the blog Synergy

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rhodendron variations

gradweek_60530 019
Originally uploaded by

I found some time to squeeze out some variations on the rhodendron.




Can you take this photo and make a variation of your own?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Can you feel it?

“It” is synergy happening.

I can understand why if perhaps not, especially if you are a lurking kind of reader who has come to love blog reading, but you’ve not yet taken that step to chip out of your protective shell of privacy. And that’s okay, I’ll still tell you about it.

This is the “it” that’s happening for those of us who many will call the “early adopters” who blogged with full transparency in the past two or even three years now, laying it all out there with a “what you see is what you get — and I’ll make it as good as I possibly can, forcing myself to be better in making it all true” kind of attitude.

In starting to blog, we might have wanted to

  • -- sell books (me),
  • -- take advantage of the new blogging platforms to design our own websites (me too),
  • -- write and write some more hoping for a positive feedback loop as we sharpen our skills and force ourselves to edit better (yup, me again),
  • -- learn all of the way-smart strategies for marketing a business on the web (me and anyone who wants to work for me),
  • -- or just have some way cool conversations with someone awake in another part of the world while the rest of our family, night people that they are, were still asleep (definitely my family).

Or something else entirely.

The cool thing was that a lot of us discovered all those “me” reasons, were really “we” reasons, and we had a whole lot of company —good company, aloha company. The Power of We was smiling back at us like a patient elder on a mountaintop who says, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

So the “it” became this: Keeping it all virtual is just not good enough anymore. From getting okay with our vulnerability, and tossing out any concerns for privacy, we’ve gone way over to the other extreme of wanting our virtual relationships to get personal.

Now you may be thinking, “Hellooo Rosa, where have you been? Haven’t you heard of anyone finding the love of their life online? Didn’t you see Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan lay it all out there in You’ve Got Mail?”

That’s not the kind of connecting I’m talking about.

For one thing, I’m strictly talking about business, workplace, marketing, and professional or personal-legacy-building kind of blogs with some vaguely related self-development and author blogs thrown in for good measure. I don’t read any other kind, so I can’t speak to others. It’s relationship in these arenas which I’ve mentioned (anyone have a better collective word for them?) with which we’re seeking personal connectivity.

It’s about jumping into this pool of ever-increasing capacity; intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and a new physical. We still commiserate with each other about being busy, yet at the very same time we are discovering these capacities we had no idea we even had.

It’s not about romantic love and marriage, however that word “love” gets used pretty freely between us. There seems to be no better word when what we are seeking to do, is more fully explore the commonality we have as human beings who learn. We are thrilling to discover we are capable of living in an abundance of learning, respect and mutual admiration we never before had imagined was possible. Some of us have already lived a good half century or more (yup, me again) and we feel like everything just got brand new.

The synergy connection is that “it” could not have happened if we’d tried it alone. From interviews to meetups to forums, things are happening. Giving has new meaning.

When blog posts get quiet, you cannot assume authors are suffering from writer’s block and have lost their inspiration: They are living their lives, and they aren’t doing it alone. These days, they are living them in brand new partnerships, and they probably don’t have the time to sit still and write them out for you to read about. They are emailing and skyping, trading personal cell phone numbers and swapping travel schedules. They are reinventing community in a way that totally ignores geography and time differences.

If you want to feel it, really feel it, you have to get brave and get involved.

Tomorrow morning, (well, morning for me in Hawai‘i :-) we of Team Synergy have scheduled a conference call to capture the overflow of synergy that is starting to pool all around us. We keep reaching the point where our fingers cannot fly fast enough over our keyboards to be satisfied with the virtual nature of what we have crafted in thought between us, and as a result of what so many of you have shared with us. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday than this, bringing a kind of new livingness into possibility.

Knowing it has been coming, I’ve felt like a highly expectant child just old enough to understand what Christmas morning is like; my anticipation is near unbearably sweet. In one way or another, we’ll let you know how it goes when you next read what bubbles forth here.

I’m quite sure you will begin to feel “it” too.

Be brave.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Women and the Power of We

Asking the question: Where are the women interested in the 'Power of We'? generated some activity during April and May. Reviewing the activity, I think I can summarize it as follows:

We heard from Mary Schmidt that the subject of the posting on this blog will matter in order to draw women into the conversation. Shorter posts may make a difference over longer posts. By being shorter, it allows for more room for others to join in as the conversation is being started and not completed all at once.

We heard from Ronni Bennett. Ronni told us that business is not a democracy. Leaders need to take charge, to set the agenda and while they can allow for input, need to make a decision.

We heard from Andrea Learned that people connections matter. She as an example, will connect with the person first, then because of the personal connection become involved if the subject is one she is interested in.

We heard from Jodee Bock that women do take time to respond and that we need to spread the Synergy link around to make other more aware of it. This will be a viral activity. As we get more people involved (by reaching out to them to make the personal connection) they can help to spread the link.

We heard from Yvonne Divita that women are all about 'we'. When did a women do something alone? Actually, women do quite a bit alone. Women are more likely to do something alone if they have a support group available. They are not afraid of taking charge. They are not afraid of leading.

We heard from Rosa "with blogging, you can just skip ahead to the good part, just getting the job done on your terms within your own circle of influence, pushing your circle bigger at every opportunity, without ever wavering about your own sense of ethics, integrity, and personal truth."

Felix let us know "It was Jacques Lacan who interpreted communication as the process leading from wandering words to an open confession." I think this is a wonderful concept. The ideas become words, sharing the words makes a conversation, the conversations develop and lead to an open confession.

Going back to Dr Judie Pairan who commented on the first posting, she said that women are there but women are busy doing things. I can accept that. It will also help me tie things together.

Because women are busy, we need to reach out and make the connection. Having made the connection they will get involved if we keep the posts short rather than long. Shorter posts will let them digest it more quickly and leave them room to comment to fill out the conversation. We will need to be mindful of the subject matter. If we keep it more personal, more story, less jargon, we are likely to get more involvement.

We just can not build the Synergy blog and expect the women to (1) find us and (2) participate. We will need to reach out and invite them in.

Thanks to all who commented. To Phil and Trevor for your interview postings! And to all the women who participated.

Will this close the topic? For now perhaps, but I am not sure we will ever complete the discussion. The dialog needs to remain alive. It is not a 'male versus female' world or an 'us versus them' world. We need to be respectful of each other, to help each other to grow and develop. We can and need to do this together!

As Lja1228 wrote in her comment on the initial posting:

And finally, WE will look back. On all that WE have done, those WE have helped, the relationships WE have nurtured, the growth WE have inspired ... and WE will say, "What's next?"

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Conversation continued

I found this conversation underway at MarketingProfs:DailyFix via a posting by Andrea Learned on her blog.

Andrea, you may recall, was interviewed her earlier on where are the women?

Jump on over and join the conversation!

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

What's up?

Hey, it has been quiet here.
What about "Where are the women?"
"What is Steve up to?" you might be asking yourself.
Fair questions: Steve has been writing up his time spent at the recent GEL 2006 Conference. You can click over to find his summary  of the presentations.
He is close to finishing that effort (or diversion) and will be back here soon to tie the two together.
No, not anything like bondage. Don't go there.
What have the conversations with Judie, Ronni, Yvonne, Andrea, Jodee, Mary.... told us?
How do we make the blog Synergy a "good experience"?
Oh, there is the connection!
Stay tuned for more on this...
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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Women, Leadership and Blogging

Whew. Had something in my head when I sat down to write this, and drafting the title alone stopped me in my tracks for a while. Steve, you were so brave to take on this HUGE topic for us.

I’ve been thinking about why, as huge as it is, I haven’t been able to write much about it.

There is a very practical reason my team here knows about, and that is since my offline work has been near all-consuming for me lately (and that’s very good in another way.) However I haven’t stopped writing for my other blogs, slowed down yes, stopped no. So I have to admit that I am just having some difficulty with adding anything remotely interesting about this, much less brilliant or even controversial.

Throughout most of my career, I fought continually against the male versus female stereotypes in business. Both sides: I fought with the guys against the women who used it as a cop-out when they simply were not performing well. And yes, through the vast majority of my working career I did get paid less and altogether was taken less seriously than my male peers (and subordinates). I went through that cycle of silent dismayed observation, to youthful I-can-change-this rebellion, to very vocal objection and suffragette campaigning for equality, to external resignation warring with my internal self-commitment to effect change one day. At some point, I simply developed this m.o. of doing “it.” That is, just getting the job done on my terms within my own circle of influence, pushing that circle bigger at every opportunity, without ever wavering about my own sense of ethics, integrity, and personal truth.

Come to think of it, blogging may have appealed to me early in the game because it had such a level playing field in my own perception.

And in others’ perception too:

So, now I’m completely distracted and more than a little surprised. Embarrassing comments about me behind the clip. I’m not surprised that I like Rosa Say. I’m surprised that I like her over and over again. I should explain, and it’s going to be a case of me making myself look bad. I don’t usually like female authors. I can count on one hand the number of them I’ve read more than one of their books. We just don’t ‘click.’

And in another post:

My favorite manager of all time is/was a lady named BJ. I don’t know if she reads this or not. She said to me one time about an employee that he’d said he ‘gotta go to work.’ Her response was that he shouldn’t feel “I got to go to work,” but should instead feel “I get to go to work.”

Rich Griffith, you rock.

There are people who read my blogs very faithfully, who I realize still have not, and may not ever buy my book. The subjects in both are one and the same. Books, the best business card ever on one level, and for all the hoopla that will surround you when you are a published author, simply do not open as many doors for us as blogs do. In my own case, over 9,000+ books sold as of this writing (yes, still a drop in the bucket compared to the Marcus Buckinghams and such of the business-writing world), compared to 109,000+ page views for just one of my blogs in only two thirds of the same time period since Managing with Aloha was published.

So what am I saying? Ladies, if we want our messages heard, leadership through blogging is a terrific option for us. And leadership, whether male or female, is in high demand.

I don’t know where you may be in that cycle I talked about earlier, but consider that with blogging, you can just skip ahead to the good part, just getting the job done on your terms within your own circle of influence, pushing your circle bigger at every opportunity, without ever wavering about your own sense of ethics, integrity, and personal truth.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Part 2 --- Yvonne DiVita on "The Power of We"

This continues the conversation that Yvonne DiVita and I shared over the course of a couple of weeks via email. The conversation has been edited. We had some fun putting this together and we think you'll enjoy it! If you missed Part 1, you can catch up on it here.
Steve: The Team Synergy discussion on Women and the Power of We has made progress this month with interviews with Mary Schmidt, Ronni Bennett, Andrea Learned and a few more still in the works.

What do you think of the April topic on the blog Synergy? ("Where are the women interested in the Power of We?")
Yvonne: It's funny that you should have this topic on your blog. I've been saying for a long time that women are really into blogging. I don't have stats for that, of course, but I have anecdotal evidence. For instance, I'm personally connected to dozens of women. Women who are not on the radar at the New York Times or much of anywhere else, except other women's blogs. And, having attended BlogHer last year (desperate to go this year - I could use a sponsor!), I can attest to the growing number of women bloggers giving a voice to women's issues. My sister, who blogs at Maryanne's Powdering Our Noses, knows tons more women bloggers than bloggers of that other gender. (She said with a wink).'s what I think about women and the Power of We... Women are all about WE. When did you ever see a woman do anything alone? It's "we this" and "we that" and we, we, we all the way to the mall, or home, or out for lattes. If we haven't been to your blog to commune with you... it's because we're busy doing all sorts of "we" things with each other. You need to stop by our blogs and introduce yourselves. Then, we'll we, we, we with you, too!
Do you have any suggestions on how the blog Synergy can engage women readers?
Yvonne: Well, Steve...I gave that answer away in my reply to your first question. You can get more women to your blog by ---- inviting us! Stop over at our blogs and leave a note. Better yet, challenge us to a duel. We can't resist showing off! A war of words's that? Invite a dozen women to write about a specific topic, one you're going to post on, then keep track of the traffic or comments - and see who wins. What fun that would be! Beyond that, having women over to engage in a little girl-talk will surely attract more of the ladies. Just don't patronize us with pink, or pretty bows, or frilly foo-foos. That's for sissies. If you're trying to attract women... save the baubles and beads for mardi gras and give us good conversation.
Do you have your own blog or blogs?
Yvonne: My, my ... I write in Lip-sticking, and at ThirdAge, and I contribute to my company blogs at A-ha! and WME Blogs. Then, I leave comments like confetti, all over the net.
How comfortable are you with technology?
Yvonne: LOVE technology! Great time saver, and connector. It helped me meet you, didn't it? Sometimes I hate technology - like when the computer crashes, or the Internet won't work, or my toaster burns my bagel (that's technology, right?). For the most part, I like all the gadgets, but only when I can push a button and everything works. I don't want elaborate directions, or technology that is still in beta testing. Too much frustration there! Besides, buggy technology makes me itch.
How much technology do you use blogging?
Yvonne: Blogging? Well, I use a keyboard. What else do I need? When it gets complicated, like adding widgets and stuff, I get my pool boy to help me. It's okay cause we're engaged. And, he looks really good in a wet T-shirt.
Did you hear of the blog Synergy before? If yes, how?
Yvonne: Seems to me that I came across your blog...awhile back. I found it by reverse search - checking my stats at Typepad and noticing a URL I didn't recognize. I really liked what I found. People sometimes think I'm gender-biased because I write about women's issues, but they forget that men are a part of women's issues. We like to rant and rave about our men. And other people's men, too. Mostly, we really like the way men are coming around these days. There's a synergy in how men are learning to connect with the women around them. Say, that's why I like your blog - because you understand the synergy of people connecting with people, via telegraph, telephone, or tell-a-woman; and even through technology. We have to teach you how to use mental telepathy, that's real fun! Yes, I'm kidding about the mental telepathy. Sort of! (She said with a chuckle).
Women tend to be doers more than talkers (and that may be a surprise) compared to men. Do you have anything to add to that?
Yvonne: Not a surprise at all. Women are at the forefront of most 'movements.' Just look at religion - isn't it Mom who gets everyone up and fed, then dressed for church? Isn't it women who organize the bazaars and charity events? Isn't it women who take charge when family and friends are threatened? We do it because we work well in groups. Women (especially women who are related by blood) rely on other women to step up to the plate, when needed. We're natural caretakers and nurturers - which makes us good at doing, not just talking about doing. Mind you, we rely on our men for many, many things in the mix. Men are absolutely necessary for moral support and providing a helping hand (sometimes financially). Women just don't like taking “No” for an answer. We know that bonding together gives us a better chance at getting a “Yes”. And, since we're better at intuition, gathering information from observing a situation, we know just which women to put to the task of getting the yes - from a man or a sister.
Would you care to comment on synergy and leadership as "male" words? or just overused?  whether buzz words or not?
Yvonne: Synergy is definitely NOT a male word. It's a good descriptive word alive with energy- and applies both to men and women. In different ways, however. Men use it to talk 'business' and 'shop.' They say things like, "There's a synergy between these systems." Women use it to build connections - between people, places and even events. We say things like, "If we create synergy, the feedback we gather will be more valuable." Leadership is another story. Definitely male. 'Leader' implies 'power'. It all comes from that good old boys' network, where power was handed out from the top down. Women don't operate that way. We give strength to each other from the bottom up. We prefer to work in groups, sharing the role of leader. Notice how leadership goes along with being "in charge"...also a male concept. Men talk sports and war. Women talk peace and togetherness. We're not immune to the concept - I know that. But, most of the women who venture over to 'the other side' do so because they've been put in a position of conflict, where they're competing with men. Then, they feel as if they have no choice but to play by men's rules. And, sometimes, they don't know how to get back to the softer side of life.
Are these words buzz words? Of course. They're words people use to communicate 'value' ... after a time, the value they represent disappears. They become placeholders for misunderstood ideas, concepts, and beliefs. Each successive generation that uses them, warps their meaning. Right now, synergy is still new enough to be useful. Leadership has long ago lost its value. It's just a sound now. The people mouthing it mean something entirely different than the people hearing it. Its meaning has become subjective. Worthless. Let's talk - relationships. That one is female, and on its way to - invisibility, but for a time yet, still useful. Social computing - that one is 80% female. Women are the social are into computing. But, social trumps computing every time,'s mostly female.
In the end, it isn't the's the action. As noted in your first question: which gender acts on the concept wrapped around the descriptor??? Usually women.
Steve: A clarification question if I may, on how you found the blog Synergy... you used the word "my blog" and I just want to be sure that you were referring to Synergy instead of Steve's 2 Cents. I recall finding you somewhere about Aug/Sep 2005 as that was when I found Rosa and Talking Story. As the year drew to a close, we were part of the Traveling MWA together.
Yvonne: Now that you've reminded me, I did discover Synergy via your 2 Cents blog, which I found via Rosa. Funny  - I'd forgotten that. Isn't Rosa the best? She's one of my top 5 favorite people in the whole world. And, I only know her through blogging!
Steve:  Yes, Rosa is a key member of the Team Synergy and a very good friend I have met through blogging. Team Synergy is a group that I am very proud to be part of.
On their behalf, I really want to thank you Yvonne, for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Power of We. I am sure this will inspire some further discussion on the blog Synergy.
To our readers, after leaving a comment here, please plan to visit Yvonne’s blog at Lip-sticking.
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Yvonne DiVita on "The Power of We"

The following is a conversation that Yvonne DiVita and I shared over the course of a couple of weeks via email. The conversation has been edited. We had some fun putting this together and we think you'll enjoy it!

Steve: As a member of the Team Synergy, we spent month the month of March talking about what makes great leadership. I noticed that we (the blog Synergy) did not get much interaction from female bloggers and raised this as our team challenge for this month. The full posting is here.
The recap of March's discussion can be found here and here.
If you would be interested in sharing your two cents on this matter, I would like to explore this with you.
Yvonne: This is interesting. The Google Fight thing is totally anti-female - but as a way to waste time for a bit of fun, I can see women embracing it.
I'm not surprised that your Power of We did not get interaction from the ladies - it's not because we wouldn't be interested, it's because, as with everything on the net, if we don't know about it, we cannot participate. I'd love to talk with you about this - after reviewing your links. This is a wonderful focus - and one that the ladies will be interested in.
Your interest in the concept of leadership is timely - I'm pursuing just this thought personally, in my business and with a gentleman who is writing on it, from years of practice (he used to advise Jack Welch!). It's really a strong topic today.
BTW, I tried to leave a comment at the blog - but I don't remember my blogger account information (I use it so seldom), and I'm not willing to start a whole new account. There's a big turn off, right there. You'll notice that Lip-sticking has no such requirement. (I don't mind having to fill in the little box, to prove I'm a person...but, when I get to a blog that makes me 'sign in' - I just go away, and seldom come back. Sorry.)
Steve: Thanks on multiple accounts:
1 - for the feedback on the blogger sign in. It is a group blog and I had not noticed that aspect of the sign in. The squiggle letter test is more than enough for me personally. I'll see what we can do to enable anonymous comments. I agree it is a big turn off.
2 - I agree with you on the "if you don't know, you can't play". The group is starting to gain some momentum. Last month was the first organized topic and I thought it natural to extend it to involve the women.
3 - by deliberately reaching out to women like yourself, we will be accomplishing part of our goal, but more importantly, the conversation that results can lead us into.... well, who knows? We'll just have to find out.
Let me know when you have had a chance to review some of the background links. By that time, we should have come up with some "standard" questions to use for our interview.
Yvonne: Thanks for understanding. Do me a favor - I so want to pursue this. I did look at a few of the links, but need to review them more closely, to be honest. Just me. I like to get my head around what I'm talking about. But, if too much time seems to be going by (weeks and weeks!) nudge me. Remind me. I seem to be on an upswing right now - all good, but your idea of the Power of We is a great focus so...though I may seem to be neglecting or ignoring you, I'm not. I may just be typing as fast as I can...hoping to get to the 'fun' things eventually. When the 'fun' things write to remind me, I often slap my forehead and say, "Yeah - I deserve a few minutes to pursue that."
It's not only good of you to include women, it's something I like to talk about now and then - the fact that men do like us. Just as we like them! Would that we (you and I and others like us) can show the world that men and women know how to play nice together. Albeit, we may still disagree on things now and then. ;-)
Steve: There is no hurry on this. We'll take one day at a time. I am grateful for your participation in this and will not bug you.
If this weren't FUN then seriously, I would not be doing this at all. I do have a full time job to do more than hold, never mind taking care of the household matters, paying attention to my wife's to do listing (heaven help me if something slips on that while I'm blogging), assisting my high school senior in determining where she will end up next year, and we'll you know, the list goes on...
So don't worry; follow the links, think about it in amongst your list of other things to do and we'll get together some time to discuss this. The collaboration will be good when we get to it and it will have been worthwhile. That is the bottom line for me.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where Yvonne explains why "Women just don't like taking 'No' for an answer."
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