the blog Synergy

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Coffee and ???

From Curt Rosengren writing at Worthwhile, comes news of this study revealing that coffee is good for you. Coffee delivers the largest amount of antioxidents amongst the standard American foods and beverages.

I have not completely gotten into drinking coffee. I have only a cup on the weekends. Maybe now I should reconsider it in this light. And then have another reason to hang around the coffee pot with my coworkers discussing and solving the world's problems.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Forget "Who", forget "What", know "Why"!

From Graeme at ?IC@TomorrowToday.Biz comes this excellent link to an article that reminds us that while it does matter to know who, and it does matter to know what, you better know why first!

So have you asked yourself "Why" recently?

An exciting project

I am delighted to be part of this exciting new Blogging Synergy experiment and I look forward to working alongside my virtual friends and team mates Troy, Steve, Rosa, and Felix.

It is amazing how many people I have met 'virtually' since being introduced to the joys of internet, e-mail and now Blogging.

At 53 years of age I have been brought up at a time when all this was just a sci-fi pipe dream and here we are with the world of information now literally at the fingertips of everyone who wants it.

Some see that as a threat but I am a pragmatist and see this as a great opportunity.

The choices are to bury our head in the sand and watch the world go by or get involved and try to make the world a better place through the things we do. That must always be our first motivation.

Technology is offering us the chance to educate ourselves about the ways of life in many other parts of the world than our own through connecting and communicating.

We can all learn from others - whoever we are and wherever we live.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The force of genius

To be a genius is not an easy job. Throughout history those who showed the signs of originality suffered pain and loneliness.

This is what happened with the famous psychologist Carl Jung when he broke ties with Freud. While he was writing "Symbols of transformation" he knew Freud would never accept his theory and that meant the end of their relationship. This is how he explained the process in his Memories, dreams, reflections,

"When I was working on my book about the libido and approaching the end of the chapter "The sacrifice", I knew in advance that its publication would cost me my friendship with Freud".

Years later and in the same field of depth psychology, Jacques Lacan kind of revolutionized the European psychoanalytic scene. His "return to Freud" was interpreted as a heresy by the therapeutic community. Lacan was banned from teaching psychoanalysis and he was expelled from the scientific circles. In his worst moments of isolation Lacan found the recognition of outsiders of the psychoanalytic movement as well as from practitioners in so distant places as Argentina.
Now, the Jungian School is an educational trend with its own brand and Lacan is considered in psychoanlytic circles as one of the biggest innovators in the field.
These are examples of the sacrifice many genius people have to stand. Jung and Lacan both went through dark times and perhaps it was the people who were closer to them who critiziced them most. But they carried on and thanks to them now we can read their works.
It´s the force of genius that holds them when they are beside the precipice and there´s no net to save them.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Defying Gravity

Mark writes, "When life's thermals decide to take you into the stratosphere you simply have to buckle up and breathlessly enjoy the ride." Mark cites a number of reasons why he could be depressed, but instead, for reasons he can't fully articulate, he feels great. In fact, he hasn't felt better in years.

I believe this is the result of positive thinking and exercise. When both the body and mind are fit, a natural synergy is created that can elevate one's mood and performance to new heights.

Read Occam's Razor!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Holistic Approach to Parental Support

From the Boston Sunday Globe today comes this article on a team of women rowers who have come together to win a race on the Connecticut River.

The Proud Mamas, 11 young mothers who are part of the Young Parents Program at Boston Children's Hospital, won yesterday's regatta at Brunelle's Marina by defeating teams from Holyoke and New Haven. But the Mamas, who hail mostly from Brighton, Mattapan, and Dorchester, were also celebrating an awakening to their ability to tackle any obstacle blocking their path.

The Young Parents Program provides support, gives the women information on child care, and educates them on being a good partner with the fathers.

This was the second year the Mamas rowed in the regatta -- and their second win. It was a capstone experience -- earned after months of training, complicated juggling of work, school, and home -- and an event that celebrated their devotion to motherhood.


The regatta is part of the Rowing Strong, Rowing Together program now in its seventh year at The Care Center, an alternative education organization in Holyoke catering to young women who want to complete a GED program and are either pregnant or parenting. At the center, 85 percent of students go on to pursue some type of college degree. The self-planned program offers a liberal arts education and exposure to sports and academic studies outside their daily routine.

''This is what a liberal arts education does," said Russell Powell, coordinator of the Rowing Strong, Rowing Together program. ''Why we wouldn't offer this experience to these girls just doesn't make sense. They need it more than anybody."

As a long time athlete, I wholeheartedly endorse this approach. There is a connection between mind and body. Healthy activities in a group setting enable positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement further enables confidence in continuation along this path. Success builds upon success.

This approach works for anyone willing to give it a try.
You do need to take the first step.
You do need to follow through.

Although Sasha Dunn, 23, of Mattapan, was all smiles before the race, she said she was still nervous about competing in her second regatta. ''At first, it was crazy," Dunn said of the group's biweekly practices, which began in April. ''It was hard for us to get together, the boat was really tippy, but eventually, we just kind of clicked."

Dunn balanced criminal justice courses at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, work as a security officer in Cambridge, and the care of her 3-year-old daughter, Makayla Joseph.

Kudos to the Proud Mamas for their success.

Kudos to the hospital program for making this happen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Preparing Kids for the Future

Shoshana Zuboff's column in the July issue of Fast Company raises good points for our future.

Already we're seeing signs that the workplace of the future will bear little resemblance to today's centrally administered hierarchies. Work will be more ad hoc, on the fly, and responsive. Successful employees won't be afraid of new situations without rules. They'll be expected to use their knowledge, imagination, independent judgment, and critical thinking, while leveraging disparate resources -- from information to communities -- to construct the best solution that's aligned with core principles. The rapid and dynamic demands of problem anticipation, identification, and solution will put a premium on continuous learning.

So what does this mean for our kids? It means they should be self-managing independent thinkers as well as good empathizers and collaborators. Rather than constant external stimulation or structured activities, they need uncluttered time in which to let their imaginations unfurl. Kids well armed for this new world will benefit from immersion in the rights and obligations of teamwork and community endeavors, balanced with the self-expression that comes from learning how to write. Above all, this vision of the future calls for kids who are deeply literate, with all the sense-making capabilities that attend passionate reading.

For those of you with children, are you fostering their reading habits?

For those of you without kids, are you helping any child you can with reading?

Our future will depend on the kids we all raise today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hours or Effort?

From the July/August issue of Worthwhile, I find this as food for thought:
What is so striking about the persistence of hours as a measurement of output is that, in today's world, what we need is exactly the opposite of the hours mentality. If our sustainable competitive advantage derives from creativity and innovation, then the last thing we want is burnt-out thinkers and leaders. Anyone who's ever done creative work knows that ideas occur anywhere, anytime --- and almost never on a schedule, in a cubicle. The best software idea I ever had came to me while driving home. I know scientists who solve equations in their sleep. There is nothing about this that is enhanced by an 80-hour week.

But mostly I think an emphasis on hours is about dominance: Managers feel powerful when they keep you from your home, your loved ones, your life. In the jealous battle that some companies wage for your loyalty, keeping you at the office presents a victory. The CEO who's determined to outwork everyone else ultimately cares more about protecting his crown than his creativity. In battles like this, everyone's lost sight of productivity. What they care about is power?

From The Hours by Margaret Heffernan, page 56-59.

What do you think?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Magazine Content - Online or not?

I am a regular reader/subscriber of FastCompany and like their web site a lot. They post much of the magazine content to the site with a delay to provide the subscribers an advance over non-subscribers (and that's fair). Their blog is also very active.

I would like Worthwhile to take some hints from the FastCompany efforts. While the Worthwhile blog is good, active, thoughtful posts, I have not been able to find any of their magazine content other than in the hard copy of the magazine itself. This hinders my efforts to spread the word on the many good articles they do have. Yes, subscription is an option but it would be good to have the content available on the web also. (And yes, I do subscribe to Worthwhile.)

What do you thnk about this?

Should a magazine post their content online like FastCompany or not like Worthwhile?

FastCompany BlogJam

In case you missed it (I almost did) Fast Company had a BlogJam with 75 contributors posting 125 entries over two days earlier this week. Heath Row posts a recap with the entries all categorized for easy access to ones you would be interested in.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Blog Business Summit - Link Experiment

For insight into this experiment, follow the link here to read about it.

Then you too can link and join the experiment!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bumper sticker irritation

"I do what my rice crispies tell me"

Observed just the other day on a pick-up truck and it has been hanging with me, nagging me, won't go away I guess until I blogorcise it. (Yep, just made up the word. Sounds pretty good. Thank you English language.)

Why would someone admit to this?

This world has so many challenges, so many trials, so many big issues... Why?

To borrow a comment I made elsewhere:
... Optimism is the way to go. A good attitude comes from within. A good attitude helps to showcase ones' assets.

Optimism is food for a good attitude. Optimism attracts reinforcement of good attitude!

Keep your head held high!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Synergy in metablogging

Thank you to K.Todd Storch of Business Thoughts for this pointer:

At problogger, Darren Rowse has instigated some team synergy of his own. He is championing a cause on how to build a better blog in 31 days. With his come one, come all inclusive approach, Darren is welcoming all who are willing to share their blogging lessons-learned to be his collaborators.

Check out Darren’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Headquarters and Introduction to the project.

Why is he doing this?

I’ve noticed recently quite a few bloggers are in a bit of a slump with their entrepreneurial blogs - lacking inspiration, slipping in their posting frequency and even considering throwing in the towel.

Whilst it’s every blogger’s prerogative to let their blog slowly die - I’d like to be a part of giving bloggers a shot in the arm (or a kick up the butt) and hopefully in the process give them the motivation (and practical know how) to get their blog reaching it’s potential (whether that be financially or in some other way).

Just 7 days into it, Darren’s project is already proving how virtual team synergy is also reinventing project work as we know it. Even those who are passive observers are welcomed to reap the benefits for themselves. Is that good enough for you, or are you ready to jump into a virtual team too?

There are those content to watch from the sidelines, and those ready to play the game and score. Which are you?

Commitment to play creates a rich working experience

This article in the Boston Works section of Today's Globe (free registration required) drives home a good point, one we tend to forget but one that we should be reminded of frequently. That is, play is rewarding even at work!

Kristina Mahoney, a former pre-school teacher, shares her experiences as an office manager for a "unique New England company".

Excepts from her article:

Our office building was an old fraternity house, which once belonged to a local university. Each day, the company's technology manager could not resist sliding down the banister, which was the centerpiece of the old frat house. Fortunately, most of his dismounts were successful and painless. Being a former teacher, I wanted to yell out, "No sliding on the banister!" But, I thought, why? Instead, I played the role of Olympic judge and rated each landing. It was fun.


Of course, there were the crank calls to the front desk with the random complaints about miscellaneous items found in our product. I had to treat each call with professionalism and sincerity, even though I knew the callers were sitting two floors above me. Their snickering usually gave them away - the same way it did with the children I use to teach. Instead of giving them a "time out," I laughed.


We also had a "cube-crawl" rather than a pub-crawl. After work, employees went from cubicle to cubicle and sampled drinks. There was a martini lounge in the art department. The guys in the logistics department provided apple pie shots. Upside down margaritas in marketing. Imported wine from accounts payable. It was the most creative fun adults could even imagine.


As an adult, I often assumed we outgrew kindness. I was wrong. Some of us fell in love. Some even got married. Our appreciation of one another was never defined by our job titles.

Unfortunately, the doors to our company eventually closed and we lost our jobs. Not because we goofed around too much, just the opposite. We were so successful that we were purchased. Our owners made millions of dollars.

All of which got me thinking: The very principles nurtured in preschool can be applied to a business and make you very rich, in more ways than one. You can have a very rich life, regardless of whether you are wearing short pants in the sandbox or your favorite shorts to your job at the office. Life is about rich experiences at any age.

So put on your thinking cap! Recall those preschool and kindergarten days of play!

I don't want to grow up! Peter Pan has and always will be my hero.

Yet, life's reality has forced me to accept that I have gotten older, and wiser, and that I have responsibilities for my wife, daughters, and extended family but I still want to play and have fun.

Life without play is no fun!

What about you?

Strength in numbers

Strength in numbers
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, coming together around a common issue or problem is generally a big help. The Boston Globe Magazine (free registration required) has an article today by Patti Hartigan that illustrates this point.

Patti writes:

Meet my friends, the members of what we affectionately call the Mind-Body, or MB, group. We've been gathering like this since 1999, when we met at an infertility support program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Back then, I can safely say, we were all functioning basket cases. We'd all been subjected to embarrassing tests and invasive procedures (thus the motto), and, at the time, if a doctor told us the only way to conceive was to stroll down Newbury Street naked, we would have stripped on the spot. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

Nine of us stuck together over the years, and, all told, we have 20 children, including one set of quadruplets and two sets of twins. Some of us conceived with the help of science, some of us adopted, and others hit the jackpot the old-fashioned way. Among us, we've suffered 15 miscarriages and consulted a realm of experts, including reproductive endocrinologists, immunologists, acupuncturists, geneticists, and, in one case, a shamanic healer named Cleveland. We've lit candles, meditated, prayed, cursed, cried, and, sometimes, laughed uncontrollably. Through it all, we forged an inextricable bond.

A heart-tugging story... read the whole thing here.

Photo credit to Erik Jacobs of the Boston Globe.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Rule of Synergy: Accepting a Life of Ease

By Jory Des Jardins, self-proclaimed personal development junkie, @ 3:00 am, August 3rd... and my wife calls me strange, reading Covey and Canter and Bennis 'til the wee hours.

Read JDJ at ThirdAge.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Art for Recovery

Cell of Positive Thinking
SG, age 75, breast cancer

Art for Recovery at UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center