The Heart of Innovation: The Value of Confusion

 

I feel so much better, now – I thought CONFUSION was a BAD thing….not so, maybe?

 

 
Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 20, 2012 01:44 AM
 

December 20, 2012


The Value of Confusioniphone-confused.jpg

Are you confused about how to proceed with your hottest new idea or project? If so, take heart! Confusion is not always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often a necessary part of the creative process.

The weirdness enters when you start judging yourself for being confused. Then, instead of benefiting from this normal stage of “not knowing” you end up in endless rounds of self-talk, procrastination, and worry.

What IS confusion, really?

Technically speaking, it’s a state of mind in which the elements you are dealing with appear to be indiscriminately mixed, out of whack, or unable to be interpreted to your satisfaction.

Everyone from Einstein to Mickey Mouse has had this experience. It comes with the territory of trying to innovate.

Most of us, unfortunately, have a hard time acknowledging it.

“Not knowing” has become a euphemism for “ignorance”. And so begins our curious routine of appearing to know and giving bogus answers — to ourselves and others — in a pitiful attempt to mask our confusion and maintain a sense of control, brilliance, and selfhood.

Confused.jpg

Our discomfort with not knowing prevents us from mining the value of this potentially fertile time of dislocation.

Picasso understood. “The act of creation,” he said, “is first of all an act of destruction.”

Great breakthroughs often emerge after times of dissolution, chaos, and confusion.

Wasn’t the universe itself created out of chaos?

llya Prigogine, a leading brain researcher, describes this phenomenon as the “Theory of Dissipative Structures”. Simply put, when things fall apart, they eventually reorganize themselves on a higher level (if they don’t first become extinct).

And while this transition stage certainly looks and feels like confusion, what’s really happening is that the old structures are giving way to the new.

Lao Tzu, one of China’s most revered sages, knew all about this:

lao-tzu.jpg

“I am a fool, oh yes, I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright.
But I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.”

Somehow, he knew that things needed to be a little mixed up for there to be space for something new to enter his life. He knew that sometimes it was wisest just to let life unfold — and that any knee-jerk attempt to clear up what he perceived to be confusion would only leave him with his old habits, patterns, and routines.

There is no need to fight confusion. Let it be.

It’s a stage we must pass through on the road to creation. Fighting confusion only makes it worse — like trying to clean a dirty pond by poking at it with a stick.

And, besides, even while our conscious mind is telling us we’re confused, our subconscious mind is processing a mile a minute to come up with some amazing solutions. In the shower. While we’re exercising. Even in our dreams.

Look at it this way…

First, we refuse (to have our status quo threatened). Then, we getconfused (trying to sort out all the new input). Then, we try todiffuse the process (by regressing or denying.) Eventually, we getinfused (inundated by new insights). And, finally, we get fused(connecting with previously unrelated elements to form a new and unified whole).

Your next step?

Allow confusion to be what it is — the catalyst for new and more elegant outcomes.

And if you really can’t stand the confusion, here are seven simple things you can do to go beyond it:

1. Take a break from the problem at hand
2. Identify what’s confusing you. Name it.
3. Talk about your confusion with friends
4. Seek out missing information
5. Redefine your problem, starting with the words “How can I?”
6. Pay attention to your dreams and other clues bubbling up from your subconscious
7. Maintain a longer term perspective (“this too shall pass”)

Idea Champions

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Is Your Life a Masterpiece or a Meaningless Existence?

At this time of year, it seems normal for all of us to look back at the year, sometimes several years, and reflect on where we are and where we want to be. Sometimes we feel satisfied, other times we are disappointed in our progress. This year, as we end 2012 and begin 2013, read the story of Bob Geldof – of where he began and where he is today.  It gave me profound inspiration, and hope – I hope it will do the same for each of you.  – Rosemary

Is Your Life A Masterpiece Or A Meaningless Existence?

Written by 
Categories: Purpose and Passion

I had the pleasure to  hear a keynote presentation from the enigmatic

tonight and I was mesmerized by the passion, dreams and the vision that permeated his words. The topic:

“Reaching your Dream: A World Icon’s Insight On the Secret To Success”

English: Bob Geldof

English: Bob Geldof (Photo credit: Wikipedia

He told how his mother had died when he was six years old and  how he and his sisters had to cope as his father, the travelling towel salesman was absent from the family home while travelling all week to support his family.  He attended good schools due to his fathers sacrifice as Bob and his sisters coped at home on their own. His passion and purpose for making a difference started when he was 13 when he and a friend started  a  movement against apartheid in South Africa. The reason he started this was the intellectual  absurdity of judging or making someone less of a person for the color of their skin.. he saw this as being as stupid as making someone less, for wearing a strange colored jumper or for having orange hair.

At the age of 16 he was working in soup kitchens in his city in Ireland to help the disadvantaged. He left high school feeling like a failure with his father wondering where he had failed his geeky son. He proceeded to travel and started a newspaper with great success in Canada despite being an illegal immigrant and was consequently discovered by the Canadian Mounties and then thrown out of the country by the authorities.

Back in the UK he thought “I am quite good at this publishing thing” and  started another publication and went to the bank to borrow some money and was told to come back when he was 40. Out of desperation he started a band and the rest is history. For the next 10 years his band “The Boomtown Rats” went on to be one of the most successful bands in the world.

In the mid “80′s”  he came home after his latest single was not turning into the success he was used to. On coming back home he turned on the television and happened upon a  BBC documentary about a famine in Ethiopia, with sudden insight his life before this moment suddenly seemed meaningless.

He flew to Africa to observe the situation first hand, then returned to England and gathered numerous British pop stars together to record a charity single under the name Band Aid; that song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” became the best-selling U.K. single of all time, and inspired a similar 1985 U.S. single “We Are The World”.

His life had become a masterpiece. The essence  and kernel of his passion had emerged when he was 13 and he hadn’t realised it then, but as the German Poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”

Are you following your passion or are you just turning up?

Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/05/16/is-your-life-a-masterpiece-or-a-meaningless-existence/#Q5MHhIylMR5JTcRZ.99

5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013

week 49 - Plans

week 49 – Plans (Photo credit: Sweet Dreamz Design)

5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013
Tim Brown December 20, 2012

Great designers don’t just do design, they live design. Like them, we can learn how to practice design thinking principles both at work and at home.

As you start designing your life in 2013, here are five ways to begin:

1. Be optimistic, collaborative, and generative.
There’s something wonderfully gratifying about creating something new, whether it’s an award-winning design or a home-cooked meal.

2. Think of life as a prototype.
Conduct experiments, make discoveries, change as needed. Any process can be re-examined and tweaked. Look for opportunities to turn a process into a project with a tangible outcome.

3. Don’t ask “what?” ask “why?”
Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is the right problem to be solving.

4. Demand divergent options.
Don’t settle for the first good idea that comes to mind or seize on the first promising solution presented to you. Explore divergent options—and then set a deadline so you know when to move on.

5. Once a day, deeply observe the ordinary.
Make it a rule that at least once a day you will stop and take a second look at some ordinary situation that you would normally look at only once (or not at all). Get out in the world and be inspired by people.

Happy designing!

(Artwork by Martin Kay / IDEO)

The Top 20 Most Popular Talent Management Software Solutions | Capterra

The Top 20 Most Popular Talent Management Software Solutions | Capterra.

Talent Management software is used by companies to recruit, manage, evaluate and compensate employees. One of the fastest growing sectors within the HR software industry, the talent management software market is currently estimated to be $4-6 billion. Below is a look at the most popular options as measured by a combination of their total number of clients, active users and online presence. In order to see a comprehensive list, please visit our Talent Management Software Directory.

The Top 20 Most Popular Talent Management Software Solutions

© 2012 Capterra, Inc.

 

 

TOP JOBS FOR 2013 – HR is #5

Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff

If it has to do with leadership, jobs, or careers, I’m on it.

12/06/2012 @ 12:01AM |53,393 views

The Top Jobs for 2013

In Pictures: The Top 10 Jobs for 2013

In Pictures: The Top 10 Jobs for 2013

Struggling to find a job? If you’re an accountant, computer systems analyst or event coordinator, there’s a good chance your luck will change in 2013.

These three professions are among the best jobs that require a bachelor’s degree for 2013, according to a new study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI).

The study used EMSI’s rich labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers, to find the 18 top jobs for 2013, based on the occupations with the most jobs added since 2010.

“The list identifies occupations that are on an upward trajectory regarding employment,” says Matt Ferguson, chief executive of CareerBuilder. “Job seekers can gain insights into where companies are expanding and opportunities that are available.”

More On Forbes: Cities Where People Earn The Biggest And Smallest Paychecks

The occupation that has produced the most jobs post-recession: Software developer (applications and systems software). Since 2010, 70,872 jobs have been added (7% growth).

Why? “Companies are competing to get to market first with innovations that will create new revenue streams,” Ferguson says. “They want to capitalize on mobile technologies and social media.  They want to extract, parse and apply Big Data to bring better solutions to their clients and their own businesses. They need technologists in place who can devise bigger and better strategies, and execute.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most software developers work for computer systems design and related services firms or software publishers. Others work in computer and electronic product manufacturing industries. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

The average pay for these professionals is $90,530 a year, and the BLS expects a 30% increase in the number of software developers by 2020 (from 2010).

More On Forbes: The Easiest And Hardest Cities For Finding A Job

In the No. 2 spot is accountants and auditors. These professionals prepare and examine financial records, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time. Over 37,100 jobs have been added since 2010 (a 3% increase).

Most employers require an accountant or auditor job candidate to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, and others will want the candidate to be certified within a specific field, according to the BLS. These professionals make $61,690, on average, per year.

The third best job for 2013: Market research analysts and marketing specialists. The profession has added 31,335 jobs since 2010, which is a 10% increase. According to the BLS, they earn about $60,570 a year, on average. The profession is expected to grow 41% by 2020 (from 2010).

What do they do? Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand the marketplace; what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price. Strong math and analytical skills are typically required, as well as a bachelor’s degree. Top research positions often require a master’s, according to the BLS.

Elsewhere on the list: Computer systems analysts (No. 4), mechanical engineers (No. 9), and database administrators (No. 15).

“Technology and engineering roles make up the majority of the top ten positions, indicative of the continued and heightened investments companies are making in these areas,” Ferguson says. “You also see growth in production-related jobs as U.S. manufacturing rallies after experiencing significant losses during the recession. There is also strong demand for sales and marketing roles as companies look to grow revenue and extend their visibility and reach. Finally, there are more jobs supporting overall business operations as the economy improves.”

Top 10 Jobs for 2013

CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) just released the results of their latest study that used EMSI’s rich labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers, to find the best jobs (that require a bachelor’s degree) for 2013. Here are the top 10.

Occupations requiring a bachelor’s degrees that have produced the most jobs post-recession include:

No. 1 Software Developers (Applications and Systems Software)

70,872 jobs added since 2010, 7% growth

No. 2 Accountants and Auditors

37,123 jobs added since 2010, 3% growth

No. 3 Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

31,335 jobs added since 2010, 10% growth

No. 4 Computer Systems Analysts

26,937 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth

No. 5 Human Resources, Training and Labor Relations Specialists

22,773 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth

No. 6 Network and Computer Systems Administrators

18,626 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth

No. 7 Sales Representatives (Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific)

17,405 jobs added since 2010, 4% growth

No. 8 Information Security Analysts, Web Developers and Computer Network Architects

15,715 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth

No. 9 Mechanical Engineers

13,847 jobs added since 2010, 6% growth

No. 10 Industrial Engineers

12,269 jobs added since 2010, 6% growth

No. 11 Computer Programmers

11,540 jobs added since 2010, 3% growth

No. 12 Financial Analysts

10,016 jobs added since 2010, 4% growth

No. 13 Public Relations Specialists

8,541 jobs added since 2010, 4% growth

No. 14 Logisticians

8,522 jobs added since 2010, 8% growth

No. 15 Database Administrators

7,468 jobs added since 2010, 7% growth

No. 16 Meeting, Convention  and Event Planners

7,072 jobs added since 2010, 10% growth

No. 17 Cost Estimators

6,781 jobs added since 2010, 3% growth

No. 18 Personal Financial Advisors

5,212 jobs added since 2010, 3% growth

Connecting an (HR) Disconnect

Can HR become aligned, or is it destined to struggle to “find itself” and thus the rest of the organization? A former colleague of mine puts forth her hypothesis!!

Connecting an (HR) Disconnect:  by Carol Anderson, Anderson Consultants

Posted on December 5, 2012

Back in the 1980s, I thought HR was disconnected. At that time, I was starting out in compensation, writing job descriptions (yippee). This was back in the days of point-factor evaluation plans where details of what the job did, what/who it was responsible for and how it influenced in the organization determined the salary grade and pay level.  Job descriptions were pretty standard, and a quick look at shrm.org says they haven’t changed much….identification data, general purpose, duties, tasks, functions, qualifications/KSAs, special requirements, ADA information.

I didn’t quite “get” the purpose of job descriptions back then (it may have been because I really didn’t like to write them). But it seemed that they were written, graded and stuffed in a drawer never to be looked at again until someone wanted the job upgraded.

After I became a hiring manager, the recruiter sat with me to create a “hiring profile”. As I described what I was looking for, it struck me that pretty much nothing I told her was reflected on the job description for the position. That seemed odd to me, but she explained that job descriptions record “jobs”, while her profile process reflected the actual “position.”

Okay, intellectually I get the difference. But I had this nagging feeling that there should be a connection somewhere. After all, aren’t we talking about the same people – those who are hired who then fill the jobs that were described?
Here we are many years later, and it feels as if there is still an opportunity to connect the various information needed for the “job”…the side of the equation that represents what the organization wants the employee to do and be. And with the knowledge work in most organizations today, we can’t afford to put people into a neat box by telling them exactly what to do.

To complicate it more, we add yet another set of criteria in the performance appraisal. Now, the employee was hired to one set of criteria, doing the job of another, and held accountable for a third. It’s enough to confuse even the most diligent employees. Learning and development may add yet another layer as they design learning objectives for training programs.

So how do we connect the disconnect? I think that there is an opportunity to collaboratively (meaning all areas of HR) come together to define the job side of the equation. Recruiting, compensation, performance management and learning should work from the same model – a model based upon a set of competencies that are shared.

I question the need for recording job duties at all. When jobs were scientifically graded based upon a point-factor process, that information formed the basis for the grade. Today though, compensation departments rarely have the staff to support effective point-factor analysis, and typically use a “General Purpose” statement to match the job to the market job. Additionally, comp staff usually work to make job descriptions more and more generic, so the duty statements become less and less relevant.

Investing time in creating effective core and functional competency models can be the linchpin that will allow all of the various HR areas to work from the same starting point. Getting all the parties in the same room to define what the job data will be used for, and then looking at commonalities can lead to a very integrated process that will make sense to the end user – the employee. After building a good competency model, based upon the organization’s business, operations and strategy, each HR discipline can use.

Let’s play that out using “Builds relationships” as a core competency.

  • Talent acquisition focuses on assessing the candidate’s experience in collaborative planning and execution and experience in working within a team environment.
  • Compensation needs to differentiate between two levels of the same job, so defines the higher level in terms of the criticality or complexity of building relationships.
  • The performance management process identifies “building relationships” as a critical success factor for those in the role,
  • And the learning and development team builds curriculum at an employee and leadership level on team, collaboration and communication.

The employee sees a consistent and holistic picture of how they are expected to behave and develop as a member of the organization. The leader coaches to help the employee build the skill, using practical examples of relationship building as it relates to the projects and processes in which the employee participates.

Can it work that way.  It absolutely can, but takes strong alignment on the part of the HR stakeholders to the ultimate vision – creating a unified road map for the end user – the employee.

Very insightful post about “Big Data”

What Monkeys Do

Confirmation Bias in HR

Data is very ambiguous. It often doesn’t give you a clear answer to the question; “What should I do?”, which is really the question you hope that Big HR Data will help you answer. To get to that point, you must take your data and convert it into knowledge. The question is; what will you see when you stare at the data? The answer is clear but not very encouraging.

I have previously argued that psychology has a lot to offer us in our understanding of how we work with data. This is also the case when we need to understand what we look at Big Data. Big Data is a much hyped term which essentially just refers to a lot of data – a lot of data in terms of volume, variety and velocity. But a lot of data it is and you therefore need to cut and…

View original post 602 more words

The 3 LinkedIn Etiquette Rules You Should Never Break

The 3 LinkedIn Etiquette Rules You Should Never Break

BY AMBER MAC
JUNE 26, 2012

LinkedIn is one social network where little mistakes can directly impact your financial future. Avoid these LinkedIn no-nos that could work against you when building your networking or looking for a job.

I first started blogging and hosting online videos for Fast Company in the spring of 2011. However, like many social networkers, I’ve been slow to update my LinkedIn professional profile in a timely manner (perhaps that’s no-no number one).

In an effort to practice what I preach about building and maintaining an online brand, I spent some time last week tweaking my current work positions, accepting invitations, and even going so far as uploading a video clip on my profile page, which can be done with theSlideShare app.

Within a few short hours of adding my not-so-new Fast Company role, my LinkedIn inbox piled up with messages that included the same enthusiastic subject line, “Congratulations on your new position!”  The note inside each correspondence looked strangely familiar, “I saw you’re now Blogger/TV Host at Fast Company and wanted to say congratulations!” Wow. Either my contacts were struck by grammatical lightning that supercharged these identical messages, or they broke a few of the most important LinkedIn rules for good etiquette.

1. Stop using LinkedIn’s auto-generated templates. 

Whether it’s congratulating someone on a new role or requesting a connection with someone, avoid generic messages. While LinkedIn does often pre-populate message fields, you will get a whole lot further with your networking efforts if you take some time to personalize your correspondence. Within a few seconds you can include a custom note to a contact (instead of “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn) and add a little context. For example, if you’re connecting with someone you just met at a conference, remind her about this meeting by including some details about your chat (including the date and any other relevant info). Using auto-generated templates time and time again is a sign of laziness, which is probably not the impression you want to leave with potential colleagues on the largest professional online network in the world.

2. Stop pushing your social updates to your LinkedIn status. 

When services such as HootSuite entered the social media space, they answered the prayers of many networkers trying desperately to update multiple online profiles at once. A good social media dashboard can come in handy when you’re trying to schedule messages or post a quick update. However, it’s an even better idea to tailor an individual post to a specific social network. For example, if you’re writing an update about your new job on Facebook, it’s probably okay to use more casual and enthusiastic language on that site if most of your connections there are friends and family. If you’re looking to share similar news with the LinkedIn community, go for something a little more polished. In terms of sending Twitter tweets to LinkedIn, it’s okay once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it (especially if you use a lot of Twitter terminology, such as @, RT, or MT).

3. Stop asking for LinkedIn endorsements from people you don’t know. 

In real life, it would be a strange networking move to request a testimonial from someone you don’t know. However, in my own experience, it occurs on a regular basis on LinkedIn, despite the company’s mandate since its launch in 2003. LinkedIn is very clear that their network allows you to connect with people you know. In fact, if you dig deep into the company’s user agreement, you will discover that you are in fact bound to specific rules building on this belief: “Don’t undertake the following: Invite people you do not know to join your network.” In short, requesting an endorsement from a stranger is a definite no-no and can only hinder your LinkedIn experience because it comes across as a naive and amateur move.

When it comes to LinkedIn etiquette, this is one social network where little mistakes can affect your financial future. To avoid mishaps, tailor your messages, customize your posts, and nurture relationships with people you know.

[Image: Flickr user Nicki Varkevisser]