Monday, May 20, 2013

Clients Are Not Paid To Take Risks

"Like swinging a flyswatter at an incoming asteroid." Every few months, my office shuffles seats. It's a simple system for enabling collaboration, creativity and connection. The only thing is, it's totally random. Which means wherever you end up, you end up. And that got me thinking: Futility is a funny thing. We're such control freaks, and yet, despite our best efforts, most of life's fickle forces treat us like pawns in their cruel game of cosmic chess. But the best moment, though, is when we surrender. When acceptance washes over us like an afternoon shower and we bask in the beauty of our own vulnerability. Unless the guy sitting next to you smells like an ashtray. Inspired by a passage from Dan Brown's new book.

"Clients are not paid to take risks." There's what the client wants. There's what the client wants to want. There's what the client thinks they want. And there's what the client really needs. Our job, as service providers, is to listen loudly to all of those things––do some serious alchemy and jujitsu with our team––and usher the client into the space they should be. The secret is, never let them catch you acting. The art is hiding the art, as Michael Cane used to say. 

"You can't teach integrity." Not to adults, that's for sure. Yes, you can model it. You can inspire it. But our job isn't to teach people how to be good people. That's why we have parents. Our job is to find people who already have integrity, and give them places to put it. If a prospective employee or volunteer shows up without integrity, we can have all the meetings in the world, but we're not going to magically morph them into good workers. Integrity is like virginity, you either have it or you don't. There's no preheat setting. This post inspired by somebody pissing me off.

"The usual vortex of opponent overconfidence." Physically, humans have their limits. But mentally, psychologically, our species is capable of limitless powers. Floyd Mayweather is a rockstar who happens to box three months a year. What I love most about his fighting style is, he gets up in your head. That's why he's undefeated. By the time Floyd's opponents insist he will never get to them, it's already too late.

"What do I already know that will help me solve this?" In the problem solving process, our first instinct is to look for answers externally. Turns out, many of our toughest challenges can be resolved by asking this simple question. Especially if we have a wealth of experience to draw from. We didn't go through all that bullshit for nothing. Everything we've been through is more grist for the mill, more input to scan and more data to bounce of a richer matrix. Inspired by Eric Maisel's new book