging has, in effect, given millions of people permission to venture outside the lines of traditional political rhetoric.
  2. Conversions & Conversations: Whether you are among the converts or appalled beyond belief, chances are you are having conversations about things you wouldn’t normally talk about and with people with whom you wouldn’t normally speak—AND that is why we owe The Donald a BIG THANK YOU.

The tectonic events that change industries and organizations, the unforeseen forces that drive the cultures of countries and companies are exceedingly difficult to control, but one thing is for sure—in the aftermath of great upheaval comes new resolve. Either we redouble our commitment to our values and our way of life or we simply say enough is enough and start fresh.

America, and the rest of the world, has an amazing opportunity to face the very real issues that have, for far too long, lingered just beneath the surface. We have the opportunity to reexamine our expectations of the social systems and the leaders that serve us.

This may also be an opportunity for you to lead the change conversation in your own organizations:

  • Are there things in your organization that everybody knows – but no one will talk about?
  • Are there better ways to do things that are blatantly obvious – but no one is willing to act on?

There may never be a better time to question the symbols around us and have the conversations that need having…

It’s been said that, “There is never a failure when a flower blooms” and I guess Donald Trump is proving that it’s true for a cactus too!

As always, I welcome your comments and questions directly, at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,

-Jeff

Now What?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to conduct as series of interviews with four amazing leaders. One woman and three men, each the senior-most executives of their respective organizations, offered honest appraisals of their lives, careers and the businesses they’ve built. Although the organizations they lead differ by industry, geography and size, they shared one common concern:

What made us successful in the past,
Will not make us successful in the future.

Now, what?

Across the board, these leaders saw the level of product and service value that once drove the economic engines of their organizations, steadily and irreversibly decline; resulting in everything from a reimagining of their product and service offerings, to increased reliance on inorganic growth and in one case, an exodus of the industry they’d served for a generation.

As I write this, my desk is overflowing with interview transcripts, the margins of each page filled with a scrawl of handwritten notes and questions. From those pages it has become abundantly clear that there is a new leadership challenge emerging; a concept that defies tradition, embraces the deeply human elements of business activity and holds the promise of great opportunity for those willing to embrace it.

The new leadership challenge seeks to answer the question, Now What?

Tomorrow’s leaders must be capable of sensing, absorbing and transforming oncoming change in a way that creates competitive advantage for the organization.

Bold vision and practical and tactical ideas, big and small, are fast becoming the currency of organizational and career success. The leaders I’ve interviewed agree: venturing into an uncertain future will require more leaders than ever before; but individuals hoping to fill these roles will be largely responsible for their own leadership development, which means doing the hard work of defining who you are, what you value and what you are capable of accomplishing.

In short, before your ideas will be considered, before you can effectively lead others, you must demonstrate both an understanding and control of yourself.

Next week, we’ll examine what you can do to prepare yourself to take advantage of these new leadership opportunities and springboard your career to the next level.

Until then, I’m reaching out to you to see what you think is important for leaders to consider and what skills you feel will be critical in the next generation of business leadership. As always, I welcome your comments at: jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Change, Managers, Leaders & the $3.56M iPhone…

Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock, warned the world that change was coming and that the pace of change was about to change everything!

Toffler’s 800th Lifetime Theory divided the last 50,000 years of human history into generations of 62 years each = 800 lifetimes,

  • 1-650: Humans lived in caves,
  • 720: Birth of the written word, allowing us to communicate from one generation to another,
  • 794: The average person sees the written word in his/her lifetime,
  • 796: Measure time with precision,
  • 798: Use of the electric motor.

In short, the vast majority of the tools and technology we take for granted everyday, has been developed within the last generation.

Connecting Change to Managers & Leaders

While there are as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders, only one definition captures the essence of Toffler’s warning a half-century ago:

Managers deal with complexity through the application of process.

Leaders deal with change through the alignment of resources.

Nowhere else are the mindboggling effects of change better reflected than the shift in emphasis from managerial know-how to leader-led empowerment. This shift changed the way we operate companies, how we view and lead employees, redefined our relationships with customers, heightened the importance of alliances and partnerships and fundamentally shifted our view to the future.

Yesterday, Dallas-based sales-exec Eric Wortmann sent me an email. Eric participated in a multi-day training session I conducted a few years ago and in his note he shared that of all the content we’d covered, the leader-manager distinction was most important. Eric – thank you. I completely agree!

Having trouble taking it all in… consider that if you wanted to purchase the technology in a $200 iPhone back in 1991, it would have cost you about $3,560,000.00!

Keep your head up and your eyes on the future!

Why We Do What We Do: Habits…Why are They so Hard to Change?

  1. About 40% of what you do every day is pretty much the same things, in the same situations, as you did yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that.
  2. We establish patterns of behavior that allow us to reach our goals and then we do it again…wash rinse and repeat.
  3. In a recent study participants were given the tough task of tasting popcorn (hard work!), and as expected, preferred fresh popcorn over stale popcorn. However, when given the popcorn in a movie theater they ate just as much of the stale popcorn as they did the fresh.
  4. So if you want to change a bad habit?
    • Change Environmental Cues for Existing Habits: someone who moves or changes jobs has the perfect opportunity to remove old cues, or if eating healthier is the goal – rearrange your fridge so the junk food is somewhere else,
    • Allow for Time to Make the Change, Repetition is Key: it can take up to 254 days to form a new habit; and
    • Link Good Habits Together: if you want to floss more, make brushing your teeth always the cue for flossing after.
Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/sfpa-hwf080714.php