January 21, 2011
News & Opinion: ChangeThis: Issue 78
and Making a Difference by William C. Taylor
“We are living through the age of disruption. You can’t do big things if you’re content with doing things a little better than everyone else or a little differently than how you did them before. In an era of hyper-competition and non-stop dislocation, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special. Today, the most successful organizations don’t just out-compete their rivals. They redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world filled with me-too thinking.”
“Frank Zappa once said: 'The most important thing in art is the frame. For paint, literally. For other arts, figuratively—because, without this humble appliance, you can't know where the art stops and the real world begins.'
What he's saying is that how we frame something, like an idea or a problem, for example, has everything to do with how well it turns out. He's saying that there is an art to framing. That framing is an art."
by Jonathan Salem Baskin
“Perhaps what we’re experiencing isn’t an exception to the experiences of past generations, but rather another opportunity to do things we human beings have always done... only faster, more broadly, etc. Certainly our technology is also contributing novel changes to how we live, but I wonder if those instances are circumstantial to the more fundamental behaviors that prompt them."
“What if we lived in a world where all companies took care of their existing customers with as much effort as they pursued new customers, where companies were trusted and liked, where doing business with a company was a good experience, where companies and their employees cared about their customers and each other?
What kind of world would that be?
I believe that it is a world that is worth striving for.”
“In the mid-cretaceous period—sometime around 120 million years ago—a concept emerged that changed the world as we know it. And although the science to prove the significance of this concept has rested under our noses, under our feet, and even sometimes crawling onto our toes, as humans most of us are dumb-founded by it.
‘It’ is the concept of teamwork. It has been perfected by possibly one of the smallest insects seen by the human eye—the ant—and yet it is an elusive concept to master in business.”
“The single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce. That is not conjecture. That is now a confirmed scientific fact.
[...] In my research and consulting in 42 different countries during the worst economic downturn in recent history, I have discovered that most companies and schools around the world follow the same implicit formula: If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you’ll be happy. This pattern of belief explains what most often motivates us in life. We think: If I just get that raise, or hit that next sales target, I’ll be happy. If I can just get that next good grade, I’ll be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I’ll be happy. And so on. Success first, happiness second.
The only problem is that this formula is scientifically backwards."
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.