Zen is you – Be.

The Tao of Chuck

Posted in values by dave225 on December 31, 2008

Charlie Brown’s good rules for living:

  • Keep the ball low
  • Don’t keep your crayons in the sun
  • Use dental floss every day
  • Don’t spill the shoe polish
  • Always knock before entering
  • Don’t let the ants get in the sugar
  • Never volunteer to be a program chair
  • Always get your first serve in
  • Feed your dog whenever he’s hungry

….a better life, and a fat dog.

*from ‘Happy New Year, Charlie Brown’

Why Why Why

Posted in impact, objectives, satisfaction, Uncategorized by dave225 on December 24, 2008

Perhaps you’re familiar with this parable about stone masons and purpose (text that I lifted from here, but it could have been anywhere):

I’m reminded of a story about a traveler in the Middle Ages, who visited a city where many stone cutters were working. Approaching several, he asked the same question:

“What are you doing?”

The first stonecutter he met replied, “I’m cutting stone. It’s dull work, but it pays the bills.”

A second stonecutter responded, “I’m the best stone cutter in the land. Look at the smoothness of this stone, how perfect the edges are.”

A third pointed to a foundation several yards away, and said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

One lacked purpose altogether. The second was proud of the work he did. But the third clearly had a sense of purpose, of the greater reason for his work. It’s safe to assume that the third stone cutter never got lost in the boredom of the work or became obsessed with being the best. The third stone cutter knew that his work was critical to the successful completion of a larger project the construction of a cathedral.

Well it occurred to me this morning that this parable is incomplete.  “I’m building a cathedral!”  Well why in god’s name* are you doing that?  The vision for this cathedral isn’t to have a giant, unoccupied building plopped down where there used to be farmland.  And it wasn’t built just to give people something to do.  What’s the bigger WHY?!

It must have a bigger purpose than “build it.”  Is it to glorify God*?  To establish a place of community, a civic center? And why would you want either of those?  To raise the standard of living for all citizens or to make the king richer?  What is the real vision? And what are the real benefits?

Execution (i.e. building stuff) comes from people working.  Vision and strategy come from the top.  Every bit of work at every level should have that vision behind it.  So whether you’re building a cathedral or a website:  ask yourself about the real why.

(*no specific religious affiliation, promotion or denigration intended.)

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Salvaging Info

Posted in values by dave225 on December 8, 2008

I’m cleaning out an old file share before it gets deleted.  I ran across an internal posting I wrote last year, summarizing a talk I attended.

What type of organization do you have?


The Competing Values Model: (Robert Quinn)

An organization needs to decide what its primary quadrant is. The quadrants that are diagonal from each other are in dynamic tension with each other.

How does our organization deal with failure?

  • Is failure allowed? Then we support innovation & open systems.
  • Is failure not an option? Then we are a process & control organization.

What do we do with an unproductive asset?

  • If we turn it loose, we lean towards the Rational Goal Model.
  • If we mentor, we learn toward Human Relations.

(The axis refer to the type of organization you are fostering, not what happens in the short/long run. – E.g. the top row depicts the habits of long term thinkers.)

Long Term

Human Relations Model – collaboration, motivation

Open Systems Model – innovation

Short Term

Internal Process Model – Management & Control

Rational Goal Model – productivity & accomplishment

Stable

Chaotic

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