Category Archives: Change

What do the 2018 Family Separation Policy and the 1940 London Bombing Blitz have in common?

How do you get a politician known for doubling down in the face of all opposition to change his policy of separating toddlers and infants from their mothers? This policy had separated over 2,300 children from their parents from May to June 2018. But widespread public outrage peaked at the end of June. What changed? Why the sudden outrage almost 8 weeks in? Rewind almost 80 years. Before the U.S. entered WW II, the Nazis bombed London almost daily for eight months, killing more civilians there than British soldiers previously had been killed in actual fighting. All of Europe had fallen to Hitler. England was the only country left standing against the Nazis. The U.S. had a strong isolationist movement in 1940. This is when the phrase ‘America First’ first reared its head. More people wanted the U.S. to stay out of the war than enter it. Roosevelt was re-elected for a third term on the promise that he would keep the U.S. out of the war. He stated, “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” The message was clear: England was going to have to go it alone against Hitler. Then just a few months later, the U.S. was at war with Germany and Japan. What changed? Simply – a stronger story. And specifically, a story with visuals and audio. In the case of the horrifying 2018 family separation policy it was this audio and the photos by John Moore, particularly this one below. You can see more of his amazing photos and his story here. If there’s a family separation story in the news it’s accompanied by one of his photos. In 1940 it was Edward R. Murrow reporting live from London (once even reporting from a rooftop in London during a bombing) that changed public opinion in the U.S. What was once theoretical and remote became real and immediate. You can hear what the broadcasts sounded like here. The final tipping point came when images of Pearl Harbor hit the newspapers. Words work – after all you’re reading these. But images and sound are infinitely more compelling. They engage the brain more strongly and with more immediacy. Hearing or seeing children sobbing is very different from reading the words, “children were sobbing.” Hearing air raid sirens live is different from reading “sirens were blaring”. If you want to influence changes to make a better world, if you’re serious about making a difference, add visuals and audio to sink your story in deeper. Make the world be better, by telling a better story.

Also posted in Influence | Comments closed

A New Way to Assemble Mr. Potato Head

“The arm goes on the second hole up on the left side! No, one hole lower. Turn the arm around!” And so it goes in the ‘Assemble Mr. Potato Head’ team building activity. One person is blindfolded, the other team members look at a picture and tell the blindfolded person what piece to pick up and where to put it to replicate what’s on the picture. It’s a fun activity, and great for honing team communication. The attempts and results in many team building activities are often fairly predictable for me. But part of what I love about this work is the innovation that shows up unexpectedly. I worked with Kaiser Permanente recently and they did it differently. In all the years I’ve seen groups assemble the venerable plastic spud, they always verbally tell the blindfolded person where a certain piece is and then where it goes. This time, they let the blindfolded person pick any piece at random, then told them where it went. Every piece was ‘the right one to pick up’. The person without sight is given a 100 on the test. The most vulnerable person is in charge, is ‘right’. This is a simple tweak of genius. If we want to influence someone to do what you want them to do, if we want to change the world, we start where the other person is, not where they should be. We visit them in their “home”, their most comfortable way of doing things. We tolerate discomfort in the service of change. Brain science tells us this is true for the brain as well. If we want to help an emotionally hijacked person out of it, the first step is to meet them, without fear, in the hell they have entered. Then we can show them the way out.

Also posted in Brain Science, Play, Quest Stories, Team Building | Comments closed

No more guys

While working with the Kaiser Permanente National Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Team, one of the team members told the team that she is committing to no longer using the word ‘guys’ to describe a group of people that is comprised of women and men. A diversity team, perhaps more than any other team, needs to be the change they want to see in the world. That hit me. I use ‘guys’ while working with teams all the time and have for 20 years. And over the last year, it’s felt more uncomfortable – especially if I’m addressing a group of women with no ‘guys’ in sight. So that moment I committed as well. I want my impact to be positive. And while I harbor no conscious ill intent using that word, it’s impact that matters to others, not intent. This is how change happens: Lack of awareness Awareness that is built up in the background over time Contemplation but not action Epiphany (often accompanied by excitement and/or remorse) Decision to change Make the change public. She did to her team. And I’m doing it with you, my team. Conscious, persistent action Change sticks sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t. Play the change – try, fail, learn, try again. Stay in the game no matter what Change is internalized. It’s now unconscious level and happens naturally without any additional effort. So what’s the new word? I’m going with team or everyone for now. I’ll keep playing with it. Like all change, it’s awkward at first, and takes more energy. The longer a day with a team is, the more likely I’ll be to unconsciously say ‘guys’. And it’s no big deal if I do. But I will persist, and over time the conscious change will be engrained unconsciously. Where are you in the change cycle with what you’re trying to change?

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed

Two boys playing with $100,000,000

Dunkirk Director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema are everywhere in behind the scenes photos of the filming of the movie Dunkirk. It looks like the $100 million movie that two boys filmed. That’s the two of them in the water next to the plane in the photo above. Hoytema is the bearded man on the left and Nolan is the blonde man on the right. After all the preparation for filming – I’m sure it’s a long journey from idea to writing to funding to first day on set – the arduous task of actually filming the movie is like finally arriving at your favorite playground. They weren’t letting anyone else do the fun part – the actual doing the work, filming the movie. And that was where they played with their creativity. Story after story in interviews told of ‘never been done before’. Like Roger Bannister’s miracle mile they turned impossible into reality. It was not easy. Hand in hand with ‘never been done before’ is ‘how do we do this’? Trial and error involves a lot of error to learn. In a $100,000,000-spending high stress situation there’s a lot riding on success. And the water in the English channel is not known for its balmy temperatures. 59 degrees Farenheit is normal for June. Most of the movie was filmed outside in the real original Dunkirk locations. Weather was unpredictable and rarely cooperative. Towards the end of filming production moved onto a set for some of the water scenes. Many of the crew and producers were relieved that everything just got easier – controlled environment, temperature, no worries about rain, tides, waves. But not Hoytema. “On days like this Chris and I would look at each other and say, ‘I don’t like this.’ It’s warm, the water is acceptable in temperature. This is all too convenient and it’s all too nice. [Laughs] It’s something you have to learn to live with.” Play isn’t meant to be easy. Too easy, too ‘convenient and nice’ and the fun is drained from it. Play is meant to engage us, enthrall us, take us over. To finally be immersed, joyfully engaging a challenge. If you want to play more, you might look for the places that are difficult already and bring in the play element. Or if you’re really brave, look for your equivalent of $100,000,000 on the line. Take the leap and jump in. The water’s either fine or (hopefully) cold enough to shock and excite you into play.

Also posted in Leadership, Passion | Comments closed

What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’?

This is the 10-year anniversary of the newsletter. That’s 120 newsletters. This month I’ll post my 1,300th blog post. It’s something I’m very, very proud of – perhaps what I’m most proud of persisting at this past decade. And I’m grateful for you reading these words. If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be either. This kind of persistence comes at a cost though. Something else had to be given up in order to write each word I wrote. Again and again I had to say no to something enticing or demanding or relaxing or meaningless enough to not have fear attached to it. There is something you want to do, isn’t there? There is something meaningful to you, something that will be helpful to others. Something that will make your world and the worlds you intersect with a better place. There’s lots of persistent work to be done to make that something to come into fruition. But now, what’s even more important? The seed of that something is going to need to some space to begin to grow. You’re going to need to say no to something else. Something is going to have to be left behind. The journey ahead is long, and you’re going to need to travel light. We have a fascination with the TV show Hoarders. How can people compulsively hold onto so many things that are no longer important? How, indeed? You and I? We’re also hoarders of something. What am I holding on to that is no longer important, no longer helpful to my work? What are you? What can you say no to that will clear the space to do the most important work you were meant to do this year and beyond? What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’ – to being the change you so want to see in the world?

Also posted in Persistence, Purpose | Comments closed

Quix Tip: Practice Change by Sleeping

Pause before you fall asleep at night. Consciously choose to let go of structure and control. Let the change that sleep brings enter consciously. Relax and drift off. In the morning, note how you were safe all night as you dreamed.

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Quix Tip: Change is as simple as 1-2-3…4

Choose something you want to change. Select a ritual to visit your change initiative every day. Mark your calendar 40 days from today. Spend time with your change ritual every day for 40 days. Learn more: 40 Days to Change For Good - Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts.

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What do you want to see in 2020?

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke dreamed up the film and the book 2001: A Space Odyssey. George Orwell published his dystopian novel 1984 in 1949. It’s 2018. The next number with meaning is the year 2020. That is now about 100 weeks away. Numbers like these are tools to help us think bigger. What do you want to see 2020? What do you want to see clearly 100 weeks from now? The time to start on what you want is now. Today. There is no need to look back when you hit 2020 and wish you had worked on something else more important for the last two years. There is something in you, something about you that is unique to you. Some change you want to make and help the world with. What is it now? How will you be the change you want to see in the world when you can see clearly – 20/20?   Learn more: How to Lead Change -  Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

Also posted in Leadership, Persistence, Purpose | Comments closed

Strategic or Tactical?

There is a tension between thinking strategically and tactically. We tend to just live tactically. We humans don’t do well with tension and tend to just go to one side or the other. And the daily grind is where we usually go. It’s the path of least resistance. Carl Jung said the sign of a true adult is to be able to live in the tension of the two opposites. You have 100 weeks. What do you want to see 100 weeks now from now 2020? What’s your tension between now and then? Today is day one of not giving up. Today is the day to happily rest in the tension.

Also posted in Leadership, Persistence, Purpose | Comments closed

What are your New Year’s Curiosities??

We’ve been making New Year’s resolutions all our lives. They usually don’t work out too well. 60% of those resolutions are toast by July. And they never end the way we wish they would. These intentions always end up differently. It’s hard to gather enthusiasm, isn’t it? Let’s try New Year’s curiosities instead. Curiosity recognizes that when we step forward, we step into the unknown. We don’t know the ending yet, we haven’t lived it. And curiosity keeps us in our frontal cortex, the smartest, wisest part of the brain. Here are some curiosities: What important projects will we finish this year? What projects won’t we finish? What will we begin? How much kindness will we give – to ourselves and anyone we meet along the way? How brave will we be with the hard, emotional work – the real work? How well and long will we sleep? What and who will inspire us? What and who will no longer inspire us? What change will we make in the world? How will we make things better? What is the path ahead like – 365 days of unknown – and where will we travel on it? What’s our quest this year?   What are your 2018 New Year’s curiosities?   Learn more:  40 Days to Change For Good - Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts.

Also posted in Persistence, Purpose | Comments closed