Saturday, April 26, 2014

Onwards and upwards in 2014

If you've been following along for a while you may have expected a new year post about what 2014 would hold for me.

I've done this because I like a bit of public accountability, and because I know many who read this blog face the same challenge, "how to be in this world".  I'm happy to be a case study.  And so, late as I am, I write about 2014.

I didn't write up a 2014 resolution in the wee hours of 2014.  I didn't even post until four months into the year.

In fact, looking back at my notes, I didn't undertake an annual planning process at all!

So what's going on?

My planning focus has changed

It may not even be called 'planning' any more... I have veered away from 'plans', or at least a traditional planning paradigm.

One blog post in particular has been really influential.  It advocated setting up processes instead of making plans.  (I'll copy some links at the foot of this post.) It spoke a truth that I had already felt and kind of knew already, but making it immediate and personal in a way that I could implement directly.

I have really struggled for years to balance the need to plan and have direction, with the repeated experience that any plans are redundant by the time I got around to referring back to them (which I didn't tend to do, because they were too complicated to ever be front of mind)

So now, instead of plans I have:

  • simple, clear general visions or ideas of the future - the current overriding vision in my life is "operating Realise as a sustainable, growable business"
  • simple, clear, flexible day-to-day processes & systems that should take me there (e.g. have a few coffee meetings, 2-3 exercise sessions, and a half day of reflection each week)
  • a few theories or models for change, that underpin plausible stories for development about how my actions will enable realisation of my visions
  • an iterative, reflective process about how things are going, challenging and continually rewriting my theories, the plausibility of my stories, and the actions I need now to move forward

I don't really know what to say

Because of —or despite— my present approach to planning, I don't really have anything to share.

"Hey, in 2014, I'm going to break even and lay the business foundations I can grow out of in future."

Other than that, everything else is up in the air - any other personal goals are secondary to my business as my foundation.  The longer term picture is still way too cloudy.  I had some general ideas and sketched up a goal pathway later last year, but I've abandoned these distractions because it really doesn't seem relevant for where I'm at.

Lay the foundations.  Participate.  Reflect.  Iterate.

Does that really need to be said?

I'm just not 'here' very much

I am waiting to see how my business and other 'production' avenues fall into place, and this just doesn't seem that relevant to where I'm at.  I'd love to be sharing more, because I have plenty I could share, but it's not a priority amidst everything else.

Before you go: some planning gems

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thinking about this slippery thing called 'leadership'

Can we think about leadership not first from "what it is", assuming there is "a thing called leadership" as our starting point,
but instead from "what do we think this 'leadership' thing is supposed to do?"
That is, what are the functions or impacts of a thing we might call leadership?  How do we think it would work?  What are the theories of change about the impact that our behaviours might have (that reflect what we might call leadership)?
This way, we might not be able to be clear what leadership "is or is not", but we can at least make solid, verifiable claims about things that happen in the world (patterns of personal influence), thus informing how we can behave in order to more effectively realise our intent in communion with others.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting better at learning

I think I've built up a pretty sophisticated practice for learning, development and personal change over the last five or so years.

Which I guess is just the practice of influencing 'me'.

I'm pretty savvy with habit formation, developing simple frameworks to guide intended actions, kaizen and lean learning through rapid iteration cycles, different methods for learning content, GTD everything, visualisation and channeling role models, operating in complex environments, diminishing returns on investment... these are just the things I've written about or drew on today (that I can think of).

Whatever it is I want to be or do, I'm pretty comfortable that I can map out a way to get there, or at least somewhere close enough, or close enough to my potential to say QED.

I look back at my enthusiastic efforts to systematically create myself, of only four years ago, and it seems like another world.  I was a crazy man!  How could I drive so much enthusiasm into travelling round in circles!?  I'd say my capacity for learning is an order of magnitude better than back then.

But even so, I look at where I am, and everything I want to be is still light years away...  or at least one, or two, or ten years...  It's hard work, all this change!  And it's never ending.  There is always a lifetime of change around the corner that I don't even know about yet.

Still.  How much bloody harder was it four years ago?  How much harder must it be for those that don't have the tools that I do know?  How on earth do people get on?

And what must it be like for those who are so much better at it than me?  What is it like to be an order of magnitude better again?  Does it get easy?

If you're one of those amazing people out there then please, say hello.  I have so much to learn from you!