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TalentCulture | April 25, 2014

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Like Flaming Sheets of Unfinished Music

Like Flaming Sheets of Unfinished Music
Kevin W. Grossman
Kevin W. Grossman
by
February 1, 2013

And then I saw a post that read, “Entrepreneurs face a fiscal cliff every day.”

I nodded. Yes, they do. But I kept thinking about it more and more and realized what I already know from my own experience as well as that of millions of others: we all face a fiscal cliff every day.

Every single day. “We can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust,” as one of my favorite writers and musicians Neil Peart has penned. According to a recent report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly 44 percent of American households don’t have enough savings to cover their basic expenses for three months, in the event of a financial emergency like losing a job or paying for unexpected medical care.

From dreams to a bowl of dust

As working (or not currently working) professionals, whether we’ve been in formal leadership roles or not, we do our best to lead ourselves. We are responsible for our own development and growth, our own experience and skill sets, our own unique value and specialization, our own relevancy and marketability. We do our best to provide, to take care of ourselves and our families and our communities. But the marketplace is volatile, government policies are polarized and archaic, and many global enterprises quietly plan their own domination atop a trillion dollars in assets.

Never the twain shall meet

Economists agree that startups and new business ventures breed innovative sparks that sometimes catch fire and create jobs beyond the failing fire line. And yet, we still keep building businesses with like-mindedness in mind. Meaning, we hire those like us and those we like. Unfortunately like-mindedness breeds single-mindedness, which is a mental inbreeding of sorts. (This week during #TChat, where we talked about diversity of ideas and innovation, one participant referenced the financial crisis and unending recession as an example of what can happen in an industry that’s inbred. And it continues.)

That’s where think tanks come in. A group of smart folk from preferably diverse backgrounds create an organization that performs research and advocacy around things like social policy, economics, technology and culture. These are usually non-profits that try to remain as objective as possible in their methods and findings, encouraging politicians and captains of industry to apply them liberally, like salve on a burn.

I’d argue that sparks of business innovation start coming more from this kind of think tank mindset, from this “unlike-mindedness” of unique individuals bringing diverse ideation around product and/or service creation and advancement, marketing and customer service of the highest creative and responsive caliber – and ultimately the business sense to balance risk and fiscal responsibility to those who are part of the core team, and those who must grow with the business, which is what we want. These unique and highly specialized individuals will not only have sound IQ’s, but they’ll have higher EQ’s as well.

The more empaths the better, I say

However, diverse ideation needs rules of engagement – otherwise stuff may not get done. Milestones and deadlines and objectives must be met. True progress is the progression of application, adoption and adjustment. Otherwise, it’s a hot smart mess of questions and answers flying through the air like flaming sheets of unfinished music.

We compose our lives every day at the edge of the world, and the world of work – so let’s do try to make it a better one that works for us all.

Photo credit: Fire Flames via stock.xchng

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