Sources of Insight Better Insights, Better Results for Work and Life 2015-05-25T05:42:55Z http://sourcesofinsight.com/feed/atom/ WordPress JD <![CDATA[The Integrating Generalist and the Art of Connecting the Dots]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26483 2015-05-23T16:38:29Z 2015-05-23T16:31:55Z If you like to connect the dots, or put the puzzle together, or simply see the big picture, you just might be an Integrating Generalist. Integrating Generalists are masters of the art of integration.

The post The Integrating Generalist and the Art of Connecting the Dots appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Music is the silence between the notes.” — Claude Debussy

If you like to connect the dots, or put the puzzle together, or simply see the big picture, you just might be an Integrating Generalist.

Integrating Generalists are masters of the art of integration.

Integrating Generalists can apply specialist knowledge to general problems.  They are expert pattern matchers.  They see patterns in things, even where others do not.

They can cross-pollinate ideas, perform creative synthesis, and apply their skill across a wide range of disciplines, domains, and fields.

In the book, Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective, Hans Eibe Sørensen introduces the concept of an Integrating Generalist and how they make the world go round.

Integrating Generalists Bring Ideas to Life

Business developers and entrepreneurs are great examples of Integrating Generalists.  They use their knowledge across business functions, such as marketing, sales, sourcing, product development, distribution, and customer service to bring ideas to life, create customers, and create new markets.

The Business Developer Sees the Business as a Coherent Whole

If you want to bring things together, then you need to be able to see the big picture.  You need to see the whole, and how the sum is more than the parts.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“… doing business should not be confused with an academic exercise within one of our favorite areas of specialized expertise.  Nor is it about having a full set of specialized, but disconnected, courses in business administration and economics.  The business developer works with the knowledge that the business and its environment is a coherent whole with highly interdependent tasks and processes.”

Integrating Generalists Make the World Go Round

Integrating Generalists avoid getting bogged down in the unnecessary details and complexities so that they can make the world go round.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“First, the business developer is specialized as an integrating generalist, which implies (a) we work with entire business operation as our subject and thus view the world in a different perspective and (b) we draw on and are dependent on specialists for our activities.

Second, idiosyncratic complexity usually arises when there is something you do not comprehend, like a child beginning to learn their letters, grammar or maths.  Because something is complex to you, it does not mean that it is complex to others. 

Third, while you may be overwhelmed and confused by the details of your areas of specialization, we—the integrating generalists, business developers, entrepreneurs, leaders, etc.- make the world go round.  That is to say that specialists, in academia as well as in practice, tend to get bogged down by unnecessary details and complexities.  Moreover, the integrating generalist, who understand the interconnectedness of the specialist’s work, must ensure that the specialist provide only what is meaningful to the particular task or assignment.”

The Business Developer as an Integrating Generalist

A business developer, by their nature, needs to be an effective Integrating Generalist.  They have to integrate the parts of a business to make an effective whole.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“The words, ‘specialist’ and ‘generalist’ will be used frequently in my exposition, but what do I mean by them, really? Let me use an analogy to demonstrate the meaning of specialist and generalist in a business context.  Consider the development of the modern mind as argued by, for example, Annette Karmiloff-Smith (1994) and Steven Mithen (1999).  This modern mind analogy will also allow me to introduce the notion of ‘;integrating generalist’, which is of critical importance when trying to understand our focal concept, business development.”

The Modern Mind: A Mash Up of Common, Specialized, and Integrating Knowledge

Specialists are those who have developed experience and skills in a restricted field.  But there is also a place for common or cross-cutting knowledge, as well as integrating general knowledge.  It’s the Integrating general knowledge that helps the whole function effectively.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“Our minds consist of a capacity to apply common general knowledge, specialized knowledge and integrating general knowledge.  Each of these capacities represents stages of our evolution, but all are usually present in modern minds, our minds.  In the context of an organization, this corresponds to having people and business functions with:

Common general knowledge

Specialized knowledge

Integrating general knowledge

The critical distinction to make is that between ‘common general knowledge’ and ‘integrating general knowledge.’  But let us first clarify what we mean by a specialist and specialized knowledge.  Specialized knowledge is developed over time and is acquired with experiences in a specific and restricted field.  We therefore refer to specialists as those highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.”

Common Generalists  Can’t Integrate Specialist Knowledge Into General Areas

Just because you are a generalist, doesn’t mean you can integrate specialist knowledge into general areas.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“Being a ‘generalist’ needs to be elaborated upon as well.  Holders of common general knowledge know about many relevant things to sustain daily life but are not specialists in any area, nor have they the capacity to integrate specialist knowledge into general areas.  Nonetheless, common general knowledge allows for organizational activities, such as running a household.  Note that even such trivial activities may pose huge challenges.  Specialists and integrating generalists possess common general knowledge. We refer to those who are able to use common general knowledge to sustain daily life but are not specialists in any area or do not have the capacity to integrate knowledge from specialist areas as common generalists.”

Integrating Generalists Apply Specialist Knowledge to General Purposes

Humans are good at pattern matching.  An Integrating Generalist is especially good at applying specialist knowledge to other domains or broader areas, in new ways.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“Integrating general knowledge, on the other hand, involves being able to apply specialist knowledge to general purposes that life beyond the possibilities of that of holders of common general knowledge and specialists.  Back to our mind analogy, it is actually a hallmark of our species to have evolved an ability to apply specialist knowledge to general purposes.  We will therefore refer to integrating specialists as those who are able to apply specialist knowledge, which lies beyond that of common general knowledge and specialists to general purposes.”

Integrating Generalists Have a Wide Array of Knowledge Across Different Fields

Integrating Generalists are able to build bridges across silos because they have a good understanding of how things work across a wide variety of functions.  They know enough of the mechanics to be able to put the puzzle together, and shape things towards better outcomes.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“An integrating generalist is generally argued to be a person with a wide array of knowledge across different fields, such as strategic management, marketing management, innovation management, finance and organization, as opposed to the specialist, who is an expert within a particular field, such as corporate finance or market research.”

Integrating Generalists Bring Together and Synthesize Specialized Information

The greatest skill of the Integrating Generalist is the ability to put it all together.  It’s like a conductor who can bring out the best from the orchestra.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“As such, integrating generalists and specialists work with the same amount of detailed information on a daily basis, but a different levels of aggregation.  The business developer’s tasks as an integrating generalist are to bring together and synthesize organizational and environmental information from the various areas of specialization that make up our entire business venture.

Maintaining and refining this integrating generalist approach seems only plausible if the business developer does not get lost in the details of particular details in specialized areas.  This also highlights the importance of the business developer’s extensive knowledge of the role and relevance of the different areas of specialization, and that they have a good and frequent interaction with the respective specialists within an organization.

Conversely, this also highlights the importance of making the specialist aware of their role and area of contribution to the business venture.  A recurrent observation of the many specialists I have engaged with is that they tend to be quite able to realize and accept the extensive difficulties with the understanding of their own subjects among their specialist peers.  On the other hand, they seem quite quick to neglect  that the same fact is prevalent in all other areas of specialization as well as for those specialized as an integrating generalist, such as the business developer.

As an integrating generalist, the business developer is therefore working closely with specialists as well as the senior management and the board of directors, to conceive , craft, and implement superior business plans.”

Specialists vs. Integrating Generalists

Integration might look easy, especially when it’s performed by somebody that’s skilled at doing it.  But it’s really it’s own discipline with special skills and experience required.   There is a science to it, and making it looks easy is the art part.

Via Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective:

“Distinguishing the specialist from the integrating generalist can generally be understood in terms of the business tasks and activities they perform and their knowledge about their interconnectedness.

… Based on this stylized setup, we say that the feature which distinguishes specialists from integrating generalists in their respective focus on either increasingly detailed knowledge about interrelated activities within a business function (light blue box) or integrated general knowledge about the interrelatedness across business functions (dark blue box).  As an artifact of this example’s design, we can imagine the limits of knowledge of both the specialist and the integrating generalist.  It should also be easy to imagine a person with common general knowledge as well as scattered knowledge from various specialist business activities but without any meaningful capability to integrate this knowledge.

Note, for example, than an entrepreneur must usually cope with all the business tasks and activities across functions and their environment in the start-up phase.  With the simple wisdom presented in our little example, it should be no surprise that entrepreneurs and other business professionals who are not willing or capable of (a) acknowledge their professional and cognitive limitations and (b) delegate responsibilities to specialists and integrating generalists perform poorly or go bankrupt.”

Now, when somebody asks what you do, you can say more than just “connect the dots.”

You are an Integrating Generalist.

And that’s the playground of the most effective entrepreneurs, business developers, and any role that requires creating synergy from the parts.

You Might Also Like

7 Steps for Creating V-Teams with Skill

Crafting Strategy

Integrative Thinking: Synthesizing Multiple Ideas Into One Complete Idea

Simplicity Quotes

The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results

Image by Rob Swystun.

The post The Integrating Generalist and the Art of Connecting the Dots appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[How To Visualize Non-Attachment]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26466 2015-05-14T15:17:11Z 2015-05-14T15:12:50Z Practicing non-attachment can help you quiet your mind. Non-attachment can also help you respond vs. react. You can use non-attachment to help you create a gap between the stimulus and your response.

The post How To Visualize Non-Attachment appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Detachment means letting go and nonattachment means simply letting be.” — Stephen Levine

Letting go of thoughts or letting them “float by” is a useful skill for life.

Some thoughts aren’t worth dwelling on, and some thoughts do more harm when you hold on to them.

Practicing non-attachment can help you quiet your mind.

Non-attachment can also help you respond vs. react.  You can use non-attachment to help you create a gap between the stimulus and your response.

In the book … And I Breathed: My Journey from a Life of Matter to a Life That Matters, Jason Garner shares a technique he uses to practice non-attachment and master meditation.

A Fork in the River of Non-Attachment

Imagine a free-flowing river, where your thoughts float by.   Notice your thoughts, but don’t react to them.

Via … And I Breathed:

“To help myself, I developed an image with which I would start my meditation.  I would close my eyes, envision a wise-looking Chinese man, like Confucius, sitting on the bank in between a fork in the river, with the river running on either side of him.

Instead of water, the river was made up of thoughts.  My thoughts.  This wise Chinese man (my mind) simply looked at each thought as it floated by and said gently ‘hmm.’  A thought floated by … ‘hmmm’ … another … ‘hmm.’  Never engaging or resisting.  Calmly observing the presence and letting it pass by with a simple ‘hmmm.’”

A Visual Representation of Non-Attachment and Surrender

It might sound silly, but sometimes silly works.  What’s important is finding what works for you.

Via … And I Breathed:

“As silly as it sounds, this imagery worked for me.  It was a visual representation of non-attachment and surrender I could clearly understand.  After a few moments of doing this, I would settle into a peaceful state and enjoy a magnificent meditation.  Over time those moments went from seconds to a minute, and, with more practice, to more and more minutes.”

Let Your Thoughts Float on By

Don’t hold on to your negative thoughts.  Let them float on by.

Via … And I Breathed:

“What I asked Guru Singh how to deal with a thought I didn’t like, he would say: ‘What do you do when you see a billboard you don’t like? Do you take a picture and carry it around with you? No.  You see it and then you drive on by.’”

Sometimes the right metaphor or imagery can be just what you need for your own, personal breakthrough.

Enjoy your river of thoughts, and enjoy a new level of non-attachment.

You Might Also Like

How To Use the Relaxation Response to Melt Away Stress

Pono: The State of Unwavering Congruence

Stretch Into Your Body Glove

Image by Thomas and Dianne Jones.

The post How To Visualize Non-Attachment appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
2
JD <![CDATA[Stretch Into Your Body Glove]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26456 2015-05-07T16:08:59Z 2015-05-07T16:00:26Z Your body is like a glove. Yoga can help you stretch into your body glove to become all that you’re capable of.

The post Stretch Into Your Body Glove appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
Yoga as a Body Glove

“A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.” — T. Guillemets

Your body is like a glove.

You can stretch into your body glove to become all that you’re capable of.

I was reading the book … And I Breathed: My Journey from a Life of Matter to a Life That Matters, by Jason Garner.   In it, he shares the insight that yoga helps you stretch into your body glove, and you can use yoga moves to become all that you’re capable of.

I’m a big believer that the right metaphors can empower us, and I really like the body glove metaphor.

Yoga is Not for Everyone

If you don’t see the value, you won’t do it.   And that’s exactly where Garner was coming from.

Via … And I Breathed:

”I hadn’t done the yoga not because I was lazy or because it looked lame.  I didn’t do it because I didn’t see the value.  It appeared to be a waste of time and so I skipped it like all the other waste-of-time things people had tried to make me do in my life.”

Yoga Helps You Stretch Into Your Body Glove

What changed is Garner’s Guru helped him think about yoga in a brand new way.  Like a body glove.

Via … And I Breathed:

“’Yoga,’ he began, ‘is one methodology allowing you to stretch into your body, your body glove.  It’s like a glove or a pair of shoes: if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t serve and if it doesn’t serve, nothing works well.  I asked you to do downward dog because it’s the same exercise almost every animal does.  Dogs do it after getting up from every nap.  Stretching into the body glove enables the occupant of the body to fully utilize the body.”

Yoga Helps You Get In Touch with More of Your Body

It’s easy to lose touch with part of our body that we don’t use much.  Yoga can help us breathe new life into all the parts of our body, that we haven’t used in years.

Via … And I Breathed:

“’Yoga has been developed over thousands of years to help you get in touch with those places in your physical form that generate emotional sensations, which in turn produce thought.  It is getting to those places that allows us to ultimately have not only a body that fits, but a life that fits.  When the body and the life fit, neither one of them disrupts your ability to have a clear sensation of God at all times.  So in the midst of yoga we get into postures, we have movements and, equally important, we breathe consciously.’”

Yoga Can Be a Smart Thing To Do

Yoga’s not lame.  In fact, you might say it’s pretty smart.

Via … And I Breathed:

“All of a sudden the lame yoga postures didn’t seem so lame.  In fact, yoga sounded like a really smart thing to do.  I listened as the guru continued.”

Downward Dog Releases Compression in the Organs

It’s great for people, too.  The Downward Dog pose can help us decompress our organs and give them some breathing room.

Via … And I Breathed:

‘I asked you to do downward dog because there’s a relationship between the glands and the organs of the abdomen and this relationship is effective when there is room for the glands and organs to relate.  Inverting the body in downward dog releases the compression that takes place throughout our lives by sitting and standing.  This increased space allows everything to move and function effectively.

Paint the Aura Helps Your Energy Flow

The Paint the Aura pose can help us expand our energy in less limited, and more unlimited ways.

Via … And I Breathed:

“’Also, I asked you to paint the aura.  Kirlian photographs of the bodies of living creatures show there is an electromagnetic field that surrounds every one of us.  This is what is known as the aura.  When you do that exercise to paint the aura, you are actually spreading your intention into this electromagnetic field through the nerve endings in your hands.  Each of our hands has 72,000 nerve endings, the same number in each of our feet. 

Reflexology is a therapy that utilizes this fact.  It knows that these nerve endings connect to all of the glands and organs throughout our body and that we can affect those glands and organs by massaging the nerve endings.  By the same fact, in reverse, we can affect the space around us by allowing the energy coming from our glands and organs through those nerve endings to be painted into the surrounding space.  This may sound like woo-woo, but it is as real as a surgeon’s scalpel.’”

While we’re on the topic of yoga, let me share a few of my favorite yoga quotes:

“Sun salutations can energize and warm you, even on the darkest, coldest winter day.”

— Carol Krucoff

“Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

How does your body glove fit?

Does your body glove fit your life?

You Might Also Like

Exercise is the Trigger for Growth

Exercising Your Body Makes You Smarter

How To Use the Relaxation Response to Melt Away Stress

Image by Matthew Ragan.

The post Stretch Into Your Body Glove appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[Why Start a Blog]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26446 2015-05-04T15:56:36Z 2015-05-04T15:47:20Z Why start a blog? Working on your blog is working on your life. Blogging is a way to spend more time doing what makes you come alive.

The post Why Start a Blog appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn.” – Scott Adams

Why start a blog?

There are many reasons to start a blog, but here are a few:

  1. Working on your blog is working on your life.
  2. Blogging is a way to learn how to ship ideas and incremental value (to yourself and others.)
  3. Blogging is also a way to grow and share your expertise.
  4. Blogging is also a way to build your personal platform for impact.
  5. Blogging is a way to spend more time doing what makes you come alive.

For some, starting a blog means freedom. They want to be able to work anywhere, anytime. For others, starting a blog means sharing their hobby or passion with the world. For others, starting a blog provides a way to give back and share what they learned from the school of hard knocks.

Blogging is a way to find your voice.

Blogging is a way to highlight what’s happening in your life.

Blogging is a way to write out loud.

When you start a blog, you should know why you do it.

If you know why you want to start a blog, it will help you keep going.

Maybe you want to start a blog because you are a life-long learner, and blogging is a way to keep the spirit alive. Maybe you are retired, but you want to start a blog as a way to stay in the game, on your terms.

Maybe you want to start a blog to solve a problem you hate or to help somebody you love. Many brilliant blogs were started because a parent wanted to teach their kid something they learned the hard way.

Maybe you want to start a blog to learn how to start an online business. Or maybe you want to create a six-figure second income with your blog.

Or, maybe you just want to share your ideas with the world, and let serendipity run its course.

I started Sources of Insight to help empower people. I wanted to create a library of success patterns and practices that could help people get better results in work and life. I wanted to help people master their world, by first mastering themselves.

I also see blogging as a way to keep learning.

Regardless of why you start a blog, don’t just focus on the outcomes. Enjoy the journey, too. If it feels like a chore, you’re doing it wrong. It’s a challenge and a chance to build your skills. It’s a journey that’s filled with leadership moments, learning opportunities, and teachable moments.

Never stop learning.

You Might Also Like

Design a Routine for Exceptional Thinking

Solve a Problem on a Page

The Design of an Effective Tagline

Image by Christian Schnettelker.

The post Why Start a Blog appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
4
JD <![CDATA[Gain and Loss Framing]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26422 2015-04-27T02:08:06Z 2015-04-24T16:39:32Z If you want to be more persuasive, you need to know when to focus on gains and when to focus on losses. People react differently to messages and facts depending on how they are framed. A message can emphasize benefits, "gain-framed", or it can emphasize costs, "loss-framed."

The post Gain and Loss Framing appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“An evil gain equals a loss.” — Syrus

Should you focus on the positive benefits?

Or, should you focus on the cost or risk or loss of not doing something?

If you want to be more persuasive, you need to know when to focus on gains and when to focus on losses.

A gain-frame is when you frame a message focused on the positive outcome.  A loss-frame is when you focus on the costs or the loss, such as opportunity cost.

The key thing to keep in mind is that we do more to avoid pain, than to seek gain, and that we prefer more certain outcomes than uncertain alternatives.

Gain and Loss Framing

Prospect Theory helps us understand how we look at gains and losses.

According to Prospect Theory, individuals are more sensitive to minor losses than to minor gains.

In other words, we do more to get out of pain, then we do for gain.

To elaborate, people react differently to messages and facts depending on how they are framed.  A message can emphasize benefits (gain-framed), or it can emphasize costs (loss-framed.)

  • Gain-Framed Message:  You will live longer if you quit smoking.
  • Loss-Framed Message:  You will die sooner if you do not quit smoking.

If a behavior leads to a relatively certain outcome, then gain-framed messages can work well.

If a behavior leads to a more uncertain outcome, then loss-framed messages are more effective.

Gain and Loss Framing Example

Because the outcome is clear, you would focus on the benefits of using sun screen.   A gain-framed message would be “Prevent skin cancer by using sun screen.”

In contrast, because the outcome is not clear of screening mammographies, you would use a loss-framed message.   The behavior is risky and the outcome is uncertain, since breast cancer may or may not be detected.

Save Lives or Reduce Deaths?

Would you choose to save 200 lives?  What if it meant losing 400 lives?

In a classic example, psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman tested how participants would react based on different phrasing for a hypothetical life and death scenario.

If participants were told a positive frame, “Saves 200 lives”, they chose Treatment A over Treatment B, 72% of the time.

If participants were told a negative frame “400 people will die”, they chose Treatment A only 22% of the time.

Framing Treatment A Treatment B
Positive “Saves 200 lives” “A 33% chance of saving all 600 people, 66% possibility of saving no one.”
Negative “400 people will die” “A 33% chance that no people will die, 66% probability that all 600 will die.”

The Certainty Effect

A related concept to be aware of is the Certainty Effect.   Here is a quick summary of the Certainty Effect according to Psychlopedia:

“Although a focus on gains and losses generates different preferences, some inclinations of individuals are manifested in both scenarios. For instance, as Kahneman and Tversky (1979) showed, individuals tend to prefer certain to uncertain alternatives in general–a tendency called the certainty effect. “

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways on gain-and loss-framing::

  • Gain-and loss-framed messages are differently persuasive.
  • If a behavior leads to a relatively certain outcome, then gain-framed messages work well.
  • If a behavior leads to a more uncertain outcome, then loss-framed messages are more effective.
  • Gain-framed messages can be more persuasive than loss-framed messages when the outcome is clear and obvious.
  • We’re more sensitive to minor losses than to minor gains.
  • When we experience intense feelings, either positive or negative, the effect of loss framing on risk-taking diminishes.
  • When we experience positive feelings, the effect of gain framing on risk aversion also subsides.
  • In general, we prefer certain alternatives to uncertain alternatives.

Additional Resources

Here are a few good articles that really elaborate on gain-and loss framing:

You Might Also Like

Choice

How To Expand Your Choices in Any Situation

Refuse the Sucker’s Choice

Image by Bob Whitehead.

The post Gain and Loss Framing appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[Why I Draw People and Animals (And What I’ve Learned From It Over The Years!)]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26409 2015-04-22T15:08:59Z 2015-04-22T15:04:07Z Rebecca Tsien is an artist that draws people and animals. Rebecca has found a way to do what makes her come alive. Not everybody does.

The post Why I Draw People and Animals (And What I’ve Learned From It Over The Years!) appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
imageThis is a guest post by Rebecca Tsien.

Rebecca is an artist … Not just any artist. 

Her specialty is drawing people and animals.

But what’s truly important is that she loves and lives her work.

Rebecca has found a way to do what makes her come alive.

Not everybody does.

So I thought it would be great to hear from Rebecca herself on what she learned by drawing people and animals over the years.

Without further ado, here’s Rebecca …

When J.D. contacted me and asked me to do a guest blog, asking me to look within myself and ask why I draw portraits of people and animals and what I’ve learned from it over the years, I thought ‘oh wow J.D. what a great challenge!’. Over the span of a few days, which turned into a week and much crumbled up paper, I said to myself ‘oh wow J.D., this isn’t as easy as I thought’ :)

Because, in all honesty, I’ve never really given it much thought. Drawing, to me, is as natural as breathing. There has never been a time when I didn’t draw. Even when I didn’t work as an artist, I still drew. Or thought about projects I’d like to do if only I had the time.

So, why do I draw?

I think that growing up as the child of older parents I was always finding myself being dragged along to adult functions and parties. Also, as my parents had extremely busy gourmet food stores, I would oftentimes find myself sitting in the back of a store on a bag of coffee beans listening to adult concerns, and sometimes stressful conversations. As a result, I think that I was somewhat more comfortable with adults and definitely shy around my peers. I was an observer of things around me for sure.

The times that I truly felt most comfortable were with my dogs and my paper and pencils. When I drew, I was transported to a wonderful, calm world where I could make up my own characters and stories. I was always interested in movies, so I would create my own movie magazines with fictional movie stars!

Why people and animals?

Faces, to me, are the most incredible things. They are these beautiful, often flawed, road maps that lead inward to a person’s (or pet’s) soul and as much as we’d like to think that we can put on a brave face and hide our life experiences it all still comes through in our faces. A person’s eyes, in particular, tell the real story. The corners of the mouth are also very telling.

image

I recently did a portrait of Robin Williams, using a fairly recent reference photo, and his sadness was so visible in his eyes to me. Even through his smile. He looked world-weary.

I also find drawing people and animals extremely therapeutic and meditative.

The first time I drew someone who had recently passed, I was very young and my Great Uncle Frank Meier had recently passed very unexpectedly. I thought to myself ‘I wonder if Aunt June would like a nice picture of him?’

So, I sat down with a photo of him that my mom had taken only weeks before and I drew a portrait. It wasn’t the greatest work I’d ever done, but when I handed it to my Aunt June she started to cry…but she was also very happy. That feeling stayed with me forever…that maybe I could do something nice to remember a person by and also help myself recover from their loss.

I recently lost an amazing friend. She was my daughter’s first grade teacher who passed way too early cancer. It was a devastating loss, a loss where there really weren’t any words to make sense of things. I was able to find a tremendous amount of peace from sitting down each day and working on her portrait…it was almost as if I was able to go back and visit her each time even though she was not longer in this world.

I thought about conversations we’d had, her telling me about driving into Newark, NJ to pick up her mother for weekend visits. I thought about what I know of her life and family, etc.

I felt extremely lucky to have had that time with her again while I did her portrait, and I feel that way with any person or pet that I paint. If I know or knew the subject (human or animal) I remember our times together. If the subject is someone famous, I think about the incredible body of work they produced, their personal lives and what might have been.

It’s really a wonderful experience for me. Not to sound like a nutty psychic, but I always feel a real connection with my subject, whether they’ve moved on from this world or not.

What have I learned from doing portraits over the years? And more importantly…what would I go back and tell my younger self if I could do things over?

Biggest Pro:

As much as you may want to believe you are an expert at any point in your life, you are not! There is ALWAYS something new to learn and master and enjoy! I’m sure everyone can identify with me when I say that I was voted “Best Artist” in high school, and I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about art! And so, I hopped on the train with my oversized portfolio and supplies into New York where I started college at Parsons School of Design.

image

Lo and behold I met thousands of “Best Artist” winners (chuckle), the majority of them much better than me. I said to myself, ‘gee, I guess maybe I don’t know everything just yet’.

The same applied for my first Art Director job. I knew everything about desktop publishing…I had this down! Slowly, the first pages that I worked on came back with production problems and I realized that I had a bit more learning to do.

The beautiful thing is that learning is a never-ending journey, and it keeps your mind young forever. That includes the failures along with the successes.

Never be afraid of failing even if takes a hundred times to get something right. The hundred and first time, it will work (or hundred and second…). When I started drawing directly into Adobe Photoshop with a device called a Wacom Cintiq, I wanted to throw it out the back window of my house. How could something look so easy, yet be so hard. I love working with it now, but I’m still learning and improving on it.

The other important thing that I would tell my younger self is to ‘believe in your abilities’. Stick with it!

I know that this is the oldest nauseating cliché in the book, but it is the honest truth. If you believe you can accomplish something and are willing to put the time and effort in, you will be successful.

Don’t listen to those voices (the little evil ones from within, and the ones from outside) telling you that you don’t have what it takes, that you will starve, etc. Those voices will always be there, and it’s up to you to cancel them out. It’s okay to believe in oneself, to be one’s own cheerleader.

image

I wish I had taken that route when I first got out of college, but I only ended up as an illustrator after taking a lot of wrong turns along the way. When I graduated from Parsons, my parents were immediately afraid that I wouldn’t survive doing entry-level art jobs in New York City. In all honesty, the jobs that I saw in the newspapers paid next to nothing and I would have had to struggle big time. So instead, I headed off to a highly respected finishing school to learn administrative skills. Sigh.

I should have said no, but I didn’t follow my heart and I didn’t have a whole lot of self-confidence back then.

As a result, I spent a good many years being miserable in jobs that I just didn’t have my heart in and quite frankly, was not very good at! (I’m sure I made my bosses extremely miserable too!). Finally, I made my way back to art and publishing.

Along the way, I took night and weekend classes to learn how to do artwork and magazine layout on computers in programs like Adobe Photoshop, Quark and Illustrator. By waiting to work in what I truly loved, I met wonderful people and made lasting friendships which I will always be grateful for. I lost valuable time, though, in the world of art.

If I could do it again, I would stick with what I love… struggles, starvation, failures and all.

That’s what I always tell my kids…find something that you love, and you’ll be successful at it.

Find something that you will want to do for a lifetime, not because you have to but because you’re passionate about it and can’t imagine ever living without it.

It’s worth it.


You can follow Rebecca Tsien on Facebook where she shares her thoughts and art, and you can connect with Rebecca on her Web page at Rebecca Tsien Illustrations..

The post Why I Draw People and Animals (And What I’ve Learned From It Over The Years!) appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[Ability to Change]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26390 2015-04-30T14:35:58Z 2015-04-21T14:09:14Z Ability is another building block of creating change. If you want to create a change, you need to support ability. Knowing isn't good enough. Change requires doing. Doing requires ability.

The post Ability to Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Success is that old ABC – ability, breaks and courage.” — Charles Luckman

Ability is showing that you know how to put your knowledge into play or practice to achieve a desired result.

Ability is the fourth building block in the ADKAR model for adoption and change management.  ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.

If you want to create a change, you need to support ability.

Knowing isn’t good enough.  Change requires doing.  Doing requires ability.  And each person involved in the change, needs the ability to implement the new skills and behaviors.

In the book ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, Jeffrey Hiatt shares 5 success factors of ability to improve your effectiveness at managing change.

What is Ability?

According to Hiatt, ability is the act of doing:

“Ability is the demonstrated achievement of the change. Ability is the act of doing, such that the desired objectives of the change are realized.”

Or, more precisely, ability is demonstrated when the change is visible in action or measurable in terms of effect.

In other words, ability is “achieved when a person or organization can implement the change and achieve the desired performance level associated with that change.”

Knowledge is Insufficient

Knowledge is not ability.  It’s easy to confuse knowledge with ability.   You can think of knowledge as the body of information, while ability is competence.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“The presence of knowledge is often insufficient by itself.  Someone who recently completed lessons with a golf pro does not walk onto the course and par every hole. Likewise, employees who have knowledge about changes in processes, systems and job roles do not demonstrate immediate proficiency in these areas. Some employees, depending on the change, may never develop the required abilities.”

5 Success Factors that Influence Ability to Change

Here are the five success factors that influence your ability to change, according to Hiatt:

  1. Factor 1 – Psychological blocks
  2. Factor 2 – Physical abilities
  3. Factor 3 – Intellectual capability
  4. Factor 4 – The time available to develop the needed skills
  5. Factor 5 – The availability of resources to support the development of new abilities

Psychological blocks, physical abilities, intellectual capability, time and resources all contribute to our potential to develop new abilities.

Factor 1 – Psychological blocks

Limiting beliefs, fears, and psychological blocks can hold people back, and limit their ability to change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“In the workplace, psychological barriers exist as well. … Public speaking, for example, is a fear shared by many. This manifests itself for some employees when participating in large meetings or giving presentations. Some employees do not perform well in these circumstances and later they reflect their frustration at how this nervousness prevents them from demonstrating their real potential.”

Factor 2 – Physical abilities

Physical ability can limit ability to change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“For some people, physical limitations may prevent them from implementing change. Take the simple task of keyboarding.  Individuals with limited dexterity or arthritis cannot type without tremendous effort. Even when successful, the rate of text entry is very slow. Depending on the performance level required by the change, the new level of performance may simply be outside of the physical abilities of an individual.

In the workplace, physical limitations could include strength, physical agility, manual dexterity, physical size and hand-eye coordination.”

Factor 3 – Intellectual capability

Intellectual ability can limit ability to change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“Intellectual capability can also play a role in developing new abilities. All individuals possess unique skills that fall on spectrums of intellectual ability. For example, some people have a natural talent when it comes to finance and math, whereas others excel at innovation and creativity. Some people are naturally good writers, whereas others struggle to put their thoughts and ideas into words.”

Factor 4 – The time available to develop the needed skills

Sometimes the change fails because there is not enough time.  For example, an individual has the potential to develop the ability, but not within the given timeframe, and so the change fails.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“Time can be a factor for many types of change. If a person cannot develop the required skills in the needed time frame, then the change could fail, even if the person might have the potential to develop these abilities given more time. In a business situation, the time frame for implementing change is often driven by external factors outside of the control of managers and supervisors.”

Factor 5 – The availability of resources

Sometimes the right resources aren’t available at the right time, and the change fails.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“The availability of resources to support a person during this developmental period will also play a role. Resources could include:

  1. Financial support
  2. Proper tools and materials
  3. Personal coaching
  4. Access to mentors and subject matter experts

The process of developing new skills and abilities is enhanced by the presence of a support structure for an individual. This support structure promotes the cultivation of new skills, but it also can address any knowledge gaps that may be revealed once the change is underway.”

Change is more successful when change leaders and change agents help individuals perform the new skills and behaviors they need to make the change.

And change is limited when individuals lack the ability to make the change.

You Might Also Like

Awareness is the First Step of Change

Desire to Change

Knowledge On How To Change

Image by Pawel Loj.

The post Ability to Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[Good Morning]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26374 2015-04-20T13:29:57Z 2015-04-20T05:23:20Z Remember that good morning … where the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the birds are singing. And there’s a warm breeze that carries the essence of a garden in full bloom softly through the open window.

The post Good Morning appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

Good morning … Rise and shine.

I think that a large part of how we experience life is shaped by our experiences, expectations, and the images we hold in our mind.

Lately, I was reflecting back on scenes from perfect mornings …

The Perfect Start to Your Morning

Remember that good morning … where the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the birds are singing.

And there’s a warm breeze that carries the essence of a garden in full bloom softly through the open window.

I’ve seen scenes like this in movies and in T.V. shows, and I’ve experienced good mornings in real life.

So what I want to create here is a reminder of just such a good morning.

Classical “Morning Sunrise” Songs

Here are a couple of classical morning sunrise songs that accentuate the start of a beautiful day:

  1. Call To The Cows (a section of the “William Tell Overture”) by Gioacchino Rossini
  2. Morning Mood by Edvard Grieg

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Video

If you need something a bit more visual to really bootstrap your day, here is a link to a video of the original classic Disney song, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, that you might recognize:

If the video doesn’t play for you inline, you can find it online with the following link:

Video: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (Original)

Be Your Own Source of Sunshine

And if you do wake up on the wrong side of the bed, here’s a quote by Sam Sundquist that reminds us how we can get a fresh start:

“Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.”

Be your own source of sunshine and shine your way to a brighter day.

I hope that between the imagery, the songs, and this little vignette of a good morning that it helps inspire the start of your day.

Let this good morning post be your little dose of sunshine.

It’s here whenever you need it.

What’s your vision or vignette of a good morning?

The post Good Morning appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
4
JD <![CDATA[Knowledge On How To Change]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26334 2015-04-20T14:20:43Z 2015-04-17T16:10:20Z Knowledge is a key building block of change management. If you want to drive a change, you need to help build the knowledge that individuals need to make the change.

The post Knowledge On How To Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy

Knowledge is a key building block of change management.

If you want to drive a change, you need to help build the knowledge that individuals need to make the change.

Individuals need two types of knowledge: 1) how to change during the transition, and 2) how to perform effectively in the future state.

Keep in mind that knowledge is only effective if there is already awareness and desire to make the change.  If the individuals don’t care about making a change, then the knowledge will be irrelevant.

In the book ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, Jeffrey Hiatt shows us how to create a desire for change using 4 factors that influence a desire to change.

What Builds Knowledge on How To Change?

Hiatt provides some examples of the kinds of knowledge needed to implement a change:

  1. Training and education on the skills and behaviors needed to change
  2. Detailed information on how to use new processes, systems and tools
  3. Understanding of the new roles and responsibilities associated with the change

To deliver the knowledge on how to make the change, you could include anything from formal training programs to job aides to one-on-one coaching to user groups and forums.

4 Factors that Impact Knowledge on How to Change

According to Hiatt, the following four factors influence the knowledge on how to change:

  1. Factor 1 – The current knowledge base of an individual
  2. Factor 2 – The capacity or capability of this person to gain additional knowledge
  3. Factor 3 – The resources available for education and training
  4. Factor 4 – The access to, or existence of, the required knowledge

Factor 1 – The current knowledge base of an individual

The change is a lot easier if somebody already has the knowledge.   The gap between what they know and what they need to know is the challenge that you need to address.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“The gap between a person’s current knowledge level and the knowledge requirement associated with the change will directly impact the probability of success for those individuals. The current knowledge base of an individual could be in the form of education or work experience.”

Factor 2 – Capability of the person to learn

How easily a person learns will impact the success of the change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“In addition to the knowledge gap that may exist, each of us has a different capacity to learn. Some people pick up new information easily, whereas others struggle to learn new processes or tools. For example, some people learn new concepts quickly, but have difficulty learning technical skills.”

Factor 3 – Resources available to provide education and training

Availability of resources will impact the knowledge, which will impact the success of the change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“Some companies have extensive resources and funding to deliver training. Other firms struggle to provide any type of structured education to support a change. Resources could include the availability of subject matter experts, instructors, classroom facilities, books and materials, equipment and systems for student
use, and funding to support the training program overall.”

Factor 4 – The access to, or existence of, the required knowledge

Access to the knowledge that individuals need impact the success of the change.  If the knowledge exists, but people can’t get to it, it’s not going to help.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“For some desired changes, the knowledge may not be accessible or may not exist. Depending on an organization’s geographic location, the ready access to knowledge may be a barrier to learning. Some parts of the world have very little access to educational institutions and subject matter experts.”

While ultimately, change is up to the individual, you can make change a whole lot easier by creating awareness, influencing desire, and building knowledge to support the change.

Knowledge is a fundamental part of your overall change management approach.

You Might Also Like

Awareness is the First Step of Change

Change Quotes

Desire to Change

The Challenge of Personal Change

Why People Resist Change

Image by worldwaterweek.

The post Knowledge On How To Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0
JD <![CDATA[Desire to Change]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26305 2015-04-20T14:18:19Z 2015-04-15T17:41:54Z If you want to drive a change, you need to create a desire for change. Jeffrey Hiatt shows us how to create a desire for change using 4 factors that influence a desire to change.

The post Desire to Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
image

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

If you want to drive a change, you need to create a desire for change.

Creating a desire for change is a challenge, because we have limited control over another person’s choices.

When we build awareness, we can use proven practices to generate awareness of the need for change.  Unfortunately, creating the desire for change is not under our direct control.

In the book ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, Jeffrey Hiatt shows us how to create a desire for change using 4 factors that influence a desire to change.

Don’t Assume Building Awareness Builds Desire

Just because you created awareness of the need to change, does not mean that you’ve created desire.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“A common mistake made by many business leaders is to assume that by building awareness of the need for change they have also created desire. Resistance to change from employees takes them by surprise and they find themselves unprepared to manage this resistance.”

The 4 Factors of Desire to Change

According to Hiatt, there are four factors that influence a desire to change:

  1. Factor 1 – The nature of the change (what the change is and how it will impact them)
  2. Factor 2 – The organizational or environmental context for the change (their perception of the organization)
  3. Factor 3 – An individual’s personal situation
  4. Factor 4 – What motivates them (those intrinsic motivators that are unique to an individual)

Factor 1 – The nature of the change and WIIFM

You need to address the question, “What’s In It For Me?” so that people know what the change is and what it means to them.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

“A person or group assesses the nature of a change on a variety of levels that include “What is the change?” and “How will the change impact me?”  This is often termed “What’s in it for me?” or WIIFM.  

They will determine if the change represents an opportunity or a threat.

They may also assess how fairly they think the change will be deployed with other individuals or groups. If individuals perceive inequity between groups, this alone can provide an excuse to resist change.”

Factor 2 – Organizational or environmental context

The context where the change is taking place will impact the desire for change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

”Organizational or environmental context represents how a person or group views the environment that is subject to the change. Because each person’s experience is unique, this assessment of the surroundings will vary from person to person.

In the workplace, this organizational context includes the success of past changes, how much change is already going on, reinforcements or rewards that were part of past change, the organization’s culture and the overall direction of the organization.”

Factor 3 – An individual’s personal situation

An individual’s personal situation will impact the desire for change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

”Individual or personal context is the third factor that contributes to a person’s desire to change.

Personal context includes all aspects of a person’s life situation, including family status, mobility (are they in a position to be flexible in terms of where they live?), financial security, age, health, career aspirations (are they where they expected to be at this point in their career?), relationships at home and at work, educational background, upcoming personal events and past success in this work environment (promotions, recognition, compensation).”

Factor 4 – Intrinsic motivation

An individual’s personal motivation will impact the desire for change.

Via ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community:

”Intrinsic or personal motivation is the fourth element that contributes to a person’s desire to change. Personal motivators are those inherent attributes that make us individuals. They range from the desire to help others and make a difference in our world, to the avoidance of pain or negative consequences. Some of us seek advancement while others want depth in relationships.  Some desire respect, power or position. Some strive for financial security.

What drives each of us to change is unique and falls along a broad spectrum of motivators.

Personal motivation not only includes what we value, but also our internal belief that we could achieve what we want should we choose to move forward. It is our internal compass that communicates to us the likelihood or probability that we would obtain the desired result from this change.”

To recap, you can control building awareness.

You can’t control creating desire.

But you can influence desire more effectively if you know the four factors of desire to change:

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM), Context, Individual Situations, and Individual Motivations.

You Might Also Like

Awareness is the First Step of Change

Change is Good

Change Quotes

The Challenge of Personal Change

Why People Resist Change

Image by Andreas Ivarsson.

The post Desire to Change appeared first on Sources of Insight.

]]>
0