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December 11, 2017

 

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    Entries in hack (3)

    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    The 'triple threat' work skills for the future

    Trying to make sense of the ongoing changes in the world seems like a tough ask sometimes; as soon as you’ve got your head around one shift or change ... ‘thud’, along comes another, and then another. This is the world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity (VUCA) after all. 

    So what are we to do? 

    And the emphasis is on ‘do’. We can’t just sit and wait things out. Mind you, pointless ‘doing’ isn’t too helpful either. 

    With the big world, your work world and your own world undergoing constant shifts, tweaks, adjustments and aftershocks, there are some critical work skills that will do you well - both now and the future. There's machine learning, artificial intelligence and more VUCA so you’ll need something that’s sharp and has staying power in your backpack or the often-quoted “toolkit” to ride this out ...and keep on riding. 

    The Institute for the Future and the World Economic Forum release details on what they think you’ll need for the future. Add to that what I’m thinking and seeing when I’m working with business, and yes, there’s a dose of Sensemaking capability needed.

     

    What’s the triple threat?

    The ‘triple threat’ isn’t about the world’s demise - though with some changes recently, it could well head that way sooner than we were planning! 

    Triple threat: it's the three powerful skills I think will make you a sure thing for better thinking, more useful solutions and a stronger bias for action… no matter what happens with the evolution of work. 

     

    Why a triple? 

    An actor who’s known as a triple threat is a threat because they can do more than just act. They can sing and dance and act. They’re more of a threat to succeed and get a wider range of gigs than the single domain expert who’s a great singer but… or acts well but can’t do much more. Nothing wrong with focusing on acting -- or any domain -- but having a couple of other domains of expertise in your kitbag will simply take your further, for longer. 

    Football players (catch, pass and kick) or cricketers (bat, bowl and field) or netballers (shoot, pass and defend) who are triple threats are indomitable. They’re everywhere. They’re higher profile. They deliver greater value. They’re truly indispensable. And they’re probably feeling super-fulfilled too. Imagine using all that talent in so many areas and doing all much good, bringing that much value. 

     

    Distributed -- not diluted

    While deep expertise is ace, some transferability or ‘neo-generalism’ as Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin in 'The Neo-Generalist - Where you go is who you are’ explain... is the thing. It’s my favourite book of the moment. It speaks of the ability to be a specialist and a generalist. To ‘traverse multiple domains’ and ‘live between categories and labels’; now that’s a winner in my eyes.  

    With triple threat work skills under your belt for the future, you’re more able to cross disciplines and blend opportunities that might have passed the single domain expert by. You're able to combine, mix and cross-pollinate what you learn from one area/gig/field/job/contract/experience... and apply it in another.

    Steven Johnson in ‘Where good ideas come from’ calls this looking for ‘the adjacent possible’ ... and it has a dose of his ‘serendipity’ about it too. As he unpacks seven of the innovative spaces and places where good ideas come from, you can see how having more than one domain of expertise is like capability on steroids! 

     

    The triple threat of work skills for the future

    The triple threat work skills for the future? 

    I think you’ve got to wonder, think and then do something with what you find out. 

    Sing, dance and act. 

    Bat, bowl and field. 

    Shoot, pass and defend. 

    At work, it's curiosity, ingenuity and creativity.

    It looks like this... all bright and breezy: 

     

    Curiosity is to wonder.

    It’s about questioning. What’s going on? It’s a facilitation of a diverse conversation and dialogue. It’s about scanning, listening, reading, absorbing. Hmmmmm!

     

    Ingenuity is to solve.

    It’s about thinking. More deeply. It’s connecting dots. What does this mean? It’ssensemaking. Looking back, working out what’s needed next. Coming up with plausible solutions and ideas. Ahaaaa!

     

    Creativity is... to create.

    Of course it is! But not arty painting - unless that's what you're doing! This future work skill is for making, shipping, delivering, doing. It’s about the hack. Get it done. Tick! 

    The Triple Threat of Work Skills for the Future are: Curiosity. Ingenuity. Creativity

     

    These are a triple threat because they are adaptable, flexible and transportable.

    They encourage you to be open to different perspectives and they create conditions to wonder what the heck is going on… and to respond, to work out 'what are we gonna do about it.' Oh, and then actually do it!

    Don’t just wonder. Don’t just think.

    Finish the game, the play, the third act and get into action.

    Do.

    Then you’ll be able to wonder again, think some more and put some more things into practice. 

    Go you triple threat you!

    Wednesday
    Aug312016

    To Hack is the Way

     

    The challenges of the modern workplace aren’t new: low levels of engagement and morale, industry disruption putting pressure on the business, silos and disconnected teams, a slow pace of internal change due to resistance or lack of buy in and general busy-ness overload.

    It could sound a bit dull and depressing :-( yet when you look a little closer, you might find pockets of the business where ‘all is good’.

    For many people, teams and units across a business, a breath of fresh air and a jolt of innovation and inspiration is what’s needed to press ‘reset’ and embark on a new financial year or a new project or kick-off a fresh start. 

    So I’m here to tell ya: the hack is the way. 

    Yes, the hack.

    Not breaking-into-computers hacking, but rather coming-up-with-ingenious-ideas-for-tricky-problems hacking.

    Known as the ‘hack day’ or ‘hackathon’, increasingly clued-up businesses are bringing their teams together to identify top talent, reconnect their people, speed up the identification of ideas and shift up the vibe of the business’ culture.

    This article gives you three reasons why…  this one reckons all businesses should be hacking. 

    Too often in team days or dull planning sessions the loudest voices drown out fresh and upcoming idea makers in a workplace. Or worse, it's a meteor shower of PowerPoint bullet points. And even when ideas are presented, there’s a lack ofaccountability or responsibility or follow through to get things done to see if they’ll actually work. 

    So enter, the hack. A half, one or multi-day hacking event is proving to be a culture shaker, an innovation maker and a rut breaker!

    Full on input… and output

    Through these creative, collaborative, ingenious and full-on sessions, teams work together to design and deliver something; they create solutions to respond to real customer challenges. Whether that's a new strategy, or a new product. With an increasing focus on the customer, businesses of all sizes are seeing this is a sharp and clever angle for competitive advantage.

    The hackathon helps develop prototypes that can be put into practice quick smart.

    Best of all, you get a taste of agile - a taste of agility and of productivity. You get to play with some of the super human approaches and ways of working of leading global businesses who use hacks to their advantage. Think Google, NASA, Facebook, Salesforce, Uber, eBay, Qantas, Atlassian… 

    But hey, hackathons don’t have to be about technology; it’s where they were born, yes, but you can apply hacks to creativity and innovation in almost any aspect of your business, team, unit or industry. 

    I recently facilitated a hack session at a multi-industry conference; more than 100 people all working on individual projects and tasks but their outputs could only have been achieved in that timeframe using hacking techniques. It looks like we could be starting to hack the hack!

    Cool companies hack

    Big and small companies, teams and projects the world over are seeing the benefits of the hack.

    They get teams of people together to work intensively and rapidly to:

    • create new products
    • focus on customers
    • align the team and enterprise
    • create solutions to tricky problems
    • lift innovative thinking and
    • create collaborative environments.


    And wait, there's more. I love how hack events help you see how people work under pressure.  This type of environment helps you identify top talent, high potentials and high performers who may have been previously hidden, stifled or just uninspired!

    Plus it's time to find other ways to break out of those dull ruts and patterns that a team may have fallen victim to over recent times. It's so easy to get comfortable and stay there. 

    Most of all I love seeing teams mixing together - particularly when they're working across silos. People are enjoying the work  (because : happiness!) and they're bringing a competitive and cheeky team spirit to the event. The energy is electric and the solutions are often mind blowing!

    'Wha?! How did they come up with THAT?' is a phrase that's often heard. 

    Customer Focus

    With a customer focus, a hackathon or hack day helps create some big reasons to connect and talk more deeply with customers; to research and gather information, to uncover insights and to map out customer experiences. In these insights are genius solutions and ideas that the team can create during the hack. 

    Practical ... and Keep Going

    Many hackers rave about how practical and productive hackathons are. It's not about talking all day. Yawn! Hack days are about getting sh*t done, doing things. It’s about short sprints of activity over the day or days and teams working rapidly, pushing through doubt or procrastination and experiencing a highly productive environment where delivery is everything.

    And then with the experience of the hack, teams take hacking elements back to their workplace and workspace and find they’re able to generate innovative ideas and work productively by applying same, again and again. 

    One team I worked with recently continued using their 'Hack Pack': it's a bunch of practices I run in a hack day. When they want to re-live the experience of the hackathon in their everyday work, they simply choose a technique from the Hack Pack ... and go!

    7 things

    Now, before you go all crazy and book a venue and invite everyone to hack together, think about these 7 things first: 

    1. Focus: why are we going to hack and what might the theme be? 

    2. Hackers: who's in? Who wants to come, needs to be there or would benefit from the lift of the hack?

    3. Schedule: what's going to happen when on the day? What's the schedule of things? 

    4. Process: how are you going to hack? What will you do when? Who will facilitate it for you (yes of course, let's talk about this!)

    5. Celebrate: how will you cheer on the ideas, outputs and progress the hackers make throughout the day?

    6. Implement: how will you bring the prototypes you create to fruition and put them into practice beyond the hack? 

    7. Integrate: how will you weave the learnings from the event into your culture for ongoing benefits, ROI and overall hacking goodness?

    Your hack plan could look like this...



    Leading companies and businesses across so many industries (beyond technology) are learning that today's challenges need new ways of thinking, acting and working. They're looking for better ways to drive creativity and ingenuity - yet all the while still solving problems and challenges. (Oh and let's maintain or strengthen our competitive advantage at the same time!)

    When you need to get all of that done, they know - and you do too - that where there’s a hack ... there’s a way!
    Wednesday
    Dec242014

    That little step between knowing and doing

    'Thanks for the reminder'.

    'That's a great refresher'.

    'Yes, good to bring those points to the front of mind.'

    If you've heard - or made - these comments when you've re-visited something you already know, it certainly IS a great reminder. A reminder of the v-a-s-t amounts of things you know.

    And the gap between those things you know... and those you actually do.

    You know how it goes; you start with great intentions but after a day or three, the new habit or the new behaviour or the great idea gets dropped, stopped, dumped.

    Insert guilty face? No, leave that guilt and glum over there. Let's look at that little step between knowing and doing. 

    In a hyper busy world, we've got to 'hack'. We've got to find a game, a technique or a way around, to be more productive and get to do the things we want to, need to or wish to.

    We've got to find our own 'outta the box' solutions - even if they aren't slick or sharp - as long as they work for us, we are hacking the problem or situation or challenge.... to find a solution. 

    You've got to unravel the Gordian Knot that is between what you know and what you do. 

    And rather than thinking it's a big messy knot that you need to work on for hours, get a pair of scissors and cut the knot! That's a hack. Not so elegant, but super-functional, practical and ready to go!

    Even when you think you don't have time to find a solution, look for a hack; that rough but productive work-around that will get you from knowing to doing.