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So many things to do so little time? No, you have some time, you just have to make a decision to remove some cumbersome, irrelevant, and less-valuable things you're doing to have the mental space and energy for more strategic issues.
1. Be training-wise
Yes, remove training programs for some skills that you will never use immediately is a waste of time. One participant from my previous training programs that I taught told me that she thought it will add value to her life right now, turned out it was just a checklist she had to tick. Oops!
2. Be-Board savvy
Remove yourselves from Boards and Committees that are turtle speed in decision-making and execution and does not improve your despite your inputs.
Who needs Board work that is using your time, talent, energy, and expertise ineffectively? You should be getting some benefits in return of your generous service.
3. Be Zoomaster of your time
Drop attending to Zoom events that no longer serve you or quit registering and not showing up.
I'm guilty of that. Do not even bother to register and receive the recording if you can't even do it.
4. Volunteer with joy
Do not be pressured to volunteer just because they need warm bodies to move a furniture or get a social media campaign going. Do you really love to do those thing, do you have skill set? Can you maintain that consistency and reliability that they need? If not, focus on your wheelhouse instead so your volunteer work is filled with joy and excitement and less work.
5. Ignorance is bliss
I am more happy without having to know the daily news and minute updates from my phone. If I want a topic or a news article, I take time to read it. Turn off the daily news habit. You will know what you want to know, now what they want to feed you with, mostly crap.
Now, that's off your list. It's time to envision your strategic goals for 2023.
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IMHO- Netflix should be boycotted for enabling two spoiled brats and narcissists hogged the mediapshere with their lies, half-truths, and unproven claims and allegations. Total victimhood without consequences whatsoever for their actions is horrible to watch.
IMHO-The flipflop on the vaccine gets really interesting. I know a fellow who had 5 shots of the vaccine and given that it is now 'presumably limited in its utility to combat newer variants', the call for stricter rules is logically indefensible.
IMHO-The climate energy policies of many governments are cited as one of the reasons for this skyrocketing inflation that in the UK, it boils down to "heat the house or eat." It's called killing the present generation for the future state that is green and carbon-zero. Who wants to live in that utopian fantasy?
IMHO-Digital revolution seems like the code name for 'laying off human workers.' There is no such thing as quiet quitting, this malign quiet action have employees being forced out of the workplace through automation and digitalization. Check this out in your own organization.
IMHO-When scandal hits a major organization or a corporation, what happens is a series of lockdowns on information, cover-ups, and deafening silence. The sense of culpability is almost nil. Unless the investigators are outsiders and have no conflict of interest in the case, these investigations are at best, an act to say 'we are doing something about it' or a delaying tactic to get themselves or their colleagues out of the mess.
IMHO-Where is Karma when you need it? Some of those guilty of heinous crimes of corruption, malfeasance, and other ethical abuse of power while working on public organizations are still on their jobs with a minor 'slap in the hand' reprimands. Who are we kidding here?
IMHO- Racism and Anti-semitism are on the rise. But tell me, if everything about you is a race equation, you better look yourself up in the mirror? Life is not all about you, your race, and your skin color. There are things that are more important: character, spirituality, connectedness, service, and excellence.
IMHO-In this upcoming festive season, consumers are belt-tightening. Spend more time with loved ones rather than spend your dollars on temporal things that will break, disconnect, and be obsolete in two years!
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\While majority of the people will whine and complain about the daily woes and struggles they face, some people know how to rationalize their experience for positivity. The famous TEDX talk on happiness by Prof. Dan Gilbert emphasizes that no matter how difficult a person's situation is, it is how they rationalize that creates their own sense of happiness and contentment. If a bankrupt person who lost his family, his finances, his business over a bad deal, noted that it could have been his health that suffered, was grateful for the experience and took the opportunity to spend more time with his family and take on businesses that respect that. Or the recent politician who upon losing in the elections noted that it was time for him to 'spend more time with family, focus on his hobbies, and enjoy the little pleasures of semi-retirement.' That's synthesizing happiness.
The truth of the matter is that happiness is what we make out of any situation. Of course, there are other incidents where we would prefer something better than known tragedies. But even that you might be saying to yourself, 'it could have been worse, compared to something way nastier.' Given that comparative perspective, your brain will simply identify to the lesser evil that you have and feeling like your one lucky person to evade that scenario.
With the freedom to choose, according to Prof. Gilbert is one of the most difficult dilemmas facing humans. He said that, 'if our choices are bounded, we are more conscientious, thoughtful, and calibrated in our actions. I definitely agree.
For some of you, this skill is not well exercised, but for others, it comes naturally, as a sort of way of saying, 'I have decided to be grateful even I had difficulties or am currently having difficulties. It's what you get away with and get from these that could help you move forward more resiliently. It's a choice after all.
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A few weeks ago another cryptocurrency disaster made a shocking headline.
$1.4 Trillion dollar value was lost out of the Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX and its overall effect on the crypto-world. Why charities are banking on the crypto potential for giving until now is such a childish response? The volatility of this sector is such that you can trust your dog to go home after a day's out more than your crypto dollars to work for you. You can't trust a system when you know that there are no guarantees, no protections, no legitimacies, and no governance that underpin any modern system, whether it's the financial, political, social, and economic in nature.
Philanthropy, charity and giving must veer away from high-stakes, high-loss ventures when ordinary people's monies are at stake. What charity can afford to gamble these hard-earned monies earned from the skyrocketing inflations for the sake of creating a new approach, model, or vehicles?
In the banking world, trust is not just a philosophical value, it's the no. 1 operative word. Crypto is made-up money and before you know it, it's gone without a clue. Charities, check your donors and keep safe from the minefields of volatile approaches.
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Who in the world needs an objective outsider who can express and provide expert opinion that you won't need another second opinion for?
We all need one. In any stage of organizational life, an objective, impartial adviser provides a breath of fresh air. No compromises, no biases, no hidden agenda, no political dynamics. Just pure wisdom culled through experience, practice, and their own observations to serve your best interests.
Then why most Boards and Executive Committees do not anticipate and avail of an outsider perspective to help them make some of these most important decisions?
Fear of making the advisor privy to all the problems and turmoil they face which can be quickly mitigated through a confidentiality agreement and proper guarantees.
Fear of letting new ideas dominate that they haven't vetted or garnered buy-ins.
Fear of being threatened with a new person in the room.
Previous bad experience.
No experience whatsoever in this support.
Never cross their mind.
It could be a number of things. Whatever the reason, this is another missed opportunity for executives to remove themselves from the entrenched philosophies, mentalities, and positions in the organization and intentionally broaden their perspective. You have to bring in this element because amongst yourselves, the results could be a half-baked compromise which erodes any expected gains.
We all need it. You need an objective outsider regardless whether your going swimmingly well amidst turbulence or you are trying to survive. For one thing, the most value you can get from an objective outsider advisor is being truthful, identifying the 'it' that's sucking all other attempts to grow and improve to allow you to make the quickest resolution possible.
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A few months ago, a CEO told me that it seemed, 'everything is in order.' They are moving into a new building, operations have been reconfigured to accommodate an enlarged mandate, expanded personnel, and with secured funding, it is looking promising.
When everything is in order, is it not the best opportune time to plan your next steps?
Here are eight issues that CEOs of social purpose organizations spend their time on:
-Board Leadership and Governance
-Communications and Reputational Issues
-Innovations, Adaptation and Resilience
Which of these eight issues are focused on putting out fires and which are for innovation and building capacity for the future?
They are all areas to look for innovation, adaptation, and resilience. Let your managers and staff know that they can lead to innovate in their departments. These are systems and they all overlap for the organization. Wherever you are in the chart, change happens when people and systems change.
Anticipate that something will come up when you're putting things in order as a cause and consequences of those actions. Growth requires vigilance to outcomes and the resoluteness to continue in the direction of change. Ultimate, it's about minds, hearts, and systems in complete synergy and harmony.
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A few years ago, I met the Executive Director of a non-profit organization and upon sitting down after being ushered into the room, he told me that he has to leave after 15 minutes. I waited for the meeting for 5 minutes before I can meet him. Apparently, there was a family issue that he needed to attend to.
I asked, "Why did you even book this meeting in the first place?" He answered that he just wanted to meet and maybe ask a few questions.
It turned out that he just wanted to know what I specialize on and how much do I charge which were issues for advanced stage of the conversation. I found out this organization was heavily reliant on a pro bono consultancy that will probably continue in this way as long as possible. Why pay when you can get it for free.
I was out of there in 15 minutes which saved me time and energy to devote to better prospects.
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In a workshop a few years ago, the facilitator asked us about our superpower. I think I can safely say that I'm an encourager. Always an encourager.
I grew up between my older siblings and my younger one. As a middle child, I learned early on how to get along with everyone. I also learned that it's best to see the positive side of being a middle child, take whatever is handed down and be grateful for small allowances from infractions.
As a I grow older and worked in many workplaces, I use positivity as a strategy for coping, building up resiliency, addressing issues, and also building people up as well so that they could achieve their full potential.
The best encouragers that I met in my life were some of my family members and close friends. They saw the potential, passion, and dedication in me. My early teachers were formative. They believed in me before I have formed an healthy opinion of myself. And my life experiences proved that building relations is what matters most in the end. Okay you got the job done, got the award, got the business, or moved ahead in life, yes to that! But real success is really about lifting others up too and building them.
With mental health issues on the rise, inflation and economic pressures on many households, long-term effects of the pandemic, people are looking for ways to maintain their sense of boundaries and protect their sanities and peace. My superpower as an encourager is highly valuable and in-demand. I guess it's time to be more busy in this area.
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Provocation, as I heard from a Rotary Club member after my presentation, was something very negative to him. He was fed up by the polarization in our politics and culture, those that always demanding something and always looking for ways to tell someone should reform or else global destruction is at hand, instead of just aiming for common good.
While I recognize the current woke and cancel culture climate which we operate, I digress that positive provocation is more about not pushing, but encouraging, not forcing someone to change their views even with the word Provocateur or Provocation. Provocation means you're not settled with the status quo, however long it has served your purpose. It's always for positive growth, more relevance for the upliftment of all. It's about challenging norms that are no longer useful, thus, we can take some lessons learned from others, and adapt accordingly.
The woke culture of today denigrates everyone who is not in conformity, kills dissension and creative expression, and polices everyone's thoughts and feelings, making one feel ashamed and guilty of one's roots and privileges. Hitler's campaign was successful because it tackled the identity of German culture and ascribed a higher sense of importance over other races, ethnicities, and identities and loyalties of the German people.
Positive provocation is an antidote to the complacency in many organized systems around the world. Innovation, as Schumpeter defined is about 'creative destruction.' Taken in extreme literal way robs it of its substance. Innovation is doing and making things differently, whether it's a product, service, system, network, or process.
Positive provocation in the world of charity, development, humanitarian, and philanthropy requires a healthy dose of passion, purpose, provision, practice, and the right paradigm (5Ps). That to me is the philosophy of being a provocateur or a positive instigator.
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Today's managers must contend with some tough calls to make: when a staff is not performing satisfactorily and will never be able to meet up the work expectations no matter what. Firing the employee before it moves to a new role in the organization is the wisest thing to do. This is an opportunity to not just maintain the present work standards of the organization but to improve and innovate how these new recruits can enlarge the impact of the roles.
The reason why bad employees continue to exist is because their managers turn a blind eye to the situation until it presents more trouble. The costs of addressing a growing issue which would involve more absenteeism, team mates suddenly resigning, failure or incomplete work, customer service issues and concerns would be staggering to any organization large or small. Preventing that person to move around as if, he or she is a stellar employee and could be 'rehabilitated' could be a wishful thinking.
I saw first hand in my previous work employment that once a bad hire is allowed to continue performing in a substandard way, more trouble ensues. That employee caused a major havoc in the organization by refusing to follow ethical standards with financial disbursement of funds and abuse her authority by side-stepping the counsel of the Board and advisers of the organization. She caused the organization to be bankrupt and because there was no money to finance the daily operations, the organization had to decide to move the operations to another location and start anew with a very limited financial base. She was terminated but it caused major reputational damage and rift between the stakeholders that it took a while to get those back by the successor leadership.
Lesson of the story. When a person shows you who he/she really is, believe it. If the employee is not in the place where he/she could be ethical and meets work expectations, start the dialogue now and not later. Keep your documentation updated and address current issues that you observe in more than one instances. Don't wait for the legendary annual reviews or quarterly assessment. Always check in for improvement and growth purpose.
Lastly, keep your eye on the larger scheme of things. As a manager, you want all of your employees to excel in their jobs. It is also your responsibility to provide support, enabling environment, and encouragement. If all things fail, and you don't see the employee putting it the right commitment and effort, it's time to make some tough calls.