Driving Your Organization Off A Cliff

Cliff.jpeg

So life is generally supposed to be a series a peaks and valleys. 


There are highs, but also lows.  


No one and nothing can perform at peak all the time. 


Like the commandment to keep the Shabbat, everyone needs a rest. 


And studies have shown that getting a healthy dose of sleep, pause, and rest in life is healthy.


When we force ourselves or others to perform past their “designed” limits, then we risk a breakdown. 


Machines break and people can break. 


The risks are either explosion or implosion: some people can frighteningly “go postal” and others end up on psychiatric medication or even sick and in the hospital. 


What is key to remember is that you can push the limits of performance so far, but then no further without a healthy, recuperative rest period and down time. 


If you want to raise the bar on yourself, others, or your organization, you need to do it strategically so there is a surge forward and then a normative recovery and energy buildup again. 


As we all know, life is a marathon and not a sprint, and the journey is as important as the destination. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alan Levine)

Help Is Coming

Help

So I used to have a boss who said something really funny.


He used to go, “Everybody says they want to help us” and then bemoaningly he would seem to repeat that a few times. 


The next part which he didn’t need to explicitly say was that “But no one does!”


It was the words, but also much the tone–yes, the walls could be caving in, the ship could be sinking, everything going up in flames, and of course, everyone is there looking on, shaking their heads pitifully, and seemingly stretching out their hand in an offer of help. 


For this boss though, the help couldn’t come fast enough or with enough resources to help resolve all the issues going on at the time. 


I suppose first and foremost, we have to help ourselves. 


Secondly, there needs to be a core understanding from the beginning of what is really doable and what is simply fantasy fare. 


Third, if help is on the way–great, but it’s got to be timely enough and come with enough raw horsepower to make a genuine difference. 


Finally, sometimes miracles do happen and everything works out great–the day is saved–but even then so much underlying damage has been done that you need to rebuild from the core foundations again. 


And for the next time, you’ll need to ensure capabilities beyond what was ever imagined before. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

ROBOTS Wanted!

Good video from The Atlantic on automation and the concern about Robots taking our jobs.

From the 1800’s, when “the Luddites,”–British textile workers–protested the loom to the 1900’s where 40% of our nations job were farm workers and now it’s just 2%…the question is where does automation stop?

Very likely it doesn’t (thanks to evolution)!

As robots can first mimic and then outdo their human developers and as artificial intelligence gets more intelligent, robots are moving from farm to factory to white collar jobs.

Computers and robotics, once relegated to repetitive tasks like on the assembly line, are becoming good at winning Jeopardy and as a surgical platform.

The bar is being raised not just on technology, but on humans to retrain to ever more sophisticated thinking and communicating positions (from software developers and product designers to branding and communications specialists).

People are constantly evolving to think and innovate better and are in turn building ever more capable technologies to replace more human jobs and leading once again to the need for even higher-level human performance.

Progress–a never-ending cycle of outperforming ourselves.

Where does it stop–the attainment of ever-higher levels of knowledge and productivity leading to heavenly bliss here on Earth or perhaps large elements of burnout, breakdown, and potentially self-destruction.

I often hear people recalling and reminiscing about earlier, simpler, and “better times.”

The Wall Street Journal (17 August 2013) just had such an editorial looking to bring back the tranquility and idleness of hot summer Augusts, instead now replaced by more work and school.

At the same time, very few of us would really want to go back in time before all the technology-wunderkind that we have now and enjoy (many seem think more like you’ll have to pry that iPhone from my cold, dead hands!).

The challenge: Robots may be taking jobs, but we need to stay ahead and to master not only ever higher levels of human knowledge and skills, but also the good sense to reconcile with the technology blitz and be able to actually find the time and inner-peace to sit back and enjoy it all as well. 😉