“Thoughts are the threads that bind us to deeds.
Deeds are the ropes that bind us to habits.
Habits are the chains that bind us to destiny.“
– Inscription carved on the West Wall at the Palace in Maygassa
My friend Don Kuhl says, “All change is self change” and the first things we must change are our thoughts.
Harvard’s beloved Frances Frei echoes Don Kuhl, “To change a person’s behavior (deeds) you must first change their beliefs.”
Frances Frei’s friend and Harvard colleague, Youngme Moon, takes this discussion of habits even further in her new book, Different. (I’m notorious for not reading business books, but Frances Frei promises this is NOT a business book, so I’ve ordered a copy from Jeff Bezos. He doesn’t read business books either.)
1. Play it safe
Listen to that inner voice. “Why should I stick my neck out?” “I’m not going to go out on a limb…” “Safer to let someone else champion that.”
2. Know your limitations: Don’t be afraid to pigeonhole yourself.
“I’m not an artist.” “I’m not creative.” “I’m not an innovator.”
3. Remind yourself: It’s just a job.
“I don’t get paid to come up with ideas.” “I’m keeping my mouth shut.” “There’s nothing in it for me.” “When’s lunch?”
4. Show you’re the smartest guy in the room: make Skepticism your middle name.
“Here’s why that idea won’t work.” “You won’t be able to execute on that.” “Our organization’s not set up for that.”
5. Be the tough guy: Demand to see the data.
“What does the market research say?” “There’s no evidence it’s going to work.” “That didn’t come out of the focus group.” “Show me the spreadsheet.”
6. Respect history: Always give the past the benefit of the doubt.
“We’ve always done it this way.” “If it’s such a good idea, why hasn’t anyone thought of it yet?” “That wasn’t part of the original plan.”
7. Stop the madness before it can get started: Crush early-stage ideas with your business savvy.
“You haven’t made the business case.” “I don’t buy your assumptions.” “There’s no immediate R.O.I.”
8. Been there, done that: Use experience as a weapon.
“We tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work.” “You haven’t been around long enough to know how things work.” “Let’s not reinvent the wheel, guys.”
9. Keep your eyes closed. Your mind, too.
“The world isn’t changing. The media just wants us to think it is.” “I refuse to get caught up in all these technology fads.” “Don’t tell me how to run my business.”
10. Assume there is no problem.
“It was a tough year, but we can blame the economy.” “We think next quarter we’ll see a rebound.” “We’re doing okay.”
11. Underestimate your customers.
“Our customers aren’t going anywhere.” “They’re not ready for that.” “That’s not what they’re asking for.”
12. Be a mentor: Give sound advice to the people who work for you.
“Just keep your head down and do your job.” “I got where I am by not rocking the boat.” “Choose your battles, kid. This isn’t one of them.”
13. Be suspicious of the “Creatives” in your organization: the liberal arts majors, the poets, the anthropologists and other wackos. “Those guys don’t understand business.” “I can’t believe we’re keeping them on the payroll.” “Who invited them to this meeting?”
14. When all else fails, act like a grown-up.
“I really don’t have time for this.” “Do you have an appointment?” “Back to work, everyone.”
Wizard Academy is a year-round summer camp for business people. Frances Frei would love it, I think.
So would Youngme Moon.
And so would you. How soon can you get here?
Ciao for Niao,
Roy H. Williams
PS – There were a number of students in the Magical Worlds Communications Workshop I taught last week who RAVED about Maddock and Sexton’s class, Writing for Radio and the Internet. You’re in luck! We’ve got one scheduled – just for you – December 8/9.
Many, many of you have called and emailed the Wizard Academy office suggesting that a memorial be placed somewhere on the campus to Paul Compton, Pennie’s father. Were it not for Paul Compton and his daughters, Wizard Academy would not exist. So here’s what I’ve done: Paul returned from the Navy and went to work at Anchor Stone in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked for 12 years, during which time his 4 daughters were born. Pennie married me and Pattie married Daniel, the construction genius who has built all the buildings on campus. Paul Compton was steadfast, a rock, an anchor in time of storm. So this massive anchor – cast in Paris 160 years ago – will be placed on the quarterdeck of the tower where it will lean against the wall near the door of the Wizard Academy business office. You can donate through Paypal (below) or by calling Kristin or Becke in the Academy business office at 512-295-5700. If the button doesn’t work in this email, then go to the home page at WizardAcademy.org and you’ll find the same button at the bottom of that page.The anchor is currently in transit from where it was purchased on the Great Lakes near Chicago. Yes, it was expensive.