First, empty your cup

A university professor visited a Zen master to ask about Zen. The master served tea. He poured tea into the professor’s cup until it was full and then kept right on pouring as the tea overflowed, spilling all over. The professor cried, “Stop! The cup is full and cannot take any more.” The master said, “Yes, and like this cup your mind is full of your own opinions and thoughts. How can I tell you about Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
Innovation is the lifeblood of business today. While it’s difficult in the midst of day-to-day business, you have to empty your cup periodically to think differently about your work. There are several powerful ways for individuals and teams to do this. Learn a couple of the techniques that best fit you, your team and your culture.

Improve Your Yield on Training

Advertising legend David Ogilvy said half the money spent on advertising is wasted – the problem is which half.  The same is true of training.  You can increase your training yield by applying two key principles:  First, training benefits those with skill deficiencies, but it won’t help those with attitude deficiencies.  Second, question any training that is not directly linked to improved behavior or performance.

Resistance at the Top

The leader who is attempting to shift strategic direction faces three sources of resistance within their organization — the broad employee base, middle managers, and senior managers.  Of the three, the most resistant are the senior managers, even if they have been involved in setting the direction.

A client of 4000 employees asked for my help implementing major change that affected the entire organization.  The symptom was that lower level people were not cooperating with the change.  The cause was that senior executives voiced support for the change, but told their organizations to focus on other priorities.  Once the executives became strong sponsors, the change was implemented successfully.

Clear and simple strategic direction is important, but it must be accompanied by actions demonstrating commitment.

What the Doctor Said

“Are you exercising?” he asked.

“Yes, sure, I’m going on walks around the farm,” I said.

“By exercising, I mean 30-40 minutes, 4 times each week where you break a sweat,” my doctor replied.

“Oh,”  I said slowly, taking in a better definition.  I thought I was exercising, but I really wasn’t.

When I first asked some of my best clients whether they had a distinctive business strategy, or a clear vision of their company in the future, or a sharply-focused organization they too replied, “Yes, sure.” 

These days I get sweaty after cycling and TRX workouts.