Live a Richer, Fuller Life With Others

wisdom-owlSeek Out Those Who Don’t Act Right (Like You)

Beginning with our first success in childhood we become attached to what we believe are our strengths, in temperament and talent, which enabled us to win. Why not? They seem to be what makes us popular, even sought-after. Then, increasingly we are drawn to people who seem to act right, like us. Why not? They act right, like us. We instinctively project onto them other traits we admire, even sometimes, when they do not have them.

People like people who are like them. People like people who like them.

Those factors warp our judgment, stifle creativity and innovation, and reduce our chance to live a more adventuresome, satisfying life of accomplishment with others. To overcome that natural proclivity, go out of your way to engage with people vastly different than you in talent, temperament, experience, age and view. To overcome the instinctual irritation that happens in such encounters, seek out and speak to a sweet spot of strong, shared interest. In short, find your mutuality to bring out the better side in you both. Here are other’s tips for living fully.

Smart to wisewn2. Move From Smart to Wise

“Smartness is like a wild horse: riding it can be exhilarating for a while until you are thrown from it. To tame and harness smartness for the long run, you need wisdom – the stuff that gives you ethical clarity and a sense of purpose, according to From Smart to Wise co-authors, Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou.

“When wisdom provides the moral compass, smartness can become even more potent. As we grow older, we tend to lean on our particular area of strength, honing our capabilities in that area.  As we do so, we become attached to that kind of intelligence, and without much conscious thought, we can get stuck in it. Our strength becomes a winning formula and we grow dependent on it, which eventually makes us weak and vulnerable in other areas. This type of smartness shapes our worldview and defines our personality. We can develop such an attachment to our kind of smartness that we see only negative aspects of the other kind of smartness without recognizing – or being willing to accept – the limitation of our own kind of smartness.”

As Good to Great author Jim Collins discovered, “being good at something gets in the way of being great.”

prasad gesTo expand your capabilities, Kaipa and Radjou suggest that you identify which kind of leader you tend to be, then hone your expertise in the other and come to realize your underlying “noble purpose”:

Functionally Smart: Go deep, excelling in one function or field in which they have considerable expertise, and are careful in risk taking

Business Smart: Go broad, as big picture thinkers who are risk takers at heart.

The reward, according to the co-authors: “Since wise leaders are grounded in a noble purpose and accept that change is constant they are more adept than smart leaders in turning the key drivers of complexity (diversity, interconnectivity, velocity, ambiguity, and scarcity) to their organization’s advantage.”

sanborns3. Notice and Emulate Those With Depth Perception

Those who live reflective lives, like leadership expert Mark Sanborn, tend to notice the nuances in others who are similarly wise. Here are two of his actionable observations about such extraordinary people:

• “Their failures don’t impact them as negatively and their successes don’t get overblown. They let neither success nor failure distort the big picture because they know life is always a mixture of both. They learn from setbacks but don’t wallow in them and they appreciate successes but don’t rest in them.”

• “They make as many mistakes as others but have fewer regrets. Extraordinary people acknowledge they’ve grown into who they are as much from their mistakes and defeats as their wise choices and victories. To eliminate past mistakes would diminish present wisdom.”

”The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” ~ James Buchanan

The The Impotence of Proofreading

Tayler Malicf60c53ef0120a93bab37970b-120wi“Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.” Mortified by some of the mistakes you’ve made in writing and overlooked when re-reading? In a droll stand-up act TaylorMali covers many of the most common, sometimes Freudian slips. Imagine proofreading as comedy that cracks you up as you cringe at familiar writing errors.

“I need to be challenged, challenged menstrually…I need a college that could give me intellectual simulation. Not just anal community colleague.  I really felt that I could get into an ivory legal college…. Gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail or Prison.”Mali1cf60c53ef01310fa26c08970c-120wi

“There is no prostitute for careful proofreading.”

Only a warped mind could imagine Icarus Airlines. Then, in another spoken word performance, enjoy his take on our increasingly inarticulate speech, advocating clarity and conviction.  In a more personal vein, see another side of Taylor, where he ruminates about her after she…

Mali book41cf60c53ef01310fa268d9970c-120wiDiscoveries like slam poet Mali and monologist Sarah Jones remind me, again of the network effect, through friends, of finding prodigious talent on the Internet.Sarah Jones1cf60c53ef01310fa2669c970c-120wi

How Connective Leaders Succeed And Lead Satisfying Lives

on the edgen-1Story: In the popular TV show, Undercover Boss, employees believe they are training a job applicant that may be hired yet they are actually teaching their CEO. “More often than not, the ‘undercover boss’ can barely perform the tasks she or he is supposed to be learning, “ according to On The Edge author and mountain climber, Alison Levine.

As they patiently teach the newbie they “share their thoughts on their careers or what they think of the company, and ideas for improving the products or ideas,” writes Levine.  She adds that this is akin to the leadership style of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “He doesn’t spend his days holed up in some decked-out office up on a penthouse floor, disconnected from the rest of his employees… Rather, he strategically positioned his desk right smack in the middle of the common workplace at Facebook…His message: we are all in it together.”

Levine compares that to the ousted CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain who spent “an inordinate amount of cash on his new office — $1.2 million… which included a $35,000 toilet.”

Lesson: Each featured undercover boss  gets multiple wins: a first-hand experience with the pressures and joys of working on the front line, insights for improvements, what it feels like to be taking orders rather than giving them, and what if feels like to not be the most able person in the room.  The CEO builds a direct, emotional bond with some employees and, when the rest of the employees and show watchers discover the CEO’s willingness to be a follower who’s humbly learning from others, then recognizing and rewarding the employees from whom he learned.  Those connective leaders become role models for such behaviors and generate greater value and visibility for themselves and their firms.

Keep Messages, Rules and Requests Simple And Brief….Ultimate question

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Smart to wisewn

Scale Your Capacity to Attract Others

Scaling up escellencenScattering smashed watermelons around Stanford’s soccer field before the players arrived was just the first action that students in a class experiment took to sway athletes to wear bike helmets when cycling around campus. They also plastered posters around the field of apparently unconscious, helmetless students lying on the ground with smashed watermelons by their head.smashed watermellowwn

To scale support for yourself, or your cause or organization, consider adapting these students’ approach, described in Scaling Up Excellence, by popular Stanford professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton.

Suttong Huggyba1. Get Popular Groups To Be Early Adopters 

To convince more Stanford students to wear bike helmets the group decided to first convert college athletes, beginning with the soccer team.

2. Evoke High Arousal Emotions

Make your cause “hot” by evoking “strong feelings such as pride or righteous anger,” advocate the authors, because “such feelings make people feel powerful and in control of the world around them, which in turn triggers assertive and confident action.” Don't mess with

Evoking pride, for example may a success of the anti-littering campaign Don’t mess with Texas. Use the Compared to What? technique, in words and an image, to show the best case scenario they would want or worst case they’d want to avoid. A worst case, a damaged brain, was evoked by placing smashed melons next to unprotected heads of soccer players.

3. Stir Up A Collective Response When They Are Together

We are most likely to change when we experience seeing and doing something together. Emotions are contagious, especially when face-to-face. Scale support faster by “fueling a virtuous circle,” suggest the authors, “creating experiences that generate ‘communities of feeling.’”Forbes1-150x1502-2

See the rest of the steps in column over at Forbes plus consider reading these other captivating books about how to stay nimble in your career or for your company:

Human brandThe Human Brand: Companies that really put their customers first, even when it’s not in their short-term financial interest, boost genuine loyalty like a trusted friend. Many companies confuse consumers’ repeated buying with loyalty, at their peril, and are deluded in believing that and reward programs also boost loyalty.  Demonstrating warmth first then competence, as Amy Cuddy recommends, boosts trust in a company too.Solution revolutionn

The Solution Revolution: A growing number of innovative, often cross-sector collaborations offer our brightest promise to solve some of society’s toughest problems, and are attracting some of our smartest and most motivated people.

FlexnFlex: In our increasingly complex yet connected world those who can “flex” behaviors to become the glue that holds diverse teams and new initiatives together will probably become our most valued leaders and partners.

The New Killer Apps: With the right approach large companies can innovate faster than start-ups. new killer apps n

Flourish In 2014 By Discovering The Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Pam-Slim-1-150x150Instead of making new year’s resolutions again this year, which are notoriously hard to keep, why not set out on a concrete path to make the next chapter of your life more meaningful and satisfying? How?

By “finding the thread that ties your story together” suggests Pamela Slim in her idea-packed new bookBody of Work. Intuitively, you know that the stronger the role you can play in your career choices, the greater the chance you will be productive and happy with them.Body of work afL._AA160_

That’s why finding a way to incorporate your multiple interests and talents into a coherent whole on which you can grow your unique and valuable mastery can be key to the illusive, flourishing life you seek.

Know When It’s Time To Move On

For example, however you are working now, where are you on what Slim dubs “the loathing scale” ranging from one to ten? That scale ranges from deep dislike of your situation to where ”you don’t have to struggle so much everyday to make a happy, healthy living?” Even if you are in that comfortable “happy” work situation, what Jim Collins calls “the sweet spot” and Martha Beck describes as the “Promised Land” Slim calls it “dangerous.” You are not challenging yourself to hone your core mastery and thus vulnerable to losing options in your future. To keep growing your body of work, rather than getting “out of your comfort zone, she agrees with Michele Woodward’s re-framing: “enlarge your comfort zone.” Who knows? You may choose to quit sooner.

Along With the Fates, Be A Greater Co-Author Of Your Life Story

“Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect and impact… It is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including and the tangible things you have created. Individuals who structure their careers around autonomy, master and purpose will have a powerful body of work,” writes Slim. I heartily agree with Slim when she writes that, “in the new world of work, our ability to create a powerful body of works is what will determine our ongoing employability.”

Becoming Category of one nTaking this approach you are more likely to become a sought-after by Becoming a Category of One, as Joe Calloway suggests and incorporate more of your talents and interests into a coherent life as Marci Alboher advocated in One Life/Multiple Careers, thus sometimes Reinventing You as Dorie Clark advocates for the times when you want to turn the page to a new chapter of work – and you want others to understand that shift.

Find Your True Path Of Multiple Mastery And Opportunity

Gain a more concrete insight into how you define success for your life and credible way to share your authentic story with others by following her eight-step path. You are more likely to stick to this path because Slim displays both warmth and competence in her steps: concrete steps with checklists, examples, heart-warming success stories, and perhaps most of all, reading about her personal success and satisfaction in following this approach.

Here are just some of the many takeaways from this book, which I strongly recommend…  See the rest of the column over at Forbes.Forbes1-150x1502-2

Pull More Customers Closer By Offering Experiences In Ways They Can Share

inside Fairmontf7dc38Walk inside the famous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and you’ll be immediately swept into a sumptuous holiday scene that includes a giant Christmas tree and a two-story-high Victorian gingerbread house. Yet sadly, like most other businesses that want to delight and engage customers at Christmas, they are missing some big opportunities. You can capture those opportunities, even if you don’t have  a huge holiday budget like the Fairmont does.

What if you could extend the holiday moments you offer farther into the lives of your customers?

What if you could inspire them to share their cheery experience with others?

With the right partners and methods you can. For example, what if the Fairmont partnered with an equally renowned local gingerbreadd71baker to make pre-wrapped, co-branded miniature “Fairmont Gingerbread Houses” and/or cookies collections for elves to sell at a side table near the giant Gingerbread House in the lobby?

Buyers could opt to have them mailed as gifts or walk out with them. Plus the baker could also sell the gingerbread houses to her retail outlets, enclosed in a box with a photo on top of the Fairmont’s lushly decorated lobby, featuring the house. Partners get to use their best talents and resources to gain a festive, warmed-up introduction to each other’s customers. Guests who stay five days or more at the hotel could get a free Gingerbread House, thus introducing the baker’s delicious artistry to the hotel’s most lucrative customers. And the hotel can give their most important guests a unique lagniappe that costs them nothing.

! Stitch IMG_0027Let’s further deepen the customer experience, to strengthen their sense of affiliation to you and your partner’s companies — and their desire to share their memory with others. Starting today, hotel guests can create customized eCards to send to friends and loved ones before they leave the hotel, thanks to a new partnership between a small start-up, KlabLab with a “Stitch” app, and venerable card maker Hallmark. They can use their iPhone to take photos of each other, perhaps by the Christmas tree, Gingerbread House or other holiday scene in the hotel.

Then they can choose a card image, font and message from Hallmark’s collection; add music from the iTunes Library; then customize their chosen message and immediately send their personalized eCard, keeping copies for themselves. Since each eCard has a Stitch+Hallmark watermark on it, those sharing their memories via personal eCards will also be sharing the news that anyone can can use this method to make personalized eCards.   Thus the partnership creates a virtuous circle that naturally scales visibility. Hint: Design your partnership method to create one.

Lessons:

Partner with companies to co-create a more memorable experience that enables you and your partners to:

• Stand out from your competition

• Co-brand an experience and objects-as-gifts that customers can enjoy with others, in the moment and later on

• Give them a reason to come back next year and/or other times because you regularly offer other special experiences, with related gifts they can buy

HintUnlike these partners, be explicit in showing and/or describing the benefits of the partnership to the people you seek to serve.

What other reputable businesses could you quickly forge a holiday partnership with to:

• Reach and serve more people in your mutual market?

• Add more excitement and/or convenience to your customers’ experience?

• Spur more spending and sharing by co-creating a holiday-themed, bundled package of products and/or services from you and your partner, that all partners can sell this season?

nintendo-southwest_120213-617x416For example Southwest Airlines and Nintendo have just partnered up to offer gaming lounges in some of the nation’s busiest airports through December 22nd.  And last Christmas upscale Neiman Marcus “put together a limited collection from 24 American designers” in partnership with value-centric Target so both could experiment with how to reach “a broader range of customers.”

Hint: It’s still not too late to co-create a first-ever, holiday experience that captivates your customers and enable you, and your complementary partner to gain warmed-up introductions to each others customers. What better way to grow your business faster, often while spending less?

Create The Ritual We Can Cheerfully Share

duck nIf a hotel can become famous for leading ducks across their lobby at 11:00 each day then certainly your business can become more well-known for some simple yet involving ritual that customers love to photograph and share with others. Make eye candy “first-evers” that attract reporters.  In fact it’s surprising that so few businesses and other organizations see the power of memory-making rituals, and that we keep talking about the few that do. AFor example, instead of creating a new ritual a sister hotel simply imitated the duck walk. You can do better. walk ducjs wn

1. Think quirky

As all actors know, a cute kid or animal almost always steals the show.  For example the annual ritual that raised $120,000 last year in a town of just 2,404 is the wiener dog race.  People and their dogs came from all over the country for the chance to compete.

wienerwnNow other towns imitate the races yet few seem to have sought out partners to cover the cost and increase the event’s visibility and features such as prizes. Think of pet food makers, shops, groomers and veterinarians as natural partners.

2. Create community around your ritual

3. Offer the unexpected

Instead of “just” offering a loaner car like the one you are getting serviced a British Volvo dealership also offered bikes, from its partnering business, as loaners. The dealership and the bike shop enjoyed three benefits  – deepening the loyalty of their eco-minded customers, getting introduced to each other’s customers, and attracting worldwide media coverage. How well do you know your customers? Well enough so you can reach more of them with an unlikely ally that also serves them? Hint: why not ask your customers to tell you the names of two or three other businesses they also use and trust? It’s likely that you, too, will discover some valuable potential partners.

valencia-300x1814. Reduce your cost of providing that ritual by partnering

Volvo’s ritual was then topped by Fiat in Spain. By partnering with electric bicycle maker Trek it could make the same offer yet without the cost of buying and maintaining the bikes. Trek benefits by getting a warmed-up introduction to possible customers. Bonus benefits? Many of the people who saw the cyclists also saw the co-branded label, Volvo+Trek, on their bikes and many of the cyclists told their friends about their experience.

5. Give a souvenir sample whenever people have to wait – or even pause

For a client years ago I set up an experiment in which those waiting in a movie theater line were greeted by smiling college students who offered each person a free ice cream bon bon on a silver tray. One each. The students simply walked down the line, saying, “Like a tasty bon bon while you’re waiting? If you like it there are more inside.” When bon bon samples were given away outside, sales of movie theatre snacks went up an average of 26 percent. iBest bon bonses

Cost-saving hint: Make your ritual so popular that you can attract more contributing partners. Then you can offer your customers that ritual more often yet at a lower cost to you.

happywnReady to help your customers share holiday cheer?

What unique and special customer-delighting holiday experience can you quickly conjure up with one or more partners to light up the lives of those you serve (or seek to serve) this holiday? I’d love to hear about it.

Also learn more ways to profitably partner. in my free,  two-day, live streaming video course for CreativeLIVE on December 9 and 10. creativeLIVE-Avatar2KareAnderson_1600x900

Ready To Turn The Page To The Adventure Story You’re Meant To Live?

hero sWhy wait until the new year begins?  What role do you really want to play in life now? What new scripts, characters and scenes do you desire, or want to drop?

Ready to overcome what Charles Duhigg dubs your “automatic pilot?”  This may seem childish yet you’re most likely to make a big change permanent by abiding by two powerfully simple notions. First picture your very specific and compelling reward for succeeding. Then picture other rewards for each small step along the way.

Plus picture what boring, unpleasant or fear-provoking task or person you will be able to view in a more comfortable light or no longer have to experience at all.

Warning: “What gets in the way of being great is being good at something” ~ Jim Collins, From Good to Greatlife meant to liven

Here are seven steps that have proved fruitful for me — when I’ve actually followed them.

1. Find Your True North to Become More Joyful?

First be clear about choosing a goal that rings true. Forget “should” or adopting someone else’s goal for you.

2. Picture Being Your Hero?

Forbes1-150x1502-2Afraid you will fail? See the rest of the column over at Forbes.

Be The Holiday Gift They Are Gratified to Get

Adversaries1846369-124x150-1Yes the holiday is rushing towards us and many face it with mixed feelings yet thewreath8.10-150x150there are small, priceless ways you can foster a festive spirit with others.

Be the wreath that encircles others with genuine warmth, and more.

1. The Taylor Swift Touch: Vividly Praise Others In The Presence of Those Who Matter To Them 

Taylor Swift graciously accepted her CMA Pinnacle award by thanking her country music friends George StraitTim McGrawFaith HillKeith Urban and Brad Paisley by name. She turned and looked at each one, then specifically, self-deprecatingly said what she had learned from each music star. For example Taylor said, “Brad Paisley, who I toured with for nine months … I sat on a speaker by the side of the stage and watched him every single night and he was funny, and I’ll never be that funny.”CMATaylor-Swift-Free-150x150

2. Be a Go-Giver: Adopt the Attitude You Want Others To Have

“A two-year old falls down unexpectedly. He isn’t hurt but instinctively knows he wasn’t supposed to fall,” writes Bob Burg in his idea-packed new book Adversaries Into Allies. “He looks at Mom and Dad for an interpretation of what happened. If they laugh as though it’s funny, he’ll probably laugh. If they panic and act upset, he will most likely begin to cry. In either case, Mom and Dad unintentionally set the frame that led to the outcome,” suggests Burg.

Humor-to-nudgte-good-behavior-4557_n-150x150We make that framing choice, consciously or not, many times everyday in our interactions with others. For example, the owners of this business positively framed their request by using unifying humor in the language on their outdoor sign you see to the left here.

Since more people report feeling down more than up during the Christmas holidays, why not be a gift this year? Each time you meet someone in person or virtually, consider that you may be the only angel in their life right now. Set the situation for them to feel cared for, in that moment.

Also you can even “re-set” someone’s upset reaction towards you, as Burg did when driving in a parking lot and inadvertently almost hitting a man. By quickly waving his hand in friendly apology Burg shifted the man’s mood from anger to acceptance of the “waved” apology.

Holiday Hint: In every interaction this holiday, remember that healthy, happy marriages, according to John Gottman, usually have a “magic” 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.   Why not attempt to exceed that standard in all your relationships, beginning this holiday? Practice affirming their positive side and letting negative comments or behaviors slide. Be their soft shoulder.

3. Be Like Them: Brash Friendliness Pushes Us Back Yet Warm Geniality Pulls Us Inburg-footer-150x150

A warm smile tends to beget a smile in return. Yet an effusive, over-the-top laugh and wide grin, for example, may cause an introvert or someone who has just gone through a trying time to back into their shell. So bring out the friendly, expressive part of you that’s close to the energy level of the person you are with. Then you are more likely to close the gap of connection rather than widen it.

4. Make Your Welcoming Expression a Comforting Gift: Avoid The “Screen Face”

As we increasingly look down and focus on what’s on our phone, our faces tend to look serious or even dour or dismissive. Unfortunately we often maintain that “screen face” expression when we look up to engage with others. Since behaviors create moods and moods are contagious we are setting up an unfriendly “frame” for the rest of the interaction.

Holiday Hint: Adopt the Golden Golden Rule. Treat others as they want to be treated

5. Start Now:  Be The Gift They Are Happy to Receive

You’ve noticed by now that some people… See the rest of the column over at Forbes.Forbes1-150x1502-2

Evoke Humor To Befriend, Defuse Tension And Have Fun

child laughteresHumor sometimes requires a target. If you make a bulls-eye out of someone weaker, particularly if you initiate the attack, you look like a bully.  target nTake aim, instead, at the powerful. Or, rather than getting upset, consider yourself lucky when someone makes you a target first.

Because, as Isaac Asimov observed, “For a humane person, the put-down is most satisfactory and most easily greeted with pleasurable laughter when the person being put down has done something to invite it – in other words, if he has attacked.  Then it is lunge-and-riposte and at the riposte we can laugh with a clear conscience.”

Defuse Anxiety

“Those oxygen masks on airplanes? I don’t think there’s really any oxygen. I think they’re just to muffle the screams.” ~ Rita Rudner

monks laughteresStick To Unifying Humor So We Can Stick Together Around Our Better Sidesfriends laughingges

Examples of unifying humor that tap into the universal “us” can pop up most anywhere:

• After a mad cow scare, a subscriber to my blog sent me this bumper sticker: “Montana – At least our cows are sane!”

• Commenting on the human condition: “God pulled an all-nighter on the sixth day.”

• I saw this emblazoned on the tee shirt worn by a man who ran into the open door when rushing out of a San Diego beach shop: “The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.”

For inspiration on stating the obvious, look at some newspaper headlines:

• “Study Finds Sex, Pregnancy Link”  ~ Cornell Daily Sun

• “Lack of Brains Hinders Research” ~ The Columbus Dispatch

• Lily Tomlin said, “Nobody is here without a reason. … I like a huge range of comedy but I always wanted my comedy to be more embracing of the species rather than debasing of it.” At my Forbes column see the rest of the ways to pull others closer and bring out their better side (and yours) using humor. Forbes1-150x1502-2unifying les

 

with Kare Anderson

What can we do better together? For greater accomplishment, adventure and friendship let's harness the power of us. Share ways to thrive in this next chapter of your life with others. (more...)