I can’t because….

  • I’m not clear that this is the right strategy for me now
  • There are just a few edits that I want to make
  • People might not buy what I’m offering
  • I can’t do this alone
  • There are so many pieces I can’t quite figure out yet
  • Things might change after this next client engagement

You get the picture.

They feel like genuine “more real than real” reasons. They might be seen as others as excuses.

You might be able to distinguish the truth in hindsight. In the moment, it is so tempting to label things as a reason than as an excuse. Then we might have to admit that we are afraid… afraid of failing, of looking inadequate or any number of fears.

I can imagine that each MBTI type has reasons/excuses that are more typical for their type. Do NT’s worry about such things as strategy – SJ’s about being able to achieve timely output – SP’s about being fenced in – NF’s about cutting off possibilities?

If you sense confusion or overwhelm is what is stopping you, get curious about what would happen if those reasons weren’t as solid as they appear.

Category : Change | Decision making | Blog

I’ve known about Seth Godin, guru of marketing and new media for a while. I have read and given away his book “Tribes.” For some reason I haven’t subscribed to his blog until recently and I now read everyone. What he has to offer is practical and dare I say wise.

In a recent post he talks about how we have gathered information in the past in a business context. We learned to put our trust in step by step manuals and case studies. Godin points out that the current environment does not allow the time for those to always be the best source of information.

He suggests that analogies are what are useful to grasp what needs to happen. Can business folks schooled in relying on the data driven gifts of the Sensing preference switch the balance to incorporate even more of the Intuitive function into gathering information to drive their business?

As Godin says,

Put aside your need for a step-by-step manual and instead realize that analogies are your best friend. By the time there is a case study in your specific industry, it’s going to be way too late for you to catch up.

Category : Change | Blog

February 12th 2009 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. I was aware of it but hadn’t given it any particular attention until I was inspired to do some reflecting by an interesting exchange on Twitter.

Ken from NYC aka @holymully posted a quote which I read and immediately recognized as something that intrigued me. I retweeted this quote and added a comment about how being true to myself is part of an ongoing challenge that has it’s ups and downs. You can read how the conversation continued below.

RT @holymully: “Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” – Richard Bach (my quest indeed – why is it a challenge?)

holymully @sandymcmullen The challenged to being yourself is explained in Darwinian terms as “survival” games. 2 be real self threatens survival

@holymully I would ask “How so” but I want to think about it first- Least I can do on Darwin’s BDay – always enjoy your wisdom – thx

holymully @sandymcmullen Good answer. Thx for your recognition and appreciation. I accept it with humble gratitude. Let me know what answer you find.

I don’t know that I have reached any conclusions even though I have been mulling this over for a few days nevertheless here is what I have “found” so far.

I suppose we can get closer to being our real selves when we are relaxed and have no demands impinging on us from the external environment. These occasions may happen at times such as vacation. When there are no demands from the external world being ourselves may be more closely aligned with our “real” or natural state.

Darwin observed the Natural world in order to identify and record the characteristics that allowed species to survive in different environmental conditions. As environmental conditions change the species with the characteristics that increase their chances for survival remain while other species fail to survive.

In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment

The natural world as we know it in our daily lives has many dimensions – environmental, economic, social and emotional. There are certain personality types that are naturally hardy and can adapt to upheavals in circumstances in a timely manner. They are resilient and bounce back from whatever shifting circumstances happen to dish up. This naturally hardy type may be more the exception than the norm.

In this current economic downturn: for example, many people are feeling at risk. They feel pressure to adapt their behaviour, their beliefs indeed their very sense of themselves. If they don’t adapt they may not survive and questions like “who am I really” become secondary to questions like “how am I going to feed my family?”.

The one thing that we can count on is that things do not remain static. Change is inevitable whether it is positive or negative.

I would like to suggest that we do not need to give up who we are in order to survive. Yes we may need to make changes in the way we do things but we have resources and capabilities to design an approach that is ecological to the larger system and to our own integrity. Before we know where we need to adapt we need to have a realistic picture of “what is” – the reality of the moment. We also need to know who we are (our strengths and our limitations) in order to know where we need help.

Darwin observed and observed in order to know the true nature of the natural world. In order to know our true nature, we can focus on becoming better and better at being observers of the flow of our moment to moment reality. Not everyone is committed to the rigor of this way of knowing ourselves. Employing a selection of personality assessment tools ssuch as the MBTI , the Enneagram or the Reiss desire Profile can help provide a lens to support our journey toward self knowledge.

The clearer I am about what I can do and cannot do the clearer I can be about what next steps I need to take. In the world of flora and fauna “natural selection” may prevail. We have the opportunity to use whatever wisdom we have in order to be intentional about how we interact while still respecting that we are part of a living system. Indeed, the paradox of knowing and accepting our limitations and reaching out to others to get help may be just the thing that makes room for adaptation (transformation) to occur.

Category : Change | Blog

Psychometrics is the hub for MBTI training, certification and access to the MBTI inventory in Canada. They are the “go to” source for new information and resources. The January newsletter is an example of bringing new insights and applications to both MBTI practitioners and the business community alike. This article is copied with permission.

Dealing with Organizational Change
By Shawn Bakker Of Psychometrics
Nancy Barger and Linda Kirby have integrated type theory with William Bridges’ stages of transitions. They asked 2,000 workshop participants to respond to the following question, “What does each preference need during a time of change?” The responses provide some understanding of how people facing the same transition may have different needs.

Time to talk about what is going on
Involvement – they want something to do
Communication, communication, communication
To be heard – to have a voice
Action, getting on with it, keeping up the pace

Time alone to reflect on what is happening
To be asked what they think
Thought-out, written communication and one-on-one discussion
Time to think things through before discussions and meetings
Time to assimilate change before taking action

Real data – why is the change occurring?
Specifics about what exactly is to change
Connections between the changes and the past
Realistic pictures of the future that make plans real
Clear guidelines on expectations, roles, and responsibilities

The overall rationale – the global realities
A general plan or direction to play around with and develop
Chances to paint a picture of the future – to create a vision
Options – a general direction, but not too much structure
Opportunities to participate in designing the future

Clarity in the decision making and the planning
Demonstration that leadership is competent
Fairness and equitability in the changes
The logic – Why? What are the goals? What systemic changes will there be?

Recognition of the impacts on people
Demonstration that leadership cares
Appreciation and support
Inclusion of themselves and others in the planning and implementing on change
Know how individuals’ needs will be dealt with

A clear, concise plan of action
Defined outcomes, clear goals
A clear statement of priorities
A time frame, with each stage spelled out
No more surprises!

An open-ended plan
The general parameters
Flexibility, with lots of options
Information and the opportunity to gather more
Loosen up, don’t panic, trust the process

Barger and Kirby provide much more information on how to deal with change in their book
The Challenge of Change in Organizations.

Category : Change | Blog