Sunday, 29 May 2011

let it all work it's way out.

A sneaky addition to the Weekly Reid for Monday.

Just finished typing up a final report to a large insight project assocaited with technology and how we use it to help us think, learn and grow.  Lots of work that dates back to October.  I confess I had worries on how this would all make sense when copied out.  I worried about losing clarity and direction. I worried about what discoveries to include and what to leave out. I worried about highlighting the wrong conclusions at the expense of others. In fact, I got in a pickle.

I then remembered to USE the process I was describing.  For me, insightfulness is a learned behaviour. We get better at it the more we do. Instead of looking for the 'right' answer hideen under a rug somewhere in our projects, it's best to be relaxed and sensitised to all possibility.  If it's strong enough to be important, it'll emerge on it's own; all we need do is be recpetive to it energetically.

It was amazing how much simlpy 'poured out' when it came to sorting through my notes. Not wanting to blow my trumpet too much (honk) it just 'fell into place'. what made this extraordinary is I hadn't been thinking about things consciously for about a month.

I guess it proves a great deal about the power of the mind.  Whether real or imagined, the unconscious will do all that hard work for you if you let it.

Now, with the day ahead of you, what can you 'sleep on' until tomorrow.

It is a Bank Holiday after all.

Friday, 27 May 2011

wise man once told me this story...

So I used to do Yoga (loads of it) I was stretchy and subtle and strong.  I ought to get back to it as today I'm all stiff at the desk but that's for me to battle with... Anyway, my Yogi instructor was a guy called Brian.  Lost in the 70's, white hair, soft voice, sunlamp tan that sort of look.  He told me a story of two monks which I am delighted to say is a famous Zen story that I share now.

Two monks, both sworn to silence and solemnity.  The pair had vowed to lead a pure life in search on enlightnment.

They were both walking though a forest one day (as is the behaviour of such monks). Eventually their path led to a stream. There they saw a beautiful young girl, standing on the bank. She was in great distress because she wanted to cross the stream, but did not know how without getting her fabulous robes wet.
Without hesitation one monk scooped her up, stepped through the stream, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and continued on her way, and the two monks continued on theirs again in silence. Nothing but the forest around them.
The second was confused and stressed. He got more restless by the minute and then finally spoke up.
"Brother," he said, "I do not know what to make of it. You know our order is an austere order, and we cannot so much as speak to a woman. let alone scoop her up and carry across a stream! yet you keep walking as if nothing happened!"
"It is quite simple," the first monk replied. "I set her down on the opposite bank, but you, Brother, are still carrying her!"
So... who, indeed, had the lighter burden, and the lighter step?

I like this story - especially to pass on - as it reminds me that a great deal of how we percieve our current circumstances are what we believe to be true.  We give energy to our perceptions and thoughts the longer we dwell upon them.  If we think of other things and invest in re-frames and new possibilities, we can actually create a better picture of our surroundings and future.

We have choice.

We dont have choise over what happens to us; that which crosses our path in our forest, but we do have choice on whether we allow such matters to concern us still.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Nimble is key

Currently having a few issues with a large, international player. A huge firm with impressive offices, big logos, expensive portfolios and thousands of staff... and of course lots of intertia. The advantage always of being in and working with small agencies, is the ability to turn on a sixpence (anyone know what a sixpence is?).Being small keeps process out and behaviour in.  Decisions are made quicker as everyone can make a few calls, send a quick 'information out' email or huddle round the coffee machine (or bar opposite work) and very effectively work out what's happening, what needs to be done and what actions to take. It breeds integrity and honesty too. Mistakes and impact are'owned' more and not blamed on the process.

It's exactly the opposite behavour I see in large businesses. They can't just make a decision quickly. An element of process can't just be shortened or cornered for the great good and context is totally ignored in following proceedure.  In extreme circumstances, the empowerment and ability to have any value at an individual level is taken away. The staff may as well be robots.

Which in certain circumstances they are...

Be a question giver. Be a rule breaker. Make decisions. Act on them. Own your impact. When it breaks, learn and do it again. Own up for your mistake and celebrate the win.

Product should always win over process. People over product.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

...when I'm sitting at my desk thinking hard

having asked many thousands of people where they have their best ideas, I have yet to have anyone say it's when they are sitting at their desk, thinking hard.

There is always a component of that situation that provides a source of fresh stimulus, material or energy that assists in the creative process - be that a great view or the radio in the background.  I have two top tips this week for getting to a richer place when needing to think differently.  I am posting this for first thing on a Friday morning so you can action upon it right away and try both.

Firsty, I'm assuming your world of work isn't just singluar focus.  You probably have several projects on at once and spend your day dancing between them in intense bursts.  The occassional meeting, toilet break and client phone call break up the routine but otherwise you're at the screen typing up, sending emails and marching on.
I have no context about any of your projects but I do know that changing your environment when shifting from one to another will unlock fresher thinking.  Doing so changes your physicality and in doing so, your ability to be sensitised to new material and to make new connections.  If you choose to sit still with the same headphones on locked into Spotify, your unconscious is just being fed the same diet.


get up. go for a walk. get some fresh air and go back and sit somewhere else and physically drop anchor elsewhere.  Some of the most creative people I know think whilst bouncing balls, walking round the park or by picking up their pads and moving from one room to another - this is not rocket science and by no means should I get high up the literal charts in this advice to my readers. All I can say is it's true.  I spent my whole day in a treehouse today with 8 people practising idea generation and the best way we had to deal with getting tired was breaking the rhythm of being sat still.

The bigger advice is more of a contextual watchout.

You have a choce when managing a project.  Take on the responsiblity of delivery personally, deliver the project on time, to budget, exceed client expectations, excite and delight everyone but you and look forward to early career burn out OR create the conditions where others can learn and problem solve with you, trust the process will look after itself and allow the answers to emerge (which, if you're truely being creative, they will).
This takes a little more time to master but the first step is atunement to 'how you are' with the 'what's going on' around you.  If you're finding no-one can do it but you, it's the first sign you've fallen out of rhythm with your project.

go for a walk and come back again and do something different.

have a good day.

(and an even better weekend).


Monday, 2 May 2011

Shy feels like a crocodile

Weekly Reid is back.

Due to high demand (well a few of my mates) the Weekly Reid is back. This used to be a once-a-week-email to people with whom I worked, but now, my musings are off to the world so sit back and enjoy and once a week (probably a Friday) i'll offer up some more perspectives of life as I see it.

Turns out it's been quite a day.

May daugther refused to say 'sorry' to Mum having accidentally hit her in the face with one of those bead/wire toys.  This sounds all middle class and dramatic but at the age of 2 and a bit, it's important my daughter knows the impact of her actions; getting to know the power of the word sorry is no bad thing.

Anyhow, she went all shy and coy and distracted herself and me with other toys.  Eventually I asked what was wrong and why she wasn't saying sorry.  She said she felt shy.  on asking how she knew she was shy she said she knew because she felt it and that 'Shy feels like a crocodile'.

I guess there is a great deal of attention to the what we are doing at work and not enough 'how' we are doing.  It's easy for us adults to get focussed on the detail they think that matters and of course a job at hand that we all share on email and power point, memo and meeting is easy to keep track of as it's physical.  It exists in discussions and printouts and we can pick up from where we left off.

Feelings though move quicker.  Sometimes fleeting. Sometimes long term attachment. When experienced though, still powerful.

My daugther felt shy and for her that was like a crocodile. 

I have an early start tomorrow. I've spent all day getting the what ready. Although i'll dress snappy, there's no need to act snappy as those around me dont feel the world the same way I do.