Monday Focus: Work is not email

In an age where engagement and communication are constant, the purpose of why they exist in the first place seems to have been lost. Communication does not equal connection, its not on its own productive, its not on its own conducive to any positive outcome. In fact, communication should lead to productivity, it should not be the end goal by itself.

If we measure the amount of time we spend communicating versus actually creating something of value we would take pro active measures to communicate less and do more. 

There are many jobs where communication is at the core of the role description, but even in these roles the actual work is not communicating, its improving the processes in which communication occurs.

Challenge of the week: Track the amount of time you communicate, start with email alone and work your way to other channels. I will share my own results next week. 

Culture is not a project

Its common to see companies plan initiatives to improve their culture in an attempt to get it to align to some sort of an ideal or vision of what the company should stand for. The problem is that if the organisation isn’t already what it to sell itself to be, the culture of the company isn’t going to be either.

Culture is always a reflection of the past and present, it is completely oblivious to the future, it doesn’t care about any plans or short term initiatives. 

In short, the culture of a company is the result of what a company has actually been in past and what is actually represents today. If staff is demotivated, cynic and shows lack of passion and belief in the companies mission, this is what the culture actually is, the mission itself is meaningless if its not backed by people that truly believe in it. 

Is it possible to significantly change the culture of a company? Absolutely, but this cant be done over night and it will take a level of commitment and introspection that most companies are quite simply not ready for. 

Understanding why an organisation exists is important, but being able to stand by it when things get tough is what will ultimately create a belief system that will attract the right type of talent and the right set of behaviours.

The culture of a company is something that becomes, its not something that is done.

Lessons from the Falcon Heavy Test Flight

It was so wonderful listening to the cheers of the SpaceX staff as you watch one of the largest rockets ever created by Mankind leave the platform racing up to the sky. Watching the those massive rockets lad simultaneously felt unreal, I had to rewatch it a few times to make sure this was not CGI.

While the technological feat was a marvel to see, the Human aspect of this launch was what stood out to me. I think only someone who has had hands on experience creating something will understand what it feels like to see your work rewarded that way. 

What you are listening to is not the sound of hype, its not fluff or superficial cheering, its pride, relief and a deep sense of collective accomplishment. 

Some Lessons learned from how SpaceX managed this launch:

  • Failure is not just part of success, but an essential path to success,
  • Tempering expectations is a good thing, 
  • Full transparency is always rewarded in the long run,
  • Its impossible to disguise the genuinity of a truly engaged team,

Mark Zuckerberg - Vulnerability and Honesty as signs of growth

I just watched Mark Zuckerberg's interview following the Cambridge Analytica data incident and it really struck me how much he has grown as a Leader. 

The growth I am referring to has nothing to do with the external facing confidence that comes from great success and a boosted ego, its internal facing, truthful, vulnerable and honest. 

I don't like Facebook, I don't use it, I don't like what it stands for and I don't like the principles behind the product. It was fascinating to see that as its Founder matures, his vision of what the product should stand for appears to be changing as well. 

During the interview he mentioned that he felt that having the greatest positive impact across the word was the most important thing to him, this translated in the way the product was built. 

I am hoping that as his view of what having a positive impact in the World changes, so will the product and what it stands for.

Your poison is your secret

Today as I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk's daily vlog (highly recommend),  I heard him say something that really resonated with me in different levels, something that has been a theme  in my past past and that is currently affecting a very important person in my life. This post is dedicated to her and everyone else going through similar circumstances. 

Everyone has or has had secrets in their lives, what we often fail to understand is how debilitating they can be to us, how destructive and toxic they become to ourselves and everyone around us. 

A secret is an underlying idea that if something is known we will no longer be worthy of respect, friendship or love. It grows like a cancer; the longer it remains buried and unchallenged the more it will contaminate everything around it like a virus that is constantly multiplying, unchallenged.

It devours any positive feeling it finds on its way, with  its unstoppable merciless drive it will reduce hope and dreams to ashes. 

Whatever is hidden will always influence what is in the light, until its also darkness. This cycle will never end until we realise the very simple fact that life is too short to live in shame and worried about judgement. 

Most of what we hide are mistakes, things we have done in the past, things that we believe are not in line with who we want to be, so we bury them, pretend they did not happen, lie about them. 

I have done this myself, it nearly destroyed me, it stopped any progress I was making in my professional life, created havoc in my personal relationships because it perpetuated a state that I felt trapped in, an emotional trap that dictated the way I thought and created limitations in mind, mental blockers telling me that whatever mistakes I did were perpetual and would prevent me from ever being successful, it planted this idea in my mind that I would never be happy, that I did not deserve happiness. 

If anyone ever found out or knew who you really were, your life would be over.

In the end, it the above was nearly true, but not because of what others thought of me or my shame, but because of what I ultimately condemned myself, of what I reduced myself too.

If you are facing something like this, I have a few words of advice for you:

  • Face whatever mistakes you have done head on, write them in a piece of paper, 
  • Surface your mistakes, make them known, to yourself and others,
  • Forgive: If your mistake affected other peoples lives, seek forgiveness, but don't expect it. Not everyone has forgiveness in their hearts, remember that this is not a problem for you to solve. Forgive yourself, after having faced the consequences of your actions, its time to seek forgiveness from the most important person of all: yourself. 
  • Learn: Make sure you have learned from whatever brought you to this place. Make sure you understand the root of the problem, most of the time the mistakes we are deeply ashamed about are only symptoms of something deeper underlying, this is what needs to be learned, faced resolved, 
  • Move on: Yes, move on. This means.. literally.. move on! It is no longer your reality.
Someones opinion of you does not need to become your reality.

Les Brown

Life is short, you are going to die, soon, never forget it, live your life, be the best you can be, there is nowhere to hide from yourself.

p.s. people care a lot less about your mistakes than you think, in fact most people don't really care too much about anything at all, trust me on this.