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February 26, 2005

The Reality of Possibility

I grew up in a household of mostly right brain logical thinkers. My father was an engineer by training but rose through the ranks of Texaco into senior management. My mother, the passionate Italian, provided the balance of reason by occasionally challenging "what was right", or at least what was said to be right. By the way, if you haven't read the Truth about the Truth, read it. Back to the subject. Given the nurture that I had, where my father was the dominant personality, I went to a great engineering school (Clarkson College of Technology) which is now a "university" after it decided to take state and federal monies and diversified its curriculum. So to me, everything looks like a number, or a matrix of some sort. Well almost. You see, while I did learn a great deal from my father and from Clarkson, my mother had a great influence on me as well. I mostly learned from her how to challenge the status quo and to live life to its fullest. Talk about ying and yang. This brings me to the Reality of Possibility. I use this matrix consciously and sub consciously every day. Although it's not as widely applied as the Theory of Relativity, I still like it. Reality_possibility_matrix_7

You can put people, individual situations, companies, whatever, in a static environment into any one of these four categories or quadrants. But the real power of this matrix is how to move from one category to another. So let me give you an example - a business example. Lets take IBM in the 80's. They had fallen into a "crisis" mainly because they didn't innovate and see the advent of the distributed computing environment coming. Here they were in the 70's, cranking out cash from their mainframe lines doing "Business as Usual", the world around them was moving toward distributed computing and in the 80's, they didn't see it coming (or refused to see it coming) and they fell into Crisis. They were no longer a match for the current reality (i.e. they were low in reality and they were not innovating - high in possibility). What happens with companies, as well as individuals, when they are in crisis is they are forced to innovate. This is when people take extraordinary actions and get creative - fast. People do their best thinking when their backs are up against a wall. They invent or create a "Breakthrough" for themselves, their company - hopefully. If they don't, they wither away and die (chapter 11). Now typically those breakthroughs are viewed by most as "crazy" or having little to do with the reality that they have known (i.e. they are high in possibility and low in reality). Think of IBM in the 90's, what did Gersner do, he got them into the Services business and created IBM Global Services. People thought he was crazy - why was IBM getting away from what they do best? Now the challenge is to get your constituents to start to believe in the new future that you've created for yourself or, to be just ahead of the curve that "you know is coming" and ultimately you shift from low to "high in reality". You marry "high reality" with "high possibility" and bingo - Sustainable Business Breakthrough. Or what we like to call The Magic Quadrant! You are now out ahead of the crowd, innovative AND a match for what is needed in reality. But low and behold, the crowd catches up (the frame changes) and your back to Business as Usual. Reality_possibility_matrix_6

Ah, the endless cycles of business. I can give you hundreds of examples of businesses that follow this cycle. I can give you hundreds of examples of individuals that follow this cycle. Some of the cycles are short; some of the cycles are long. But this seems crazy, why would businesses or individuals allow themselves to be caught in these perpetual cycles. This is where my parents come in. You see, you don't have to. The challenge is to continually balance Reality with Possibility. Those that think they are "always right" or righteous will ultimately get caught up in the cycle and crash. They get caught in the Business as Usual frame by being unwilling to change and get passed by, or they get caught in the Breakthrough frame because they are always changing and never a match for Reality!. Both are recipes for Crisis. Those that have a good sense of Reality but are OPEN to Possibility are able to balance and operate in differing dimensions when needed.

Reality_possibility_matrix_10 So the challenge is to continually operate in Sustainable Business Breakthrough, by having parts of your business, your life, operating in Business as Usual, but having other parts of your business, your life, creating Breakthroughs by being open to new possibilities - by doing things differently, by challenging the status quo. The businesses or the families that operate at peak performance usually have a balance of people. There are those that are perfectly fine operating in the past or present honoring "how it's always been done that way so why change". And there are those that are perfectly fine operating in the future, challenging the status quo, looking for new and innovative ways to do things. The challenge for CEO's and parents alike, are to find ways to have each of these types of individuals to learn from each other. Or, if you're lucky, find and surround yourself with those unique people that have the ability to operate anywhere along the curve at any one time.

February 26, 2005 in Business | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

Lent - The "Sacrafice"

So last Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) was the start of Lent.

Lent is a forty-day period before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection. Lent begins on 9 February 2005 and ends on 26 March 2005.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. By the way, I had to look this up after my duaghter quized me on it the other day. I thought the 40 days had something to do with Noahs ark.
So, it's about sacrifice. Most of us relate to Lent as something we "have to give up" for 40 days. Our kids go to a Catholic school so a good number of our friends celebrate Lent in one fashion or another. Last night we were at a party and of course the issue of Lent came up (as well as a number of other non-appropriate subjects) and some of us shared what we were sacrificing as a badge of honor. It was hilarious because most of what we were giving up were vices that we have developed over the years (drinking, smoking, eating sweets, etc, etc). But the funniest comment was when one (of a couple) said that they were giving up "sex". I'm not sure who was sacrificing what, or if indeed it was sacrificial or more like a gift, but it occurred to me that the original precepts of Lent had somehow been mitigated over the years. I for one am giving up all alcohol for Lent, yet another great sacrifice among man - although I was intending to cut back anyway to try to shed a few of those Holiday pounds that are sticking around. It's a good excuse anyway... :-)

February 13, 2005 in Biographical, Religion | Permalink | TrackBack

February 06, 2005

The Game was a Blast!

We had a great time at the game last night. We started off at Tamayo restaurant in LoDo (if you haven't gone there, go, its our favorite "upscale" mexican restaurant), where we had a couple of appetizers and few cocktails to set the scene. Took a pedi-cab from LoDo to the Pepsi Center, the kids would have said they had a great time if that was the only thing we did. We arrived at the end of the shoot-around and Alec got Vashon Lenords autograph, most everyone else had already gone inside before we arrived. Didn't matter to him though - he was pumped! Nuggets_familyVashon is his new #1 player - I think he went to bed with his newly autographed Nuggets program. Here's the crew prior to the game. We ran into Rick and Chris Weston (he took the picture) at the game. They're good friends of ours and live close by.

The game was a blowout, The nuggets are clearly re-energized with the arrival of George Carl as their new head coach. Although the Golden State Warriors are horrible, I think they where something like 4 for 18 at one point in the first period. The Nuggets were up by 20 at half time.


It didn't matter though, between the popcorn, soda, cotton candy and ice cream, Alec & Alexa were in 7th heaven - and later a food coma. They both went crazy when Carmelo Anthony finished off an ally-oop, and Alec learned to "boooo" loudly when a Warrior was at the foul line (he'd fit right in at the Garden in NYC - where I saw my first game). Lex loved the Nuggets Dancers, ummm along with a number of others in the crowd. What was cool was there were no fights, no drunken idiots - just a good clean time of family fun. Kudos to the Nuggets and the Pepsi Center for the product that they put forth.

February 6, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

February 05, 2005

Goin to the Game Tonight

Christine, me and the kids are going to the Nuggets game tonight at the Pepsi Center in Denver. It's the kids first time, they're psyched. They both have Carmelo Anthony jerseys. I wanted to make sure the kids had a great first time experience so I searched long and hard for good seats. Yup, that's us in section 128, row 4! Court-side seats. Don't ask how much - I couldn't afford it either. I used some of my American express points to get the tickets. if you haven't found it yet, you can use American Express points to buy tickets through Ticket Master. Although the exchange rate is pretty bad. Most establishments give you 10:1 exchange (points:dollar), Ticket Master is about 15:1.

In any case, thought it was worth it and we'll be there tonight. Although afterward Christine found out that they have a family four pack for $49 that gets you 4 tickets, 4 sodas, and 4 hot dogs - I caught a bit of grief for that one but hey, we're talkin court-side vs nose bleed section!

I'll post tomorrow - I'm planning on taking a couple of pictures with my Treo phone and I want to see if I can figure out how to add the pictures to this blog.

We'll see if coach George Karl can keep the mojo going with the Noogies. It would be awesome if they could power into the playoffs after having a disastrous first 2/3 of the season. Till then ....

February 5, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack