I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.
I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure. As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.
Data = Noise Data + Context = Information Experimentation + Error = Experience Information + Experience = Knowledge Knowledge + Humility = Wisdom
Recently Fergus Connolly posted this on Twitter. I love following learnings on elite performance in sport and Fergus is an absolute leader in this space.
Love his distillation here, and particularly the first level.
Any current or past client reading this will likely give a wry smile when I say that Context is everything.
Without Context, Data is simply so much noise.
Context is the lens you use to view the world, your business, anything.
PS my Context in writing daily is to share learnings around #OpenLeadership. As we are now well over 600 posts, sometime soon I will create a section on the site capturing and distilling some core models and themes developed and shared over that time.
Take a look at the right forearm of this swimmer. One word, written in marker pen:
This photo popped up this week as a Facebook memory for me from several years ago when this particular swimmer was at an international meet looking to make a time that would qualify them to go to and swim for a leading university.
In short, they wrote the word CLARITY on their arm to give the focus on what they were there at the meet for. On a one-week team trip overseas, everything came down to one four-minute swim.
That swimmer wanted that reminder of the absolute CLARITY they would need in order to succeed. This was their Context, their lens through which they viewed everything on that trip, at that swim meet.
When I work with individual clients, one of the most frequent “key learning” clients share at the end of each meeting with me is that it gave them CLARITY.
The same day I saw this Facebook memory I had a regular ninety-minute meeting with a client. As we began the meeting they told me they were really stuck on how to move forward with a business strategy. At the end of the meeting, they reflected that they now had CLARITY on the way forward.
Where might you benefit from more CLARITY? Who is helping you with that?
PS The swimmer made the qualifying time. Years later, they continue to be clear on their direction and focus in life.
At well over 600 daily posts on this site since I started that discipline, most days I love to write, some days I struggle to come up with something to write.
As Neil Gaiman put it:
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”
Today I woke up feeling like the blank screen would win.
I then realised that I’ve been on vacation for the last ten days and still wrote, that today I unexpectedly have one of my sons visiting me here in London for the first time in nearly a year.
So, sometimes it is good to recognise that life wins. To give myself permission to allow my focus to not stay on the blank page of the daily blog commitment, but instead to simply choose to share my presence wholly with him today.
Remarking on the difference time and travel can make in our energy.
As I arrived in Grenada I was met by friends who introduced me to the wonders of Clarke’s Court 138 proof white rum mixed with Ting at the outdoor bar outside the airport.
10 days later, as I got ready to board the flight back to London on my own to meet my boys for a graduation then a road trip, the same friends stopped off with me at the same bar for the same drink.
I really fell in love with Grenada on this first visit and, as I wrote about a few days ago, I am intrigued by ways I may be able to connect and contribute to this island in future.
For now, though, simply remarking on what a difference in feel it can have to be in the same place, same drink, same company and only ten days apart.
On arrival, I was excited and felt I was relaxed. On departure, the level of relaxation was so, so much deeper. Felt deeply tranquil, relaxed beyond any measure, also batteries so recharged and ready for the next adventure. At the same time, already looking to come back and soon!
Travel can truly shift our energy.
PS due to literally millions of miles of travel, I have a certain airline status. At Grenada this meant a golf cart taking me and similar passengers to their private aircraft terminal for clearing security and passport control. Unusual and different!
Some projects suffer from a lack of awareness. If only more people knew about what you were offering, you’d be fine. But most projects don’t have that problem, not really. The problem is that the people who are already aware of it don’t take action.
They don’t sign up. They don’t engage. They don’t spread the word.
More focus on action and less on awareness usually pays dividends. It’s more difficult of course, because you need to focus on what you make, how you make it and the change you seek to create.
I agree. The virtuous circle model I developed above is from the Cascading Leadership page on this site, one section of which notes:
Let me here challenge the orthodoxy of looking to Engage people around change as a first step and instead say that, in this method, the answer is to iterate this repeatedly so that there is no “what to do first”, but a virtuous circle of engage, align, engage, align repetitively, each iteration deepening both elements and building more and more trust in the overall organisation for those within it as they truly feel part of the vision.
It takes more than awareness to lead to action. it takes that continuous and iterative process of alignment and engagement to lead to enrolment and so to action.
This is at the heart of #OpenLeadership, the antithesis of command and control. So, if you are finding that issuing instructions, directives, statements of intent or vision are not working as well as you’d like, perhaps call me and we can talk through how you can use Cascading Leadership to have more impact.
A spiral of openness and trust spiral, where both elements feed each other to higher and higher heights.
Trust is at the core of all relationships.
My underlying theme on this site I call #OpenLeadership, as being Open is at the heart of what I see as the new paradigm of Leadership, one of four core attributes detailed on the #BeMoreYou page.
I also love “Virtuous Circles”, my favourite being the one below from Gaping Void and that was the first of many framed prints from Hugh McLeod that filled the walls of our business in Cayman.
So, I love the image above of an Openness and Trust spiral, as a virtuous circle is really a 2D representation of a 3D upwards spiral, where both elements feed each other to higher and higher heights. Trust builds Openness, which builds more Trust, which builds even further Openness etc.
I close with another virtuous circle, that of the “Scale for Impact” model, or “new triple bottom line” where Purpose+People+Planet leads to Profit, which can then be reinvested for Scale to create ever more Impact through that focus on Purpose+People+Planet and so on.
Horizontal Leadership is leading in an inclusive, empowered and trusting way.
Sometime over this summer, I will collate some key blog posts and models under a header of #OpenLeadership as a tab on this site. Open Leadership is a move beyond command and control, a move beyond hierarchy.
It is not new, however, it is simply about leading in an inclusive, empowered and trusting way. As an example, a while ago Chip Conley had told me a story of getting together a group of fellow students when he was starting university some nearly 40 years ago.
This week one of those students, a certain Seth Godin, wrote about that moment. He called it Horizontal Leadership.
In his article, Mike compares Risk and Uncertainty, also giving incisive commentary as to why professionals in the Private Equity business cannot possibly understand what it feels like to be an Entrepreneur and visa versa.
I’m in Grenada on holiday right now. In 2004 they were smashed by the same Hurricane (Ivan) that went on to hit Cayman. Due to natural disasters as well as global geopolitics a key industry (agriculture) took a devastating hit and is still, fifteen years later, recovering.
By first world standards, it is so easy to look at an island nation like this and only see challenges. However, the entrepreneur in me is reminded of a phrase I heard once that inspired me:
I don’t see challenges, I see opportunities
My own twist on a direct translation from the French of the word Entrepreneur is someone who takes an opening.
I see so many openings one can take in Grenada, so a few thoughts today around that to illustrate entrepreneurial mindset. (more…)
It is 45km (28 miles) from the airport in Grenada to the remote and beautiful Petite Anse hotel.There are 53 speed bumps.
How long would you figure it would take to drive there on the main road around the Caribbean side of this island of 100,000 people?
Perhaps you’d figure there is a highway, so it might take about 45 minutes, as it would do for a similar distance from the airport to the Reef Resort at the far tip of a similarly sized island, Grand Cayman.
No, in Grenada it takes about one and a half hours.
David Epstein’s “Range” shows how a generalist can triumph in a world full of specialists. Succeed in any field by developing broad interests and skills.
Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, so many will be looking for books to read. So, I just found out that David Epstein, author of “The Sports Gene”, which spun the “10,000 hours” theory on its head, has now come out with a brand new book:
I haven’t read it as yet, but am clear that I still recommend this book because:
If it by David Epstein it will be valuable to read
I’m definitely a generalist, so I’m biased!
For years I used to say “my specialism is that I’m a generalist”, so I’m intrigued by what Epstein has come up with.
I also seem to have developed a niche in developing senior leaders in central government. Civil Servants are indeed specialists at being generalists, so I hope to pick up some great new learnings to support such clients in the future.
Thank you for visiting. People come here for my daily writing and/or as potential clients of the services of Big Game Advisors. I’d love to be connected, so am inviting you to subscribe to one or both of the following newsletters:
Open Leadership: Digest of Latest Articles from Tom McCallum mm/dd/yyyy
a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week
Big Game Advisors – Ideas into Action:
A periodic email of contextual themes for brave leaders playing their big game with tools to apply them