Issue #40

In this issue, Thinksgiving 2024, how to party with us, amateur presenting, zombie projects, ghosting clients, failure safety, leadership teams, art titles, predictability, spy thrillers, and more.

Issue #40

Welcome to another issue of Idea Surplus Disorder. While this is just the 40th edition under this title, it is the 275th I've written over the last six years – and I can't wait to keep going.

In this issue, Thinksgiving 2024, how to party with us, amateur presenting, zombie projects, ghosting clients, failure safety, leadership teams, art titles, predictability, spy thrillers, and more.

I'm Matt Homann, the founder of Filament. I'm glad you're here!

Thinksgiving 2024

Check out the pictures from Thinksgiving 2023 and take advantage of an early-bird Business Partner discount if you'd like to participate in 2024 on November 7th.

Planning Retreat + Holiday Party at Filament

Does it feel like you've waited too long to book your team holiday gathering? We've got a few dates left in December for our newest offering: a combination team retreat and holiday get-together.

Gather with your team for a full-day, collaborative retreat where you'll reflect on 2023, plan for the year ahead, and build a simple strategy that includes your Purpose (why your organization exists), your Principles (the key "rules" that shape your culture), your Priorities (what you'll focus on in the year ahead), and your Promises (the commitments you make to those you serve).

Like every Filament gathering, it includes meeting design, facilitation, illustration, and absolutely no PowerPoint. We also will take care of food, beverages, parking, and other logistical challenges.

Once we're done with your team's day together, invite your favorite clients and your team members' friends, partners, and spouses for an early evening reception to reflect on your work and celebrate the year ahead.

If you're interested, shoot me an Email!


Join us Friday (the 17th) for another Filament Friday.

Ideas & Insights

Seth Godin has some advice for amateur presenters:

This isn’t a performance. Professionals perform. It’s their job. This is you sharing the change you’d like to make with one person sitting a few feet away from you.
Think about the most important interactions you’ve had. The ones with partners, doctors, strangers and friends. None of them were professional speeches. Not one. Instead, a human interacted with you and made a change happen. Not because they had a script and a director, but because they cared.
The challenge isn’t in becoming a sort of pretty good professional presenter. The challenge is becoming you.
Of course, it’s scary. But the response to the fear isn’t to soothe ourselves with memorization and insulation. It’s to simply show up.

Wonder why those work projects keep going, even when it is clear they’ll fail? It’s because they haven’t failed yet.

The reason is that as long as the project is still going, it has not officially failed yet. And as long as the failing project keeps going, the person leading it therefore won’t be a failure.

Think of it like the well-known problem in gambling called “loss chasing“, where a gambler begins to lose money and thinks the only way to get it back is to continue gambling larger amounts, with the hope that any one win could bring back what they have previously invested. Essentially, even when they have “failed” by losing a lot of money in one evening, they would not be deemed a “failure” until they stop gambling and leave the slot machine/roulette table/poker game, since then their ability to recoup their investment really has stopped.

Speaking of failure, the only way to get people to work on big, risky things is if you make that the path of least resistance for them and make it safe to fail:

To reinforce a climate of psychological safety, it’s imperative that leaders — at all levels — respond productively to the risks people take. Productive responses are characterized by three elements: expressions of appreciation, destigmatizing failure, and sanctioning clear violations. Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck, whose celebrated research on mindset shows the power of a learning orientation for individual achievement and resilience in the face of challenge, notes the importance of praising people for efforts, regardless of the outcome. When people believe their performance is an indication of their ability or intelligence, they are less likely to take risks — for fear of a result that would disconfirm their ability. But when people believe that performance reflects effort and good strategy, they are eager to try new things and willing to persevere despite adversity and failure.

Feeling ghosted by a few clients? Send the magic email:

Dear client, Since I have not heard from you on this, I have to assume your priorities have changed.

Latimer is an AI tool trained with diverse histories & inclusive voices to eliminate the racial bias inherent in many other models. I can't wait to check it out!

The best Leadership Teams (LTs) operate in three ways:

With respect to LT as Individuals, the key imperative is role clarity that is understood and agreed upon by the CEO and the LT member. With respect to LT as Colleagues, the key imperative is collaboration skill, the development and utilization of which should be strongly encouraged by the CEO. With respect to LT as a Collective, the key imperative is focus and restraint. Of all the things the LT could do, it needs to focus relentlessly on what it should do — and that is complex company-wide projects.

This quote from Steve Jobs got me thinking this week about Filament as I've been working on our 2024 strategy:

 In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen. You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it.

Nobody wants their job to rule their life anymore:

“The past few years showed us a powerful and viable alternative to the model of working on location for 40 hours a week,” he says. “Now it’s near impossible to close Pandora’s box.” For those who’ve just started working, this ‘alternative’ is the norm. “This is a generation that only knows this alternative model [of working from home],” Gapud says. Essentially, this is a culture clash between different visions of what work is.
“Both senior leaders and Gen Z have their ‘native’ models that seem obvious and inherent to them,” Gapud suggests, “while not necessarily seeing the value or validity of the other side.” But, in this battle between “senior leaders” and “youngsters” (some of whom are actually in their forties), one side certainly has more power: The bosses and CEOs pushing to get everyone back to the office.

How to Title Your Art is written for gallery artists but is helpful for anyone who writes titles or headlines:

  • Think of titles like keywords. What kinds of words do you use when talking the work? These types of words are excellent starting points for titles.
  • Titles should save time. A title gives them a starting point, a reason to slow down and take a closer look.
  • Good titles help people to recognize what may not be immediately obvious. Titles help viewers see what you want them to see.
  • Unusual words or word combinations tend to attract more interest and attention than ordinary ones.

Fun Finds

Words of Wisdom

"High achievers tend to have major weaknesses. People without major weaknesses tend to be mediocre." – Guy Kawasaki
“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” – Herbert Simon
“Designing policy or strategy without an imaginative sense of where you are going means your best efforts will land you toward the front of the status quo, but not ahead of it.” — Al Etmanski
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
"The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others." — Connie Mac
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." – Khalil Gibran
"A graceful taunt is worth a thousand insults." – Louis Nizer
“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.” – Daniel Coyle

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