There Is No Rule Book

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Disrupt or be Disrupted

Posted by thereisnorulebook on October 15, 2015

The status quo is no longer the status quo. For decades, large bureaucratic organizations/companies held all the power and influence inside the business and economic landscape. These companies possessed high leverage and were in a position to sway, shape, and change their way to navigate the world of business and get what they wanted.Get-rid-of-box

Today that is no longer the case because that business model has weakened and softened. Influence in business and in this ripe and dynamic climate is less about the size and more about leverage, and the ability of people to understand and practice the art and science of connecting, engaging, and persuading.

“Today is not about what you know, but it is about how fast you can learn.” -Unknown

Crowdsourcing has now become a “key strategic leverage point” and the passion and ability to connect a community is much more powerful and influential in starting and sustaining a “Movement” than the traditional large brick and mortar business.

The new business model is very easy to see and understand: “be easy to do business with.” There are companies that have been around a long time who are disruptive (SWA, Starbucks). There are companies that are emerging and influencing the landscape of business with their disruptive and “easy to do business with” philosophy (VRBO, Uber, Airbnb, Virgin, GoPro).

A disruptive business is an innovation, technology or business that creates a new market by applying a different set of values, which ultimately (and unexpectedly) overtakes an existing market. Clayton M. Christensen in his book ‘The Innovators Dilemma’, defines a disruptive innovation as a product or service designed for a new set of customers.

For those who are students of business, economics, and human behavior, it’s not a matter of if more of these disruptive businesses will enter the business landscape (and influence the way we do business), it’s more about when it will happen. The only question to ask yourself is “Are you disrupting or being disrupted?”

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Lean into the Unknown

Posted by thereisnorulebook on April 8, 2013

“The cave we fear to enter holds the treasure that we seek.” – Carl Jung

Every one of us has been in a situation where we knew we were out of our comfort zone and did not initially feel like we “had what it takes” to pull it off. We entered into the job or the team or the class or the responsibility feeling significantly overwhelmed, unprepared or inadequate for the task ahead of us. Sweaty palms, perspiration dripping from our bodies, we still pressed on without the insight of knowing the outcome of this exciting and scary adventure.

All significant and meaningful experiences in our lives come when we have the courage to take action and move forward without the luxury of a clear map or instructions. We have all heard someone say “action cures fear” but in the face of trying something new we have our challenges. All great women and men understand that by “leaning into the unknown” is where all of the magic and magnificence takes place. When we “Lean into the Unknown” we meet amazing people, we visit beautiful places, we have meaningful experiences, and we create remarkable opportunities for ourselves.

“Be Bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” – Goethe

Lean into the Unknown by Blair Kolkoski, Kansas City, MOThe more we trust ourselves we will understand that good things are meant to happen in our life and we will be in a better position to see opportunities when they appear. Those that are bold lean into the unknown with regularity. Great pioneers don’t follow maps- they create them. They are not asking the question “How do we do this?, they ask “How can we do this better?” Every pioneer in science, medicine, education, entrepreneurship, and sports understands that there is still many undiscovered and unknown ways to accomplish, invent, and create great things, and in order for this to happen we will have to move into undiscovered territories in our life.

“When you change the way you look at things…the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

Having the courage to lean into the unknown is where all of the innovation, creativity, and new discoveries for mankind exist. In his famous book,“The Magic of Thinking Big” David Schwartz states ‘that most of us make two basic errors with respect to intelligence: 1) We underestimate our own brain power. 2) We overestimate the other person’s brain power.’ Each one of you knows the moment when you have the courage and you decide to place yourself in new environments, groups, businesses, and teams. When this happens, great opportunities appear in your life and all of the crazy, scary images melt away and a new vision for yourself emerges and replaces the old image. So my challenge to you is to be the type of person that is excited about the unknown, and is constantly moving toward the unknown, and through this process you to will find your treasure.

Posted in Blog, Business Development, Leadership | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

You were designed for brilliance

Posted by thereisnorulebook on December 2, 2012

Have you ever experienced a moment of clarity when you finally realized that you have the ability to access the answer to a question you have been puzzling over for a long time?  All of a sudden you experienced a “moment of brilliance” and you realized you have the capacity to “see the answer clearly”.   That moment you discover you have the gift of solving a challenging problem or a difficult question. Before that moment you believed this was a gift others had. You now realize you also have this gift and you can access it because you were designed for brilliance!

Designed for brillianceOnce we cease judging what we believe our brain can or can’t do , we free it to be able to operate the way it was designed to operate and magic happens! We have all had moments where we have tapped into the nature and power of our true self and felt like we were rubbing shoulders with other great minds (Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Helen Keller, Mozart).

Our brain follows the same principles and operates following the same science as our muscles. Each time we have the faith and confidence to take on a new challenge (one we don’t think we are ready for) we stretch and push beyond our limits to create a new boundary with regards to what we think we are capable of accomplishing. People you meet that are alive, and vibrant  constantly and intentionally put themselves in a position or opportunity to achieve something beyond what they think they were able to accomplish.

James Lipton hosts a show called “Inside the Actors Studio.” At the end of the show he always asks the same question to each one of the actors. Why did you accept this particular script for that role in the movie? The answer is always the same… because that role scared me and it put me out of my comfort zone. Actors understand that accepting a role that they have already done is not going to allow them to grow in their profession. By intentionally doing something beyond our present belief of what we believe is possible it extends our possibilities for future accomplishments.

The reason we get lost and lose our ability to be inspired by life is because we consistently go back to what we already know. The ability to move into the unknown is an attribute that high performers and high achievers practice. This experience of having an intuitive confidence to lean into the unknown is sometimes referred to as “Rare Air.” It is only referred to this by those that have not experienced it. Those that have experienced the ability of tapping into their “True Nature” realize it can be accessed by all who decide to go after it.

You were designed for brilliance and you first need to believe that. Take a chance. Who knows you just might like it, and you just might find yourself not struggling with yourself so much. Test it. When you start thinking about moving forward by operating more often by- Ready, Fire, Aim- and don’t allow yourself to continue to be stuck with Ready-  Aim- Fire (with this strategy you will never get the plane out of the hanger). Trust who you were created to be. You might surprise yourself and others with your deep brilliance.

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Simplicity requires discipline

Posted by thereisnorulebook on July 29, 2012

“In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few.”   -Shunryu Suzuki

Have you ever observed someone and noticed that they seem to operate in the world in a fluid way? They seem to enter into interactions with people very easily and effortlessly. When they engage with others, whether it is with people in business, on a team, or with a family, they seem to carry a quiet confidence with them in all of their interactions. It’s clear that these individuals are just not wandering through the great ‘rat race’ of life.

My experiences have lead me to see that simplicity is not something to be taken simply. Those that have a better grasp on simplicity seem to have a laser beam focus around “what matters most” and are able to live their life on a path and make  great choices that appear to  be guided by a dash board that focuses them towards simplicity. It seems to me that those who are experiencing a life full of simplicity have figured some things out. One of the disciplines they seem to be following is that they are the architect of their own future; which allows them to have  choices and make decisions that guide them towards simplicity.

“Other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one.”   -Occam’s razor

To create a life of simplicity requires you to be clear in your own mind about what is valuable to you  individually and to then commit to what you believe is important and let the rest fall away. Each one of us knows someone who chooses a complicated life because they seem to commit to things that are not meaningful to them and this leads to a very complex life.

Vincent Van Gogh- Self portrait with straw hat

Van Gogh painted simply: usually using only 6 colors.

Simplicity is all around us. The discipline of simplicity is always practiced by the Masters. Van Gogh rarely painted with more than six colors on his palette. Ernest Hemingway wrote with a simple fountain pen, much later someone else did the typing for him. Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on a piece of ordinary stationary that he had borrowed from the friend whose house he was staying at. Simplicity is thoughtfulness. If you expect to inspire and impact others at home, at the office, or on a team continue to practice the philosophy of being laconic (meaning using few words; expressing much in few words; concise).

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”   Albert Einstein

Simplicity has a wonderful side benefit. It provides confidence for others we want to inspire to make better decisions and ultimately,  impact their life. Conviction, authenticity, and confidence are best conveyed not through more words, but through fewer. Lincolns Gettysburg Address consists of 267 words. The Bill Of Rights is 660 words. The 10 Commandments takes 163 (And that is in English, in Hebrew its only 77 words).

To be heard and understood requires less words. All good things require discipline and simplicity is not immune to that principle. Give yourself the gift of concentrated effort and discover how this theme will surprisingly bring more meaning and purpose to your life. I bet some of the best lessons you have learned have been the simplest.

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Live Your Greatest Day

Posted by thereisnorulebook on April 7, 2012

“We have never lived our greatest day, until we have given another person the opportunity to live their greatest day.”

The times in which others have provided me with high praise for my leadership were those times that I really felt I was experiencing a true expression of who I am. I was not even attempting to be a leader. Most of the greatest moments of leadership (at least in the eyes of others) are simply times we are attempting to be authentic and to serve a purpose bigger and beyond ourselves.

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Trying too hard to attempt to do anything: whether it be leadership, friendship, love, etc…generally brings about the opposite outcome you’re trying to achieve. Leadership is not something that we do. It’s more of a reflection of who we are and how we decide to express who we are to the world. Most of us are inspired by others who believe what we believe. We tend to support those leaders who have a cause, a crusade, or purpose or belief that matches our own.

“Great leaders don’t create more followers; great leaders create more great leaders.”   -John Maxwell

What effective leaders have learned is that in order to inspire people, you don’t give advice but you share your experience. What we all should seek from leaders is to learn from their experiences. That is what attracts us to the good ones. If you were to evaluate the leaders that you respect the most you would find that one of their key attributes is passion. It is their passion that inspired you to want to be part of their “Big Idea.” Passion creates value and inspires us to become a part of something bigger than ourselves.

The word Leader means ‘pathfinder’. The true and authentic leaders of our time understand that before we can help people find their path, we have to find our own path first. The true pathfinders in life know that you can’t help people get closer to their destiny, until the pathfinder (leader) gets closer to his/her destiny. The invisible side of leadership is that most of us don’t see that leaders are the ones willing to make sacrifices in order to make significant contributions.

“50% of leadership should be self leadership; not leading others; if we get this down, the rest takes care of itself.”   -Dee Hock,  Founder of Visa International

Great leaders understand that momentum, action and energy is contagious. Great leaders work to keep a dream out ahead of those they humbly attempt to lead. For the most part, people don’t leave jobs. People leave people. So the expression, understanding and mastery of this responsibility and privilege we call ‘leadership’ is a characteristic worth understanding, expressing, and living.

The wise leader is not collecting a string of successes. Wise leaders are trying to help others find their own success. What they know and practice  is sharing success with others is very successful. So the next time you get the opportunity to take a leadership role- lean into that. The best way for you to be a leader is just arrive at the opportunity and be the best version of yourself you can be. This is how you inspire the human spirit. Are you a Pathfinder? More than likely you are and you don’t even know it.

So live your greatest day!

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“I want to work with remarkable people!”

Posted by thereisnorulebook on December 4, 2011

“To understand the heart and mind of a person look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to.”

Imagine what your working days would be like to have a team around you that collaborated at a high level and each person would come to work to express their talents and positive attributes while making a contribution to the business, the business goals and its clients/customers.

There are a couple of key principles to apply as you look to both build and improve your team. Keep in mind that clarity equals power and energy gravitates towards clear goals.

When looking to attract high performers and high achievers to your team make sure you can confidently answer yes to these two questions. Is this person coachable? Are his or her values congruent with yours? If you can confidently answer yes to both questions there is a high probability that this potential team member will be with you for the long run. If you answer yes to one of the questions or neither of these questions; then this person may not be with your team very long.

“Success Leaves Clues”

Someone you’re looking to hire who grew up with parents that owned, worked in, and ran their own business (and they worked in that business as a kid perhaps) has a better chance of knowing what it means to work hard, be self reliant, be responsible and resilient. These are character traits that can stay with someone for a life time.

In most cases, there is a direct correlation between a candidate that grew up working and exhibiting loyalty, focus and staying committed to a project in front of them. It can make for a strong foundation as an adult looking to work for something and with a team with focus and diligence.

During the final interview, listen for key phrases that will generally be expressed in different ways by the candidate. If she uses the word we a lot in the final interview you know with confidence that the individual is not only a high performer, but they are interested in a team approach. If the candidate uses the word they this may be a sign of alienation or disassociation with an organization/ business and other team members and shows glimpses of a low performer.

Hire Passion over Experience.

Be keen to that fact that some people are great at interviewing but are poor performers. If you don’t have a lot of experience interviewing and seem to stumble and may find it difficult to see this as two separate skill sets. Sometimes the candidate, who is not bouncing off the wall with exuberance during the interview meeting, could be your best candidate.

High performers are usually easy to spot and identify right away. They are the ones who are asking you a lot of questions and end up interviewing you with intelligent crisp questions.

“It is better to hire people to get you to where you want to be than people who profess to have been there before.” -Guy Kawasaki

The last step in getting to a great outcome is to have asked each of the final candidates to respond to this question in writing: “Why are you the best choice for this position in my business?” There are two reasons for this. One: you can see their ability to communicate through the written word as well as how much attention they give to spelling and grammar. Secondly, you will be able to observe there focus, diligence and potential work ethic based on the amount of energy, focus, and effort they put into the assignment.

Remember, anytime you add new team member you have a brand new team!

Posted in Blog, Business Development, Hiring employees, Leadership, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Are You a Maven?

Posted by thereisnorulebook on September 15, 2011

“In a world of give and take- there are few who are willing to give what it takes.”

Think back to the last class, workshop or seminar you went to.  In the room during a break, you may have noticed a group of people who had gathered around in a circle and in that circle one of the individuals seemed to be capturing the attention of the rest of the group. You may have asked yourself “Who is that person and what is he saying that is so interesting to everybody around him?”

Chances are he was a Maven. Mavens create a “halo of trustworthiness” for those around them: a circle of influence and information.

Have you ever had an idea strike you about a new product or service that you knew the world HAD to have? You had the idea but took no action. Several months go by and you find that someone else developed and sold YOUR idea! You said to yourself, “I thought of that first.”  (and that maven made millions from your idea. Darn.)

Mavens know that extra-ordinary achievement is less about their talents or abilities and more about identifying the opportunity when it arises and then following through with action. A maven is ultra-clear that focus is more important than intelligence and ultimately, that not only do ‘smarts’ not matter as much, but persistence and determination will almost always win the day as well the hearts and minds of others.

The Mavens of our time travel light: psychologically, sociologically and neurologically. They don’t carry a lot of extra baggage that prevents them from taking immediate action on creative ideas that they believe will benefit themselves and others. What makes a maven so unique is that he or she sees opportunities as a way to make the world a better place while others may see opportunities as a burdensome task to add to my already full “to-do” list. Check.

“Anyone who lives within his or her means suffers from a lack of imagination”- Oliver Wilde

The mantra that Mavens seem to live by is ‘knowledge increases power when it is shared’. When a Maven learns something new she will share her new knowledge with 10 people. Each one of those fortunate people gets to hear and learn it once. The Maven knows she will hear and learn it 10 times thus reinforcing her learning and internalizing the knowledge that much more.

You instantly know it when you meet a Maven. The Maven is the one in the family, the business, in your community or on your team that lives the “ready- fire- aim” way of life. He understands that it is in the doing that allows him to change, modify and adapt the course over time knowing full well that eventually he will arrive at the destination he set out for. The exciting part of changing, modifying and adapting for the Maven is the chance to meet more people she can share with along the way. It’s the “journey not the destination” attitude!

Through years of experimentation, the Maven knows that doing something unimportant well does not make it important. What you do with your life, your family your team at work and your energy is infinitely more important than how you do it.

Navigating through life’s lessons, the Maven has learned that what he fears the most is what he needs to do the most. On closer observation, the Maven is the inspiration for many other people and a catalyst for helping others become unstuck from their own obstacles, both known and unknown, that have brought them to a standstill.

So, who are the Mavens in your life?

More often than not, you have someone or many someones, that you consider a trusted expert, either professionally or personally or both. Someone who has particular knowledge or capabilities in an area that you are determined to be more competent in. These mavens in your life are the ones that are open and eager to pass on what they’ve learned and communicate the challenges they’ve overcome- to help you. Your maven has a distinct understanding, which is based on his accumulation of specific information or strategic learning and he’s taken the time to assimilate it and convey it in such a way that benefits those around him. If you are willing to ask questions and listen, the Maven is willing to help.

In each of these cases, mavens can have a substantial influence on other members of an industry or network. Further examination reveals that mavens are consummate gatherers of information and impressions (which is part of what makes them so valuable) and, therefore, are often the first to pick up on new or recent trends and run with them.

Surrounding yourself with mavens in different areas of life is a benefit because they are passionate about what they know and they are willing to share what they know and if you are paying attention, you become better:  better in business, a better husband/wife, a better athlete, student, and possibly even a better person.

Think about yourself for a minute. The things in your life that are you both passionate and knowledgeable about are usually the things you are inspired and excited to share with others. So… are you a Maven?

by Blair Kolkoski

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