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.

We are not afraid

I knew it would happen. It was inevitable. Something like the events of yesterday was bound to occur.

I even considered it briefly when I was deciding whether to swap my 20-minute drive for a one hour commute into London. My decision was easy, I wouldn’t be cowed by the potential.

So now, I sit at my desk in the heart of London, next to tourist destinations and busy shopping streets. I sidestep tourists, shoppers and workers when I leave the office.

Today, London carried on. The commute was the same as ever, the traffic and the walk the same as ever.

London and its people are stronger than the actions of these cowards, these misfits, these animals.

We’re not afraid of you.

Disrespect invites disrespect

There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life.

This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing

Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.

Meryl Streep, Golden Globes, January 2017 – let’s see how the next four years unfold

Is the future here?

We’ve been using Amazon Echo devices at home for about a month, there are three ‘Dots’ around the house, and they get used daily, mainly for music streaming and general information.

I’m a massive fan. This technology feels like the future, much more than virtual reality or giant screens that take up a wall. The Alexa interface to the AI feels like a natural and intimate way to communicate, and once we all discover how to talk casually to a computer, things will seem less ‘deliberate’.

We’re still a way off the fluidity and intelligence of the interface in ‘Her’, but so far, so good.

The next step is to build the skills that the Alexa operating system can understand. Amazon has made it easy to build skills and get them into the marketplace. As more developers get on board, the network effect of Alexa will improve. Enhanced skills, along with different form factors, will make the Alexa ecosystem a genuinely useful place to be.

For now, the deep pockets of Amazon mean that Alexa is here to stay. Especially in this house.

How many did you tick off?

How was your Christmas?  Good New Year?  I think I have a THOUSAND emails! I’ve almost forgotten how to do my job? Any New Years Resolutions? I *hate* January!

You can play bingo with the usual small talk about the beginning of the year, but now it’s time to move past that part of the script.

So, make today the last day for your Christmas and New Year small talk and get into the mindset to smash 2017.