J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

April, 2014

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Physical Intelligence and How To Live Longer with Skill

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    I’ve added another category to Sources of Insight:

    Physical Intelligence

    I think it’s a good way to consolidate, integrate, and synthesize all of the body, health, fitness, and mind-body connection stuff.   I’m also increasingly appreciative of the power of intelligence.    Intelligence provides a nice twist whether we are talking emotional intelligence, financial intelligence, physical intelligence, positive intelligence, social intelligence, spiritual intelligence, etc.

    If there’s one post to read on Physical Intelligence, then read the following:

    9 Ways to Add 12 Years to Your Life

    It’s based on the Blue Zones research.  The Blue Zones are the healthiest places on the planet where people live the longest.

    I don’t have a lot of articles on Physical Intelligence yet, but now that I’ve made space for it, I plan to cover a lot more things, including advanced body movements that help you expand what you’re capable of.  It’s worth nothing that Tony Robbins actually prioritizes health as a top value, and he uses his physiology to generate outstanding results.  Similarly, Stephen Covey prioritized fitness and enjoyed the freedom that came from the discipline of training his body so that he could run more freely.

    Side note – Tony Robbins actually did a bunch of deep research on how to use breathing exercises to clean your system.  It’s a very specific breathing pattern that you can use to activate your lymphatic system through deep diaphragmatic breathing:

    Breathe with Skill to Dramatically Improve Your Health

    Interestingly, he claims that if you follow this breathing technique, you’ll actually change your white blood cell count.

    One more must read post is about sleep patterns:

    Larks, Owls, and Hummingbirds

    John Medina provides some simple labels for the three typical sleep patterns that people fall into.  A little self-awareness can go a long way in terms of helping you make the most of what you’ve got.  In this case, we spend a lot of time sleeping (at least us Larks), so it’s worth learning what you can about your own sleep needs and preferences, and sometimes a label can help you gain insight, or at least give you a starting point for some deeper research.

    Sleep is actually another topic that I’ll dive a bit deeper into in the future because it plays such a key role in our personal effectiveness, and ultimately in our personal power.   In fact, the cornerstone of physical intelligence might actually be the following triad:

    Eating, sleeping, and exercising.

    Our personal success patterns for each of those areas dramatically impacts the quality of our lives.

    If there are particular topics you want me to dive deep into physical intelligence, be sure to use my contact form and let me know.

    Meanwhile, enjoy browsing the current set of Physical Intelligence articles.

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    Value is Everybody’s Job

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    Back in 2010, Gartner suggested that Business Value Realization would be Enterprise Architecture finally done right.  Related, when people were confused by the scope of Value Realization, all we did was add "Business” up front (i.e. “Business Value Realization”) and that seemed to add instant clarity for people, and they said they got it. 

    They realized that it was all about extracting business value and accelerating business value.

    The most interesting pattern I think I see is not that value is an individual thing. 

    It's that any individual can create value in today’s world – with their network, the ways they work, the technology at their fingertips -- they can focus on their end users and continuous learning, and operate without walls. 

    In fact, the enticing promise of the Enterprise Social vision is comprehensive collaboration.

    There was an uprising in the developer world to create customer value -- it was agile. 

    It seems like the world is experiencing another uprising (and you hear Satya Nadella talk about a focus on individuals whether in business or life, focused on learning, collaborating, and changing the world.)

    So it's not the CIO, the CEO, etc.

    What is the new uprising?

    Value is everybody's job.

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    10 Big Ideas from Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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    My parents taught me early on to focus on growth over greatness.

    The idea was that while natural ability can take you only so far, it’s things like curiosity, challenges, continuous learning, the power of persistence, taking risks, etc. that would take you further.

    They also taught me that if I worried about whether I was naturally good, that I would give up on things where I didn’t start off so great.

    It was great advice, even if it wasn’t scientific.

    But there is science.

    In fact, there’s a lot of science about how choosing a growth mindset over a fixed mindset help people to become the best in their field.  A growth mindset is what actually creates better parents, teachers, coaches, and CEOs.   A growth mindset creates better students, better artists, and even better geniuses.

    Why?

    Because people with a growth mindset embrace the challenges, struggles, criticisms, and setbacks as a source of growth.

    And that’s how they rise above any limitation of “natural” ability.

    Teaching, learning, and continuous growth takes them further than relying on talent or fear of taking risks where they might look bad or might not start off so great.

    Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.  wrote an outstanding book on how our mindsets shape us and how they can limit or enable us to realize our potential.

    I wrote up my take aways using a “10 Big Ideas from …” style:

    10 Big Ideas from Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

    I think you'll enjoy the insights and I think you’ll appreciate how you can apply them to work and life.

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    Why Have a Strategy?

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    To be able to change it.

    Brilliant pithy advice from Professor Jason Davis’ class,Technology Strategy (MIT’s OpenCourseWare.)

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    Social Intelligence and 95 Articles to Give You an Unfair Advantage

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    Social Intelligence is hot.

    I added a new category at Sources of Insight to put the power of Social Intelligence at your fingertips:

    Social Intelligence

    (Note that you can get to Social Intelligence from the menu under “More Topics …”)

    I wanted a simple category to capture and consolidate the wealth of insights around interpersonal communication, relationships, conflict, influence, negotiation, and more.   There are 95 articles in this category, and growing, and it includes everything from forging friendships to dealing with people you can’t stand, to building better relationships with your boss.

    According to Wikipedia, “Social intelligence is the capacity to effectively negotiate complex social relationships and environments.”

    There's a great book on Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman:

    Social Intelligence, The New Science of Human Relationships

    According to Goleman, “We are constantly engaged in a ‘neural ballet’ that connects our brain to the brains with those around us.”

    Goleman says:

    “Our reactions to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins—and bad relationships like poisons. We can ‘catch’ other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold, and the consequences of isolation or relentless social stress can be life-shortening. Goleman explains the surprising accuracy of first impressions, the basis of charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies. He describes the ‘dark side’ of social intelligence, from narcissism to Machiavellianism and psychopathy. He also reveals our astonishing capacity for ‘mindsight,’ as well as the tragedy of those, like autistic children, whose mindsight is impaired.”

    According to the Leadership Lab for Corporate Social Innovation, by Dr. Claus Otto Scharmer  (MIT OpenCourseware), there is a relational shift:

    The Rise of the Network Society

    And, of course, Social is taking off as a hot technology in the Enterprise arena.  It’s changing the game, and changing how people innovate, communicate, and collaborate in a comprehensive collaboration sort of way.

    Here is a sampling of some of my Social Intelligence articles to get you started:

    5 Conversations to Have with Your Boss
    6 Styles Under Stress
    10 Types of Difficult People
    Antiheckler Technique
    Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase and Prime
    Cooperative Controversy Over Competitive Controversy
    Coping with Power-Clutchers, Paranoids and Perfectionists
    Dealing with People You Can't Stand
    Expectation Management
    How To Consistently Build a Winning Team
    How To Deal With Criticism
    How Do You Choose a Friend?
    How To Repair a Broken Work Relationship
    Mutual Purpose
    Superordinate Goals
    The Lens of Human Understanding
    The Politically Competent Leader, The Political Analyst, and the Consensus Builder
    Work on Me First

    If you really want to dive in here, you can brows the full collection at:

    Social Intelligence

    Enjoy, and may the power of Social Intelligence be with you.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    The Industry Life Cycle

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    I’m a fan of simple models that help you see things you might otherwise miss, or that help explain how things work, or that simply show you a good lens for looking at the world around you.

    Here’s a simple Industry Life Cycle model that I found in Professor Jason Davis’ class, Technology Strategy (MIT’s OpenCourseWare.)

    image

    It’s a simple backdrop and that’s good.  It’s good because there is a lot of complexity in the transitions, and there are may big ideas that all build on top of this simple frame.

    Sometimes the most important thing to do with a model is to use it as a map.

    What stage is your industry in?

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    The Growth Mindset: A Key to Resilience, Motivation, and Achievement

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    Your mindset holds the key to realizing your potential.

    Your mindset is your way of thinking, and your way of thinking can limit or empower you, in any number of ways.

    In fact, according to Carol S. Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, mindset is the one big idea that helps explain the following:

    • Why brains and talent don’t bring success
    • How they can stand in the way of it
    • Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
    • How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
    • What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know

    When Dweck was a young researcher, she was obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures, and she decided to study it by watching how students grapple with heard problems.

    You’re Learning, Not Failing

    One of Dweck’s key insights was that a certain kind of mindset could turn  a failure into a gift.

    Via Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

    “What did they know?  They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills could be cultivated through effort.  And that’s what they were doing – getting smarter.  Not only weren’t they discouraged by failure, they didn’t even think they were failing.  They thought they were learning.”

    Your Can Change Your IQ

    Believe it or not, a big believer in the idea that you can use education and practice to fundamentally change your intelligence is Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test.

    Via Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

    “Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early twentieth century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track. Without denying individual differences in children’s intellects, he believed that education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in intelligence.”

    Methods Make the Difference

    Here is a quote from one of Binet’s major books,  Modern Ideas About Children:

    "A few modern philosophers ... assert that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased.  We must protest  and react against this brutal pessimism ... With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before."

    Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

    The difference that makes the difference in success and achievement is your mindset.  Specifically, a Growth Mindset is the key to unleashing and realizing your potential.

    To fully appreciate what a Growth Mindset is, let’s contrast it by first understanding what a Fixed Mindset is.

    According to Carol Dweck, a Fixed Mindset means that you fundamentally believe that intelligence and talent are fixed traits:

    “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.”

    In contrast, according to Dweck, a Growth Mindset means that you fundamentally believe that you can develop your brains and talent:

    “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”

    If you want to improve your motivation, set yourself up for success, and achieve more in life, then adopt and build a growth mindset.

    Here are a few articles to help you get started:

    3 Mindsets that Support You

    5 Sources of Beliefs for Personal Excellence

    6 Sources of Beliefs and Values

    Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset

    Training Mindset and Trusting Mindset

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    Start Your Journey of Innovation and Build a Culture of Great Innovation

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    In todays world, the mantra is innovate or die.

    You’re either climbing ahead or falling backward … there’s no hanging out in the middle.

    And some folks are actually leap frogging ahead.

    Disruptive innovation is keeping everybody on their toes.

    Whether you are re-imagining you or your company, or you are driving innovation in your process, product, or capabilities, there are skills you can learn to be a lot more effective in your innovation efforts.

    It’s a crazy world where a One-Man Band can write an app, serve it up on the Cloud, and change the world.  It’s also a strange world where a little idea can be a big shot heard round the world.   It’s a scary thing for businesses when a handful of developers can spin up a new service in the Cloud and instantly make a business obsolete.

    What can you hold on to in this crazy world?   What can you latch on to, if you want to rise above the noise, and instead of getting washed out by a wave, be the one that makes the waves?

    There are several things, but I’ll boil them down to this:

    1. Use your customer as the North Star (and remember that some customers are better for you than others)
    2. Share and scale your unique value to the world
    3. Adapt or die

    What happens to a super successful business or a super effective person when the landscape changes under their feet?

    It depends on how they adapt Smile

    Nature favors the flexible.  Darwin taught us that.

    You have to get your bold on, and embrace innovation as your shiny sword to do battle against challenge and change, but most importantly, to create the change that serves you, and those you serve.

    I’m taking a fresh look at innovation, as well as going back through hard, expensive lessons I’ve learned in the past.  Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, so my battle scars are a healthy reminder of the lessons I’ve learned on how we can use innovation to leap frog ahead, as well as change the playing field (heck with changing the game, change the field and be the disruptor.)

    Believe it or not, Peter Drucker was a wealth of wisdom when it comes to innovation.  Many of you know him as the wise and wonderful professor of business and guru of management.   But when you read through a lot of his work, he was incredibly insightful and pragmatic when it comes to creating a culture of innovation.

    Innovation Nuggets to Get You Started on Your Innovation Journey

    I’ve got a ton of innovation books, but one that I’m really liking lately is Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes, by G. Shawn Hunter.   I’ve been sharing some nuggets from the book, and it’s been reminding me what it takes to build a culture of innovation.

    If you want to start your innovation journey, and create a culture of innovation, here are a few posts to help you on your way:

    3 Key Questions to Challenge Yourself to Innovate

    3 Keys for a Successful Innovation

    A Superior Product is Not Built from It’s Features

    Beware of Benchmarking Your Way to Mediocrity

    Energized Differentiation Separates Brands from the Pack

    High-Leverage Strategies for Innovation

    How Great Leaders Build a Culture of Innovation and Change

    Incremental Changes or Disruptive Innovation?

    Innovate in Your Approach

    Innovation Life Cycle

    Innovation, Quantification, and Orchestration

    The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results

    The Role of Process in Driving Reliable Innovation

    Great Innovation Quotes to Inspire the Art of the Possible

    If you need to remind yourself what innovation feels like or what’s possible, be sure to soak up some powerful words of wisdom:

    Innovation Quotes

    In my Innovation Quotes, I’ve also included a special section to light up what Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney teach us about building a culture of innovation.

    Let’s boldly go where we have not gone before.

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