Posts Tagged: Health

Coping With Impermanence

What happens if companies as we know them disappear? That’s certainly one version of the future I see as possible.

There are certain industries that I think will always have a traditional business structure (construction, auto repair, manufacturing, etc). They are necessary, vital industries but don’t lend themselves to some of the recent trends in destructuralization. They may become more automated over time, they may incorporate some portable tools and better communication to become more efficient, but they tend to work best with a centralized structure.

What of the rest of the business world? I see a continued trend of telecommuting, remote offices, home based workforces and virtual companies and collaborative business models. There is a push for this from all sides, even outside of the business community. Eliminating commutes has clear value in saving wear and tear on roads and conserving gas, not to mention being better for the environment overall with less vehicular emissions. It has clear health benefits for employees – shorter or eliminated commutes may lead to more sleep and less stress, more family time, and overall health benefits. It’s more cost effective as well, and may spearhead a movement to bring programming, writing, call centers and other jobs back into the country, helping revive the economy.

Of course, with any innovation and change there can be drawbacks. For one thing, there is an overall feeling of impermanence now with the economy. People used to a mentality of pensions and long careers are being faced with a world where companies may not continue to exist, which can be scary when you grew up thinking of business and your job a certain way. The age of entitlements has already gone the way of the dinosaur. We’re becoming a DIY economy. No longer can we sit back and wait for companies or governments to revive our lifestyle – if we want economic recovery we’re going to have to make it ourselves, and it will have to start at a simultaneous local and global level, using local connections and technological connections to ramp up and out.

Even more challenging for some of the workers used to doing things a certain way will be the trend to not have companies at all. I already run my business as a collaborative business. I have a wide variety of people I trust that I call on for various projects, and create fast moving, experienced, knowledgable, flexible, competent teams for each project out of a vast reservoir of connections I’ve built over the years. I see more and more businesses and projects falling into this flexible, cost effective, tax friendly model of business as time goes on. To create a sustainable infrastructure around the new business models, health care reform will have to ramp up (more and more folks will be supplying their own individual coverage, no longer supported by any size business), the tax system will have to change (33% and more is a killer tax level for a small or individual business, and it will need to be lower to be sustainable and growable), bureaucracies will have to become paperless, and new jobs will crop up to help businesses be as mobile as possible (many of these jobs are already here, like Virtual Assistants).

What are your future predictions for changes in business? This post is just a quick glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of change.

Are You Listening, Or Just Hearing?

If you study the effect of music on the brain at all, then the concept of listening and hearing being different is not a new one. This theory holds true in the study of psychology as well. Listening and hearing are two very different things, one active (listening) and one passive (hearing).

What’s the difference? You hear everything. Everything around you, every conversation, every bit of white noise – it all goes into your ears unfiltered. Half of the things you hear you don’t even notice unless they disappear, such as a sudden blanket of silence being the first thing you notice about a daytime power outage as all appliances and machines stop in unison. To listen, really listen, takes talent. It takes the ability to filter out all of the white noise around you and hone in on what’s important. It takes an ability to retain and filter information, to generate an appropriate response.

The best business people are great listeners. I was talking to a relatively new business person the other day, giving advice and assistance, and I realized what an exercise in futility it was becoming, as I’d had this same conversation with this person every month for the last several. That was a red flag to me that the person should not be their own boss – an inability to listen, absorb and apply information; but it also meant I hadn’t been using my full listening potential in that ongoing conversation either – I’d allowed the hum of a busy schedule to tune out the finer points of global listening, and had missed the cues that would have kept me from wasting more time repeating valuable advice no one was absorbing.

Global listening is a concept that takes listening beyond the ear. Once you master the art of active listening in conversations, being able to put it in practice by absorbing all of the information available to us, filtering it according to your active listening and apply it to your business and relationships, your business will soar (and so will you). Don’t get me wrong – active listening is hard, and global listening is even harder. I know few people who have truly “mastered” either, but there are many who do it well, practice daily and constantly strive to be better.

In the online world where these adaptive media tools are changing and expanding by the minute, and where boundaries are nonexistent, you listen or hear as well. This becomes part of the global listening technique, being able to filter your information fire hose in such a way that it enhances your off line listening. Everyone talks about engagement techniques, and “joining the conversation”, but that is only scratching the surface – the way you listen is, in the end, much more important for your success. Your competitors and clients and colleagues are out there giving away encyclopedias full of information, needs, and more. Be the one who listens.

Treat every day like a symphony, and take time to listen to every part.

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