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David Allen, productivity guru deluxe, has put together a cool model for measuring one's self-management (see below). Actually, what is really important about how Allen views the model below is that it is not rigid- we all move in and out of each quadrant depending on the issue, our frame of mind and the people we work with. That being said, we do have a certain profile, patterns that represent us more than others. Allen views this from the perspective of Control and Perspective. Have a look. I adopted this exercise for use in my managers mastermind group and it generated lively dialogue, meaningful introspection and conversation that cut through the "looking good" stuff to some core perspectives…

Also, be sure to check out the David Allen: What Kind of Self-Manager Are You? feature on the BNET website where you can find a lot more information on the 4 quadrants of The Self-Management Matrix.

The matrix contains 4 quadrants constucted on the axes of Control and Perspective.

The 4 Quadrants

1 // The Victim/Responder

A person who has little control and little perspective. At the mercy of outside forces. Operates in crisis mode. Deals with the latest and the loudest. Tries to just keep the ship afloat.

2 // The Micromanager/ Implementer

A person who operates with a high control factor, but lacks perspective. Inordinate emphasis on structure, process, and system. Tendency to overorganize.

3 // The Crazy Maker/Visionary

A person who has a high level of perspective, but a low level of control. Too many ideas on proportion to the amount they can get done. Takes on too many commitments. Their systems and behaviors are not functioning to capture and contain all of their creative output.

4 // The Captain & Commander

Incorporates a balance of perspective and structure, where an internal rather than an external source directs your energy and focus. Committed to a course and prepared to make the slightest corrections that may be required.

I can tell you one thing, that without a good handle on how to manage one 'self life can be pretty messy. There is a real art to this. No doubt a part of art of living that we don't always pay enough attention to.

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Even from my earliest childhood growing up in New York I recall that wherever I went people were talking about how successful this or that person was—"He's a doctor", "He works for a big firm", "He made a lot of money in the stock market", etc. And again, even from earliest childhood, I could never understand why people always talked about how "successful" everyone was, with hardly a word about how "happy" this or that person was.

Many years later, just recently in fact, I came upon a wonderful article about a king (yes, a king!), of this fascinating little nation called Bhutan tucked away between such Asian giants as China and India. Bhutan is no ordinary nation. It is one of the most isolated nations in the world. Most of Bhutan is covered in forest, there are fewer than 2.5 million people in the entire nation, Buddhist culture and religion are everywhere and only in 1999 was the ban on television and internet lifted. Per capita income in Bhutan is around $1,400, ranked 124th in the world. More than 80% of the population live as subsistence farmers.

And here is the most fascinating point: despite being among the world's poorer nations, Bhutan is also one of the happiest nations on earth! Over 20 years ago, amidst criticism from Western economic experts that Bhutan was not developing "fast enough", the King of Bhutan went on record as saying "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product." The statement signaled his commitment to building an economy that is appropriate for Bhutan's culture and people, based on Buddhist spiritual values, and has served as a unifying vision for the economy. While Bhutan has been very successful till recently in isolating itself from world modernization and globalization, the big challenges are ahead as internet and television have entered the lives of Bhutanese only very recently…

In a survey in 2005, 45 percent of Bhutanese reported being very happy, 52 percent reported being happy and only three percent reported not being happy. Based on this data, the Happy Planet Index estimates that the average level of life satisfaction in Bhutan is within the top 10 percent of nations worldwide, and certainly higher than other nations with similar levels of GDP per capita.

While there will always be skeptics and "experts" who will dwell on all the many questions that can be asked about what is happiness, how is it measured, who says what, how it was measured, and so on…today more and more western economic psychologists, such as  2002 Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman,  question the link between levels of income and happiness.

I ask: can't we simply observe our lives, ourselves, the lives of those closest to us and understand that while money has importance to us in so many ways, happiness does not equal having money and having money does not equal having happiness? And once having done so, what do we do with that observation?

A wonderful video clip on Bhutan and Gross National Happiness

Pretty cool for a king, ay?

We are all aware of how difficult it is for people to make changes which of course includes accepting new ideas or even tolerating questions regarding old and "accepted" ideas. But are we aware of how often people "kill ideas" on a daily even hourly basis? Check and see what happens in your conversations with those close to you at home, those at work, telephone calls and even e mail and forum chatting? Believe me, you will be surprised if not shocked!

So it is, perhaps its essential human nature, perhaps the workings of our minds which are not mindful, or perhaps it is just plain habit. With that in mind, I would like to make some suggestions to those readers who find themselves challenged in this area at work, with an eye to new products, strategy or market research:

At every brainstorm and/or mastermind situation make everybody aware that there is no criticism allowed. That is a tough one for people to handle so if you need to do it professionally make sure you have a skilled facilitator or third party to run the session.

Be careful who you invite to such sessions…if your idea is young make sure you invite people positive on the idea to your brainstorming session and be aware of people who start by saying "I would like to be the devil's advocate….represent "reality"….While this has great value at a later stage of development it is a TERRIBLE thing to have at the early stages- a real idea killer!

When your idea is really new choose 5 people who like new ideas and general and share it with them privately, this will give you confidence to move on.

Where possible, invent a "pilot", even if it is not commercial because there is no better learning than actually doing the thing itself and seeing what comes out! Make it short and sweet, though, so you don't get bogged down in the pilot stuff and away from the "real stuff".

And remember: every new idea began somewhere else, not necessarily in your brain and on your hard disk. As such it will keep changing and developing as such is the world and that is a fact that you can either leverage or resist- I suggest you leverage and build it! One never knows the power that one idea can bring to someone, something, somewhere in the world…keep on moving!

I know that many of the solopreneurs/entrepreneurs out there who will ever read this entry have asked themselves the following question more than once: "Is there really any intrinsic value for the world in what I do in my business?". This question surely beckons us to dig down into more philosophical existential issues and searches but in my book it can also lead us into a totally unexpected area- business! Let me ask you- what kind of business are you in? Is it a "soul-based business" or a "market- based business"? What's the difference anyway? Don't both need to make a good profit in order to live, expand and grow?

Yes, of course, a business without profit is like an automobile without gas- it goes nowhere and does nothing. But that is where the similarity ends. In a market-based business what one needs to do is find a niche and fill it. The calling is to make a better or different kind of widget, offer a new or unique buzz to a service, and make sure that people will be willing to pay for what you develop. Not to say that is especially easy but only that there is a different music that guides this whole operation.

In a soul-based business one must live, abide by and succeed at all the same stuff as the "market-based" venture only here the music is generated from a totally different center. It is here that the soul-business proprietor puts some serious stuff in front of him/her, questions like:

Does this business ignite my passion?

Am I providing a product/service that helps others, society and definitely does not damage others, society, the planet?

Who am I when I carry out my business, am I full of energy, wisdom with the urge to give (as well as compete….), or do I find myself totally immersed in the "mechanics" of business- buy low/sell high, presentations that hide information from would-be clients and investors, negotiating out of a position of "gain more by giving less"….

And if it is a soul-business you have then, congratulations, I think you will love what you do and do what you love. Just keep in mind that you will need to cultivate a "double agenda": how to keep the profit coming in as well as nurturing that soul in you and that soul in your business…

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

– Howard Thurman

לפי דעת רבים וטובים, התרבות העסקית והניהולית המערבית מדגישה ומעודדת את הגישה של "מוח שמאל" (אנליטי, לוגי, סדרתי, מתודי, מספרים ונתונים,  בין היתר),  כאשר הפוטנציאל הטמון ב"מוח ימין" נוטה להיות לא מנוצל ברובו (אינטואיטיבי, אמפטי, יצירתי,  ראיית התמונה גדולה, בין היתר). "חשיבה אסוציאטיבית" היא ביצוע פעולת חשיבה מתמשכת כאשר במהלך מחשבה על נושא מסוים מופיעים דימויים של נושאים קשורים, שאינם בהכרח הגיוניים. משום כך, היא נחשבת בעיקר פעולת "מוח ימין". שיטת המאסטרמיינד מדגישה את המוח הימני, האסוציאטיבי, במתן דגש על רעיונות ,תמיכה, שאלות ותגובות מכל הכוונים  והזויות בבואנו לסייע לחבר בעיבוד\פתרון על סוגיה או דילמה מסוימת.

לי לקח שנים לא מעטות להפנים את חשיבותו של "מוח ימין", ובזה להעריך את הצד הזה אצלי בפעילות ניהולית, שווקית ועסקית. מתוך עבודה עצמית במשך שנים רבות למדתי שאני יוצא "חצי- חצי" במבדקים השונים- מוח ימין מפותח יושב על חשיבה ממוקדת, אנליטית ולוגית…היו ימים שחשבתי שאבוד לי אני "לא זה ולא זה", במיוחד ב 15 שנים שעסקתי בשווק וניהול בתחומי הטכנולוגיה, ששם המדדים, הדגש וההערכה נמצאים עמוק במישור "מוח שמאל". עם התוועדותי לעולם האימון לפני כמעט 7 שנים,  גיליתי  מה זה "גם זה וגם זה"  וכמה גדול היה אותו חלק מתוכי שהיה ב"תרדמה" כאשר ליוויתי, קידמתי ומכרתי את "המהנדסים" והפיתוחים החכמים שלהם (ולעיתים גם אלה שלא היו חכמים וגם לא בדיוק היו שלהם…). מאז אני חווה הרבה אושר מלתת לכוחות "מוח הימין" להוביל, להרחיב ולאפשר לי להעיז למקומות מלהיבים ומעוררי השראה, גם בעולם העסקי… ומה אתכם?

לינקים מעניינים בנושא:

 Poetry in the boardroom: thinking beyond the facts: A roundtable discussion among Ted Buswick, Clare Morgan and Kirsten Lange;jsessionid=DA3443C217E0D8A273E55E349ADFD01F?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=1465125

Business looks for renewal in right-brain thinking

The Future – Right Brain Thinking and Business Analysis

Daniel Pink on right-brain thinking and outsourced economics

You know how people always say, "He was an honest guy but, you know, business is business…", or " In order to succeed you need to cut costs and that means you need to make the most and pay out the least…inevitably you will be at odds with your workers…". And there are lots of other "classic sayings" which simply emphasize that a person of values has not business in being in business and a person of business will not have very strong values over time. Well, I have heard this stuff for tens of years and I am sure it is true in many cases…but not all! And the fact that it is NOT true in all is what gives us hope, a new vision, a new way of doing things.

I think the example of Grameen Bank is absolutely the best. Dr. Muhammad Yunus is a global leader in anti-poverty efforts, and has pioneered the use of "micro-loans" to provide credit to poor individuals without collateral. Dr. Yunus, an economist by training, founded the Grameen Bank in 1983 in his native Bangladesh to provide small, low-interest loans to the poor to help better their livelihood and communities. Despite its low interest rates and lending to poor individuals, Grameen Bank is sustainable and 98% percent of its loans are repaid – higher than other banking systems. It has spread its successful model throughout the world. Dr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work. It was basically a case of a smart and caring individual coming forth with a creative idea that combined good sense with "good values": poor people (mostly women), given a chance and a fair way of developing, can create wonderful opportunities and things in this world. In other words, instead of cheating and exploiting the poor we can invest in them and in their desire to improve themselves…and then see what happens!

And there are many more great things happening in the social business entrprepreneurship arena. It fills me with inspiration and excitement…how can we do more to bring these two worlds together towards making our world a better place to live in?

Annita Rodick, The Body Shop

The Skoll Foundation

The Schwabb Foundation

Ben and Jerry's

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