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Impact-ology

Impact-ology Wheel - outside view

The Impact-ology Wheel

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Impactology Wheel

Corporations get a bad press.

Mostly because they seem to dehumanize the people who work in them and sometimes spoil the environment for others.  So how do you make corporations ‘more fit for human habitation’? That has been our mission.  But what does this really mean?

Well, we are going to get to that, but first we need think about the idea of a ‘corporation’…

In many ways, you can think of them as like people: some do good, some are self-serving, all are less than perfect, but all aspire to being better.

Corporations are co-operations.  There are other kinds of co-operations, of course, and what we say here applies to them. Like people, they are fundamentally good.  Our standard of living is due to the ability of people to work together for the benefit of others.  Pick almost any object or thing that you use every day and imagine how it could have been created without a group of people working together to make it happen.

So how do we focus on the good aspects of corporations?

Models are part of our business, so here’s a model:

Think of a corporation (/organization/education system) as a wheel rolling through life leaving the world a better place.

How does it work? How is it propelled? What’s it like to be part of it? Is it fun?

First: why do they exist? What is their ‘Purpose’?  Much is written today about having a clear purpose.  More than just a mission statement, although this is what you tend to see. It’s a ‘reason to be’ that requires imagination of a better world for at least some people.

To make the purpose real, people have to create and then provide some thing or service to someone outside.  Those in the company make a ‘Contribution’ which manifests as that thing or service.

When the product or service is delivered, it has an ‘Impact’. This is where the rubber meets the road.  That impact is initially on the customer.  However, there are ripples from that impact, after effects, you could say.

Impact is a neutral sentiment, but ‘Well-being’ is the feeling that you want.  If well-being increases, then the world feels a better place for those in it. That well-being ripples out to the customer’s family, community and the world at large.   If I buy a smart phone, I immediately feel good.  But then the community feels it when people are better connected. And then the world is better when people in remote areas can communicate where they could not do so before. The well-being left behind in the world as the smart phone corporation ‘rolls them out’ is immeasurable, but real.

Let’s talk more about those who work in the corporation.  Do they really feel all these things? Are they really clear about their purpose? Are they allowed to make a contribution? And do they like the working conditions? How is their well-being? Maybe if those employees fully realized the good they are doing, they would find meaning in their work and be motivated to do more.

If the answer to all these questions is a ‘yes’, then they will feel that they ‘Belong’. Think about it. That sense of belonging is the measure of how good that company is to work with and for.  It boils down to satisfying basic human needs: to have a reason to take part, to be able to contribute, to enjoy the journey with others and to find meaning in their work.

We all need some ‘Why?’, ‘What?’ and ‘How?’

With belonging comes a greater sense of purpose and the wheel rolls on with greater contributions.

And so the wheel accelerates away, leaving more and more well-being in the world.

Notice some features:

The outer rim of the wheel is somehow inanimate, it’s just a machine.  But the machine is driven by a human motor.  Its heart is people. The heart is stronger when people Belong.

It’s what we call the ‘Impact-ology Wheel’.

Advice to Your 20 Year Old Self

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Professional and Personal Development

If you could go back in time, what do you wish your 20 year old self knew?

When you’re a professional, engineer or whatever, you think that development is about Professional Development. You are learning new techniques, going on all these professional training programs, all manner of things.

But, in fact, what I didn’t know until really quite recently is that in order to really advance in this world, you need to grow as a person not as a professional.

So I would be telling my 20 year old self to pay attention to Personal Development as much as professional development. Because at the end of the day I like to think of this. If there are ten of you and there is going to be one of you left.  Shall we say: the last one standing. Who’s that going to be? I think you’ll find that it’s probably going to be the most rounded, the wisest (or whatever word you want to use) person. Most people when they get to a point in their career where they resent so and so got promoted over me. Or I don’t know where I am going to go from here, because I don’t want to be one of ‘those kind of bosses’ Those kind of thoughts. You are really talking to yourself and saying ‘what have I not become that I need to become’ in order to be something different. Not necessarily the boss, but something different.

P.s. Hear the full context of these words in the Lean Effect Podcast with Mark De Jong

Read more about this in another blog post.

Your Dog Ate My Piece of Lettuce!

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Lettuce

It was a lovely quiet peaceful early morning couple mile walk along the sea and James already had his quick swim at our half way turning around to go back point. Walking back, along the sea edge in the sand… out of nowhere… a woman came running toward us from behind yelling señor wait…stop… We have seen her many times in passing from a distance while on morning walks or sitting at her ‘claimed’ beach stone circle.. the one that protects you from winds here for more enjoyable beach day and picnics.

Stone circle on the beach

After several minutes frantic game of charades hand gestures, finger drawings in the sand.. cobbled super fast Spanish to English – English to Spanish translations back and forth… all the while with a most panicked look on the woman’s face… James finally attempted to share what he thought she was saying to us…. ‘Your Dog Ate My Piece of Lettuce!’…and ‘There Are Little Paw Prints Where I Left It Sitting When I Went For My Walk.. Now It´s Gone!’

James and I are now staring at each other totally dumbfounded trying to let that register and process… for quite a few reasons…

1. That morning the tides were way down. We walked along the beautiful blue sea edge hopping and skipping across the black lava rocks that are exposed when the tides are way down as one of our way of maintaining regular agility and balance workouts while out for our walks. The stone circles are nowhere near the sea edge… They are up at the top of the sand embankment that you would have to cross over all the black lava rocks, go up the sand embankment and back a bit into the sand dune to be anywhere near ‘her’ beach stone circle.

2.. Claire was right by our side the entire time hopping and skipping across the rocks with us… and leading the way making sure we were following her most of the way.

3… Anyone who knows ‘Claire: The International Business Dog’… knows she would never consider touching a piece of lettuce even with the best doggie treat or beef on it.. Now if the woman said vanilla bean ice cream or mango sorbet, Emmental cheese or piece of salami in tiny bits, even teeny tiny cut up bits of apple, pear or peach absolutely possible.. Bit of avocado if her favourite Monika gave it to her would even be possibility. Large Piece of Lettuce, to stand and munch through until gone or carry it away to eat… at 10 years old, missing teeth and super finicky about her food… thinking… 99% no way..

Claire the International Business Dog

James was doing all the listening, game of hand gesture charades and conversing while I watched with zero comprehension what it was all about… The most concerning things for me were how far this woman had run down the beach to catch up with us from where her stone circle was.. had to be nearly quarter mile… Over a single piece of lettuce?? Why?? Her panic demeanour over it all… was even more concerning to watch without any idea what she was trying to say to James..

Now thinking… Oh My Goodness!.. Our dog is being called a ‘lettuce thief’ and blamed for something impossible to even have happened.. and this poor woman looks and is behaving as though she is panicked hungry..

Apparently James first thought he shared with her while apologising for her ‘piece of lettuce loss’ was perhaps it was one of the seagulls?? They are always hanging out on the lookout for food with all the people who picnic at the beach.. The woman also agreed thinking about it.. that was probably most likely what happened.. James and I both continued to apologies for her lettuce loss and she very sadly walked away back toward her stone circle.

As we made our way back to our car along the sea over the mile and bit walk James and I were both very shaken from that encounter, both for the same reasons.. Why would someone chase anyone down running after them that far, over ‘a piece of lettuce’.. if they were not in hunger panic?… Her desperation and look while trying to explain to James what had happen was very disturbing for both of us…

We immediately decided, even though we had not had anything to eat yet and were getting hungry, we must go straight to the local supermarket to buy a few things to take straight back to her..

Shopping list… Lettuce, Loaf of Fresh Sliced Bread, Cheese, Container of Hummus, Butter, Salami, Bananas, Large Bottle of Water… That should keep this poor hungry woman going for several days and help make up for any loss or upset over her missing piece of lettuce..

Picnic food

Back we go and find the woman at her regular stone circle with umbrella over it… There she is.. sitting out in the sun. There are also three very well dressed passers by that seem to know her, standing chatting with her. We wait a bit.. they are not leaving… we wait a bit longer… still standing chatting…

James finally walks up to her with large grocery bag of food and pulls the 3 small heads of lettuce in a package out and says.. “A gift to you from the seagulls”… then he pulls out the fresh bread.. cheese, water…

She absolutely refuses all of it… and starts laughing… no… please no… it´s ok… no… I do not need this… Thank you though for doing this..

At this point… James now tries to give the bag of groceries to the three passers by asking if they would like to have a picnic at the beach with it? Everyone is now laughing… James asks the woman one more time if she will take the bag of food to enjoy it.. and she again says please.. no thank you… I’m ok really…

On our drive home… we were still asking ourselves what that was ‘really’ all about?? Why would someone run chasing us so far down the beach as she did.. blaming Claire… while looking so panicked over a missing ‘piece of lettuce’?

· Perspective · Paradigms · Assumptions ·

She and we had both made wrong conclusions based on our perspectives, paradigms & assumptions, which were completely incorrect about each other..

Had she not chased us down to tell us her ‘assumption’ about Claire: The International Business Dog and us for allowing her to steal her piece of lettuce.. we never would have known her negative and incorrect thinking and feelings that she would have carried about us every time we saw her again in passing while out for our morning walks.. She most likely would also have told others how angry she was at that ‘naughty little dog’ and ‘those people’.

We also made incorrect ‘assumptions’ about her… wondering if she might have become homeless and was now desperate hungry with her little piece of lettuce that disappeared..

No matter the incorrect ‘assumptions’.. we only knew we had to be sure to help her right then …and to be certain if any negative feelings or questions were being harboured by her still.. we had to set that straight even knowing it was impossible what Claire was being accused of doing… knowing we will see her many times again in passing while out for our morning walks… and to be sure there were only positive feeling seeing each other again.

We have seen this woman several mornings since… We still do not know her name, though she is happy smiling waving hello (she never did that before).. Claire also runs up to her and runs around her saying hello when she sees her as we are passing each other and the woman now stops for couple seconds, has big smiles and pets Claire (neither did that before)..

Still no idea what that was ‘really’ all about running chasing us quarter mile down the beach over ‘a piece of missing lettuce’.. though the outcome has been most positive possible.. and will no doubt be even better going forward into the future.

There are times.. you just do the right thing for the right reason and just keep going.. The future will reveal what it was all about one day.. and if not.. you still did the right thing for the right reason.. shifting a few paradigms along the way.

…And most importantly… ALWAYS leaving others better for having met you… whatever the random ‘Your Dog Ate My Piece of Lettuce’ situation that brought you together…

Solar Panels for Senegal Schoolchildren

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Solar panels for Senegal schools

A story about a small act that has a big impact on Senegal school learning.

In our events, emails and social media posts, we encourage you to increase your Impact on the world. 2020 – a new year and a new decade is starting. Lorrie & I have resolved to increase our positive IMPACT and Ripples in the world as well as encouragement to you and your IMPACT-ology journey.

 

We do this because… when you help others… you help yourself.

 

If you were at our October 2019 IMPACT-ology event in Port Huron-Michigan USA, you might remember we collectively agreed that $1 spent in the community has more impact on well-being than $1 spent anywhere else.

 

Here is an Amazing local IMPACT-ology story of how that is working: Tiny Solar Panels for Senegal Schoolchildren Immediately Improve Their Learning.

 

There is an organization on our Spanish island in the Atlantic ocean 60 miles off the coast of Sahara Desert and Africa that provides a summer school here for young people from Senegal to learn life skills to take back to their villages and improve their daily lives. Senegal is a small sub-saharan west African country not far (as the crow flies) from us. In their villages, they don’t have electricity in their homes or schools. That means no light after dark. This limits how much homework the children can do.

 

So the organization on our island donated 500 solar panel kits and are teaching the teachers and students how to assemble and install them in their homes (and schools). These solar kits are very small, enough to light up 4 LED bulbs. Though small, it is enough to provide light for students to complete their homework at home.

Guess what happened?!

 

Their teachers now report an immediate measurable jump in the rate of learning! 

 

If I gave YOU those little solar panel kits, I doubt it would have much impact on your life. Giving them to these Senegal children, and teaching them how to assemble and install themselves, has made a massive, immediate, positive IMPACT on their lives now and into their future.

 

QUESTION: What will your ripples be into the new year and decade of 2020… and beyond?

 

P.S.. Lorrie also wants to know.. With so many incredible things to do every day in this amazing world (many with very simple solutions just waiting for your help to make them happen)… What is Your Age Goal now..?

Is the US the Best Pinball Machine?

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It has long puzzled me that the ‘USA is #1 in the world’. And yet it does not have the best roads, it does not have the best education, it does not have the highest purchasing power per person, it does not have the longest life expectancy and it does not have happiest people. And yet I find myself better able to ‘do well’ in the US than anywhere else.

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Why Is Catbert the Evil HR Director?

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Interview for a job

Why do we have so much difficulty believing in a huggable people person running Human Resources? 

Scott Adams’ Dilbert character Catbert is totally believable as the ‘Evil HR Director’. Robert Townsend wrote in his book ‘Up The Organization’ that you should fire the Personnel Department and at worst have a 1 person People department.  Instead, since 1970, the Personnel Department has morphed into Human Resources.  Not only that, but the boss of that department is seen as evil. The world has gone backwards.

Let’s try some ‘whys’.

Why do you need an HR director? To make sure you have the quality and quantity of employees you need, plus to administer all the regulations around employment.

Why are there regulations around employment? Because employers can’t be trusted to treat their employees fairly.

Why can’t the employer be trusted? Because their job is to maximize profits for the shareholders, not for the employees.  So they will tend to cut corners if they can get away with it.

Why does management think of shareholders first and employees second? Because that is their main responsibility.

Why do shareholders think they should have priority? Because that is the way the system is set up.

…and you can go on.

Let’s stop there with the thought that the ‘system’ is the problem.  Not Catbert.

The system needs to change. 

It’s tough changing systems. Nonetheless, some enlightened bosses take a different view.  Richard Branson famously said that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.  Since your revenue depends on customers, taking care of your employees will take care of revenues and hence the shareholders.

But this is only a part solution.

We are talking about a change to the system.  So, we must talk about the ‘system’ that the corporation exists within.

Part of that system is the community around the corporation’s physical presence.

Henry Mintzberg goes deeper. We should put the corporation in the context of the society in which it exists.  This is because it draws ‘resource’ from that environment and has an ‘impact’ on the community around them.  It is not ‘fair’ to consider the corporation in isolation.  In particular, he advocates for rebalancing in favor of the ‘Plural Society’: the part that is not Private and not Public. Meanwhile, the world seems to be going backwards when it comes to the way corporations are run.

Isn’t time to turn the tide?