the blog Synergy

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

John Chrysostom on fellowship

A couple of weeks ago I bought a wonderful book. It´s called "On living simply" and it was written by 4th century Christian Saint John Chrysostom. In one of his sermons this is what John told about fellowship:

If a person is to change his actions, his attitudes must change first. And a person will only change his attitudes if he realizes that his present attitudes bring misery to himself as well as to others. Thus we must appeal to his self interest, showing that by harming others he is cutting himself off from human fellowship; and revealing to him that his heart is hungry for fellowship, not for gold and silver.

What I like from John´s wisdom is:

1. The possibility of change.
2. The importance of attitudes.
3. The value of fellowship.
4. The need of a coach.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Happy Monday from England!

I'm feeling guilty at my patehtic lack of entries on our Synergy Blog for the last month so here is something to think about

Question 1:

If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven.


Question 2:

It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A - Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B - He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C - He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.


Pretty interesting isn't it?

Makes a person think before judging someone.

Never be afraid to try something new.

Remember: Amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

BrandYou 50 Reminder

Picked up the second copy I kept on my book shelf of Tom Peters BrandYou 50 to give to my daughter Carolyn. She is a senior in high school (yes, and fighting senioritis). She is faced with her decision as to where she will go to school next year. Needs to make her final decision/deposit by May First. (I wonder how many high school seniors are making a "Mayday" call right about now?) But the decision is larger than where she will go, it really sets her up for what she will do, be, work, etc.
What is a "Carolyn Sherlock"?
Not an easy question for someone not yet 18. Sometimes not an easy question for someone older, especially these days. The life we thought we knew is changing in front of us.
Where will we be in five years? A ridiculous question!
Where will we be next month?
Hence finding this in the intro of BrandYou 50 gives it additional poignancy:
Brand You is as personl as it gets. Brand You = Who You Are. Perhaps, then, you'll be surprised at how often we get to say; "Get together with a number of your colleagues to consider..." Well, Brand You is personal... but it is also a Team Sport. The team, this time, is probably not your formal work group. Instead it's a Collection of Kindred Spirits... Brand You Wannabees, as I often call them in the book. That is this "stuff" calls for lots of chewing over. And, we've learned in our training programs, such masticating is immeasurably more effective when a small group of Brand You Seekers gathers together, formally or informmally. Hey, for many/most of us this is pretty frightening --- if ultimately liberating --- stuff. And frightening stuff goes down better with a support group. 
About the only passion I have currently not covered with this support group of kindred spirits is poetry. And this of course, this recognizes that the close inner circle of family and friends is already present and accounted for.
What about your support?
Are you in good company?
Powered By Qumana

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Simple Steps are the Best Steps

It's been a while since I've posted to the Synergy weblog, as I was waiting for the "perfect" bit of inspiration, or the "perfect" quote, or the "perfect" moment of clarity.

Guess what?
It never happened.

I decided to dip my foot in the pool, and look for something less hard. Something I could do! So I checked out my teammates' sites.

Rosa reminded me to "read short and deep." Like Rosa, I love to read, probably too much. But I haven't done much lately, because it's taken too much effort, and frankly, I haven't had it. So short and deep works for me. Thanks Rosa!

But I needed more. I need some...simplicity. Trevor's new site is just what I needed: it's simple and sweet. Check him out!

And then I found these 2 little quotes that summed up simplicity for me:

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Ozarks by Hines

kindness to one's self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all." - David R. Hawkins

Keep preaching the need for simplicity Trevor. I need it to remember that it's the little things that make it great, NOT the big ones! Thank you for that reminder!

On to Steve Sherlock...Steve shares an easy thought, Songs on the Road. 2 songs that hit him on his drive. That's not too hard to think about. I love music, and Passionate Kisses is a good song that often hits me too.

And I kept going...

I visited Troy Worman, and while I knew I didn't need to wait for permission to succeed, I remembered that he wrote a manifesto that MUST be written, about the simple folks, like me, who need to "blow shit up!" Troy NEVER waits for permission to succeed, he...just...does!
Simple really...Thanks Troy!

And then I remembered I haven't visited Felix Gerena over at Brand Soul in a while, but I did remember he had a manifesto, just like Troy is going to have. (I usually just read the RSS feeds, but I don't click in much, sorry). So I stopped in, and then a quote on life that Felix posted hit me like a ton of bricks:
Life is half mastery, half mystery.

Stop here. Half mastery, half mystery. Mystery solved now, for me! Or should I say, mystery solved for me, for now! Thanks team for sharing your powerful messages with me.

Phil Gerbyshak

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Podcasting for Beginner's

For anyone thinking about creating a podcast and worried that it might be too geeky to get into, rest assured, it does not seem impossible. I just read this article (thanks to Mike at ?IC@TomorrowToday.Biz ) and it sounds pretty doable.
I plan on trying sometime soon and when I do, I'll provide some more experiential feedback. In the meantime, have at it!
Technorati Tags : , ,
Powered By Qumana

Friday, February 24, 2006

I’m giving Malcolm Gladwell some breathing room

Just in my own small, very small, contentedly small way.

I’ve decided I am not going to subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell’s new blog.

I like Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve read both his books, and I admire his writing. My decision has nothing to do with him.

There is just so much in my world I prefer to take notice of. Like my time right here with Team Synergy and all of you, and with my own blog’s community.

I’m sure Malcolm will be just fine without me.

I see that in BlogLines alone he has 372 subscribers in less than 2 days time for his new blog, and I worry about him. The poor guy hasn’t even been able to design a decent About Page yet.

I have no idea how he is going to keep up with all the comments there already. I don’t even have time to read them.

The very cool, very liberating thing is that I don’t have to.

With all those people reading, I figure I’ll hear about any earth-shattering insights at Malcolm‘s place eventually.

And frankly, and with no disrespect whatsoever to Malcolm or his readers, the comments here, and in our own spider-web of virtual communities are much more interesting to me.

Good luck Mr. Gladwell. I think you’re going to need it. Better than luck, I’ll say a prayer for you, because I really, really hope you’ll be able to write another book with this runaway blog on your hands.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Peanut Butter Wiki

Call me crazy but I love peanut butter. Actually I like it better with marshmallow fluff in a New England creation called the fluffernutter, but that is getting away from the point.

Yes, Steve what is the point?

How about a wiki that advertises it is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich?

Got to be a good one. I mean, a peanut butter sandwich. How easy can it get?

Go see! Check out Wesley Freyer via Alan Levine on the pbwiki

You've waken my appetite, I think I'll make a sandwich just in case....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wicked problems

From Adam Richardson at CPH127 comes this full posting and good comment trail on wicked problems:

Because they are so difficult to identify and define, wicked problems tend to go unaddressed, even if there is an underlying sense that something needs to be done (though about what exactly no-one can say).

So how do you deal with such intractable problems? In my AWF talk I followed the theme of the conference - work and play - by using sports analogies to identify a number of capabilities and states of mind that are valuable in addressing wicked problems. These are:

  • Having wide peripheral vision to spot opportunities and threats at the edges
    Using pattern experience to sense the shape of wicked problems before hard proof is available
  • Treat solutions as questions
  • Have a high panic threshold and don't be tempted to "tame" the problem prematurely
  • Treat wicked problems as a full contact sport - get the whole system in one room and hash it out, and stay close to your customers
Food for thought here. Much of this I like. Especially the analogies.
Read the full posting. Check out Adam's blog for the follow-up postings.
Technorati Tags : , ,
Powered By Qumana

Saturday, February 18, 2006

For the book writer

For the writer with a goal to put together a book, you might want to check out this new site: Blurb. I found this via eHub, a creation of Emily Chang and a very good source of new tools for all kinds of things to do.
I check it periodcially and this one caught my eye.
Others that did in the visit today were
Ziemeer - Jan from Amsterdam has made "a spoof of the million dollar homepage by giving free publicity to the sites we like."
StikiPad - A hosted wiki solution that gives you an easy way to organize and share information with others.
This one, StikiPad, might be good to explore as an addition to what we have here at the blog Synergy or on our individual blogs. While the blog format is good for enabling our conversations, to have the ready reference for all the items in our subject areas does not always fit well in the blog format.
I am going to start to play with this one to see how it could work. I like the wiki concept and am fearful of the wiki abuses (as made public by events at wikipedia and the failure of the wiki by the LA Times). (Well, I might go slowly on this one. I just signed up for an account and the "free" portion does not provide a lot of the basics I think I would need from the wiki to really test it. I am blogging on a zero dollar budget for the time being.)
Food for thought to start this weekend.
Technorati Tags : , , ,
Powered By Qumana

Friday, February 17, 2006

Improvised relationships, a gift

I like Patricia Ryan Madson´s new book´s title, Steve. Improv Wisdom is becoming a source of pleasant experiences for me. I don´t refer to learning experiences or just working ones, but especially some improvised personal relationships that are showing me how colourful life can be without previous planning.

It´s just a matter of leaving your heart open to new experiences. As I have just told, last week was very special for me. I held some interesting though a bit crazy conversations with quite weird people.

The fact that most interests me now, is how easy it is to build a great relationship even if you don´t know the other person. I tried this with my now-already-friend Jon. We were attending the same Leadership Development Program and I had no place to sleep in. Jon was sitting beside me, he imagined I could have no place to go and just asked me: Do you want to come to sleep to my house? Great, I said. I just had no idea where I could go elsewhere (well, I admit I had a B-plan, but anyway). Jon and me stayed three hours talking about Plato and the soul and found out both had had the same teachers in our Ph.D. Programs. When we told the rest of our colleagues they just could laugh and say:Ok, you both are adventurers, aren´t you?

The second example happened to me last week. I was travelling by bus from Vitoria to Bilbao and the person seating beside me asked me if I wanted to read his newspaper. We just started talking about soccer, he told me he was from Barcelona, he had a designer-sister and worked for a University in Vic. I gave him my business card and then each followed his own path. But what a time we spent together!

This is chaos taken to the realm of personal relationships. I reccomend everyone trying it. Then tell us. I´ll be listening.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Don't Wait for Permissio to Succeed!

Don’t Wait for Permission to Succeed! The Manifesto is the running!

Check this out. My manifesto is up for vote at ChangeThis. Goto ChangeThis and vote for me! You can vote once per day per computer through March 18, so vote often and tell your friends.


3 questions

Tom Peter's new cool friend, Patricia Ryan Madson, was interviewed by Cathy Mosca and during the interview, this stopped me:
... it's a meditation form in which you ask and answer these three questions: "What have I received from others? What have I given to others or given back to others? What trouble and bother have I caused them?"
Yes, these are good questions to think about. Deeply!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The birds are fine

The birds are fine
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

I remembered to fill the bird feeders yesterday, so while the blizzard does its thing today, the birds are gathering. Taking turns on the feeders. Some spilling seed to the snow for others to gather and share.

Kind of like blogging isn't it?

Someone starts with a posting. It gathers readers. Some gather a seed and fly away. Some comment and the conversation continues.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Our practice of leadership, right here, right now

At the Practice of Leadership, George Ambler stopped me in my tracks this morning with his post pointing to Catch a Rising Star, an article written by Geoffrey Colvin for Fortune Magazine. I’m regretting that I told my husband he could take my car to work today, for now I want that issue of Fortune --- I want it bad, and where I live, getting a copy would mean a whole day on foot.

Read George’s highlights here:
What’s the State of your Leadership Practice? by George Ambler, author of The Practice of Leadership

Then, high-tail it here for the article George refers to:
Catch a Rising Star by Geoffrey Colvin for Fortune via

It is so important that we, in our power of we, understand this connection on how today’s information-based economy gives us a wealth of leadership opportunity,
“…today’s info-based economy lets businesses create vast shareholder wealth using very little financial capital but loads of human capital.”
Second, I love how Colvin points out why “Labor is abundant [and money is abundant and cheap right now] but management is scarce.”

Click over.

-----Update: It feels so good to get passionate about the stuff I read. Just added these to Talking Story and Managing with Aloha Online:
“Catch a Rising Star”—yours
“Catch a Rising Star”—yours. Part II.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Change Business

From Jennifer Rice at What's Your Brand Mantra? comes a great question:

None of us should be in any business but the change business. We must not only keep up with the facts of change, but also (and perhaps more importantly) release our death-grip on the way things are right now. It's completely futile. Is your business structured for flexibility and change? Are you?

Read the remainder of the posting here.

Your Good Name

From the Greg Greenway concert this weekend, another song where the lyrics are sticking with me.
Shakespeare asked "What's in a name?". Greg answers.

My Good Name
     from Greg Greenway: Live

When I first started out, I kind of floated around.
I thought it might be better somewhere else
'til they dragged me out.
I was mistaken.
Then they gave me my good name.

They sent me off to school, when I could talk and move around.
I thought that they were joking when they said
shut up, sit down.
I was mistaken.
I barely escaped with my good name

I fell in love, like people do.
They said, "Do you want to be happy?"
I said, "I do."
I was mistaken.
I barely escaped with my good name.

My good name, it's all I've got.
Says who I am, says who I'm not.
When I leave this world,
I will escape with my good name.

I went to see a banker.
I need a loan to get clear.
He said, "Man, you've got nothing."
I said, "That's why I'm here."
I was mistaken.
I barely escaped with my good name.

Got a job pretty easy.
All the bosses at the top
said forget what you're hearing,
keep buying that Enron stock.
I was mistaken.
I think they escaped with my good name.


What have I learned from the school of hard knocks?
Of all your possessions, everything you've got.
Don't be mistaken.
All you've got is your good name.


© 2003, Sheen of Heat Music, BMI
music and lyrics by Greg Greenway


And the chorus lingers long after the last note is played:

My good name, it's all I've got.
Says who I am, says who I'm not.
When I leave this world,
I will escape with my good name.

What is your name?
Technorati Tags : , ,
Powered By Qumana

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why we?

No, it´s not a provocative question. We can see “individualistic” attitudes in the corporate world everyday. Some people take big advantages moved by their egoism. So why not say, just me? Is it perhaps because we are not powerful enough as to think in terms of our own selves? Do we need to talk about we because we are too weak? Would we forget “we” if we got into a position of relevance and power?

The answer is you just will forget we in case you are stupid. The real thing behind the images of powerful individualistic icons is that they need the rest of the people more than you and me can need others. The difference in their case is that they need them in a blind way. They just need them to vampirize their energies, to absorb their talent, to drain their money into their financial accounts. They need them a lot, though they just don´t want to see their faces, your face, reflecting your feelings.

Why we?

We say “we” because we are aware of our sense of belonging. Joseph Lichtenberg, one of the most inspired psychoanalysts of the last 30 years found affiliation or “belonging to a we” is a natural source of motivation. For the Ndembu, an African tribe, there are no personal problems. Every personal affliction, what we call inner feelings is a collective problem for them. The Ndembu consider any physical illness has a root in the behaviour of the individual in his dealings with his tribe mates. And the cure for the illness is not provided by some medicine or herbal solution made up by the shaman. The cure comes by way of a collective ritual. It is not purification as we would easily think, it´s just about going through a state of the soul that can only be achieved in the form of a performance. And one tribe member´s sickness affects the life of the whole tribe. There´s an immediate communication of souls.

Why we?

Because we face our life with an attitude of reception, and what we get can sometimes be hard to bear. And the only solution in existence could be assistance.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Don’t give up on those Resolutions yet!

Take action!

I go gaga for Goethe, and this is one of my all-time favorite quotes: You’ve probably seen it before, but perhaps only the last part - many people have never read how it begins.

“Lose this day loitering, 'Twill be the same story Tomorrow -- and the next more dilatory. Then indecision brings its own delays, and days are lost lamenting overdays! Are you earnest? Seize this very minute! What you can do, or dream you can - begin it! Courage has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Take action. “What you can do, or dream you can - begin it!”

Recently I’ve found that the two questions* GTD guru David Allen talks about are very effective when I incorporate them into my coaching as keys in someone’s ignition. In effect, my coaching persistence with them acts as a starter, and I’m sitting shotgun so they get out of their parking spot!

In short form, it goes like this:

1. You need to get something done. (your goal or resolution)

2. Picture what it will look like when it’s done, and paint a great picture, in other words, a picture of when you have really nailed it. (your wild success!)
*Allen’s first question is, “What’s the successful outcome?”

3. Picture what you will look like doing it, and then define your very first step, and do it.
*Allen’s second question is, “What’s the Next Action?”
Try it.
Remember why that goal or resolution lit your fire in the first place. Then get it done.

Schedule it. Your calendar is the best productivity tool you have when you use it to schedule actions you commit to taking.

By the way, desire drives action too. In fact, it’s vital. If you can’t remember why that goal or resolution lit your fire, grab some keawe wood and start a new fire.

It was a quiet week...

Garrison Keillor begins his News From Lake Wobegon: "It was a quiet week..." and then of course we find out it has been anything but!

Just like his closing lines where he proclaims Wobegon to be a place
"where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Things are not always as them seem to be.

You can't tell a book by its cover.

Still waters run deep!

I could continue alone but what's the fun in that?

This was all prompted by the fact that Team Synergy's blog was QUIET this week.

And I am (actually was) partly to blame for that. But now it is the weekend.

Time to regroup, refresh, avoid the Super Bowl preparations (after all the Patriots are not going so what is all the fuss about?) and getting something going.

Like my wife has woken up (yes, I am the early bird this morning) and we are going for a walk.

Catch you all later!

I know it hasn't really be that quiet this week... you all must be coming up with some dandy stuff!