Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. — Aristotle
Author David Nour (www.nourgroup.com) lives in Atlanta, GA and I had the privilege to hear him speak a few years ago at a Vistage summit. He has written extensively about the value of key relationships and the importance of investing in your private and public networks.
If “Time is Money” as Ben Franklin famously stated in the 1700’s then our relationships have value too because we spend time with our friends, family and work associates. I am working on an equation that depicts the value of our relationships. If there is a time value of money equation, why can’t there be a formula for placing a value on our investment in others? Reciprocity is the result of our investment. We get back what we put into our relationships.
Richard Koch (www.richardkoch.net), another favorite author of mine from Great Britain, calls our relationships a network of strong and weak links that connects us as individuals and “maps” the degrees of separation that define our social reach. In his book, “SuperConnect”, Koch explains how our strong and weak connections, reach beyond our core group of individuals that we are closest to.
Some relationships have a very small sphere of influence whereas some individuals in our network have massive reach. Koch calls these individuals superconnectors. The key ingredient that connects relationships and reciprocity seems to be our reputation. We are known by our reputation and associations. Guard both carefully my friends.
It has become abundantly clear that teachers and educators are Essential Workers during this recent pandemic. Seeing our students sheltering in place and parents scrambling to home school thousands of children has been eye opening for sure.
When I think back, there have been teachers and professors that have shaped my thinking and encouraged me to be more than I thought I was capable of.
Next week I’m going to see if I can’t find a few of these special people and say thanks. It might be hard because at 57, many of these folks might not even be with us anymore. I wish I had done this sooner. Let me challenge you to do this with me.
Being a lefthanded student in primary school during the sixties wasn’t easy. My mom attended teacher conferences where she had to insist that I be allowed to “write from the wrong side of the desk” and have my paper slanted differently from the other students. It didn’t click with me until much later (in college) that us lefties think very differently from righties. Being a good student was easy for me as long as I didn’t get distracted and daydream too often. What made school easy for me in the classroom was seeing information as “patterns” and looking at problems as “puzzles” rather than linear equations that most of my righthanded classmates used when solving problems. Using puzzles, patterns and predictions, I was able to be a good student with very little effort. Looking back now, I wish that I would have applied my mind to pursue loftier goals for myself but that is another story for another time.
We can use this mental mind technique today in our careers. When you see a problem, visualize a jigsaw puzzle where pieces can be moved around and put into different places until the solution appears. What makes this type of thinking really cool is that the puzzle can always be further tweaked and improved upon. Predictions change as better information comes into focus to be applied to the pieces. Parts of the puzzle may have absolute answers but the entire solution can become better when individual pieces or “components” are managed differently.
I encourage you to try this type of intuitive or “integrated” thinking when looking at solving a problem. Take a step back and visualize what you want the solution to be (prediction) and then work backward with the different components of the problem and arrange them in such a way that each “component” can be compartmentalized, segregated and solved independently before reassembling them into a complete puzzle. Drop me a note and let me know how it works out for you.