Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 30, 2015

The Secret of Success….

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 30, 2015

Common sense is simple instinct — enough of it is pure genius

Common sense is simple instinct – enough of it is pure genius.

–George Bernard Shaw, Author and Founder of London School of Economics

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Great Leaders point the way forward towards the True North of the compass, inspire faith, and stay determined to the truth.

They also manage to allay all the doubts, fears, and uncertainties of their people, whether they’re other C-level executives, Board members, investors, colleagues, employees, or Managers.

As a Leader You have to provide a path to success, and when this path is obscured — You have to Innovate your way out of the wilderness and the deserts to the promised land.

So start with the Ten Best ways to Innovate early and frequently and built a practice of Organizational Creative Innovation, in order to be able to win through Cooperation and Competition with friends and foe alike.

Innovation build and rollout, ought to be the main job for senior organizational leaders hard at work building adaptive, multi-disciplinary innovation capacity.

Vento: The Sharing Economy and the Innovative StartUp Businesses of Today that work in this heady forward and StartUp aplenty endowed innovation space, have uncovered a Gold Mine. All the new StartUps have found enough wind to fill their sails and push their boats forward, because they found plenty of Venture Capital to burn, plenty of Wealth to create, and plenty of jobs to bring to the people.

Along the way they have also found some shoals in the form of some Hidden and unintended Consequences, that can only be seen, and utilized through Innovation Adaptation.

When we talk about new technology, new services, and the new shared Economy — we frequently stay focused on how it makes our lives easier, faster, smarter, and far more efficient — but we often overlook the way it can affect the “other” people, displaced, or disintermediated, and thus completely reshape the economy.

When I was in China last month, I spoke to a group of business leaders about these ideas and how the shared economy will reduce economic output and industrial output for the producing countries.

I want to talk about how new technologies reshape all of our spending from the household budget for durable good like automobiles and houses to the governmental budgets for infrastructure and for the industrial economy as a whole. For example: If you have access to ZipCars, Flexcars, Gocars, and shared automobile rides like Lyft, Ride, and all others, and even the municipal bike sharing networks — Why would you ever need to buy a private automobile is beyond me…

It’s a good example of how quickly new technology can destabilize several industries — especially the ones that are entrenched and established and feeling all Secure. And even more extreme is the example of how this sea-change can be totally missed by most all the CEOs within the specific business and industry that gets disrupted massively.

And it’s not as if these changes took place over a number of years, and are happening at the margins. Thee are headline grabbing Shared Economy initiative rising-up everywhere. And they do not happen so fast that if you blink you can miss them like a passing star, but they are in your face every time you dial and Uber. ANd every time you make that lunch call with ‘peach” and “oven.”

Of course every time that You see technology precipitate incredibly rapid changes, like what we’ve seen with the rise of the “sharing economy” or the “Shared Economy” we are at best alarmed and then once we start using it — we are overjoyede. This is best xemplified by home-sharing-rental services such as Airbnb or taxi services like Uber and the Chinese equivalent called Kuadi, that they represent a completely different mindset for the use of capital, especially amongst the young people and the one not afraid of Change.

Yet still we tend to think of these services in terms of the way they affect convenience—how they change behaviors, but not of How drastically they might change the GDP of whole countries with major industrial production like the US & China, Germany, and Japan. But as we saw with cars, homes, energy, and jobs — these new technologies and innovative mindsets, can have a profound effect on people, prices, markets, and the way we spend our money all the way from the Minister of Finance and the White House to your house.

For the last four generations, young people all around the world have focused on acquiring two key pieces of property: a home and a car. These purchases are partly status-driven, partly practical. And they’re not identical, of course: Cars tend to depreciate, while homes are seen as an investment.

But both purchases require large amounts of capital or credit, and that is money that could be used more effectively elsewhere. And to do that the people need to have jobs. Good paying jobs to afford capital improvements in their lives…

All the way back to the days of the concern of the Leader for the buying power of his workers — speaking of Henry Ford and his assembly lines — good jobs allowed people to buy the goods they produced.

Yet today the jobs of the new fangled shared economy StartUps like, the TaskBank, the Bitcoin, the TaskRabbit, the Uber, and all the various TimeBanks — are niggerdly — and do not allow these workers to make enough money, nor a steady income to keep their families in food and shelter, let alone earn enough to buy the automobile and the house they desire in order to keep their families happy.

Because with the advent of technologies like Task Rabbit, TimeBank, WorkShare, Lyft, Uber and Airbnb, these long-accepted financial decisions must start to change again. Why bother with the big upfront investment, the hassles of maintenance and parking, or the liability of owning a car, if you can have one available within minutes with one tap on your phone.

As more and more people use sharing services for transportation, personal vehicles will become less important, both financially and in terms of status. As more people use digital currencies — fiat money will deteriorate in status and traditional banks will capitulate to the New World.

People may decide — and I think this would be the right decision for many — to take the cash they would spend on a vehicle, or in keeping a Savings account, and direct it instead towards smart investments.

Think about the scale of this change. Uber was founded just five years ago. In another five years, car-sharing technologies could be replacing car ownership at a meaningful scale. That has significant implications for the global economy, simply by changing the way capital flows through it.

New technology can also have some unpleasant effects. For example, increasing automation is putting significant downward pressure on employment. Take driverless cars, for example: While it’s true that they will eliminate congestion and accidents, over time, they will also eliminate jobs for people like taxi and truck drivers, and even turn all of us into bitching and moaning backseat drivers, like your Mother-In-Law.

And surely that would not be good but we shall overcome. However what will prove difficult to overcome is the people and countries that will stay behind without jobs and without prospects under the sun. Those are the ones who shun Innovation and hope that the sea change will not affect the tide in their little village. Or that the breadwinners of families that are long established and run under the principles of one man – one paycheck, will be majorly disrupted.

Or even the recognition that the countries that will get ahead will not be the ones that train enough workers to do the skilled engineering jobs, the internet development, the designing of software and hardware systems, or the maintaining of sophisticated machines, or writing the code that helps them run — but the ones that will teach their kids how to be noticers, generalists, and good problem solvers, in order to be able to Innovate their way and themselves out of any box….

And am saying all this because Innovation is not A Stand-Alone discipline…

It is widely recognized that Innovation has not been considered a stand-alone creative innovation methodology, or technique for Business since the late 1950s. And when Raw Ideas were considered Innovation — the American workplace became the context in which brainstorming was generating new raw ideas that were thought to be the most valuable new creative currency.

This work attempted to graft that notion onto every aspect of everyday American work life. Of course, that relatively simple 1950s workplace context long ago radically changed, as did the notion that raw idea streams rule supreme in value.

process-oriented, evolving and adapting realizations. Evolving and adapting would be the key words there. Like most of us who are not stuck-in-time stationery objects, the context in which we operate has changed and grown more complex as work has evolved towards Intelligence.

Ideas are only as good as the framing that precedes them, so that framing and orchestration are already evolving into the heavier lifts. Don’t miss that moment and what it means because for more than 50 years the generation of raw solution ideas, in its many variations, has been widely considered the “secret sauce” in the innovation cycle.

It would be no surprise to most of us that any study of any creativity technique or technology that focuses on humans with no training, no skill, and the will to succeed, will result in a clumsy, negative picture. Imagine trying to understand bicycle riding, or piano playing, by conducting a study of folks trying to ride a bike. Or learn to play the piano for the first time with no training. Would the clumsy results mean that there are no master bike riders and no master piano players?

This has been the logic in use around much of the “research” focused in the direction of Innovating.

In addition, much of it has been conducted by academics, holding levels of process skill that would, in the context of practice today, be considered elementary. To add even more fuzz to the mix, many young, ambitious “journalists/bloggers” seeking to generate heat in the on-line attention wars of today can be seen citing the “research” that never made any sense in the first place. This cascade of silly-billy dysfunction has, for years, muddied the waters on this subject.

Perhaps the most important truth in all of that fuzzy mess is to simply appreciate that, we moved beyond brainstorming as we recognized that there were bigger issues to consider. Moving forward, we see broader applications for the principle ingredients or DNA inside the Game of Innovating.

Here is the Basic Innovation Language where with the help of divergence andconvergence. Working on the creation of the first (and later to become highly influential) creative problem solving (CPS) process, we realized that divergence and convergence occurs not once, but rather throughout the multi-phase innovation cycle. At that time such articulation was a milestone that significantly advanced the early thinking about brainstorming solution ideas into a different league of consideration. With this evolution, creative Innovating morphed into a repeating three step dance (divergence, convergence, orchestration) that occurs from end to end in the innovation process. Most innovation process models have between 6 and 10 steps or cycles. It was no longer a one-off event but rather a repeating, adjustable flow-a basic innovation language construction. Still today many do not understand the significance of this milestone in process innovation, many years later.

5. Thinking Integration for INNOVATION has already recognized that building innovation capacity in the context of organizations involves the integration of divergent thinking and convergent thinking. If you stay frozen in the old brainstorming“ideas are king” mode, you never get to those realizations. We see this to be the largely unrecognized founding of the modern integrative thinking movement. Anyone studying Innovation Creativity work would see that thinking integration is a deliberate orchestration or modulation of divergent and convergent thinking, imaginative and analytical thinking. From the outset the essential purpose of the applied creativity movement has been thinking integration. Certainly any enlightened graduate student of applied creativity can tell you that integrative thinking was never intended to be a decision-making technique. That integrative and orchestrative thinking train was already on the tracks, documented and rolling forward decades ago. Many, later arriving others, and current MBA school profs, subsequently built, knowingly or unknowingly, on those foundations. Of course some built without understanding or acknowledging that the foundations already existed in the modern innovation methodology era.

6. Learnable Creative Innovation Behaviours with the integration of divergence and convergence into a visible innovation cycle framework, effectively introduced the notion of learnable creative behaviors. Interconnected was a belief deeply held by these three pioneers: that everyone has the capacity to be creative. These notions, too, were significant process innovation contributions at that time. By working in collaboration with many associates, we developed a behaviour based, experiential learning program, complete with workbooks that rival in detail, many innovation programs seen today. What is important to appreciate, in terms of timeline sequence, is that Creativity is not brainstorming, but rather an entire mash-up of thinking dynamic skills, both divergent and convergent. Teaching end–to-end creative problem finding and solving. Teaching thinking dynamic orchestration and integrative thinking. Among the gems that can be seen in the early workbooks for Creative Innovation is the now popular invitation stem: How Might We be engaged in Creative Innovation? The answer which, of course, had nothing to do with Creative Innovation and everything to do with challenging our thinking. These ideas are light years ahead of our time, and many Leader could benefit from how shared Creative Innovation leads to Creative Behaviours, which encapsulate years of learning in a few hours. This was always the generous and Open Creative Innovation that included all the crown jewels of behavioural applied creativity. Creative People understand Creative Innovation. Middle Managers don’t. So how important is all of that? Behaviours, thinking integration and orchestration all remain not only extremely important but are at the centre of most leading innovation consultancies today. Much of the behaviour oriented innovation methodology work going on today stands on the shoulders.

7. Think-Balance Advocacy because as early applied creativity pioneers, recognized in the 1950s that the default thinking orientation of western culture including the business schools was convergent/judgment thinking (decision-making). In an age of great change both men were deeply concerned about the potential for convergent thinking to overpower and dominate western culture organizations at the expense of divergent thinking. Anyone can see in the literature that strong, consistent advocates of what we consider to be much needed creative change and innovation in American business schools — is lacking. Instead people speak of disruption alone. But we are interested in Creative Innovation and in order to keep it simple, what we have in mind for such schools is to start deliberately teaching a better balance of divergent and convergent thinking for Creativity Change. Underneath, and often underappreciated, is the heavier lift of advocacy for the equal valuing of both Creativity and Innovation in all of our organizations and in society. At its core what that means is that in the context of innovation, convergent thinking (decision-making) cannot be privileged over divergent thinking (idea-making). Take a deep breath and think about the implications of that insight.

Take a wild guess which is being privileged in most organizations today. More than a process innovation milestone, this insight and advocacy was among the most significant, most enduring contributions to the field of creative intelligence. Still today it is a rather unsung advocacy for Creative Innovation that many convergent thinking oriented graduate school & MBA programs still do not reflect. This is perhaps the most significant insight of the Creative Innovation era to come. It certainly explains why integrative thinking cannot be turned into a convergent thinking/decision-making technique. This advocacy, framed as Think-Balance is an arena that we know well and have been deeply involved in for years. It would be difficult to undertake inclusive innovation culture building today without this knowledge that builds from the early work of “How do organizations deliberately construct inclusive and adaptive innovation cultures today? Not by privileging convergent thinking.

The promise of inclusive innovation, inclusive culture building, and Creative Innovation, is that together we move beyond old era cognitive privileging.

8. Slow to Adapt, back in the early 1950s, the Creative perspective on the relationship between thinking dynamics and innovation was embraced by adventuresome business leaders in the real world and largely ignored by many American business school leaders entangled in academic legacy systems. One result was that the applied creativity skill-building or innovation skill-building, business was born, in large measure, outside the business schools in the 1950s. Some might say it remains largely outside still today. Anyone with experience in this industry will know that the modern era of the “Creative Age” began not in 2006 but in the 1950s, The truth is by 2006 the “Creative Age” was not a start-up but was rather into its 6th decade of modern era evolution. Miss that and you miss a lot of methodology innovation. Not exactly early adapters it took more than 50 years for most business school leaders to awaken to the realization that talking creativity and innovation while teaching the privileging of convergence was not a route to innovation leadership.

Although in the last few years this Creative Innovation orientation has finally begun to change, still today the default thinking mode taught as the highest form of value in most graduate business schools remains convergent thinking, decision-making. This continuing phenomenon is well known, inside the innovation enabling industry, to have enormous consequences in organizational contexts. Among the top ten most often seen organizational culture challenges is convergent-thinking-dominated cultures struggling to keep up in a continuously reinventing marketplace. Common symptoms of such corporate cultures include having few ideas in the pipeline and little active generative dialogue. These repeating, deeply ingrained,intergenerational business culture dynamics in part explain the reason for the enduring relevance and interest in the thinking orchestration and integrative thinking work that interest extends far beyond brainstorming.

9. Extending Think-Balance. Today many innovation enabling consultancies help organizations master combinations of thinking styles that work best in their particular organization, depending on many variables including their diagnosed cognitive strengths and weaknesses. In the industry this is now considered rather basic. What leading firms are working on is much more than technique considerations. Leading innovation enabling firms are extending Think-Balance considerations into strategies, values, rewards systems, processes models, leadership teams, thinking styles, technologies, work environments, etc. This is systemic viewing of innovation enabling that builds from and significantly extends the early work of Innovation. This is how the caterpillar transformed itself into a butterfly.

10. Dynamic Capability Building. Perhaps the most relevant dots unfortunately and ironically not connected. How does one enable a “Generation Flux” organization? The dots were sitting right there on the table but they remained unconnected. Apart from a fundamental misreading of brainstorming’s relevance there seems to be a complete absence of understanding regarding the underlying intentions doing was acknowledgement of continuous change and advocacy for continuous adaptability. “Adaptation”, “adapt”, “adapting” are terms used more than twenty times in the 1953 version of Applied Creativity. Obviously there is an urgency for developing in people the ability to live with constant change in a dynamic society.  Creative intelligence, creative process mastery, not brainstorming, as the way for humans to realize sustainable adaptability, agility, flexibility, resilience, fluency, fluxability, adaptive capacity or whatever you choose you call that. In view of Creative Innovation process mastery of the business innovation process, CPS, integrative thinking is the learnable engine, and the primary interface of adaptive capacity. The entire body of Creative Innovation work is about equipping leaders with adaptability tools and skills.

All wise practitioners believe that regardless of individual backgrounds those folks who learn such skills deeply will be well equipped to navigate a continuously changing world. We believe deeply that mastery of such skills would help others be successful in whatever next economy arrive. This too is a rather important insight for the interesting time we course through.

Proactively adapting to change was what it was all about for them and that is what it is still about for many organizational leaders today. What is different today is not only the increase in the pace of change but that the tools continue to change and evolve. The good news is that for inclusive culture building, for adaptive capacity building many more strategies and tools now exist.

Seasoned veterans of this business understand that the expressions of organizational needs evolve and change but often the underlying human issues remain surprisingly consistent. Ambidexterity as a Dynamic Capability is the basic problem confronting an organization is to engage in sufficient exploitation to ensure its current viability, and, at the same time, devote enough energy to exploration to ensure its future viability.

To be brief: How leading firms are enabling Ambidexterity in organizations today is, from a methods perspective, tied directly on Building Ambidexterity Capacity as A Methods Perspective.

Keeping Your Sanity means to forget the media constructed brainstorm wars. That is a false drama and a false narrative. In the real world of practice there is no brainstorming advocacy group out there. The innovation enabling community has long ago moved on. So should you.

Today leading innovation consultancies are working with savvy organizational leaders on Building Better Leaders, Better Teams and Better Organizational Cultures. Understanding the role of behaviours is key to every aspect of innovation capacity building today.

With innovation-averse behaviours and values still embedded in many graduate programs tackling these complex capacity building tasks will keep many organizational leaders around the world busy for decades to come.

Every year as I reflect on my Life and work here, and review all of the work I have seen and brought to bear, I am always drawn to the very notion of creativity and what its varied definitions of this rather powerful & meaningful word: “Creativity”

Imagination; Pushing Boundaries; Magic; Never Give Up; Inspiration…interesting choices, and some might add commerce, as in it’s not creative unless it sells, as a watch-out for Creative Innovation, for our community, and obviously for business innovation.

But now back to Data and here is the thing, even the use of Data could be creative – particularly if you believe that Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

And that is the point – we take on creative product, add it to another and create yet a third. Just think about taking paper, ink and movable type and creating books. Or creating digital behavioural data, Creative Innovation, deep consumer/cultural insights, and brilliant copywriting and design, merged with compelling video production and direction.

And there you have it – I will leave it to you to judge for yourselves and I guarantee that every one of my readers will find their own muse somewhere in the work same as I would love to know where you did.

Creative Innovation seems to be a theme across the notion that simple yet great ideas, great thinking, great Creative Innovation, brilliant execution, and creative success, are neither digital or analog; old or new — they just “ARE”.

And High Touch is back in vogue alongside High-Tech, and maybe even more important in fact, low-tech human scalability trumped Apple Watches more than once…

I leave you with a thought from an incredible creative genius that sums up for me the message to take home: “Listen”

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
–Charles Mingus

Keep it simple and its way easier to inspire, and in the Business of Creative Innovation, that’s the end game.

Right?

Yours,

Dr Kroko

The Original “Generation Flux” is still with us today and whether you chose to embrace it, build on it or reject it, the multifaceted work of Innovation Adaptation is worthy of understanding in all of its amazing courage and timely imperfections.

Let’s recognize that the many contributions to creative intelligence and to innovation methodology development in particular are all in the direction of forward motion.

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 28, 2015

Five ways that prove CEOs need to be Good Leaders

To read this You must be a senior organizational leader hard at work building adaptive, multi-disciplinary innovation capacity, in your Company and in the World around you.

Indeed to go on reading this — You personally must aspire to Lead people to the promised land.

Even if your name isn’t Moses, you must be the CEO that brings the manna from the heavens up above.

Do this and perhaps You will be remembered as the next Moses of the Business Enterprise World…

1) Do you remember how long time ago when you were perhaps, a lowly coordinator, a division manager, a procurator, or even a senior executive, or a Director — you were fighting along for a better career? Yet it appears that you figured it all out, And judging by the fact that you found your way here — you have easily taught others what to do, same as you learned from all others you came in contact with. Your thoughts & skepticisms were kept in your pants, and you were eager to see results most often from Innovation that was tantamount to disobedience and disruption. But you went ahead and did what was expected of you. You were proud of the job that you had and you saw synergy, synchronicity, and innovation, acting in your favour — much like an executive working on your plan. Yet today, if you want to be a CEO, you must understand that alone you can not do anything and you do not have to want to do anything without consulting with others and getting their buy-in for the forward change movement. You must understand that the synergy of the entire team is something that includes you. Now, if you want to understand a situation in order to solve it, you have to integrate yourself in the midst of the issue along with the executive team. Also you must know at every moment which part of the situation is active: the integrator or the integrated.

2) You must forget the discussions about the employees status, about the production and productivity, about the work environment, etc. You already have an army of managers who deal with these issues, so you must forget the managerial view and move yourself towards a global view. You must forget caring about being endorsed by others and you must endorse yourself fully. You must forget cheap things, cheap meetings, offices, words about anything, personal grudges, pettinnes, and you must forget the imperfection and the disorder of the human capital in the work environment. You must fully understand your new work standards at any level and in any environment, because if you want to be a good to great CEO, You’ve got to prepare to manage yourself at a higher level, and a t a much higher speed of decision making. And please do not forget that at the same level with you, will be the most powerful leaders in the world. And if you recall — when you entered for the first time in your CEO office, all your managerial life and all of your past didn’t matter anymore. It all became distant history, because the future is so important. Now you need to be permanently focused not on your job-position, but on the global image of the company and all of the business units, and on the global markets that those businesses fit within.

3) A CEO is no longer interested in giving speeches or sharing memorable words, but he is far more interested to decide, execute, live and work by the code. The great CEO has to be able to understand the entire Company, at any level: from the cash position daily, from the income proceeds, from the comptroller’s reports, and from the growth charts. There is another key part of the business process, and that is to bolster and maintain the healthy global image of the company that the CEO leads, and to bring this image daily to the global market. The personal image of the CEO doesn’t matter so much in relation to the company because good CEOs are not preoccupied with personal pride. it would be inappropriate to get a peacock for this job — and yet it happens all too often. Admittedly the CEO is a person of power that executes through the simplicity of clear communication down the chain of command. Also it’s good to remember that a CEO does not speak about personal success. This is not suitable matter on a CEO speech. He knows how to lead the company to the profit, market growth, and success, as required by shareholders and the multiple bottom-lines one needs to observe. He knows how to make the whole army of Mid level execs and Mangers to move the entire entity towards innovation and functionality, at maximum efficiency and speed.

4) A CEO needs to meet as many people as soon as one can, and meet them where they live and work: Over the past year I have met in small groups or individually with as many key stakeholders and Investors as well as shareholders of my Companies as I have been able to humanly do. This was clearly the right thing to do because I always learn something from people who have different perspectives from my own. “The benefits of diversity” is more than a cliché; actively listening to diverse stakeholders makes you a better leader.  And I have always found it is better to meet people where they are, rather than in my office. It is an unwritten rule of business that meetings take place in the office of the most senior person involved and although that is convenient for people like me with wall-to-wall meeting schedules, and an air to air lifestyle — still out of respect for others I meet them in their rooms or we choose to go together for a walk in the park — which is the best meeting method by far for me and my colleagues. But it is not only a valued mark of respect to meet people where they feel at home, you also tend to learn a lot from being in their environment.

5) Leading by “aspire, inspire” is always better than top down “command and control” which in modern smart & inherently decentralized enterprises where people tend not to respond well to being told what to do, even if you have the formal authority to do so — it work miracles. Therefore, communicating a clear vision of where you want to go and then doing all you can to persuade others to join you on the journey is the best leadership strategy in Large Enterprises. But I am struck that in organizations where the chain of command is everything, such as the military, and old fashion large enterprise, the aspire/inspire leadership is what sets the real leaders apart from people who just use elevated positions to tell people what to do.

Care to guess who the next CEO of Coca Cola, Microsoft, Google, Apple, or even the WHite House will be?

Will he be a natural born Leader who inspires & aspires, or a top down hierarchical person?

I will take bets on this later today…

PLMK

Yours,

Dr Kroko

PS:

By the Way, being authentic is the best way to lead, but it’s not an excuse for not thinking before you act. The obvious benefit of authenticity is that we are all better at being ourselves than being anybody else. We call it our personal comparative advantage. And as community breeder that we are — we are all at the same time ourselves only.

However, you do this, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure to always strive to be mindful, self-aware, self-reflective, and ruthless in your compassion for others.

Always ask yourself and your subordinates: How is my behaviour affecting all the people around me, and by extension everyone else in the organization and beyond?

Think Ripples in the pond…

Is the way I am at work reflecting who I am as a person?

We are all playing professional roles at work. But the best way to succeed at work is to be your fully honest best self.

Do this and don’t expect any aclaim or aplomb, because True Leaders only do this for themselves, and for the good of the whole Organizational Entity fully knowing that they bring out the best in everyone else around them — when they are willing to bear anything and everything.

Leadership and winning is not a popularity contest for Miss America — it’s plain old school Bloody War.

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 27, 2015

Mind The Gap

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The Gap is here…

The Gap is there.

The Gap is everywhere.

The Gap exists somewhere between your feet.

The Gap is found squarely between what you say and what you do.

The Gap commonly exists between what you promise and what you deliver.

The Gap is the Chasm, the great cleavage, the abyss that swallows your pride.

This is the Gap we are talking about. The one that rests between your ears, or simply between your words and your deeds.

The Gap between your Imagination and your Application.

The gap is there…

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It’s the Gap we are confronted with in Business Negotiations.

It’s the Gap between Policy and Application of Governmental Policy.

It’s the Policy Drift we all sense when we deal with Politics.

It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences…

It’s the gaps all over the place.

It’s the gap that kind of looks like the “Mind The Gap” of the ancient London Subway.

The imperfection in fitting the rail car design of the Tube, with the concrete where it meets the terminal Station platforms.

The empty space where the train meets the Station.

That Gap that acts like the space between the subway cars and the passenger platform as if to catch the falling bodies in it’s inky black embrace..

The Gap in the subway tube platform where sometimes whole humans fall through to their demise.

The Gap in the side of the road is where some people get kicked to the proverbial curb.

And this is the gap where some Lives drain away, just like rain water that escapes, the tarmac.

The gap is just as wide as you allow it to drain your power away.

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Know this for certain:

If there is a difference between your words and your actions — your power surely will drain away like rain drains off the road.

So please do this one thing to hold onto your power:

Observe yourself everyday…

See if your words and actions are somewhat aligned.

And that is Golden.

Yours,

Dr Kroko

PS:

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If you want Relief — You need a Coach…

Ask someone else to verify for You the reality of your Gap.

Ask them to observe if what they saw you practice is true blue.

Ask them if what you do is aligned with what you say too.

Feedback is the food of all positive change.

And maybe someday You’ll go upstream and see that Your Thoughts can get aligned with the rest of You too…

But that’s another ball of wax entirely.

Yet that’s how You fly above any gap…

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 26, 2015

Just Observe

When time is Right — Act.

When things go your way — Enjoy.

When difficulties arise — observe and wait.

Don’t get triggered to react — just observe.

Do this because when difficult situations arise — it’s best to chill out,

instead of becoming disturbed, or confused, and going on acting unconsciously.

Best to sit back and just, observe the situation.

Just observe and treat all the situations, just as you would observe a sports game, or go watch a play in the Theatre.

Embrace the changing circumstances.

Still be the disinterested Observer.

Take Time…
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That’s the basis of both your success & happiness.

Do this and some of these other things, and You’ll live a long successful Life too…

Love Yourself, and always find happiness in the success of others. Share your joy and gifts with the world. Help all others succeed.

No Apathy. Stay curious, stay engaged. Keep smiling, go travel, make relations, and seek new experiences. Make relationships with all others that cross your path. These are the extensions of your Life.

Never think work-life balance — there is no accounting of happiness — just think life. Live and seek to find many experiences not accumulate wealth. Live in the NOW.

Engage with all others sincerely. Notice things. Take time and smell the colours. Look at the flower’s perfume until you really start to see… Then you’ll know that everything happens for a reason.

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Don’t engage in Worrying — No Worries Mate… You’ve got nothing to worry about and nothing to prove to anyone. Nobody is gunning for You. Nobody is after your Job. No terrorists hiding in your closet. No monsters under the bed. Nothing to prove to your Mother. No need to impress your date. Who cares what your wife thinks of your friends?

Trust me on this: You have Nothing to prove to anyone. If anything, you only have something to prove to yourself. Don’t be a tool for other people’s indulgence. Celebrate…

Ignore the 40-hour-workweek hype — go for 100 hours. 120 if need be, or spend the day on the beach if you feel like it. Take a hike … Really. Surf the world … Really. Do some navel gazing. Look within…

Money is a monkey. It’s not an end in itself. Don’t worship it like a dolt. Know that it’s just a measuring stick. So it’s not your responsibility to earn it, and it’s not a reward for living Life. It’s just a freaking yardstick … Got it?

No Exceptionalism here. Don’t think you’re special. Be Humble. That’s how You are special.

Understand that You Are Gonna Die. Death is in your Future. Recognize that all Life and everything in it are Transient things. So go ahead and take the leap and recognize that success is fleeting.

Know yourself and that You are here on Earth for a limited time engagement — yet also know that principles, dignity, and respect, last forever.

And do whatever You do with Love because Love conquer All and then your passion becomes your play and work too.

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Do these Ten things and you will Live Life like the Boss.

Follow my advise here … and You’ll live a Happy Life to boot.

Happiness is King.

Live like One.

And that’s how You Win.

Yours,
Dr Kroko

PS:

Just Observe…

That’s how You become a Warrior.

And the Master of your Destiny.

Any Questions?

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 22, 2015

“NEVER EVER GIVE UP” — WINSTON CHURCHILL

Winston Churchill famously said the following to a room full of school kids: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

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You may have seen the quote shortened a bit to simply say, “Never, ever give up.”

And indeed, to most men those sound like the most gallant words ever spoken in human history.  And surely, being tenacious vis-à-vis some adversarial force working against you would appear to be the very definition of having one’s core character tested.

But here’s one other thing: You see…  What Churchill also said in qualifying that statement, is far less famous, but every bit as important.

Old Winston said this: “Never ever ever … give up. Never give in. Never give up … except to convictions of honour and good sense.” 

Now the Aha moment ensues….

A-ha.

And even as that last phrase is often overlooked, it’s actually the linchpin, that holds the entire overarching premise of the Churchill admonition together.

You see, what Winston Churchill clearly said is that: it’s not only unwise to “never, ever, ever, … give up” without regard to the circumstances — but it’s actually quite dangerous.

For example: If you are driving into a desolate desert without any gas stations for 100 miles but you suddenly realize shortly after leaving that you might not have enough fuel to make it to the next city, you’d better not press on.  You’d better turn around and fill up while you can.

And if you are the CEO and have a Leadership Team to attend to and a rigorous Business Plan to execute, and you get a bad apple in your cart — you best throw it out before it spoils the whole lot.

Same when you go to war. You don’t do everything and anything to win the war but You use your Good Sense and Moral Principles to fight strong but to not fail your Foundational Morality, to not engage in Torture, and Unethical behaviours, that taint your Life, burden your consciousness, and make you an unethical and unprincipled Leader.

That’s what Churchill meant by “good sense”.

Similarly, if you get involved with a shinny trinket of a person in your business venture — only to find out that the Colleague is up to no good, or is disruptive to the Team in a way you weren’t completely informed about at first — your “convictions of honour” should enable you to pull the plug on your involvement with that person.

Fire his ass. Let go of the dead weight no matter how “Kardashian” he is. Do this quickly before the tumour metastasizes, and infects other organs in your organization. Fire them early, end the relationships, and still keep a clean conscience about it.

Do this quickly, and quit the engagement process with the Losers, without remorse — because the thing is that most of us have heard the admonition of Winston “Never, ever give up” and that’s what we’ve taken to heart.

So then, in the name of “character” and “doing what we said we would” we never, ever, ever give up … even when we know deep in our hearts that we really should.

We stay in dead-end work relationships, even after we know deep down there’s a better opportunity with someone else and a far better life mission for all involved, and for the use of our time, than dealing with people who cannot be led to the water — even if they are dying of Thirst.

It’s our Life and yet we stick with some coworkers that clearly fail us. We put up with Prima Donnas that have no place in a Team, nor do they have the experience to work with People in an Organization. In short we tend to excuse and allow things to fester because we are afraid of firing their ass off.

You don’t need to be seen as an Ogre to do the right thing and compassionately execute what’s bet of the Organization. That is the cost of Leadership. Still many of us put up with slightly or outright crazy, damaged or even abusive employees / girlfriends / wives / bfrieds / colleagues / executives / etc, in the name of “optimism” which we believe to be a universal hallmark of character, only to find out that we are really taken advantage of, or that we are truly exploited, and unequivocally misled.

To be a man of character means to never neglect your principles and beliefs. And of course to be strong. Strong and courageous. The Men who abandon self-respect in the name of allegedly demonstrating “character” are the true morons.

It’s an intriguing notion, isn’t it?

Because ultimately, when we hang in there for ever, even as it’s readily apparent to everyone around us, that we’re hurtling towards total destruction — we must recognize that we’re simply being stubborn. When someone destroys your company, community, group, partnership, or the very Life you lead — You need to cut them off.

Choosing selective blindness and accepting our lot to put up with “Losers” in our workplace who demand all the attention and don’t produce a lick of work — is a defeatist “stubbornness” and not a building block of solid character, or success.

However by its very definition, stubbornness is indeed the act of “never, ever giving up” in the absence of “convictions of honour and good sense”.

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Do you see the trick we play on ourselves?  Even as we “mean well” we end up damaging our confidence, our future, our ability to attract a high quality person to replace the “Loser” and even our own business success, health, and/or the safety of those around us.

Still, some people will stand and watch everything swirl down the toilet and continue to press on anyway, even as they feel horrible about themselves and their Companies — all in the name of old Winston’s “never, ever give up”.

To blindly “never, ever give up” is to potentially check one’s very self-respect at the door in the process.

So be a Leader and fire those “Losers” clouding your Life, and cluttering up the office.

This is being a True Leader, and a non quitter, because in reality, you’re only a quitter if you give up when all “convictions” and “good sense” indicate that you really should press onward.

Yours,

Dr Kroko

PS:

Checking ourselves to make sure we’re exercising “convictions of honour and good sense” is what helps up retain our self-respect, even as we demonstrate good character.

That’s Leadership.

In cases where it make no sense to carry on, or when it challenges your very moral fiber, then retaining your own self-respect is what a man of character should do.

Self-respect is TRUE character in those situations, even if those factors seemingly conspire to cloud the main issue … which is ALWAYS to do the right thing.

That’s how Winston Churchill became the most important Man in the World and that’s How he beat the beastly Germans and won the War.

He never failed to embrace Courage with Principle alike.

Do You see how that works?

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 20, 2015

Love, Live, & Let Live…

“Perdition catch my soul,
but I do love thee,

and when I love thee not,
chaos is come again.”

–W.Shakespeare, Othello

So gather your Strength to be able to Love.

Only then you can claim to be able to Live.

To truly Live.

To not merely Exist…

And to be happy enough to help others Live too…

So spend some time in Love this season.

And use your Reason to find the ones to Love. Use Logic, and love, but not your lust. Maybe you’ll have to travel far and wide to meet them — but so be it. Traveling is Great Education too.

And when you find someone to Love — please make sure they Love you too..

But be certain to Love yourself First.

Switch on your awareness to be able to be discerning.

And being discerning means to love Yourself as You are.

Just as you are today — because you are unique and your talents are needed to help us all move forth.

You are perfect the way You are.

Be aware that You are a singular gift to this world.

Love yourself as You are today.

Feel Safe right here, right now.

Love All — All is Love.

Love near and far.

Have Faith in yourself… built faith in others.

Empower yourself with Faith.

Love comes easy to the powerful ones.

Do this and Love will find You.

Practice this and You’ll become the Kings & Queens, of this world.

But First…

Love Yourself and others will Love you in return.

And don’t forget to share the Love with those near and far.

Don’t let the poison of Fear get into You.

Please don’t Be Afraid of the Barbarians… you hear so much about in the daily news.

From time to time there have been external enemies at our gates.

But truth be told the Barbarians have broken through long ago, and are now a small part of us.

Because there has always been the enemy within — and this is Apathy.

Apathy is the hidden and malignant inertia that foreshadows more certain destruction to our life and future than Climate Change, Epidemics, or even Nuclear War.

Have Faith in yourselves to imagine the Future.

Have Faith in the Goodness of this world to built the Future.

And have Faith in this Earth to let us all live together in peace, in this Future we imagined.

But it all take some effort on your part. And effort means engagement. Engagement means involvement and zest for Life in our common spaces. Engagement in the things that make us human.

The mood sweeping the young of this country is so much neglect of the Commons, that we should really see that democracy is in peril, and that Liberty and the Constitution in particular, needs to be defended and not to be left to the self promoting “experts.” Because we’ve been there before. We’ve done that. And the result is Money running and ruining the “Political Show” and a Congress that literally almost no one trusts. That is the real danger for our nation.

And am only saying this to young Graduates because I see so much Apathy and medicated Pain, that am becoming aware that there might not be any defenders left to save our Democracy, our Liberty, and Way of Life.

And keep in mind that this is not about the Kardashians, or the next App for your perfect phone… but it’s about the fact that the Barbarians have taken over the city, already.

And we now need a new Revolution of the Mind and the Love to cleanse out the terrible host…

And we need You.

Because if there are now some of You willing to sacrifice your youth and your tomorrows for the rest of us — You might not be strong enough to defend this Future we are building together.

This Future that we imagine together today — demands the participation of all of us.

I say this only because I see a distinct lack of Faith in the young people today.

And because lack of Faith is a terrible Weakness.

A terrible weakness of the Spirit is this Selfishness that Reigns Supreme here…

But I must caution You — not to fear the Future — because we are shaping it as we best imagine it.

So spend some time in contemplation. Spend time alone. Spend time thinking, visioning, seeing, and dreaming. That’s how you get Faith in the Future. And that’s how the Future is borne.

But what I forgot to tell you up until now — is that we must fight for this Vision to come into Existence and become our present Reality.

And to fight, we have no choice but to have Faith, because without faith; there is only Death.

Because there can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself, and in his power to direct his future.

And thus I salute the present generation.

And I urge you forward equipped with only these few tools that always stood by our side, and helped us all get this far.

Also make sure to have Friends and to share with them the joys of Youth and life. Make sure to have plenty of Fun and to hang on, to one of your most precious parts of youth — Your Hope and Dreams.

Find and hold furry friends and adopt a puppy from the pound. It’s Good for your Soul. Go for long walk, and don’t forget to be light hearted.

See the funny side of Life and Keep your laughter going and don’t ever lose it — as many of you seem to have done — because you really really need it.

You truly need the levity of humour and the incredible lightness of Human Spirit to deal with this topsy turvy world of ours.

So have a Hearty Laugh here and now with me.

Yours,

Dr Kroko

PS:

Later,

Much later…

Let’s huddle and plan our Future together.

Because…

Together we may find some of what we’re looking for— laughter, beauty, love, and the chance to create — Heaven on Earth.

With the help of the Spirit we must exchange the fatigue of despair with the buoyancy of Hope

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | June 18, 2015

Be the Gadfly

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What is Leadership?

That’s a legitimate question to be asked by anyone interested in the subject…

And perhaps I will venture an answer in a Socratic dialogue type of deeper and probing questions on the subject.

What are the traits of Leadership?

Who are the best practitioners of the Art of Leadership?

What are some tell tale signal of the development of Leadership?

Is it culture or nature?

In other words…

Can it be taught or is it innate to our genes?

What are the requisites for Leadership?

According to Socrates via Plato — the one uncontested trait of Leadership is VISION.

And once you see a Visionary Leader — follow to the End of this Earth…

And for the follower this is a Great Journey because it is the Leader that expends the Energy for the whole Lot of the People and the Journey.

That is why the True Leader does not want followers but seeks fellows. Because fellows are people who are committed to the Vision and the Mission and that makes them Leaders too.

So without much further ado…

Here are some 300 ways to Inspire Leadership Commitment to others so they can become Fellow Leaders — Because those who are committed, always find a way — And those who are not committed always find fault and only seek to find a way out…

Here is the list of 300 ideas condensed in simple prompts. Go at it and feast your soul:

  1. Be the Gadfly. Be Fearless. Be Mindful. Be Present in the Now. Ask Questions. Invest in yourself and your company, by eliminating Fear, Doubt, & Uncertainty, in yourself and in your Leadership team — through your ability to help develop fearlessness in all others. [ps: Send the persistently fearful, back to their Mothers]
  2. Observe & Expect a lot from yourself and all others. Don’t settle for average. Mediocrity doesn’t inspire anyone, doesn’t ignite commitment, nor does it lead to extraordinary Success.
  3. Celebrate personal growth. Be a leader who helps all others aren’t there yet. Allow others to see you also developing yourself and they might follow in your footsteps…
  4. Help people feel that they matter, that they belong, and that together they can make a huge difference toward changing the World.
  5. Focus on purpose. High purpose behaviours increase meaning. Meaning invites commitment. Do something that matters every day and that ignites Purpose & Meaning to all others.
  6. Define success on personal and organizational levels. What does success look like today? It’s impossible to commit when you don’t know where you’re going. Point the way…
  7. Track progress. Only that which gets measured – gets managed.
  8. Lean into tough issues with optimism. Don’t pretend things are OK when they aren’t.
  9. Engage in behaviours that energize people. Don’t take energy for granted. Gain knowledge and understanding of your teammates in order to fuel their energy.
  10. Get things done and stay the course to True North. Mission drift does happen frequently but Vision drift is deadly and not allowed from ever happening. Don’t do it because people don’t ever commit to drifters.
  11. Be in the Now. Practice curiosity. Observe, Notice. Learn. Ask Questions. Engage with the Answers. Engage all others in the organization by asking and learning about their present circumstance, their daily routine, their current project activities and also lean into the future aspirations.
  12. Enjoy and invest in the success of others. Celebrate their Growth…
  13. Be Optimistic and yet remain honest. Stay Truthful. Avoid internal spin and escape PR control. Talking Points are for politicians — not Organizational Leaders.
  14. Provide development opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and training.
  15. Bring about Common Progress. Achieve results through relationships. Don’t treat people like tools. Treat them like people that matter to your Success.
  16. Find the “pull” and escape the “bull”. Figure out what matters to you and let it pull you forward. Shun the stupidities, fads, and distractions. Choose your battles carefully. One way to find pull is by monitoring where your energy leads you to. Where you are naturally gravitating towards is the correct place to be. Follow your inner Compass.
  17. Live in the present. Observe. Notice. There is No place like the Now to live in. Learn something new every day. Don’t worry — You’ll never run our of things to learn. Organizations are complex organisms and there is always new and developing knowledge. Embrace rabid curiosity about everything, especially about things you think you understand. Spend a morning each month engaging in Socratic Dialogue with your Leadership team. Start by asking questions and exploring responses, nothing more. Ask the difficult questions. Let it go at that…
  18. Aim at something Big. Think of vision in terms of the value you bring others. Shoot for the moon to get to the next field. Projects matter, but people’s aims matter more. Leaders don’t wander. Unless they are managing by wandering around, like peripatetic philosophers. Practice by holding weekly walking meetings in the park, in the woods, around the lake.
  19. Evaluate yourself with greater rigour than you evaluate others. Look in the mirror. Do you like what You see? Be mindful. Do this every day and ask if this is what You want to be doing today. If the answer is “No” for many days in a row — change something. Trust your mirror image but remember you seldom see yourself without the help of others. Love Thyself.
  20. Love yourself means to forgive yourself. Don’t beat up on other either. Extend second chances to yourself and all others. Leadership without second chances is no leadership whatsoever. Forgive and Forget.
  21. Develop yourself. The first development is self-development. Second is Live in the Now. Third is to “Be Mindful” and Listen to Socrates who says “Know Thyself” and if you want to know your team — travel with them. Go for a week abroad, go fishing, or go for a weekend in the wild. Camp out, make a fire, and play with the Grizzlies…
  22. Take care of your body and soul. Food, exercise, and rest matter more than you think. Be in the now, live in the present, exist mindfully.
  23. Make people feel they are in the “know” by developing domain expertise for each Team member and by practicing transparency. Share goals, vision, mission, and information about your directions. If you want the steersman to guide the ship to a destination — he must know the compass points and the map markings You designate.
  24. Build transparent relationships that strengthen your soul. Celebrate people and they will celebrate You. Make people feel like Insiders because Outsiders don’t commit.
  25. Connect with people who are more skilled, talented, and successful than yourself. Find alignment with Mentors from the past, present, and future…
  26. Become accountable to someone, maybe everyone, certainly your clients, customers, business associates, your team, your people, and your Board — and make all of them and others accountable to You. Mutual accountability is a really useful management technique.
  27. Reflect on your journey. be present, mindful, and in the Now. Try keeping a journal, write a blog, or maintain an enhanced calendar. They all help you see how you spend your time, which direction you are going, what you are learning, what you achieve, and ultimately who you are becoming…
  28. Visualize the future, and focus on change by moving toward resistance. Where the organization resists — you persist…
  29. Go with the grain. Flow with the flow. Think of the journey. Think of the progress, and celebrate the process — not just the arrival.
  30. Be humble, measure results, and find happiness, by serving what matters, not by seeking indulgence, entitlement, or perks.
  31. Be the Lightning Rod for Change in the Organization and the World.
  32. Stand up for what’s right and don’t be afraid to go against the crowds. Occasionally you need to go against the grain…
  33. Be Upright and a Contrarian if need be, but always decide fast & freely, and don’t be afraid of the consequences.
  34. Be the Gadfly. Ask Questions. Engage in a Socratic Dialogue with everybody. Never Quit…

Yours,
Dr Kroko

Remember old Socrates, and assign him to be your mental Mentor, because Who you are inside is far more important than what you do, or what appears on the outside.

Smart people recognize that.

And then follow you…

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