Sunday, January 31, 2010

Change is Inevitable, but it's sad when it happens.

“Change is inevitable. Change is constant."
Benjamin Disraeli
In the nearly three years that I have been blogging at Lead Quietly, there have been countless changes in the makeup of the blogosphere.

Yes, blogs come and go and most of this activity goes unnoticed. In reality, the loss of a single blog from among 126 million isn't worth mentioning. Unless it is a blog that you cherish.

I am saddened by today's "game over" announcement at Joyful Jubilant Learning.

I have never met or talked to Rosa Say but she has influenced my thinking immensely. It started when I cited her work in May 2007 in my fifth post on Lead Quietly titled, 12 Rules for Self Leadership. I was amazed that Rosa visited my blog on the same day and left a comment. At that moment I was hooked on the concept of blogging as a form of learning and community.

In the final post at JJL, Rosa asked us to share a favorite post. In her words,
Point to a post you fondly remember in our archives, and share what the reading of that post may have contributed to your learning.

In July 8, 2007, I posted "It's All About Learning" and in the link I cited 7 Wonders of Joyful Jubilant Learning, the JJL collaboration to assemble 777 learning links to commemorate the date 07/07/07. Nearly three years later, a review of the collaboration is still a great learning experience. Just as important to me, as a novice blogger at the time, this post introduced me to several great thinkers and communicators that I still follow today, including David Zinger, Joanna Young, and Phil Gerbyshak.

Thank you Rosa for leading and facilitating this important discussion. And know that I will continue to follow your efforts wherever it goes. It's all about learning.

Thanks for reading. Please Lead Quietly and keep Meshing Up

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bragging Quietly

We don't appreciate when people brag. We've all been in conversations where out of the blue we hear,

"My child just made the all-star team"


"I just bought a new ........"

and we respond by rolling our eyes.

On the other hand, there are other individuals in our lives where we might know the same information but it was presented in a manner that didn't have us rolling our eyes.

What is the difference? It appears that some people have mastered the art of bragging. What is the difference?

A review of the British Psychological Society Research Digest blog recently revealed a research study conducted by Dr. Nurit Tal-Or from the University of Haifa that provides an answer and insight to our question. Her research measured the impact of bragging approaches conducted in a study of over a hundred undergrads. The study offers "some insight into how to brag without coming across as big-headed."

The differences in approach came down to the simple notion of context. Quoting from the digest where Avi, a bragger and the study's subject, is bragging about his "A" grade on an exam,

The crux of it: context is everything when it comes to boasting. If Avi's friend raised the topic of the exams, Avi received favourable ratings in terms of his boastfulness and likeability, regardless of whether he was actually asked what grade he got. By contrast, if Avi raised the topic of the exams, but failed to provoke a question, then his likeability suffered and he was seen as more of a boaster. In other words, to pull off a successful boast, you need it to be appropriate to the conversation.

The research suggests a concept that we easily recognize. If you are boasting in context to the current conversation, you pass. If you boast "I bought a new (insert a favorite toy)!" without prompting or out of context, you will appear big-headed. Although, I am convinced that many of the hero-types in our midst might not mind appearing big-headed, big-headedness doesn't seem like a meshable, lead quietly type of posture.

Thanks for reading. Please keep meshing up and when you brag, keep it in context.


FYI: My #themeword for the year is Mesh.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My #ThemeWord for 2010: Mesh

I want to Mesh up in a big way!

I learned and was inspired by the work of fellow blogger Jim Harris when he posted My #ThemeWord for 2010: KARMA on New Year's day. He introduced me to the concept of a #Themeword as an alternative to a New Year's resolution.

The challenge is simple and yet challenging. Think of a single word that reflects your hopes and dreams for the year.

I agonized about this for days. My whiteboard is fully covered with #themeword nominations.

For awhile, I gave up on a single word thinking that I would need six words. I would cite the work of Rajesh Setty in his Life Beyond Code blog where he proposed a six word elevator pitch. I could make it work with six words.

A couple days later, my reading exposed me to Seth Godin's What Matters Now (download the ebook). I'm a fan of Godin. He has this ability to start a conversation that is insightful, relevant, and contemporary. In his ebook, he compiled the word ideas of seventy big thinkers including the likes of Tom Peters, Chris Anderson, Guy Kawasaki, Dan Pink, and more. I was mesmerized by the book.

On page 71 I found my #Themeword, Mesh.

Written by Lisa Gansky, the word immediately found meaning with me. Here are some highlights from her short work.
  • Some things are best shared.
  • Quality of life is moving distinctly away from what we own.
  • Access trumps ownership.
  • Mesh will reshape how we go to market, who we partner with and how we find customers.
As I connected with the idea, I found that expanding on Lisa's thoughts was easy.
  • Mesh suggests new levels of collaboration where every voice is welcome.
  • Mesh promotes learning and sharing.
  • Mesh suggest a balance of opinion and thought. Don't you wish the partisanship of Congress could be replaced with Mesh.
  • Mesh proposes great community, perhaps Seth Godin-like Tribes who share a passion.
  • Mesh seems consistent with our Mashup capabilities that combines technology, data, functions or ideas. Let's bring it all together.
  • Mesh brings an element of transparency. You can see through mesh. It is not about hidden process or decision.
  • Mesh might actually suggest a network that exists at the intersection of learning, sharing, collaboration, and problem solving. There could be millions of intersections in a mesh.
  • Mesh is a "we" not "me" approach to problem solving.
  • Mesh proposes action for the greater good.
My #themeword for 2010 is Mesh. I aspire to mesh and be meshed. I will try to be meshable. At the end of the year, I hope I can say, "I meshed up."

Interested in participating in the #themeword tradition? Follow these three simple steps:
  1. Think of a word that reflects your hopes and dreams for 2010
  2. Share your theme word with friends on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog
  3. Be sure and use the hashtag #ThemeWord
Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.