If our systems pass this test, our systems will be that much stronger.
– Cliff Gilmore
If our systems pass this test, our systems will be that much stronger.
– Cliff Gilmore
Life is not so simple as the set of binary choices we are often presented with.
Are you willing to pay the cost of excellence?
President & Owner of Propaganda Marketing David McGeehan asked this question on LinkedIn yesterday. The question stopped me in my metaphorical tracks (or, in this case, scrolling).
It’s a great, layered question.
What is excellence? Who defines it?
The question parallels my own framework of, “I am willing to accept the level of success (excellence?) that I derive from a laser focus on the same…in the hours after I drop my girls off at school and before I pick them up again.” After I pick them up, I go into what I call “maintenance mode.” In our 24/7 world and in particular as a real estate agent, I can’t reasonably expect my clients to wait until the next day after 4 PM. I make the calls I need to for contractual reasons, if a client has an urgent need, etc. But I hold off on generating new business, extra work, etc.
For me, being an excellent dad is a primary goal. I believe I am an excellent advocate and Realtor® as well; however, I am not willing to put this above being present for my daughters (as a rule).
What is excellence to you?
A friend asked me for reading recommendations recently. She’s recently returned to the entrepreneur world.
There were two books that immediately came to mind. Seth Godin’s Linchpin, on which I have modeled much of my efforts (one need only read the posts on this blog to see how deeply his philosophy molds mine).
The other was Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. This book also profoundly impacted me. His book is a study of the uber wealthy and the mindset that aided them in achieving this wealth. One takeaway, and the reason for this post, is that the folks he studied all had an intense and sole focus on SUCCESS. They were driven to achieve their goal and would not be stopped.
They were driven to this goal to the detriment of relationships with their children (amongst others). Reading this made me realize that I am not interested in massive success, if that means my children don’t know or resent me.
I spend a lot of time in my real estate business putting information out there. If you follow me, you know I’m almost daily putting out market stats, average values, talking about trends, giving advice, etc.
When I read this statement in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile, I was metaphorically (and possibly literally) rocked.
Marketing beyond information is insecurity.
It articulates a core mantra I have; that is, “If my marketing as I define my actions – that being advocacy through information and education – doesn’t work to maintain and build my business, I will do something different.”
I rarely talk about my sales metrics, volume, success in negotiation of deals. To me, those aren’t what this is about for me. It’s about helping folks make informed decisions, stepping back and letting them make the actual decision.
I am a huge fan of Seth Godin and the principles he speaks to, from the idea of being a linchpin, to permission marketing, to building tribes and work as your art.
Here he is speaking about leadership and tribes.
I heard the above words from a physician whom diagnosed inside thirty
seconds what we had been struggling to identify for nearly fifteen months with one of our children.
In this short timeframe, she observed several indicators that led her to an immediate diagnosis of a condition we did not know existed.
She was able to do this because she – her mind – had a working knowledge of the same.
This is one reason I never want to stop learning. There is always something more to learn, a new perspective to consider.
Toward that end, I am currently working my way through several of the books on this list.
For some time, I’ve been thinking about the concept of a framework.
What do I mean by that?
We all view the world through different lenses; how we process what we see is the result of the framework that is the sum of our parts.
One part of my internal framework is the OODA loop. I’ve been studying this concept for some time and am working on incorporating it into my analysis of businesses. Here’s a sneak peek of sorts (what follows is a draft in continual update/edit mode):
The OODA Loop
First things first, what is OODA? It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a conceptual action loop develop by Col. John Boyd, orginally applied to military fighter pilot tactics. The short of it is that Col Boyd believed that whomever could apply the OODA loop fastest won the fight. His ideas revolutionized fighter pilot tactics.
How does this apply to us here, in a business environment? To answer that, let’s talk about complexity economics theory.
This theory states that the business enviroment is an incredibly complex, continually evolving system, itself filled with incredibly complex and continually adapting organizations. As the economic landscape changes, so, too, do the organizations within. This precipitates changes within the system, which triggers adaptive change by the same organizations. This loop is now our operating environment.
How can a business thrive – much less survive – in this environment? By having a framework to view and act through.
Ok, why do we need a framework? The decision making part of our brain does not prioritize (Organized Mind). Rather, when we are faced with information and have to make one of the approximately 5,000 decisions we are presented with daily, we struggle to sort them.
To really operate, to operate effectively, we need a framework, a medium through which to prioritize our decision making. The OODA loop is such a framework.
The OODA Loop as generally conceived
Most view Col Boyd’s OODA loop as a series of concentric circles through which one steps in sequence.
That is, someone employing the loop would first Observe, then Orient, then Decide, then Act. While this works as a tactic, I believe it is not a comprehensive strategy.
The OODA Loop expanded into strategy
Drawing ability aside, this represents my view of Col Boyd’s OODA loop. I think it is meant to be a series of concentric, interlocking loops, in which the same person employing the concept does so in a 360 degree environment, constantly observing, orienting, deciding and acting. These also need not be sequential. It may be that new data is observed during the decision phase which requires additional observation or orientation.
That’s a great graphic, Rob, but what does this mean to my business?
Good question! Here’s a real word example. I am also a licensed Realtor® who spends a lot of time producing educational content, via my blogs at thehousingnetwork and robthompsonrealtor. As I generate content, I came to realize I was talking about inspection objections and resolutions, a phase a couple of weeks into a transaction, but I wasn’t discussing earnest money on a regular basis.
You could say as it applied to a communications strategy, my OODA loop looked like this:
That is, I was stepping through a series of conversations about these topics.
What was I missing here?
On any given day, I was communicating with only one set of potential clients.
What should I have been doing?
As a communications strategy, my OODA loop should have looked more like this:
Under this model, instead of a series of communications, the intent is to have related, parallel content/conversations, wherein we are addressing the needs and concerns of both novice and experienced clients.
Interested? Please let me know and stay tuned as I develop this article and concept further.
This post is open for comments.
It’s been said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker). What does this mean? Mr. Drucker is, in my humble opinion, stating that a positive corporate culture will take an organization places beyond what strategy can do.
What is culture? Texas A&M defines this concept as “a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept…”
What is strategy? Business Dictionary defines strategy as “a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.”
I propose that as a leader, it be your strategy to develop a positive culture. If you build that culture, it will empower your people to take the organization places you alone cannot.
I have been doing a lot of reading, to include Seth Godin’s Linchpin.
There is much food for thought in Mr. Godin’s books, from examining the system of production we work under today, to making ‘art’ (as he defines human interaction), to this concept of a superpower.
Godin suggests we have a ready answer when asked, “What do you do?” That answer is our ‘superpower.’
I’d ask you, What is your superpower?
I believe mine lies in connecting people to people and businesses to people.