Critical & Creative Thinking is the last competitive advantage.

You don’t have all year

By kieranftii | April 10, 2017

by Kieran Flanagan

I am pretty sure  Xmas just happened and somehow it’s April. Hilarious. IT IS APRIL! Just 263 sleeps until Xmas again.

Not that I am a Griswald kind of girl who counts down the days in eager anticipation, (although I am partial to a fairylight or two thousand). But because I think most of us are constantly surprised at how fast time passes. We sport shocked, but trying not to be, expressions, (think Michelle Obama accepting Melania’s gift), and utter inane things like; ‘It can’t be Xmas again already!’, ‘Didn’t I just have a birthday?’ and ‘What on earth happened to summer?’ 

Unless of course we are kids, then it seems to take for-evvv-errrr for it to be your birthday, holidays or Xmas again.

When you grow up it seems you enter a time warp and time speeds up right?

Scientists have been trying to figure out this phenomena and whilst there are a number of theories from relative experience, to amount of stuff you need to fit in to life, there is no real agreement. We just know that it certainly feels that way.

Perhaps because in reality a year isn’t long at all. It is a meagre 52 weekends. That’s not even one and a half lined A4 pages of ideas (I counted 38 lines on mine) of things you want to do or books you want to read or extreme haikus to write, the last one’s just me right? Do you feel my panic people? Breathe in… breathe out.

I like to reframe time when I am working with businesses and people.

52 weekends or 4 quarters of thirteen.

52 Mondays to make those calls. 52 weeks to try that experiment, learn that skill or ask for that business. 52 chances.

I like to remember I will only have my daughter Darcy as an eight year old with all her eight year old curiosity, creativity and cleverness for 52 precious weeks (particularly when she is having one of her I am a teenager in a child’s body moments)…  52 weekends for eight year old adventures.

A year isn’t long. Yet most of us are stuck in our childhood perspectives of time thinking we have all year. Our thinking needs changing.

We need to think differently about time.

You see folks, this year we are a quarter done. This is the first month of the second quarter of 2017. Which means we are almost down to just one A4 page of stuff to achieve if you do just one thing a week.

Not one year… just one page left this year.

(Or 37 Wednesdays until Xmas for you festively minded.)

Make sure the stuff on your list is meaningful.
Go.

How do we lead when they no longer work FOR us?

By kieranftii | July 26, 2016

by Kieran Flanagan

Ah the good old days when leadership resembled a tidy, symmetrical pyramid of hierarchical control. Leaders at the top with layers of obedient minions, ready to do your bidding… or suffer the inevitable consequences.

Things were far from equitable but nonetheless the way leadership worked was relatively simple, almost parental, “Just do as you’re told!”

The future of leadership looks far less geometrical, and far more complicated. And if anything, it is going to become even less orderly and controlled.

Workplace trends like off-shoring, out-sourcing, the rise of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship and the rise of the freelance economy mean that fewer employees work for us and more and more must be encouraged to work with us.

By 2020 it is estimated that 40% of the workforce will be self employed (Source: The Intuit 2020 report).

This means employees, your team, your staff, will no longer work for you.

They will work with other businesses as well as you.

They will work on projects.

But most critically, they will work for themselves.

This will fundamentally shift the kind of leadership we require. Leaders will be required to rely less on positional authority and more on a capacity to rally followers to their cause.

Leaders will have to really stand up for something that inspires others to want to get involved, not just pay lip service to a vision that sounds like it was spat out of a Dilbert Mission Statement Generator.

Tomorrow’s leaders will need to understand who people are and just as importantly, who they aspire to be.

This kind of leadership will be defined by those we choose to follow, not those we a coerced into following.

Don’t ignore what is unchanging

By kieranftii | July 26, 2016

by Kieran Flanagan

In a world of relentless change, most leaders and organizations understand the importance of keeping up to date, but often forget the importance of looking to what will endure.

What is unchanging is just as important a consideration when it comes to inventing our futures as what will. The legendary adman Bill Bernbach (one of New York’s real Madmen) wisely spoke about unchanging man (of course he would has added “unchanging woman” had the MadMen era not so entirely biased towards the masculine.

He observed, “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

No matter how our business or technology or trends may change the way we deliver value for our customers, Mr Bernbach is of course, correct. Core human drivers will not dissipate.

We will still want to feel important, to matter, to connect to feel like us showing up to work made a difference.

We will buy emotionally, feel fear, worry for our loved ones (and their futures) and want to love.

We will be driven by ego, to prefer to do more of the things we are good at, that make us feel good, that trigger dopamine releases deep into our cerebellums.

None of these things will change because they are core to who people are.

When we understand this we can look to the heart of our businesses and consider how we serve the deepest motivators of humanity. If and when we do we can rest assured that no matter what technological or other changes occur (often beyond our control) what we offer will still be fundamentally relevant.

The how we deliver might be different but the core of what we deliver may not change at all.

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