My daughter was trying to get something done but can't said, "Mama, kids do their best. Kids do their best."
Why can't we all do our best with the shrinking options that we have. Many are now stuck in lock-down situations with recreation being taken away as social distancing is imposed.
I cannot overemphasize how the right attitude and mindset can get us out of the anxiety and debilitating restrictions we are facing.
We may not be able to control so much of what is happening out there but we can control our responses, our attitudes, and our convictions of hope for the human spirit, compassion, and to become a force for good. We can control and design intentionally what is happening inside of us.
Staying healthy, exercising, and giving up on negative mental frames can take us in a better place while staying at home and doing what we can to alleviate our individual woes.
The fact that we are keeping healthy and away from illness is a service to society and to the medical institutions and workers who are completely burdened with the epidemic. Being sane and cheerful at home is a service to our loved ones and families who are also struggling on their stresses. Being productive, learning a new skill, chatting with a friend help immensely with mental health.
We can do our best. Stay safe!
A recent meeting with another organization led me to believe that not all efforts are wasted on merely connecting. In the era of social media and autobots, in-person connecting is very primal-it is akin to breathing. We are social beings.
When businesses and organizations connect with one another on the basis of exchange of goods, services, and ideas, an exponential gain happens. But when results do not come quickly or clearly, we tend to see 'connection' events as good to have but not easily transmutable to business bottom lines.
How many connections fizzle away because we force the issue on people, whether it is an idea, ideology, religion, product, or service?
How many connections we didn't even try because we thought, it wasn't worth to even break a leg?
How many connections just die because both parties have found it to be totally pretentious?
How many connections led to many more fruitful encounters with mutual benefits outweighing the costs of the transactions?
Think about what you have to offer, not what you can get.
Be a connector between people and learn to give and reciprocate a kind gesture.
We are all in this together whether we acknowledge this or not.
What is legacy and how do you leave a good, lasting legacy to your family, communities, workplaces, industry, and country?
Legacy for me is what you do right now- an accumulation of life long work, passions, happy memories, and great contributions. It is not about what you leave behind so that families and friends can remember you well but it is about who you are and what you do that gets the biggest impression on people. It is not the attempt at " leaving" but the attempt at "contributing" right now, when it matters the most.
Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the best women leaders of Alberta, Lyn Radford, the Chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games which the City of Red Deer proudly hosted. Talking about the successes and accomplishments of this community effort, Lyn noted that there were significant legacies of the Games.
First was the physical infrastructure that the City of Red Deer now owned as a result of the Games. Second was the legacy in volunteerism which was observed that the next generation stepped in and provided a strong leadership. And third but not the least, the historic moment for Red Deerians through collaboration with countless individuals and organizations to make it a community endeavor.
Truly, when people and communities come together, insurmountable problems can have enduring solutions. It was a memorable moment for Central Albertans and for the next generation to enjoy its legacies.
Lasting legacies are what we do on a daily basis. That is what our families and friends will remember about us by. Learn to be the best example of the virtues and values you want to live with and do not refrain from doing your best to serve others in need.
I was working one day when the phone rang. It was an unexpected phone call from someone I met in the course of my networking in the community.
Truly, of all people, those that you have connected will be the ones who will take the time to connect back with you. It is the stuff of humans.
It is great to receive those calls, saying hi, asking for an expert opinion, getting to know you as a person, not just a brain to pick, and being honest about their limits and constraints.
Being transparent, honest, and responsive are very important traits in any sector, industry, professional, and life, in general.
You cannot bring out something to the world and prosper from it unless there are real people that are supporting and believing in your project/work. It takes symbiosis to become a real asset to your network- the giving and receiving should be balanced.
If you are always on the receiving end of mercy, charity, and forgiveness, then, don’t ask why friends do not call or suddenly disappear, customers don’t return for purchases or donors stopped giving or volunteering their time.
Even non-profits should invest in maintaining their relationships with donors! Not to do that is suicidal.
The real connection comes from mutual respect, recognition, and responsiveness. A lot of people go through the motions being unresponsive (and inconsiderate!) to the situations, conditions, and predicaments of people, organizations, and groups.
Clerks that forget to change right;
Customer service personnel that forgets to call back;
Government employees that forget to put the document inside the envelope for mailing! (This is a true story!) ;
Doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and others in the medical profession that forget to ask the right questions to patients;
And many more examples.
Take time to nurture those personal connections. If they are genuine, it will stand the test of time. If it doesn’t, consider that some connections are brief, interest-based, and not meant to be that long.
Learn from connections that get you into trouble, and you will know how to value the authentic ones.
I have sat in numerous collectives, coalitions, and partnership-based initiatives for many years. And while I have seen the great benefits of collaboration work, I also cringed at some of the dysfunction manifested in the name of collaboration. Here are some of the few observations around collaboration that show how conflicting motives can hijack its value.
· Some collectives are not collaboration at all. Some are pseudo-collaborations when they appear in the guise of collaboration but are not. Partnerships that are by nature tactical, one-off, short-term do not have to be labeled collaboration. It is a mere partnership for a specific set of projects, initiatives, and agenda. Collaboration focuses on long-term strategic objectives that no one organization can boast to overcome or solve. For example, eradicating poverty, homelessness, etc.
· For one, when collaboration leads to co-dependencies between organizations, using collaboration partners to fill their capacity deficits and further discourage the organization from actually investing on specific organizational and technical capacity-building because they can get it ‘free’ through collaboration. It sounds pernicious, but this practice is very common. For example, the convenor will set up a research collective in the hope that the agenda, framework, and technical skills-set drawn from the group-those thing that they lack and cannot do on their own.
· When the convenor abdicates on its responsibilities to the whole group and delegates all the decision making, it makes the group more responsible than they should be. For example, a convenor who is legally responsible for setting the collaboration, having funding to administer and support it, abdicates its leadership role to the Chair, Vice Chair or certain organizations to decide on issues related to its functions.
· The role of the convenor is very tricky. The people in the group look to the convenor for guidance, inspiration, and smooth administration, as well as leadership. When there is no leader or sets of leaders in the group performing complementary functions, it begets the question: who is calling the shots here? How can the decision-makers contain risks in their decision-making?
· Supposedly the risks are shared equally by the whole group, but in fact, risks are shared by those who get to do more work for the group. Leaving some to do less while the rest of the group do more than what they bargained for. Studies show that the larger the group, slackers tend to arise and create more work for others.
· There seems to be no clarity why organizations and individuals are sitting on these groups and committees regarding their motivation and ‘what’s in it for them?” It is very rare when people get honest about it. Is it to get more funding? More prestige? Getting capacity when there is none in your organization? Is it for a good reputation? Is it because it aligns to your organizations’ purpose? Is it because you get more than you put in? Is it because it is easy to sit in without having more responsibilities? Being honest and candid about what you want out of these collaborations will give you an assessment in whether or not it is the right fit for your interests and motivations. It also gives everyone on the table an idea how these interests align with the groups’ aims.
· Simply getting what you want and offering to help is not the answer. Collaboration is not just the sum of all efforts if everyone likes what is going on. Any time, partners can pull out and say “we are not part of this,” because it happens more than you think. The self-interest is too high on the agenda to make it work for the group. Sacrificing your own organization’s self-interest for the collective common good may create a little discomfort or moderate pain as part of the equation, not a lot are prepared or have contemplated this. Ask yourself is being part of the collective enhances your ability to forge common agenda and interests or in short-term merely responding to your needs.
These and many more have become perplexing dilemmas. When everyone extols the values of collaboration, the practice of collaboration is nowhere near as impact-full and effectiveness as it should be. And everybody wonders why.
A few self-assessment questions will get you thinking about your role in the collaboration framework.
1. Have you clarified, explained, and demonstrated your motivation, interests, and organizational aims as part of the group?
2. Have you expressed the opinions, perspectives, and challenges that you face as part of the collective and understood each partner’s interests and motivations?
3. Have you benefited more than what you are intending to gain as part of the group or vice-versa ( meaning put more than what you expected to contribute?)
4. Have you contributed to advancing the collective good which you would not directly benefit as an organization but committed to doing it anyway?
Let us analyze; if you answer 4 out of 4, then it means that you understand the importance of honesty, candor, and exhibiting a certain level of vulnerability to achieve common goals, that at some point, will cause discomfort or pain to your organization. If you answer yes to 2-3 questions, you have a certain level of understanding of your role but not taking a proactive stance to the issues you are facing as part of the group. If you answer yes to 1, there is a great room to improve in your standing and perception of how collaboration works, gravitating on passivity, dependency, or confusion within your role in the group and vice versa.
Unraveling these issues is the start of empowering your position within a collaboration framework. It does not mean that you will not fail, it means that you can go back up again and revisit those thorny issues that get in the way of effective teaming up for success. The right frame of mind, expectations, and contributing attitude can set your organization up for greater collective impact.
Who are your true fans?
They believe in the company. They are true fans, consumers or patrons of the company's products, programs, and initiatives. Real communities are driven by the members of these communities with less supervision by the company.
For example is the American Express Open Forum, a site dedicated to providing support to business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives to help grow their businesses. This site is independent of the America Express management and runs almost in parallel to them in terms of focus. There is a lot to benefit from the network of business entrepreneurs from around the world not just a quality hire but also in terms of developing and creating products that match the needs of businesses.
This is a tremendous resource that not all companies tend to do. This tantamounts to the concept of 1000 true fans (Kevin Kelly) and even more than just for quality hire but the quality of feedback and customer voice that you can have by cultivating your community.
For a small business without huge budgets devoted to cultivating their community, it is important to start with your client list and build your awareness about who they are, what makes them ticks, what products or services they love from your business, and how they want to be acknowledged, recognized, and supported. This intelligence will help you decide on how you can nurture them and keep them as real true fans for your organization for the longest time.
It can be just a blog that caters only for your community with topics that attract them more to your business and provides more reason to network, be more affiliated, and become ambassadors and vocal supporters of your products. Content topics should be engaging pieces about your fan's interests, passions, and causes.
If you are a pharmaceutical company, your topics could range from wellness, health, nutrition, treatments, healthcare services, etc. In general, it should be consistent with your mission, values, and branding strategies. Communicating with your community should be a regular fare and should not break your wallet or dominate your schedule either. Usually, it only takes a small token of action to let them know that you care about them and that you cherish their contribution to the success of your business.
How are you nurturing your community? What small gestures you can do today to let them know that they are valued and worth diamonds in your business?