The Shortest of Poems

It’s National Poetry Day in the UK, and Twitter is full of posts tagged #nationalpoetryday , its nice that for just one day more people are thinking about poetry.

I only know two poems by heart, this one by George Macdonald, The Sweetest and Shortest of Songs.

Come
Home.

And this one from school by Anil Kumar Prasad, A Prayer for Peace.

Einstein’s eyes
were filled with tears
when he heard about Hiroshima.

Mr. Tamihi
Had no eyes left
To show his grief

I’m going to add more poetry to my reading.  It’s all about economy.

Planning for the future

I have been spending a lot of time writing a business plan recently.  Defining a vision, and strategies to move toward that future state, then in the time honoured tradition breaking those strategies into chunks of achievable work.

So, this quote feels particularly appropriate:

The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. – John Schaar

Whilst writing my vision and defining the future state I’ve realised that for this situation, I’m building new pathways, and that is changing more than just the business.

Permission

I recently encountered someone who had built a barrier between them and customers because ‘they had been told NOT to speak to customers’.  It made me think about permission.

“I wish you luck, and stubbornness, and the absence of the need for a permission slip from anybody. Just go fucking do it.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
It seems to me that building walls of process and silos of communication are huge barriers to success.  Anything that stands in the way of employees doing ‘the right thing’ has a negative impact on company culture and ultimately success.

“Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company.  You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission.” – Elon Musk
This approach needs to be infused in culture and encouraged from the top down.

Leadership from Marshall Ganz

There is nothing like ambiguity to crystallise the abilities of a leader.   Navigating uncharted waters, and helping others see a way forward is an essential skill for anyone who aims to take a leadership role.

Leadership is accepting responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose under conditions of uncertainty – Marshall Ganz

The old adage of ‘change is a constant’ has been true in all the businesses I have served in, and every group has needed its leaders to take responsibility and enable their teams to move toward a common goal, whatever the conditions and challenges.

 

Erklärungsnot

A beautiful German compound word that describes ‘explanation-distress’, literally the distress at not having an explanation.

Erklärungsnot is what we feel when we realise that we don’t have any explanations for the big questions of life. It is a word that defines existential angst as much as ‘shame’.

See also : Luftschloss (Air – Castle) or Schadenfreude (Harm – Joy) – from The School of Life

Toolbox 2017

Times change. Jobs change. Tools evolve.  Here are the tools I touch nearly every day, certainly every week.

  • Microsoft Office – (paid) still there, because Microsoft.  Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint, Word – in that order
  • Evernote – (paid) Am currently running an experiment to test whether Evernote is better at syncing than OneNote
  • Power BI – (paid through O365) my default BI solution, connected to internal sources and services like ZenDesk
  • Chrome – may not be perfect, but settings sync is perfect and allows me to move devices
  • Whatsapp / Skype / Slack – staying in touch on all the devices
  • Spotify – (paid) All the music, all the time
  • Monzo app & card – (paid) personal banking on the move, simple & focused
  • Tweetdeck – multiple twitter accounts, news, lots of features
  • Dropbox – (paid) Early adopter, pro account
  • Lastpass – (paid) so many passwords, so little memory
  • Inoreader – (paid) all my reading goes in here, simple interface, works well on IOS as well as desktop
  • iPhone 7 / iPad Air / Kindle – portable reading and connections

What should I looking at to make my life easier, slicker, faster?

Jetlag or Soul Delay

It was either a Chinese proverb or William Gibson in Pattern Recognition who suggested that jetlag was caused by a persons soul having to ‘catch-up’ to their body after jet travel.  Dyschrony.

She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien’s theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.

My recent trip to New Zealand bought this to mind, crushing me for a week whilst I recovered from the endless travel followed by the schism of my body and soul.

I wonder if there is a word for the corporate jetlag caused by working across timezones?

Heavy Rotation – Sept 2017

Inspired by Kottke, I thought I’d share a few things in my current rotation on Spotify:

Still not afraid

About six months since I captured my last thoughts on this.   I’ve changed jobs, and now I’m in one of the most iconic buildings in the city.  I take a train, and two tubes most days. Today I didn’t and worked from home.

Once again, someone has tried to change our way of life. Once again, they will fail. London is too resilient, too strong. The unbreakable spirit of London will endure.

We’re still not afraid.