The perfectionist trap

It’s hard to believe my first year of the AMC program is coming to a close. I’ve learned so much about blogging this year and I’ve grown as a writer. However I’ve also learned a lot about myself in the process.

And I have a confession to make. I’m a perfectionist. But it’s more complicated than that…

One of my biggest learning moments this semester came after talking with a friend. That’s when I started to really understand perseveration.

The Dictionary of Biological Psychology describes Persevaration as “a wide range of functionless behaviours that arise from a failure of the brain to either inhibit prepotent responses or to allow its usual progress to a different behavior, and includes impairment in set shifting and task switching in social and other contexts.”

Which is basically a fancy way for saying stuck.

I get stuck on things.

Blogging has been a challenge for me. I’m a terrible self-editor. And all of this has led me to my biggest takeaway from blogging this year – just write.

Hitting that publish button is HARD for me. My brain can find a million reasons why my work isn’t good enough and I’ll probably forgot something important and it’s probably stupid anyway and what if what if what if… 

I’ve had to force myself to write this year. Sometimes it’s an uncomfortable process, but I think there’s a lot of value in that. Writing for a global audience still feels weird. But I’ve met some incredible people in the short time I’ve been blogging here.

Now that I’m officially on vacation I hope to devote more time to growing this blog and writing about whatever interests me instead of what I have to write about.

But first, I’m going to sleep all weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The power of freedom and responsibility in business

Book cover Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty Mccord

When I spotted Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility on the Wall Street Journal’s list of 11 leadership books to read in 2018 I knew it was a book I had to read.

Written by Patty Mccord, former Chief Talent Officer for Netflix, Powerful is a fresh perspective on leadership and the culture shift that helped make Netflix the company that it is today.

I was excited when we were asked to choose a book for our Perspectives of Leadership course. Like most busy moms, I don’t make a lot of time for myself. Forced reading for pleasure? Yes please.

Powerful did not disappoint. Much like Netflix manages to keep me binge-watching, Patty Mccord had me hooked from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down.

The culture that went viral

You wouldn’t expect a bland 127 slide PowerPoint to go viral, but for Netflix, that’s exactly what happened.

The concept seems counterintuitive at first, but as you dig in, it makes a lot of sense. If I had to sum it up in a few words, it would be these:

Hire competent Adults

Find people who take initiative, work hard, and keep the company’s best interests at heart.

Treat people like competent adults

Give your team the freedom to make decisions, and respect their judgement. Remove restrictions wherever possible.

Communicate

Encourage open communication company-wide. Be transparent.

Be Honest

Speak candidly and directly. Only say things about your coworkers you would say to their face. Admit your own mistakes.

Netflix has since updated their cultural mandate with the addition of inclusion, and has replaced “honesty” with “integrity” in their values, to reflect the role that respect plays in radical honesty.

As someone who isn’t a fan of rules for the sake of rules, I was impressed by the growth Netflix has experienced while eliminating procedures that most view as necessary.

But my biggest take away from this book has nothing to do with business. Powerful has inspired me to look critically at my own leadership style, and examine how that relates to my parenting process.

Can I toss all the rules? No. Can I learn to create an environment that breeds more freedom and responsibility? I’m curious.

Patty Mccord spent 14 years as the Chief Talent Officer for Netflix and is now a consultant, speaker, and author. You can find her online at:

www.pattymccord.com

LinkedIn Patty Mccord

Twitter @pattymccord1

Trust, transparency, and the digital revolution

This week Unilever called Facebook and Google “toxic to children”, threatening to pull all advertising from the platforms unless they address their issues with transparency and ethically questionable content.

This is a bold move from a brand like Unilever, who currently spend 9.8 billion dollars a year on advertising; A quarter of which is spent on digital ads. But like all good stories, as I started digging, what started out as a brand vs platform war quickly became a small piece of a much bigger picture.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer made many compelling arguments in his speech. However, this quote is what I found most compelling :

I had the pleasure of listening to Elamin Abdelmahmoud, the social media editor for BuzzFeed Canada speak at Queen’s University recently. I expected to be entertained but instead came away with many deep thoughts about our digital culture.

Yes, you read that right.

Deep thoughts. About BuzzFeed. Stay with me here…

He posed an interesting question to the audience – If you were in the midst of a revolution would you know it? And as I walked out of the ARC that night I was certain that we were. And also certain that I had no idea what I was in the middle of.

Our digital landscape is on the precipice of a revolutionary change. Trust in digital media is low – currently less than half of Canadians trust digital media. We’re constantly connected, and bombarded, and yet in many ways, we’re more disconnected than ever.

Technology has developed at a lightning pace. For a long time, we were so focused on innovation that we weren’t taking note of the monster we’ve created. We didn’t see the revolution happening around us.

I grew up alongside our digital world. I remember a time without it, and can’t imagine living without it.  And that’s messed up.

We’ve messed up.

 

I don’t think we’ll all be tossing our smartphones in a dumpster, however, I do feel like maybe we’re finally ready to put the humanity back in the internet.

I might also be delusional.

So where do we go from here? I honestly don’t know. But I’m paying attention now. And I hope you are too.

Stay tuned, because this story… our story… isn’t over yet.

(Part 2 coming soon)

 

 

 

 

Three posts deep in the blogging trenches

Credit: Pexels.com licensed under CC0

I was that kid that would pull the Band-aid off reeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaally slowly.

And I guess that hasn’t changed much since it took me three posts to write a real intro. Or you know – share this link with more than a few outside of my faculty when I have to hand in post assignments.

If I’m honest, blogging makes me uncomfortable. I love writing, and sharing and connecting with others. I’ve enjoyed blogging in the past and was excited when I realized we’d be doing more blog assignments in our program this term. But there’s something about writing for an audience that makes me feel pressured and anxious.

So why would I do this to myself? That’s a good question…

Why blog, anyway?

As we’ve been learning in class, blogging is a powerful tool for brands to leverage and marketers with sharp blogging skills are a valuable asset.

That said, almost half of people reading blogs admit to just skimming them – so it’s important to know how to craft a good post that will catch your reader’s attention.

Blogging 101

As we’ve been learning in class, there are a few simple things that can take your blog to the next level so people want to keep reading.

Hook ’em when it counts!

Posts are a lot like people and first impressions matter. You want to have an engaging title that draws your reader in. And good content that will reel them in and keep them coming back for more.

Keep It Simple… Structure

No one wants to read a wall of text. Make it easy for them:

  • Keep paragraphs short
  • Use headings, subheadings,
  • Use lists and bullets where appropriate

Your writing should be concise, scannable, and make good use of structure and imagery/other media to add visual interest.

Be human

But most of all, be yourself. While you want to keep it professional (I try to imagine my grandma is my biggest reader – hi grandma!) it doesn’t have to be dull. Breathe some life into your writing, and show off your personality. Tell stories. A blog that can make me feel something usually keeps my attention.

So what about you?

Do you read blogs? Or maybe write one? I’d love to know some of your favourite blogs, and what you think makes them worth reading.

 

 

 

What comes first – form or function?

Credit: Siobhan Gillespie

American architect Louis Sullivan once coined the phrase “Form follows function” – but does it?

Sullivan’s mentee Frank Lloyd Wright changed the phrase to “form and function are one”. I agree with Frank Lloyd Wright that form and function have a symbiotic relationship. One cannot exist without the other.

The Guggenheim

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum floor plan
https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/form-follows-function

The Guggenheim Museum in New York City is a perfect example of Wright’s philosophy that form and function are interconnected. The building’s spiral design allows for a continuous viewing experience as you descend.

While many have criticised the museum’s design, The Guggenheim has remained an important piece of architecture and is now a designated historical site.  The museum has seen many pieces of art over the years, but the building has been able to remain relevant in the face of change.

It’s even been turned into a Lego set.

Before his death in 1959, Wright wrote a letter about the museum’s design, and his desire for it ” to make the building and the painting a beautiful symphony such as never existed in the world of Art before.”.

Sometimes, beauty comes from the perfect function of a design. Sometimes, the function is an aesthetic beauty for its own sake.  I don’t believe you can really separate the two from each other. Where there is form, there is a function – and vice versa.

So…

I’d love to know your thoughts – do you believe form follows function, or do you believe that form and function are one? Let me know in the comments below!