On Monday, the MYNDDCAST Virtual Book Tour stop with author, Dr. Karl Kapp will post. Don’t miss an episode. Use the link below and follow MYNDDCAST on Spotify. While you’re there, listen to latest interview with Christian and Shannon from Altera Life. MYNDDCAST explores the mindsets of people changing our communities and the world around us.
In Episode 4, I talk with Karl about his Learning Industry Mindset and his journey to becoming the entrepreneur he is today. We also explore how authoring has becoming a key component to his Systems Thinking approach to impacting the world.
Tune in Monday to hear Karl’s story and to learn more about his latest book with co-author, Robyn Defelice, Microlearning: Short and Sweet.
Two powerful words voiced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and heard most mornings on NPR segments they support. Living in Central PA as an entrepreneur, but working outside those boundaries, I feel the powerful tug of war between common and uncommon.
Products & Services: Being an entrepreneur in small town USA can mean hanging a shingle promoting your efforts to bring the common to the community. We all know the common things. They are the services and products that a large population of humans seek or need frequently. The uncommon can feel risky, NEW and strange. Should I open that Art & Team Bar in a culture of drive-through coffee drinkers? Be too uncommon and the entrepreneur can feel the sting of common mindsets. See, that’s the point about being uncommon. It makes us, the consumers, reevaluate our needs and think deeper about what can benefit us. Is the same old, same old good? Bad? Just meh? When entrepreneurs kick us out of our comfort zones and into a new mindset….we all win. The uncommon wins!
Approaches & Tactics: Common extends into organizational structures and cultures as well. That old, dusty Vision Statement hanging on the wall is common. It’s ignored, but common. Having our Monday morning meetings, common. Ineffective, but common. Teams of people attempting to work together with little to no effort put into understanding ourselves, each other or how our unique blend of attitudes and behaviors impact organizational performance. That’s common. Not great, common. Bad actually. But common. Just like the convenience and comfort of hitting that drive through for a cup-o-joe, we get caught in a drive through mindset of work culture. “It’s not healthy, but it’s quick and we KNOW how to do it.” Pretty soon, we’re ordering an extra this or that in cultural terms. One day, we add a side of team in-fighting, or how about a crushed spirit or two? No harm no fowl. We were in line and while we’re here, why not. The common. We all know what the common drive through routine results in. Unhealthiness. So yes, the common Approaches & Tactics for organizations result in the same.
Developing an organizational mindset equipped for our volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world can become common, but for now, it is uncommon…and lovely…….and needed.
If you didn’t click through to the article on the Kauffman website listed above, here is a powerful quote:
“You should not choose to be a common company. It’s your right to be uncommon if you can. You seek opportunity to compete. You desire to take the calculated risk, to dream, to build, yes, even to fail, and to succeed.”
— Ewing Marion Kauffman
This is my challenge to every organization, be uncommon. Craft a Vision that is INSPIRING. Build a Mission that is worth doing repeatedly by the HUMANS who have joined you. Get to know your fellow teammates beyond ritualistic hellos and goodbyes and thank yous and awkward high fives. Be committed to being uncommon for those you serve because they NEED you to be uncommon, but may have no idea what that looks like. That’s your job. That’s OUR job.
Want to be uncommon, and awesome. Connect with me to bring MYNDDSET services to your organization. Together, we’ll MAP, ADVANCE and TRANSFORM your culture. We’ll be UNCOMMON together.
Todd Henry, an incredibly inspiring author, shares a simple model for “Creatives”, those who’s work demands they be creative. He presents a model that includes being Prolific, Healthy and Brilliant. Shift, remove, or lessen just one part of that model and the expected outcome (being a Creative) shifts to another outcome (being tired and not healthy for example). Here’s a link to the Accidental Creative podcast covering this topic to learn more.
What I love about this simple, three-part model is that it provides the opportunity to look at the inter-dependency of the parts and how they lead to an emergent “thing.” In the entrepreneurial world, a similar model can help us understand how to “be entrepreneurial.”
As entrepreneurs, we often get so into the weeds we’ve grown, we get distracted from our purpose. If we’re building a widget, we get blinded by the shiny parts and if left unchecked, we can start to think what the widget does is what we ultimately seek. For example, if we build a new high performance electric car, the performance of the car can easily become sweat nectar and lure us into a sense of significant accomplishment. However, have we forgot the real reason we’re building the car? What about our vision to end the world dependency on oil? Oh yeah. So, now, our high performance, $100,000 car seems not so capable of reaching the masses and that means achieving our initial vision is at risk. We just went 0-60 in 2 seconds but got nowhere. (But it was fun 🙂
Following a model of entrepreneurism can help us focus on key aspects of being entrepreneurial. Whether your an entrepreneur by title (i.e., you launched your own business) or you’re an employee with an entrepreneurial spirit, how can a simple model such as this one keep you on track?
Following Todd’s lead, what if you just Build Something that doesn’t do anything predictable? What are you then? And, what are you if you build something that does something awesome but doesn’t result in anything specific? Flip it. What if you spend all your time mapping the results you want, but don’t build something to get you there?
At the far right, let’s change that box to Vision (our future state, our dream). The middle box, make that Mission (what we do every day). The left box, that will be our Capacity (the systems we build to do our work). I made a decision years ago to pursue my entrepreneurial visions and that includes surrounding myself with entrepreneurs in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Every day, I get to unite with entrepreneurial minds in my community. Amazing, local rock stars doing amazing things. Yet, one thing we all often struggle with is the model above. Sometimes we loose sight of the far right as we keep our heads down building the something. When we get that something up and running, and it’s cranking out something, we feel a sense of “doneness.” We can get comfortable. Our vision (far right) can get fuzzy. By using the model as a whole we build a mindset (a perspective) on entrepreneurism that is simple and powerful.
How can this help you in your entrepreneurial efforts?
In 1987, the year I graduated from high school, I remember hearing a coach at an awards banquet speak of how many leaders there were on the team. The coach boasted about their high level of skills and how they set an example for others. They were role models as evidenced by their dedication to on and off the field preparation according to the coach. At that time, I remember feeling confused. Was the coach saying that by being really good at what we do, we are leaders? I wrestled with how simple this sounded. Be good at something, be a leader. But was that true then? And, now after reaching the 50 year old milestone in my life, is it true now?
Simply…NO! I’m frankly amazed at how easily we confuse leadership and skill. We can be skilled leaders. But, just because we have a skill, are we leaders? Or, are we as the coach added, capable of being great role models? And, is skill acquisition an automatic pass to being a role model. Certainly not. So, likewise, skill level is not the same as leadership.
Why do we confuse leadership and skill?
Because our Mentors Did/Do the Same. Too many coaches, teachers and mentors create confusion for young minds. When a student excels at a sport, artistic or academic pursuit, too often, they are given the title of “leader.” While they may “lead” (as in outperform) others in their skill, their leadership abilities should be assessed uniquely. That mindset (mynddset for me) carries through into adulthood. In fact, we start to feel that if we aren’t given leadership roles when we excel at what we do, we must be doing something wrong. Worse, we suffer when over-promoted at work. In this case, we excel at what we do skill-wise and are promoted to a leadership role. Without leadership capabilities, we struggle. We often fall back on what we know and “do the work” for the team. That’s an entire post on its own. Without intervention, we either learn our mynddset was wrong, or we failed and aren’t a leader. We were duped actually.
Because Leadership Needs Defined. I love this definition by Kevin Kruse (Author and recognized Leadership Authority).
Because We Forget Leadership isn’t about US! When someone is really, really good at something, and they do that something in a way that inspires others, that is AWESOME. But, it takes more than that to be a leader. Leadership requires influencing others in a purposeful, MINDFUL way for the intent of maximizing their efforts to achieve a collective goal. For example, is the star quarterback a leader just because he hits the gym every day after school or is the water boy a leader because he gathers a group of younger friends with a goal of playing varsity at the field after school and teaches them the drills he knows they will perform when they get older?
If you’re not sure if you are a leader, which are you, the quarterback or the water boy from the above example? Are you attempting to lead based on your skill or are you practicing the act of leadership? Have you recently labeled someone a leader who you now see falls short of the definition?
This shift is a mindset (I call it a mynddset) shift. Within your organization, be sure you’re crediting those with high skills for their achievements while also reserving the label of leader for those with the right mynddset.
Mission Moments are sacred. I learned that from my friends Derek and Laura Cabrera. Those moments of interaction with my customers (my clients) that matter…matter deeply. Not just those instances when something cool happens. Mission Moments are moments when the work we’ve done together gives birth to a new reality. Deep? Yep. That’s the point.
I have four parts to my (THINK’ID8’s) mission. THINK.Design.Innovate.IDeate. There’s nothing too profound about each separately. I put these four words together years ago to guide my daily work more so for how each relates to each and how that relationship helps me help others. They represent a system of processes that when working together bring about BIG shifts in people, teams, departments and whole organizations. They are never done but always starting. I know…deep again. I’ve built my own ideas on Mission Moments over the years. When helping others think, it’s great to co-celebrate moments of clarity. But, that’s not enough from my perspective to create a Mission Moment. For me, Mission Moments are those moments when all four of my mission parts come together and are witnessed as the system they are for my clients through some revelation. That “holy sh…” moment, goosebumps and all. That’s a Mission Moment for me.
Like most consultants, I have a bag of tricks to help those I work with THINK.Design.Innovate.IDeate. I heard Mathew Chow (IDEO) speak about managing to change and one of his techniques hit home. The question was “How do we manage to change within our organization?” and can we articulate our practice, either written or in unwritten format? He shared a simple method of placing a group into a situation that has them reflect on how they would manage to a specific change. Awesome…a new addition to my sack.
I headed to my local 5&10 cent store, I love Beiters by the way. I’m working with an amazing private school, the West Branch School in Williamsport, PA. I was looking for a blue hat and wow, I found the perfect blue hat. Totally blinged-out with sequins and a butterfly. West Branch’s logo includes a Monarch butterfly. Perfect!
I pulled out the hat and posed (and posed with the hat on by the way) a simple change. Everyone in the organization would receive and wear the hat, every day, all day. How would we manage to that change? Now, the conversation was great, lots of process, decision making, communication planning and other aspects of change management were shared. But then, the Mission Moment. “Change should be done to support our Vision.” Wait…what? “All this stuff we just talked about, the change, if we want to change, we need to show how it supports our vision.”
The conversation that followed was for me a Mission Moment. My clients created a new reality for themselves. Our time together on our new Journey (which we branded #SojournTogether….Reflect Together.Delve Together.Stay Together) to explore their Vision and establish new organizational development practices had come into crystal clear focus. This clarity was personal, organizational and unique to them. That’s why its hard to write about. From the outside, maybe even hard to see why it was special let alone sacred. But for them, for us, for me, it was a sacred moment that I had to capture.
Why are Mission Moments critical. My vision for the last several years has been “A VISION’ABLE” world. My Mission supports my dream that all organizations have the capability to create a vision and work toward it and I do my part to help raise them to that level. Using vision and mission, we give organizations and the people within them purpose. Mission Moments highlight purpose, create connection and motivate us to dig deeper and continue our vision-focused journeys. That’s pretty awesome.