Idea Surplus Disorder #66

Welcome to another issue of Idea Surplus Disorder. As always, I've got some big ideas, fun finds, and inspiring quotes to share.

Idea Surplus Disorder #66

Welcome to another issue of Idea Surplus Disorder. As always, I've got some big ideas, fun finds, and inspiring quotes to share.

But first, a bit about me ...

Or Filament, really. My wife tells me I don't share enough about our work in this newsletter, so I'm going to brag a bit about the coolest thing we've built since Thinksgiving.

Last Friday's SuperCollider was amazing. Nearly 75 attendees from 15 different companies hung out, learned from us (and each other), got to "trade their headaches," network, and ended their week inspired and engaged.

August's SuperCollider will sell out (more on July's below), so it's time to start blocking the first Friday of every month for your team's monthly visit to SuperCollider.

Speaking of July ...

Because July 5th is a day off for most, our next SuperCollider session is July 12th. It will be centered on nonprofits and how they might get the most from Thinksgiving with info sessions, challenge workshops, facilitation tips, and best practices.

Ideas + Insights

When it comes to standards, as a leader, it is not what you preach; it’s what you tolerate:

When setting expectations, if you accept a poor performance and no one takes responsibility (if there are no consequences), that poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce the new standard.

Successful businesses shouldn't hire strategy consultants:

If you are in (say) the top quintile of the industry, you are an idiot if you hire a ‘strategy consulting firm’ that sells you based on its industry experience. All you are doing is facilitating your competitors to catch up to you and will gain very little useful from the small number of players above you — most of whom (though clearly not all) are probably smart enough to not hire a ‘strategy consulting firm.’

I always love "things I've learned" posts like this one:

  • It feels horrible to create from a place of defense. For example: you will find it exceedingly difficult to write if your motive is trying to convince people that you are not dumb, or not boring, or if you’re hoping that you will not offend anybody.
  • Being silly is a gift. You un-taboo silliness for everyone around you.
  • Talent doesn’t feel like you’re amazing. It feels like the difficulties that trouble others are mysteriously absent in your case. Don’t ask yourself where your true gifts lie. Ask what other people seem weirdly bad at.
  • If you tell someone “we should keep in touch,” you will not keep in touch. Instead say, “I’m going to schedule a phone call with you in two months to catch up, I’ll send you the invite — if we need to adjust when we get closer to the date, that’s fine.”
  • If you are not unusually hard-working or competitive or smart, you can still distinguish yourself. Be unusual in some other noticeable, likable way—unusually honest, brave, generous, curious, or pleasant. All of these attributes are composed of discrete behaviors that can be learned through practice

And this one I'm sharing as I write this newsletter on a beautiful Sunday afternoon:

  • To handle a day when you feel extremely lazy, decide that, given that you’re a lazy person, you will work diligently for only 30 entirely focused minutes on the most important thing, and then take the rest of the day off. You will do your best work on these days.

Set precise discounts:

Sometimes, a smaller discount that looks more precise — say 6.8% as compared to 7% — can make people think the deal won’t last long, and they’ll buy more. In a series of nine experimental studies involving around 2,000 individuals considering online or retail purchases of a variety of products, the authors found precise discount depths — the difference between the original and sale price — can increase purchase intentions by up to 21%.

Looking to transform your organization? Move fast:

In successful transformations, companies typically sprint out of the gates, turning their initial burst of idea generation into an achievable, rigorous plan within a few short months. Execution follows at an equally fast clip. We found that successful transformations typically implemented initiatives that ultimately corresponded to 28 percent of fully ramped-up value in the first three months, 57 percent in the first six months, and 74 percent in the first 12 months (Exhibit 2).

The best business books aren't about business:

You will learn the most about management by reading books about sports and musical groups.

Reality has a surprising amount of detail:

When you go for a walk, notice the unexpected detail in a flower or what the seams in the road imply about how the road was built. When you talk to someone who is smart but just seems so wrong, figure out what details seem important to them and why. In your work, notice how that meeting actually wouldn’t have accomplished much if Sarah hadn’t pointed out that one thing. As you learn, notice which details actually change how you think. If you wish to not get stuck, seek to perceive what you have not yet perceived.

Reminder: The purpose of a system is what it does:

We can be more effective when we fall in love with judging systems and institutions by the actual, real-world lived results and impacts that they have, especially the impact they have on the most vulnerable. Sometimes the stated values or purpose of a person or organization are useful in terms of judging what they have intended to do, but intent never matters nearly as much as impact, so we have to treat the actual outputs of that person or system as the ultimate truth when we assess them.

Fun Finds

Words of Wisdom

"You have to finish things — that's what you learn from, you learn by finishing things." – Neil Gaiman
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
"Many fortunes have been made by taking a dreadful company and elevating it to mediocrity." – Roger Martin
“The greatest sign of an ill-regulated mind is to believe things because you wish them to be so.” — Louis Pasteur
"A memory is a story told so well it becomes part of the body." – Olivia Gatwood
"Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you." — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
"More is missed by not looking than not knowing." — Thomas McCrae

Subscribe to Idea Surplus Disorder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.