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Planning an "advance" for innovators

I recently attended a weekend retreat for innovators, something I had forgotten I need. It was fun but there were also frustrations. Seth Godin pinpoints some... 

An idea which really struck me was having a poker game, or some other activity where we have to manage chance and random results. 

Seth's Blog: How to organize a retreat, 2010-Dec-15 by Seth Godin

...An advance*. Retreat is too negative).... 

I've been to a bunch and here's what I've learned, in no particular order:

Must be off site, with no access to electronic interruption

Should be intense. Save the rest and relaxation for afterwards

Create a dossier on each attendee in advance, with a photo and a non-humble CV of who they are and what they do and what their goals are

Never (never) have people go around a circle and say their name and what they do and their favorite kind of vegetable or whatever.... 

Instead, a week ahead of time, give each person an assignment for a presentation at the event. It might be the answer to a question like, "what are you working on," or "what's bothering you," or "what can you teach us." Each person gets 300 seconds, that's it.

Have 11 people present their five minutes in an hour. Never do more than an hour in a row. The attendees now have a hook, something to talk to each presenter about in the hallway or the men's room. "I disagree with what you said this morning…"... 

Invite a poker instructor or a horseshoe expert in to give a lesson and then follow it with a competition.

Challenge attendees to describe a favorite film scene to you before the event. Pick a few and show them, then discuss.

Don't serve boring food.

Use nametags at all times. Write the person's first name REALLY big....

Create an online site so attendees can check in after the event, swap email addresses or post promised links.

Take a ton of pictures. Post them as the advance progresses.

*Seth gives credit for this term to Alan and Bill, the founders of Fast Company magazine. 


We still don't know the impact of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations

Responses in the email newsletter industry have varied from OMG to Who Cares, and we still don't know what the implications will be. Will non-profits and small businesses be ignored while the EU pursues deep-pocketed companies? Will the impact vary much from country to country? How much will European citizens (and British citizens) report on problem behavior they see? How much non-compliance will be tolerated?

Law.com: One CLO Tested His Employees’ GDPR Knowledge. He Was ‘Shocked’ at What He Found, 2018-Aug-2, Interview of CLO John Boswell of SAS Institute by Phillip Bantz

“After we had done hours and hours of training, we did [the calls] and we were shocked at how poorly we did as a company,” Boswell said. “It showed us that although we did all this training, we weren’t doing it right or we weren’t as effective.”

While the results of the test were disappointing, Boswell used the experience as a teachable moment to “see where we missed the mark.” He said he plans to test another random sample of SAS’s more than 14,000 employees at some point in the future. 

...Boswell eagerly awaits additional guidance from the EU Data Protection Authorities that enforce the GDPR.

Under the law, the definition of personal data is broad, encompassing everything from Social Security numbers to email and IP addresses. This means SAS has to jump through new regulatory hoops whenever it shares a bank of emails with another company to validate software, Boswell said.

“Over time, hopefully we will get a sense from the regulators in Europe as to what they care about and what they don’t,” he said. “Right now, every company in the world is out of compliance with the GDPR in some way. The only question is how bad is OK?”


Laziness is a symptom not a cause

We can't tell someone to 'stop being lazy.' We can only help them identify and overcome their challenges. 

Medium: Laziness Does Not Exist (but unseen barriers do) [paywall], 2018-Mar-23 by E Price 

I’m hoping to awaken my fellow educators — of all levels — to the fact that if a student is struggling, they probably aren’t choosing to. They probably want to do well. They probably are trying. More broadly, I want all people to take a curious and empathic approach to individuals whom they initially want to judge as “lazy” or irresponsible.

If a person can’t get out of bed, something is making them exhausted. If a student isn’t writing papers, there’s some aspect of the assignment that they can’t do without help. If an employee misses deadlines constantly, something is making organization and deadline-meeting difficult. Even if a person is actively choosing to self-sabotage, there’s a reason for it — some fear they’re working through, some need not being met, a lack of self-esteem being expressed.

People do not choose to fail or disappoint. No one wants to feel incapable, apathetic, or ineffective. If you look at a person’s action (or inaction) and see only laziness, you are missing key details. There is always an explanation. There are always barriers. Just because you can’t see them, or don’t view them as legitimate, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Look harder.

Maybe you weren’t always able to look at human behavior this way. That’s okay. Now you are. Give it a try.


How to speak more confidently, based on research

Noah Zandan has some great research on 'speaking as a leader.'  https://www.quantifiedcommunications.com/resources/

Harvard Business Review: How to Stop Saying “Um,” “Ah,” and “You Know” 2018-Aug-1 by Noah Zandan

Finally, I can’t stress the importance of preparation enough. Nerves are one of the biggest reasons people overuse vocal fillers. The less prepared you are, the more nervous you’ll be, which will likely cause you to speak too quickly, trip over your words, and forget what’s next. So practice. On average, the optimal ratio of preparation to performance is one hour of practice for every minute of presentation, but at the very least, Dr. Trey Guinn, one of our communication experts, recommends speakers get in at least three full runs before stepping in front of an audience.

Used sparingly and effectively, filler words can make you more relatable to your audience, give you time to catch your breath, and emphasize key points. That’s why Google built fillers into the latest version of its AI assistant, Duplex. But when they become crutch words, used out of nervousness or lack of preparation, they hurt your credibility. As you prepare for your next presentation, identify the words you lean on most, and train yourself to avoid them. Then, next time you’re in front of an audience, use silence to gather your thoughts, rather than filling the air with sound.


How to turn anxiety to good use... Bob Rosen interview in Fast Company.

Anxiety is a signal, not a sentence.

Fast Company: How to make your anxiety work for you instead of against you, 2018-Jul-17 by Stephanie Vozza

When you have too much anxiety, it’s often because you’re telling yourself a story. “For example, ‘If I don’t do a good job I’ll get fired,’ ‘My boss hates me,’ or ‘I’m going to embarrass myself,'” says [Bob] Rosen [Conscious]. It’s often not the event that causes anxiety; it’s the story we tell ourselves about it.”

When this happens, take a long walk or breathe deeply if you have too much anxiety. Meditation is a force that helps you live in the present moment. “When you meditate, you get a better sense of how your body and mind are reacting,” he says. “Deep breathing creates a direct connection between your breath and reducing stress. You can get a sense of the source of the anxiety, peel back the onion, and find the cause.”