Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Facts –The Downfall of Many Dreamers

A friend of mine once said that the best way to end a meeting that was going nowhere with a bullet was to suddenly yell “B I N G O and Bingo was his name-o” in the middle of the meeting.  Apparently either the humor of it or the fear that a nutbar was in the room provided more than enough incentive for the meeting to end quickly.

There is another way to kill a meeting or an extended email exchange (or to bring it back on track) when people are passionately expressing their dreams and ideas.

How do you do it?

Ask questions like “why”, “how do you know”, “do you have data to support that” and similar questions.  Equally powerful is the application of Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit as described in his book “The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”.

There are many outcomes that can manifest once the questions have been asked - more permutations than be described easily here.

There are, however, some important elements that will manifest immediately.

1. Does the dreamer embrace the need to be strategically and tactically intelligent in converting their dream into reality and do they take action that demonstrates this?

2. Does the dreamer have the humility to accept that they may not have all the pieces and thus welcome insight from others or do they dismiss the questions with answers like “I just know”?

3. Does the dreamer get irritated that someone would dare interfere with their dream by introducing the notion of facts and realities or do they ignore the questions altogether and continue expressing their “dream to save the world?”.

The answer to these questions will go a long way to understanding how successful a new venture will be …. or will not be.

Equally important, the answers will speak volumes in terms of whether you should get involved or not - whether you should invest your gifts, talents, strengths, time, money or other resources or whether you should redirect your assets to something more rewarding for you, for others and for the planet-at-large.

This is true regardless of whether the dreamer is someone else ….. or it is you.

80% of dreamers will not appreciate the value of such questions and will reject them with varying levels of courtesy and respect (or employ the tool of choice for the passive-aggressive and the insecure ….. silence). The querent will require deep reserves of patience, strength, courage and a sense of self-value to withstand the number and intensity of those rejections.   The querent should take comfort from the fact that they will have saved themselves from participating in the reality that the 80% are doomed to mixed success at best or catastrophic failure at worst.

However, with perseverance, the querent will discover that the 20% who do embrace difficult questions produce valuable, long-lasting relationships built upon a strong foundation of trust, respect and mutually-rewarding results.

Warning 1: If you are the one being asked the questions and you feel a sense of discomfort over them, it is important to analyze the source of the discomfort.  Otherwise, your instinct may be telling you that you are in fact part of the 80%. The feeling of discomfort may actually save you if you allow it to change how you respond to the questions.

Warning 2: Don’t allow the need for facts and data to prevent you from dreaming.  The ability to dream big is essential to success.  However, once the dream has been cast, it is important to allow facts and data to play a major contributing role in the success of the result.

Does your dream or intention stand up to scrutiny?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,

Harry

Addendum – Feb 26 2013

In a discussion of my blog on Facebook, “Ann” mentioned how two business partners of hers fall into interesting but complementary roles.  One is a dreamer and the other is always asking questions, sometimes producing what she described as “explosive” situations.  However, when two such sides can work together, the big thinker who can think outside the box and the querent, keeping the big thinker honest without constraining him / her, the results can be powerful.  When one side or the other becomes the dominant force, the results of the organization are likely to be diminished.  My blog was directed towards a singular person on top who preferred dreams and no data, an unhealthy balance. Smile

Friday, February 22, 2013

Solving Puzzles–Follow the Breadcrumbs

As the world’s challenges continue to be highlighted by the media, whether it be global warming, the ongoing dilemma in Syria, the sabre rattling in North Korea, the ongoing scandal in the Vatican, the global economic doldrums, etc., many people continue to ask two questions:

1. Why is this happening in the world?

2. Why don’t we seem to be doing anything about them (or why is so little progress being made)?

The truth is that they are difficult to solve because we are ignoring a basic principle.

We are not nullifying the difficulties at their source.

Think of the analogy of a poorly maintained automobile.  If the owner chooses to not change the oil as prescribed by the manufacturer, eventually the owner will notice that the car runs a lot rougher and vibrates excessively when driven.  They may also notice that the noise emanating from the exhaust is a lot louder than it used to be.

The solution on first blush may be to install new tires to help it run smoother on the road or to replace the exhaust system with one that suppresses noise better.

In fact, ignoring the fact that the engine is the source of both issues is an invitation to spend a lot of money on the wrong solutions and the car will eventually fail.

Identifying the REAL problem

The world is like that also.

Too many people are attempting to solve its problems by tackling the symptoms directly.

Instead, they should follow the breadcrumbs from the symptoms back to the sources of the problems.

It is generally accepted that every problem in the world afflicts some percentage of the world.

But it is also true that every problem in the world, bar none, benefits a certain percentage of the world also.

And if you want to know why we seem to be so slow in solving problems, then we first need to determine who benefits from the problems not being solved. 

Once one knows who benefits, one needs to analyze the individuals or organizations who benefit to get an understanding of the nature of the benefit and what motivates their behaviour in relation to this benefit.

Use questions like “why?” and “how do I know?” to validate one’s assumptions at every stage of the investigation.

Once one has an understanding of this motivation, then one will know why the world is the way it is and what needs to be done to negate the challenges in the world.

A warning

Be aware that undertaking any quest to solve the world’s difficulties comes with four warnings:

1. You may not like what you see - you may become angry, disappointed or frightened by what you uncover.

2. The people who hold the answers to your queries are people with significant power, influence and motivation who won’t give up their advantage easily.

3. If you decide to continue on your quest anyway, you may be called to stretch your courage and creativity beyond anything you have ever experienced. Few are sufficiently prepared to deal with the information they so passionately sought once said information is in-hand.

4. You may become tempted to become part of the problem instead of becoming part of the solution, becoming beguiled by the baubles that such temptation offers. While many deny this would happen to them, we all have our price.

So within the context of these warnings comes a complex question.

Do you really want to help solve the world’s challenges, do you prefer to sit and complain about them and do nothing (waiting for someone else to solve them) or do you prefer to sit in ignorant bliss of your responsibility to make the world a better place?

The paradox with how you answer the question is that your choice determines how easy or difficult your Life will be now … and ironically …. how easy or difficult your Life and the Life of generations to come will be.

Choosing an easier Life now, the one chosen by most people, often creates a more difficult Life later and vice versa.

And therein compounds the difficulties being experienced in the world.

Fortunately or unfortunately, difficulties require correction and correction eventually arrives …..

…. either by our own hand and somewhat within our control

…. or in another form.

Which form do you prefer?

Think about your family and the people close to you and then ask yourself the question again.

What does the answer compel you to do?

In service and servanthood,

Harry

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Roman Catholic Church–Sins in Leadership

As someone born and raised Catholic, I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t open my musing with some catchy Latin phrase and so I present this little number that resonates strongly with me this morning:

Exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spiritu.

In English, it is translated as:

An army without a leader is a body without a spirit.

Any organization, whether it be focused on business, government, education, or religion, lives and dies based on the strength of its leadership.

And while Catholics seem worried that they need to seek a new leader for their faith, I think they should be more concerned that the leadership within the Church continues to reek of decay at all levels.

I was a young boy in Newfoundland when the Mount Cashel abuse scandal broke.  As the scandal spread to include many priests, including my own parish priest, Father Anthony Bennett (who was eventually murdered) and years later a family friend, Father Lorne Whelan (who was abused by these priests and eventually died by his own hand after years of mental torment), many of us who asked how this was tolerated were told that we were not allowed to ask questions of the Holy Church.

After a big outcry and demands for justice, a number of inquiries were held, including the Hughes Inquiry, and the Church promised to ferret out the taint that permeated their holy walls.

As the years went by and scandals broke in Boston, Ireland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and other places, it appeared that the Church was in fact not interested in restoring its holy nature as it claimed.

In fairness, it’s easy for some to claim that many of the abuse cases that occurred in these areas took place at the same time and so it would naturally take a while to purge the Church of all of its evil.

However, the comments that recently appeared in the press from Archbishop Jose Gomez in Los  Angeles demonstrates that the Church really doesn’t care about the evil within its walls.

It only cares about how we perceive it.

Archbishop Gomez succeeded Archbishop Roger Mahony who was ordered to step down when his role in the aiding and abetting of priests abusing children in Los Angeles was revealed.

Apparently, unless prevented from doing so, Archbishop Mahony has been welcomed as a participant of the College of Cardinals to select a new Pope.  It was this quote from Archbishop Gomez that caught my attention:

Gomez also stressed that while Mahony -- who has been under fire for oversight of priests accused of molesting children -- no longer has administrative duties with the diocese, he remains a bishop in "good standing

I am confident that Cardinal Mahony's accomplishments and experience in the areas of immigration, social justice, sacred liturgy and the role of the laity in the church will serve the College of Cardinals well as it works to discern the will of the Holy Spirit in these deliberations that will lead to the election of our new pope," Gomez wrote.

So a man who aids and abets child abusers is considered well-positioned and experienced to discern the will of the Holy Spirit in selecting a new leader?

Heaven help us … literally.

Now in fairness, perhaps, just perhaps, Archbishop Mahony has been reformed since his evil days.

Let’s take a look at a recent statement from Archbishop Mahony himself.  On his own blog entry from February 13, 2013, “Called to Humiliation”,  he makes this observation:

In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated.  In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people.  I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage--at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us.

Thanks to God's special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

So as he faces the anger and indignation of the many whom he hurt either directly or indirectly, he has the “courage” to FORGIVE THE VICTIMS for affronting HIM?

The fact that the College of Cardinals would even consider allowing this man to help “discern the will of the Holy Spirit” is a sign that the leadership in the Catholic Church is still filled with rot and that heinous acts (when caught) are more of an inconvenience than something that needs to be cleansed from the Church.

Meanwhile closer to home ….

I sat in on a meeting a couple of weeks ago while a single mother with three kids was told by a priest that she was a sinner because she had had her children out of wedlock.  I would think such a “sin” pales in comparison to the sins within the organization that no one seems as focused on solving.

Unfortunately it’s easier to pick on a single mom and bring the weight of a powerful organization against her than it is to look within, isn’t it?

Circling back to my home province of Newfoundland, I was told by a member of Opus Dei that they had the names of priests in the province, either practicing or retired, who are known by Opus Dei to be pedophiles.  However, they are not known to the police or to the communities in which they serve and live and since no one has come forward to point the finger, their secret remains safe.

For now.

They are ticking time bombs.  And when they go off, we will act surprised as we always do.

When I attempted to determine who these priests are so that I could report them to police, my efforts were met with comments like “I will pray for you in your moment of angst”.  The comment was made by someone who knows who the priests are.

Instead of helping me seek justice, they prefer to hold on to the names for now while attempting to make me feel like I am the one that needs help or guidance.

So the Church’s claims of transparency, courage and honesty around restoring holiness to its walls are a sham.

But there is in fact a larger sham taking place.

It is in the billion-plus people who turn a blind eye to the never-ending stories that continue to emanate from an organization that claims to offer a conduit to living a holy, fulfilling Life in preparation for a better Life after this one. 

Maybe instead of worrying about living a better Life after this one, we should worry more about helping people live better lives here on Earth right now, which includes not only doing good things but preventing bad things to the best of our ability.

As Simon Wiesenthal said:

For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.

Unfortunately, bringing the Church to this level of accountability and responsibility will take much stronger leadership than the Catholic Church appears to have right now (or has had for some time).

A Great Correction is upon the Church

In the 1950’s, the province of Alberta in Canada razed many buildings that were infested with rats.  It was the easiest way to remove a widespread, hazardous threat that could not be removed by attempting to address individual threats “here and there”.

The Roman Catholic Church appears headed for a similar type of cleansing.

Whether it comes as a result of the inspired guidance of their leadership (highly unlikely), at the hands of the devout (also highly unlikely) or it just collapses from within remains to be seen.

Perhaps when those who have the taint of abuse on their hands meet to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in selecting a new Pope, they can add this question to their list – how do we heal ourselves?

Maybe they already did and in the spirit of transparency (or not) they have chosen to bury this knowledge also.

As the Church likes to tell its followers:

Stipendium peccati mors est. Mors certa, hora incerta.

The reward of sin is death.  Death is certain, its hour is uncertain.

And while the Church’s leaders like to tell us this from the pulpit, they should realize that it applies equally well and probably more so when the finger is pointed within.

Many of the devout say that prayer alone will easily solve this.  However, I defer to James 2:17 (NIV) when presented with such a rationalization for a spirit of apathy, indifference, lack of action and lack of courage:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

A desire to make the world a better place is demonstrated through action.

How are your efforts to make the world a better place coming along?

How do you know?

Pax vobiscum.

Harry

Addendum – February 19, 2013:

On June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI made this observation:

“Riferendosi alla situazione della Chiesa di oggi, il Santo Padre afferma di avere la sensazione che «da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio». C’รจ il dubbio, l’incertezza, la problematica, l’inquietudine, l’insoddisfazione, il confronto.”

Translation: “Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father says he has the feeling that "from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God." There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, anxiety, dissatisfaction, confrontation.”

According to Bishop-Accountability.org, it is estimated that 10% of the US Catholic clergy are pedophiles (20 times the estimated average amongst citizens-at-large). In Ireland, the average occurrence in the priesthood is 30 times the estimated average amongst citizens-at-large and in Australia, it is 200 times the estimated average amongst citizens-at-large.

Imagine the outcry that would result if an equivalent percentage of teachers were considered to be pedophiles and it were discovered that school superintendents, trustees and the like had worked hard to conceal that fact. 

It doesn’t sound like the Church has made much progress since Pope Paul VI’s public admission over 40 years ago, does it? 

Then again, maybe it’s not meant to make positive progress.  Perhaps its fate has already been decided.  If so, maybe at some point in the future the Church will have a chance to be reborn as the real conduit for God’s grace and love that it claims to be today.

Meanwhile it appears that most or all of the prosecution of Archbishop Mahony will fall by the wayside, the process being a victim of various statutes of limitation.  It seems a curious paradox that we can continue to prosecute Nazis for their heinous acts of 65+ years ago while the atrocities of men from 25 years ago, men whose victims still live with the torment of their experiences, will mostly go unpunished.

Where is the justice?

More importantly, where is the love as expressed by an institution that claims to be sharing God’s love and inviting others to experience it also?  If the institution’s leadership can’t demonstrate it, perhaps they need to learn by our example … if we have the courage to set that example.

Addendum – February 22, 2012

The Church continues to be rocked by scandal, including this report this morning alleging blackmail of gay priests within the Vatican hierarchy.  Allegedly, Pope Benedict resigned immediately after reading the report he commissioned after the Vatileaks scandal last year and the commissioned report was immediately locked in the papal safe to be seen only by the next Pope.  Transparency within the Church is the only path to healing and a brighter future for the Church.  That being said, correction comes – whether wilfully at one’s own hand or by someone else’s.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Alberta Economic Summit and Tough Decisions

Most people celebrate the removal of a knee brace by doing something celebratory and fun.  I, on the other hand, celebrated by attending the Alberta Economic Summit on Saturday past.  The Summit was a gathering of politicians, academics, business leaders and citizens who passionately explored, dissected, discussed and debated the future of Alberta.

“Ah”, some might say.  “Harry is a sucker for punishment on the heels of his injury”.

Hardly.

As a long time Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy advisor, I could not pass up the opportunity to participate in the Summit and I wasn’t disappointed by what I witnessed.

The Summit turned out to be an insightful, fascinating dialog representing ideas from the left, the right, the center and some people who have no idea where they stand.

Some ideas were nonsensical or worrisome …. for example:

Heather Smith, President of the United Nurses of Alberta, suggested that many problems in Alberta’s economy would automatically be solved if we had more public servants – that bigger is always better.  Sadly, here is an example of how well Alberta Health Services is doing when it comes to cost containment. <<Editor note: Sorry for the dead link – the Calgary Herald has subsequently removed the article that was referenced>>

Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, when confronted about the challenges regarding productivity, cited some mumbo jumbo about per capita public-servant-to-citizen ratios compared to other provinces as proof of productivity when the question was in regards to increasing individual and collective productivity.

Angus Watt of the Angus Watt Advisory Group and his response to a PhD candidate’s question about attracting more VC or other investment capital that was so wishy-washy that it almost sounded defeatist – as if investment capital would not be welcomed or would not work in Alberta.  I liked some of his other ideas but this one struck me as disappointing.

Some ideas were right on target …. for example:

Jim Prentice, vice-chairman of CIBC, for comments along the lines of “Canada being too complacent when it comes to making the most of its resource wealth” and “Canada not playing the global energy game with much skill, foresight or cohesiveness.”

Hal Kvisle, President of Talisman Energy, in his observations regarding the cost of doing business in Canada, the red tape that exists and the need to improve the productivity of workers in Canada.

Dr. Joseph Doucet of the University of Alberta, who resonated with me deeply with his call to implement metrics to measure productivity baselines, implement change and then measure the effectiveness of such change.  As Dr. Doucet and I agreed later in a one-on-one conversation, the great challenge with metrics is that the use of them introduces transparency and accountability, something not always welcome within government or any organization with productivity skeletons in their closet.

Peter Tertzakian of ARC Financial Corp, who shared insightful, pragmatic, strategic views on getting fair value for Alberta’s resources and his analogy that we need to focus on where we are going and not how fast we are going (the “staring at the dashboard to see how fast I am driving versus the importance of looking out the windshield” analogy).

Big Brothers and Big Sisters Edmonton Executive Director Liz O’Neill’s compelling ask of government not to cut programs while at the same time, sharing her brilliant analysis of how not-for-profits can execute more strategically, more efficiently, more effectively and with greater impact on those who consume not-for-profit services.  Her insight should should be required reading for ANYONE in the not-for-profit sector.

Leo de Bever, CEO of AIMco, in his correct assertion that not all taxes are evil when applied strategically nor is all debt bad when leveraged strategically.

Some were close ….

Dr. Tom Flanagan from the University of Calgary was close in his message regarding the need to cut spending and get spending back under control.  However, across-the-board cuts that he was calling for will have a crippling effect on the Province and I would prefer that enhancing productivity be sought instead, achieving the same effect of reining in unnecessary spending.  Ensuring that spending is more effective is just as valuable (or more) than merely cutting it just because it is inefficient.

And there was some fun ….

I was delighted that Danielle Smith, Leader of the Official Opposition, took a couple of minutes to chat with me.  In fact, I was doubly delighted when, as I approached her, she looked at my name badge and even though we had never met before, recognized me when she said “You’re the guy who is always tweeting at me”.  I was appreciative of the couple of minutes we spent together and I thanked her for her tireless service to Albertans. 

What was clear

For the sake of brevity, I can’t name every speaker and in truth, most of them did make some good points.  I also have to give a special nod to Gil McGowan for being the most energetic, engaging speaker (and he did make some good points despite my previous criticism).

A few things were clear to me as I participated in this Summit.

1. It takes guts, courage and strong leadership for Premier Redford to call such a group together and even smile while some panellists lobbed verbal grenades in the direction of her, her government and her political party.  The other leaders in attendance should also be complimented for attending and participating in the collaborative spirit of the forum.

2. While some people are proclaiming gloom and doom in the media, Alberta stands upon the strongest foundation of perhaps any area of North America and is poised to exploit this foundation if done so intelligently, being able to answer the strategic questions of “Why?” and “How do you know?” when making decisions.

3. The people representing the public sector seemed to bristle when the use of data, accountability and measuring productivity were brought up - things that MUST be on the table.  I grow weary of people who believe they are untouchable or who cite their own studies as proof that they are as productive as possible, especially when said people represent a MAJOR piece of the cash outlay of any government.

4. People fear taxes and debt “just because” instead of applying facts and science to the appropriate use of either (or they cherry pick data that feeds and justifies their fear).  Such fear is not rational nor is it intelligent when it means that one might avoid what could be the best choice of many difficult ones.

5. If you are the type of person who likes to please everyone, then politics is the last vocation you ever want to consider.

6. If the Alberta Government can figure out how to bottle and sell Barb Higgins’ secret to eternal youth, then their revenue problems are solved forever.

The Solution – Legislatively Speaking

1. Taxes aren’t inherently evil when used appropriately.  New taxes may need to be introduced intelligently in some form to solve Alberta’s financial challenges.  And besides …. lotteries have been referred to as a tax on the ignorant and we seem to have no trouble tolerating those sources of revenue!

2. Debt isn’t evil when one is leveraging low rates strategically to build for the future and may also need to be considered in some form.

3. Having one primary customer for one’s resources (i.e. the United States and oil products) is suicide for any business.  While the evolution of this was strategically short-sighted, we have other options that must be pursued aggressively.

4. Spending must be brought under control using sharp measurable outcomes, intelligent baselines and appropriate metrics.  As someone who has measured productivity, including in the public sector, when people like Heather Smith aggressively assert that healthcare is running at optimal productivity, I don’t know if I should burst out in laughter, tears or indignation. 

5. Enhancing efficiency and productivity trumps cuts any time.

The Solution – Societally Speaking

As someone who was privileged and honor to be invited to attend the event by MLA Rick Fraser, I had an opportunity to see democracy in action.

I was able to observe, listen to and participate with passionate, intelligent, eloquent people who are all focused on creating a better world for future generations.

And while we couldn’t agree on everything (and some things were generally rejected as insane) having the opportunity to experience and participate in the formation of our future is what makes democracy great.

For all the naysayers that I observed, especially in social media, I can only say this.

If the best you can do is lob verbal grenades and be critical of everything without offering anything of substance, then you don't deserve democracy.  You deserve a system that will really make you miserable and will then give you something to complain about.  But by then, you will not be permitted to have a voice.  Oh well – good luck figuring that one out.

In the meantime, the rest of us will do the best we can with democracy and no matter where we stand, far left, far right or somewhere in the middle, we must continue to listen to each other, to work together and to pick the best ideas of the many available to ensure healthy sustainability for the generations to come.

The tough decisions facing Albertans and all citizens of the world are not only within the responsibility of politicians to deal with.

They are a call for all citizens to complain less, contribute more and work collectively to build a better future.

It’s easy to hold governments accountable and responsible for solving our problems.

It’s much more difficult but equally or more important to hold ourselves accountable and responsible for contributing to the solutions that we need to strive towards.

Great futures don’t happen by accident.

They are created wilfully, strategically, intentionally, factually, collaboratively and passionately.

And so the tough decisions aren’t just for someone else to make.

They are for all of us to make.

Are you helping creating a better future for yourself, your family, your community, your province / state, your country and the world-at-large?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,

Harry

Addendum – February 28, 2013

On February 28, 2013, Dr. Tom Flanagan, referenced in this blog, was dumped as an advisor to the Wildrose Party after making comments questioning the harm of child pornography.  The story can be read here.  I wonder if the story should be entitled “How to end a career in an instant”.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Human Beings–Perfect and Predictable …

… in our imperfection and unpredictability.

Watching the snowstorm sweep up the coast today, I have noticed an interesting dialog developing after Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency, banning most motor vehicle traffic as of 4:00pm today.

The conspiracy crowd has climbed all over this declaration, citing “Big Brother” concerns and the belief that this is merely another step towards controlling what people are allowed to do.

Most of these conspiracy people aren’t smart enough to realize that such declarations may save the lives of people who otherwise aren’t intelligent enough to avoid potentially life-threatening situations.  It may also prevent loss-0f-life in the ranks of the many brave, unsung heroes who serve as first-responders and would be forced to go out in the storm to rescue these people.

Sadly, such conspiracy-laden thinking is getting more and more predictable.

And with such predictability comes a warning.

As the populous gets more and more wound up over things that exist to save their lives (remember people who fought seatbelt laws as infringements on personal freedom?) or things that aren’t important, the very thing they fear, loss of said freedom, will become more and more a reality.

Any unstable society that grows paranoid about everything deserves to lose its freedom and will do so for its own protection.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict such a future.

Meanwhile ……

I had a meeting last week with someone who made the following observation about the organization and person he works for:

“The cool thing about <<name withheld>>  is that we can work on whatever we want and however we want to do it and he doesn’t care what we do”.

The interesting thing about this organization is that after having spent considerable amounts of cash, they have practically zero to show for it.

Now while it is true that some individuals and organizations have thrived in such an environment, on closer examination it could be observed that they had underlying personal disciplines that complemented their personal and collaborative freedoms, thus producing a great result.

However, many people, when given the freedom to be totally unaccountable for anything or to anybody, usually meet the expectations set for them by delivering little or nothing in return.

When outside observers can routinely predict the result of every project they embrace, you would think someone would decide that a more disciplined behaviour is in order.

Sadly, predictably, excessive ego won’t allow this adjustment to manifest either.

A warning …. and an opportunity

The great challenge we have with these and other examples is that it is easy to predict where the world is heading as a result of what we are doing in and to the world.

And yet for as easily as we can predict such a future, little is being done to correct our behaviour.

Hopefully we will understand this on a higher level soon, be totally unpredictable for once and in doing so, strive towards a higher level of perfection in order to solve the challenges we face in the world.

Hopefully.

In service and servanthood,

Harry

Addendum: In a meeting with a client the other day, we were noodling over what constitutes a complete solution when it comes to addressing the challenges we face today and I came up with the following picture to express a 50,000 ft. view of what a solution must encompass (click on the image for a larger version).

What do you think?

image

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Perspective and the Scale of “Stuff”

As an avid observer of the human experience, I find it intriguing to think about how we categorize the events, victories and challenges in our Life.

Many things seem larger than they really are and for many people, this is especially true of the challenges they face as they project an aura of insurmountability on solvable problems.

When considering a difficulty one may be facing, think of this.

Imagine the challenge as it compares to the challenges being faced by others in the city one lives in and then expand this consideration outwards to the province / state, country, continent and the planet.

And if so inclined and depending on your beliefs and knowledge, expand your thinking to the solar system, galaxy, universe, multiverse and so on.

Also consider that there is a high likelihood (statistically speaking) that as we stumble around worrying about “the small stuff”, that intelligent Life exists in the Universe that is facing the annihilation of their culture because of war, self-destructive habits or a natural event.  Some day, millions or billions of years down the road and in the unlikely event that we haven’t figured out how to move beyond our own solar system, we will face the same difficulties as our sun finally expires.

When one looks at challenges with the right perspective, while they feel larger than Life for the person experiencing or witnessing them, in the grand scheme of things many of the challenges are so small as to seem to not even exist.  In the annals of human history they will be forgotten, known only to the person who experienced them.

This is true for most (not all) of the difficulties we face in the human experience.

By the same token, solving such “small” problems has the potential to positively impact our lives with the impact expanding outwards to our city, province / state, country, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, multiverse and so on ….. maybe even impacting an off-world civilization in our distant or not-so-distant future.

And so while many of our challenges are actually so small as to be immeasurable in the grand experience, the potential and impact in overcoming them is immeasurably huge.

We must focus on this impact and potential and not the challenge itself as we move towards creating a better experience at all levels of existence.

Are you aware of your impact on a greater scale or do you choose to focus on the the noise and difficulties at hand?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,

Harry