The New Season of Creative Mindfulness

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I remember the changes that occurred in business when upper management altered its focus to an innovative mindfulness called a paradigm shift. Every executive I knew was searching for a new way of looking at processes and conducting business. Changes in operations led to consolidations and the tossing out of unneeded practices. Even sales teams shifted their selling techniques to fit the changing marketplace.

During the fourth quarter of last year, a new mindfulness started to appear. Fresh research was published by Linked-In, Adobe, and the Forrester Group. All of the results and documentation pointed to the emergence of this new mindfulness being that of creativity. Executives at Fortune 500 companies started to pay attention to the fact that creativity was directly correlated to business success.

In his new book, Creative Calling, releasing on September 24, 2019, Chase Jarvis shares how the practice of creativity in business will soon be established as a standard for a healthy employee. The creator of the Creative Live website takes it a step further by insisting that creativity will be considered just as important to each day like exercise, nutrition, and meditation.

For this very reason, I have shifted the focus of this blog and my new podcast to help people grow their creative thinking and abilities. We are all born with creativity, which is seen in every child prior to them starting school, where we are taught to focus on logic.

The logical side of life is tactical in nature and the creative side is strategic. It didn’t take long for business futurists to figure out that within another decade Ai technologies will replace the vast majority of tactical jobs, leaving only strategic and creative positions available for people.

To help people start increasing their creative abilities and thought processes, Jarvis illustrates in his new book the I.D.E.A. system.

IMAGINE

The imagination can create hope and a vision for our future. By improving one’s ability to imagine things, a businessperson can bring clarity to new processes and gain an understanding of what is required to implement that new future. The imagination can also drive an individual’s focus to clarify their intentions on how to proceed.

DESIGN

Jarvis’ design phase is all about establishing a daily practice and conforming our lives to support expressions and transformation. The average person in business today fears change and is hesitant to move forward in what appears to be a blind expedition into the unknown. However, the strongest employees are the ones who are at the forefront of creating change.

EXECUTE

Creativity isn’t innovative or more than just a concept unless it is fleshed out. The businessperson has to learn how to execute their innovation, turning their vision into reality. Even the most ambitious plans can be accomplished one step at a time when a businessperson learns how to execute creative ideas.

AMPLIFY

The business world has turned into a community that requires the participation of many hands for the out-rolling of new projects, products, and services. Finding ways to impact our partners and engaging our communities, increases our productivity and success rate. This amplification process provides a natural byproduct of replicating the best part of ourselves in others.

Developing our own creative thoughts and abilities is critical for our survival in the coming years. This is due in part to the unprecedented challenges in our economy, environment, and technology. We can’t erase the past that put a powerful computer/phone device in the hands of every business person, so we must learn and master what the device can’t provide us—CREATIVITY.

© 2019 by CJ Powers

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Work Hard, Someone is Watching

Work Hard,Someone isWatching

I climbed the stadium seats at the dolphin aquarium in Baltimore and spotted one of my favorite actors sitting with her three kids and mother. I smiled and walked past, not wanting to interfere with her mom time. Unfortunately, the guy sitting behind her finally figured out where he had seen her and chatted it up. She politely responded and then collected her family and left before the show started.

Her kids were not upset because they left the dolphin show; they were upset because a man tried to pull their mother away from their precious time together. Thankfully she made the right choice and put family before fans. After all, fans come and go, but family is still present in the aftermath of one’s career.

Colin Powell came to mind after the actor left, fully functioning in her mom role. Powell is a man who quickly gains respect from most everyone he meets, not because he’s so awesome, which many would say he is, but because he lives by his own words with integrity.

Had he been present during the decision to work hard in her role as a mom in that moment, he would’ve agreed with her decision. Powell’s great work ethic was not altered by the fans that surrounded him, but by his own focus on life. He owned the moral decisions he made daily and shared his simple viewpoint when he said…

“Always do your very best. Even when no one else is looking, you always are.”
Colin Powell

If You Take the Pay, Earn It

When I was in high school, I spent the early hours on weekends delivering newspapers to fund my art. The team would start at 4:00 a.m. stuffing inserts into the paper, and then stuffing the sections together into a lightweight plastic bag for ease of delivery. I did the prep work quickly because the goal was the delivery process, not the stuffing, as we were paid per paper delivered.

The college drivers got to pick the teen they wanted to ride with. The guys were jealous because the best-looking woman always picked me first—I’ll call her Beth. Some thought it was my charm or the good looks I sported back in the day, but I knew it was about the money.

You see, the teens moaned about stuffing the papers and dawdled in the process. Since the drivers got half the pay, they wanted the teen that worked hard and fast. Beth was smarter than the rest. Her motto was that if you’re going to take the pay, you needed to earn it. So, instead of hassling me like the other drivers did to get their teen helpers in gear, Beth encouraged me to find faster streamlined ways of stuffing the papers. I always ended up with three times more papers for delivery than my peers.

Beth also stepped away from the other jeering drivers and quietly stuffed additional papers herself. Due to her speed and the slowness of most teens, she typically stuffed an equal amount. Our truck was always packed with four times more papers than any other truck, which gave us four times more pay.

Always do Your Best

Not only was the stuffing process important in providing our potential pay, but also how we delivered the papers was important in determining which drivers got extra pick up routes at a bonus pay rate. To gain more opportunities, Beth memorized the entire map and knew where every street address was located in relationship to our current location.

If we were within a half-mile, she’d send me out of the truck with enough papers to walk 5-10 houses, while she drove off to cover the customer service issue. Beth’s timing always amazed me. Every time I’d get to the last house, I’d see her pulling up along side of me.

We had polished our process to the point of excellence. Beth had even determined my jogging speed and matched it, so I could jump in and out of the truck while it continued moving down the street. I’d basically jog a “V” pattern. On our approach to a given house, I’d grab the paper and jump off the truck jogging on an angle to their front door and return on an angle to be picked up a little past the house.

This allowed me to place the paper on every front stoop, giving the customer a great experience. Most of my peers tossed the papers from the truck, which scattered many sections across several lawns.

Don’t Disappoint Yourself

The process that Beth and I worked out allowed us to achieve our financial goals. She loved the opportunity of making extra cash and was disappointed when someone else got to pick a rider first, as it meant that our team would be broken up and our pay would drop to a fourth of our goal.

Regardless of how much our peers struggled to understand our drive, we never eased up. We were in it to achieve our goals and we didn’t want to ever let ourselves down. We were successful because we worked hard.

Beth always said that if she were too often stuck with an uncaring teen, she’d quit and find a new job. She was in it to accomplish her goals and made sure that she did her part in adding to the team’s success.

As for me, I never wanted to fall short of my goals or disappoint my partner. I had no problem hustling in order to achieve what we deemed as success. But boy, the disappointment that came from working with a lazy driver felt almost as bad as getting handed a measly check on an earlier lackadaisical day of work before meeting Beth.

Copyright 2017 by CJ Powers

 

Empowered by Replication

©KAR

©KAR

During my tenure at Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent), I was taught how to replicate myself for the greater good of the corporation. The process was fairly easy to learn, but it took a bold move of overcoming my fears to live the concept out loud. Those who were given the same opportunity and chose not to engage the process, found their corporate trajectory limited.

The concept of replication is simple: Reproduce your most profitable corporate skills within an equal or lower level associate in order to work yourself out of a job.

Work myself out of a job! Are you nuts!

The concept alone makes it clear why inner fears must be subdued in order to achieve success, especially during a time that no longer rewards loyalty. But restraining inner conflict isn’t half as important as figuring out how to replicate your skills in a way that equals or surpasses your current abilities – Generating greater value for the corporation.

During my experimental stages of replication, I learned that all workers are capable of replicating themselves in co-workers, which demonstrates an ability that becomes more valuable the higher he or she rises within the corporation.

I also learned: Everyone can empower themselves by replicating their abilities in others by following five steps.

1. DETERMINE THE SKILL THAT IMPACTS THE P&L

Understanding the direct correlation of your executable skills to the bottom line is essential to the replication process. In the case where access to the information is limited, understanding what your boss’s and his boss’s bonus is based on can suffice. Whether strategic or tactical, everyone has at least one skill that is directly related to the desired corporate growth.

In my first year on the network side of the business at Lucent Technologies, I was a Sales Specialist, a title held by a few thousand others (the company had 165,000 employees at the time). One day an executive asked me what I was doing. I had no idea how to answer, so he asked a high level manager to interview me and help me break my skills and process down. It was then that I realized my choices had directly impacted the bottom line and the executive wanted to replicate my skills to everyone carrying the same title. It was the first time I understood the power of replication.

2. DETERMINE THE PROCESS THAT FACILITATES THE SKILL

Analyzing and breaking the skill down into its basic steps is critical to the formation of an educational or replication plan. All skills can be broken down into easily managed and learnable elements. This process helps the mastery of the information at an accelerated rate.

I was hired by the new enterprise division at Motorola to sell wireless switches to campus-based businesses. My goal was to sell more than anyone else, even though I didn’t know how many had been sold. After closing my first switch sale, I was hit with a barrage of questions. The vice president wanted to know what I did and revealed that I was the first sales person to close a deal. He immediately shared the process he gleaned from our conversation and every sales person closed deals that year. It was an eye opening experience for me to realize the importance and structure of my process for replication.

3. TEACH THE BENEFITS AND PROCESS THAT DEVELOP THE SKILL

Co-workers require an understanding of the personal benefits gained by having a skill specific mentor, especially when it means more responsibility without a promise of additional pay. The benefits must be tied directly to the skill and not be filled with elusive fluff.

The benefits must also be tied to each process step to validate the process. If a benefit isn’t associated with a step, reconsider the necessity of that step. The why, behind each process step, causes the trainee to take responsibility for developing that portion of the needed skill set.

4. EMPOWER CO-WORKER WITH MORE RESPONSIBILITY

Practice develops confidence in using new skill sets and is best facilitated by affirmation and suggestions that keep the trainee within the parameters of the project scope. The ideal way of creating a safe place for training is to allow the co-worker to fail without fault. As a mentor, minor adjustments can be suggested to help alter the course of failure to that of success.

I received my Six Sigma green belt during my time at Motorola. The training process gave me responsibility for reducing expenses of a key product by $2MM. My black belt mentor guided my process and taught me how to think logically and structurally. He gave me full responsibility for the project and bragged about me to all the right people. While I didn’t receive a dime for my efforts, I did gain a significant amount of respect, which kept me alive during lay-offs. And, it was fun to learn that several people received bonuses as a direct result of my actions.

5. PROMOTE THE P&L RESULTS BASED ON THE NEW REPLICATION SYSTEM

Executives love to hear elevator pitches about how a newly implemented replication process directly impacts the P&L and their bonus. By bragging on the co-worker’s success, it becomes evident how they achieved their goal and the person behind the curtain. Not only does the executive learn about the co-workers new talents and how it improves his team, but he also understands who is behind the team’s growth – A far more valuable employee because of his ability to replicate success.

During my time at Home Depot, I had the opportunity to replicate some of my skills in one of my team members who longed for my position. We took time every week for a couple of months to bring him up to speed with the most important skills. When it came time for my move to another department, I was able to brag about his growth and accomplishments. The man I mentored quickly filled the job that normally took months to fill.

By giving away our skills, we can watch doors of opportunity open our future. With each open door, we work hard to develop our next set of skills and soon find ways of replicating it in time for our next level of success. After all, who better to be put in charge of all these growing skill leaders than the one who facilitated their growth.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers