Can’t Say No

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

The most important element of creating change is making the change easier for the person or groups that have to make the switch. You create a situation in which someone literally can’t say no.

When I thinking of “can’t say no,” I imagine a sleazy used car salesman. “I’ve got a deal you can’t turn down.” But of course you can turn it down. There are a thousand different places you can buy a used car from and you may have serious concerns about the reputation of the salesperson and what implies about the condition of the car.

What I love about the framework laid out in Switch is that we learn how to make changes easier and this more likely to take root. I’m so excited about this book I am teaching a lunch and learn at work – taking co-workers through the framework and then leading an exercise where we use the framework to create change in the participants lives. I’ll share as much of that as I can.

For today’s post, I wanted to simply provide the framework. Hopefully this get’s you interested in creating changes and learning more about Switch.

The metaphor used throughout the book is one of someone riding an elephant. The rider is the rational side of all of us. The elephant is the emotional side. The rider is calculating and prone to worry. The elephant is emotional and can overpower the rider.

  • Direct the rider by:
    • Finding bright spots (small wins or successes)
    • Scripting critical moves (give details regarding how the change happens – specific behaviors)
    • Point to the destination (why is it worth changing?)
  • Motivate the elephant by:
    • Find the feeling (help people connect emotionally with the change)
    • Shrink the change (make the change seem smaller)
    • Grow your people (give others a mindset of growth – changes are possible)
  • Shape the path by:

I hope you find this outline useful and enjoy the book as much as I have.

Kissing The Lipless

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

The creation of art involves taking a risk. There is a real risk that what you make will be ridiculed by your peers, your friends and even your family. To truly appreciate art, you have to understand that the artist puts a portion of her soul into her craft. You should appreciate the risk that was undertaken, it’s not all about the creation that you can see with your eyes. There is real value in the journey because it is making the artist stronger. We learn much more from failures than we do from successes.

Showing art to those that don’t appreciate your craft is like kissing the lipless. It might have to be done, but the kiss is much better if the recipient has the appropriate anatomy to receive the kiss. In the case of art, that anatomy is the understanding of the pain and pleasure that goes into making real art.

Everyone can be an artist if you approach your work in an artistic manner. Help the artist around you out – appreciate their journey and be mindful of your own.

The Walls Are Coming Down

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

Whether you know it or not, your environment has a substantial impact on your behavior. If you remove all of the chairs from a room, most people will stand. If you surround yourself with people who eat healthy and care about fitness, you’ll likely find yourself making better food choices. If you are in an open space with your coworkers, you’ll be more likely to collaborate.

Are you in a position where you are trying to impact behaviors – your kid’s, your spouse’s, your coworkers’? Are you thinking about how the environment effects behaviors?

In this passage from Switch, Chip Heath helps us to see the importance of the environment on change:

According to one study of people making changes in their lives, 36% of the successful changes were associated with a move to a new location, and only 13 percent of unsuccessful changes involved a move.

Many smokers, for example, find it easier to quit when they’re on vacation, because at home, every part of their environment is loaded with smoking associations. It’s like trying to quit smoking inside a Camel advertisement – everywhere you look are reminders of the habit. There’s that drawer in the kitchen where the lighters are stashed, the clay pot on the porch that’s become an archive of ashes, the ever-present scent of smoke in the car and the closet. When the smoker goes on vacation, the environment recedes towards neutrality. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to quit, but it’s easier.

My favorite line from this is “it’s like trying to quit smoking inside a Camel advertisement.” I laugh at this, but how often have I attempted to make changes without any consideration to the surroundings or environment? (Hint: often!)

Within the last twelve months, my team has been experimenting with space. Our first experiment involved moving from the sea of cubicles that divided our team into an open space. There wasn’t really anything special that had to be done, we just asked for the walls to be taken down.

Now we are onto working on Space v2.0. Standing desk, whiteboard surface, everyone within a few feet of each others. In other words, this is Susan Cain’s, worst nightmare.

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We launched Space v2.0 a few weeks ago and have seen some great results. In addition to me dropping a few lbs, we are able to move around and collaborate more frequently.

The environment drives behaviors.

We keep secluded space when team members need to do what we call “head down” work. I’m looking forward to continuing the experiment. I can’t wait to see what we come up with for Space v3.0.

If you have a change you are going to drive, consider the environment and how it can help your change take root.

Lost In My Mind

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

Do you ever get lost in your own mind? You have an idea or there is a task you want to accomplish. You think and you think and you think, but nothing seems to happen.

I’ve stumbled onto some good solutions for the problem of being lost in your own mind

1. Break big projects/tasks into smaller steps. Imagine you are climbing a ladder. You know that you want to get to the top (that is your objective), but you can’t get to the top until you put your hand on the next rung. For your project, what is the next rung? What is the next thing you need to physically do? Even if it is something as small as “capture notes from the XYZ conference” go and do that.

2. Write everything down. If you think I need to get milk at the store. Don’t just think it, make a note of it. Better yet add it to a list that you keep your grocery items on. I trust my mind to remember very little (those close to me know that this is a wise move on my part!). I tend to write every thought to “do” something down.

3. Work on projects / problems with others. Talking through a potential idea, solution, problem, etc with a friend or co-worker is important to keep from getting lost in your mind. Better yet, if you can show them something physical or what you have written down, this will help them experience your idea, solution or problem.

Try some of these ideas to keep from getting lost in your mind.

No Right Angles

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

Last night I sat and looked at the logo of Lifeline International and noticed something – the edges around the heart are rough.

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Lifeline International (an agency focused on adoption and foster care) has designed their logo with rough edges because parenting orphans is sometimes messy. I love the message in this design. Expect rough edges and love them.

What is your outlook on people, their work, or yourself. Do you expect everything to be “buttoned up” all the time? We all have rough edges. The lack of right angles makes us human. Do you love and accept that, or are you forever trying to put right angles where they don’t belong.

The impressionists (Degas, Manet, Monet, Renior) were ridiculed by the famous artists of their day because one could still see the brushstrokes on their paintings! Who thinks those brushstrokes are objectionable today? Embrace the brushstrokes in your life that others can see and resist the urge to create right angles.

 

The Fold

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

The word fold typically refers to a flock of sheep. Sheep are helpless out in the open. They flock together in folds because there is safety in numbers.

Being vulnerable is the key to developing real empathy and deeper relationships. Vulnerability allows you to grow. There has to be some risk that you will fail if you want to succeed at anything meaningful.

But don’t do it alone. Be vulnerable with other people that are also vulnerable. This is why I think the concept of the fold is important. Surround yourself with safe people. Protect your fellow sheep and grow together.

Myth

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

I am not creative. I can’t draw, I can’t play the guitar, I can’t write, etc.

Have you told this to yourself before? Or have you seen a friend and thought, “this girl is really creative. I wish I was creative! Life would be more fun.”

I want to inform you that this line of thinking is a myth. You don’t need to become more creative. You ARE creative. We are all born creative.

What is a tent and some sheets to a six year old boy? It could be a fort, a rocket, a ship, a train. It could be anything. Why? Because of how inherently creative children are. Play for them is simply being creative around normal, common objects.

But if we start out creative, where in our life journey do we lose touch creativity? Somewhere along the way, society and our education system beats creativity out of us. It becomes un-cool to make mistakes. Saying “something dumb” has real social consequences.

This tendency towards denying one’s creative side is troubling, but the good news is that it’s still there. Deep down inside, latent, ready to be awaken from its slumber. You ARE creative!

I hope my story and experience with design thinking shows that we are all creative. If a spreadsheet geek like myself can tap into my creative side, you can too.

Here’s three steps to tapping into creativity:

Step 1: Gain some inspiration from what you can do with creative thinking. For me this was done at the d.school and by Doug Dietz’s TEDx talk.

Step 2: Find some people who will experiment with you. I found this at work. I have a tremendous support network that wanted to explore what I had learned at the d.school.

Step 3: Have a small win. Keep trying Step 2 until something works and then tell everyone about it. We had a few projects shortly after I came back from the d.school that benefited from design thinking.

It’s not hard, but it does involve taking some risk. But what in life is worth doing that doesn’t involve some risk?

Come with me and awaken your creativity.