We like differently

It is a very simple idea: we like differently. And a wide range of consequences flow from it.

You and I like different things. Also you and I like or dislike the same things for different reasons and to a different extent.

A significant hurdle to understanding this is the difficulty we frequently have in accepting that other people have different perspectives from which they view the same things as we view.

Yet, we know that we all have different experiences and capabilities, and different hopes and fears; so is it a surprise that we have different criteria by which we observe, assess and evaluate anything? This is the basis for variety and diversity. It is also fundamental to trade and commerce; if everyone’s valuation of an item is the same, then there is no basis for trading it.

So if we have any blind spots which hide differences between our valuations, these can have wide ranging consequences for our ability to cooperate and interoperate. They limit our capacity to assist each other and to enable each other to contribute as effectively as we might.

Our existence would be extremely limited if we all liked the same.

Sleep models applied to jet lag

Are you having problems with “jet lag” as a result of your galivanting around the world?

Are you falling asleep or waking up, or both, at odd times after zipping westward or, often worse, eastward across time zones?

Many people do and having a model for the workings of sleep can provide a basis for deciding what to do.

Sleeping and waking

The model that I use is based on the guideline that, for each hour that we sleep, Continue reading “Sleep models applied to jet lag”

To innovate or not to innovate? That is not the question!

Sooner or later continuous improvement, by any individual or organisation, runs out of steam.

Marching up the slope ahead of us makes sense as an effective way to move onwards and upwards, until we reach the summit. But the summit of what? Most likely it is not the summit, it is just a summit.

There are other summits, and many of them are higher than this summit. Now what?

Discontinuous improvement is called for, to transition across the valley or chasm to the slope of our next, higher challenge. With sufficient resources and expertise, we might be able to build a bridge or to swing or, even, fly across. Without them, we must commit to descending into the valley.

Or, of course, we could just stay where we are at the top of our little summit.

The questions about innovation are not about why we innovate or whether to innovate. They are about what, when, where and how we innovate.

Opportunities: how can we look for them?

We are all looking for opportunities, aren’t we? Or do we focus mainly on problems?

How often have you heard that every problem is an opportunity? Is this true?

So what is the difference between a problem and an opportunity?

Opportunities and problems are opposites.

Usually, we do things because we can see the benefit of doing them.

A problem exists when we see a benefit, but we are not able to generate it.

An opportunity exists when there are things that we are able to do, but we have not yet seen the benefit of doing them.

Whether or not we can turn every problem into an opportunity, we can focus less on problems and focus more on opportunities.

When we have a problem, we focus on the benefits that we cannot generate:

  •  we do not know what things to do to generate the benefit
  •  we know what things to do, but do not know how to do them,
  •  we know how to do them, but are not able to do them.

When we have an opportunity, we focus on benefits that we can generate.

How can we look for opportunities?

We can relax about the things that we are not able to do, and focus on the things that we are able to do.

We can relax about the benefits that we are not able to generate and focus on benefits that we are able to generate.

Is this an opportunity for us all?

Do now, or do later?

Whenever you think of something, do you always do it immediately?

It’s wonderful when you can, because you don’t need to remember anything. You can play around and improvise on a whim. It’s fun, interesting and might lead anywhere; and if the things that trigger those thoughts are well organised, then it is likely to lead somewhere.

On the other hand, it might lead nowhere. Continue reading “Do now, or do later?”

Any riots in the clouds?

Earlier this week, I overheard an interesting and unusual support call being handled at a company which provides business systems. On the face of it, you might enjoy this topical little story, but it might also get you thinking, as it did me, about some rather more substantial issues.

This customer was calling because he wanted to take his business system home! Continue reading “Any riots in the clouds?”

Communicating context and meaning

Recently, Mark Jennings posed an important question:

“Do words mean the same to say as to hear?”

Much of this subject is, I believe, quite well understood by people involved in communication theory and, particularly, in organizational communication.

There are experts on this subject: the person from whom I have learnt most of the following is Alan Nelson, when he explained the essentials of organizational communication, during an interview. Continue reading “Communicating context and meaning”