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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

50 Peaceful Things

Source: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/50-peaceful-things/

“Peace is not something you wish for. It’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.” ~Robert Fulghum

Here are 50 peaceful things to help you be mindful and happy throughout the day:
1. Laying in bed for a few minutes in the morning before hopping into your day. There’s no reason to rush.
2. Eating breakfast slowly, at a table, instead of grabbing something on the go.
3. Listening to your favorite music on the way to work, and remembering when you first heard it. Where you were, who you were with, how you felt.
4. Hugging someone you know long enough to make it meaningful.
5. Appreciating something you take for granted, like your feet for taking you where you need to go.
6. Focusing solely on the smell of your coffee as it brews.
7. Noticing something thoughtful a stranger does for someone else. (There are a lot of beautiful people out there).
8. Watching a coworker get proud about doing something well and feeling happy for them. Nothing’s more calming than focusing on someone else and forgetting yourself for a while.
9. Getting into the zone typing, like finger-moving meditation, maybe set the rhythm of a great tune on your iPod.
10. Doing only one thing, even though you have a lot to do, to fully enjoy what you’re doing.
11. Knowing you did a good job and taking a few minutes to bask in self satisfaction. You’re pretty awesome.
12. Expressing how you feel and then letting it be without feeling pressure to explain (pressure we usually put on ourselves).
13. Taking a break without anything to do besides breathing and noticing little details in your environment. How soft the rug is after having been cleaned. How sunlight from your window leaves shadows on your desk.
14. Holding someone’s hand in both of yours when you thank them.
15. Listening to someone talk–really hearing them–without thinking about what you’ll say next.
16. Remembering a time when you felt peaceful, and going back there in your head.
17. Writing a thoughtful, hand-written note to someone, even if you could email, because you feel more connected when you write it out.
18. Channeling your inner Kevin Rose and savoring a cup of loose leaf tea.
19. Forgiving someone, not just in words, but by feeling compassion for them.
20. Writing down thoughts that keep racing through your head, crumpling up the paper, and throwing it away. Being done with them.
21. Letting yourself have lunch without any thoughts of work.
22. Doing something slowly and finding it more fun than you realized when you rushed through it.
23. Holding a smooth rock in your palm and feeling stable and grounded.
24. Believing someone else when they say everything will be OK.
25. Feeling whatever you feel without judging it, knowing it will pass. It always does.
26. Making a short video of your child or niece, and watching it in the middle of the day when the world seems to be moving too fast.
27. Watching something in nature and letting yourself be intrigued. Feeling wonder at something simple that man hasn’t touched or changed.
28. Finding something beautiful in chaos, like the love between your loud family members at the dinner table, or one raindrop dripping down your window as you navigate a traffic-congested road.
29. Thinking something and realizing you can change your thoughts whenever you want. You don’t have to dwell in a painful memory–you can make a better one right now.
30. Telling someone you love them, not because you want to hear it back, but because you feel it too deeply not to express it. Because expressing it makes you happy.
31. Realizing there’s nothing to worry about. You can be happy right now–you have everything you need to smile.
32. Doing something creative and childlike, like making someone a card or coloring. Even as an adult, it feels good to pick all the right colors and stay mostly in the lines. Or go out of the lines and embrace it. It’s your picture!
33. Giving someone you love the benefit of the doubt to put your mind at ease and maintain a peaceful relationship.
34. Rolling down the window when you drive and feeling the pressure of the cool air on your face.
35. Calling one of your parents in the middle of the day to thank them for everything they’ve done–everything they’ve given you that one crazy afternoon can’t diminish or take away.
36. Taking a walk with no destination in mind, just to see what’s out there to be seen.
37. Letting go of something you’ve been holding onto that does nothing but stress you out.
38. Telling someone why knowing them makes you lucky.
39. Letting someone have their opinion; knowing you can honor it without changing or compromising yours.
40. Setting out on a joy mission–looking for something to do solely to experience fully present, open-to-possibilities bliss.
41. Defining peaceful for yourself. If peace is yelling, “I’m the king of the world!” while jogging around a track, do it with abandon.
42. Listening to a song that gives you goosebumps and creating a mental montage of moments that made you happy.
43. Turning off all your electronics to read without distractions.
44. Doing something by candlelight and remembering a simpler time.
45. Closing your eyes and dancing to a song you can feel pulsating in your veins.
46. Turning off your cell phone, no matter who might call or text, because there’s something you’d like to do with all your heart and attention.
47. Sitting in a sauna, and letting the heat melt all your stresses away.
48. Finally making time for something you want to do but always say you don’t have time for.
49. Making eye contact with a stranger and feeling connected to a world larger than your own.
50. Letting yourself lay in bed at night without making a mental inventory of things that went wrong today or could go wrong tomorrow.
And one last peaceful thing: being grateful for new friends with awesome ideas, and letting them inspire you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Stages of Organizational Development

Source: http://www.centerod.com/2012/02/3-stages-organizational-development/

By understanding a simple model of three stages of organizational growth, organizations can design themselves to move beyond chaos to high performance. Most organizations experience chaos. In fact, a complete absence of chaos would mean that an organization could not respond to changing demands, a sure prescription for stagnation and death. Nevertheless, chaos that immobilizes an organization and results in its inability to respond effectively to the demands of the environment is unproductive and should be minimized if an organization is to succeed. This article presents a simple model that describes three stages of organizational growth and development—from chaos to stability to high performance. It also outlines some of the initiatives which leaders can take to move beyond chaos and eventually to high performance.

Stage III: High Performance (Outstanding, sustainable results)
• Clear statement of mission that creates sense of esprit de corp.
• Well defined values which result in distinctive culture
• Respect for people that is a deeply ingrained part of culture
• Good communication and information sharing systems
• High involvement and empowerment of people
• Design (work flow, structure, systems) that supports mission and values

Stage II: Stability (Back to the Basics)
• Clarity of goals and direction
• Consistency in priorities
• Well-defined policies and procedures (technical and personnel)
• Agreement on roles and responsibilities
• Basic management processes rewarded and practiced (goal-setting, performance reviews, etc.)

Stage I: Chaos (Fire-Fighting Mentality)
• Crisis/short-term focus
• Lack of clear direction and goals
• Shifting priorities
• Unclear policies and procedures
• “Us” vs. “them” attitude
• Blame and lack of ownership
• Alienated work force


The chaotic organization operates on the fringes of being out of control. It is problem-oriented. People are reactive and manage by attending to the pressure of the moment. Expectations, policies, standards, etc., are unclear, not agreed upon or poorly enforced. Good ideas and intentions abound, but there is not enough unity, commitment or follow-through to carry them out. Work is unpleasant for most individuals. People act out of self-protection by blaming and criticizing others, and hence, set up a climate that perpetuates fear, suspicion, hostility, and frustration. The problems of the chaotic organization are the lack of routine, lack of clarity, and hence, anxiety about what to expect from moment to moment. Needed are more formalized structures, routines, accountability, and clarification of policies, expectations, and roles.


The stable organization is characterized by predictability and control. Structure, routine, policies, etc., have been established to remove uncertainty from the environment. Goals are clear and people understand who is responsible for what. The major focus of the organization is to ensure an efficient daily operation. People within this climate tend to be dutiful and expect fairness. Conformity is the watch word, and people are rewarded for compliance rather than risk-taking and innovation. The purpose of the organization is subservient to its efficiency. The limitation of an organization that fails to grow beyond stability is that efficiency is more important than innovation and development. Doing things by the book and following the procedures becomes more important than the purpose and mission of the organization. Such companies are eventually left behind as customers find more responsive competitors. Needed are a long-term vision, emphasis on growth and development and a culture in which people exercise greater autonomy in making decisions and solving problems.


The essence of high performance is shared ownership. Employees are partners in the business and assume responsibility for its success. These organizations are highly participative and collaborative. Their members have extensive decision-making and problem-solving responsibilities. Line of site is on serving the customer rather than the formal organizational structure. The mission of the organization, rather than rules and policies, guides day-to-day decision-making. Such an organization is founded on a unique and strong culture derived from a clear set of values expressed and reinforced by its leaders. Those values provide focus on what is important while allowing flexibility and innovation. The processes, systems and structure of the organization are designed to be in alignment or harmony with the values of the organization. The high performance organization adopts a long-term point of view. The development of people is seen as a primary management task. Trust and cooperation exist among organization members. People don’t blame or attack others because doing so is not in their own best interest.
An important learning from this model is that an organization cannot become high performing without a foundation of stability. Ironically, high performance requires not only participation, flexibility, and innovation, but order, predictability and control. The leaders of many an organization have attempted to grow from chaos to high performance without the underlying foundation of stability and consequently failed or been frustrated in their efforts. Leaders who want to create high performance work systems must be certain that they implement processes that ensure stability as well.


Creating stability has to do with getting back to the basics of good, sound management practices. Consider that the first step a good sports coach will take when his team is floundering is reinforcing the fundamentals: blocking and tackling; motion and passing. Likewise, senior managers within a chaotic, floundering organization need to get back to the fundamentals of good management by creating structure and order. There are two paths to structure and order. One, harmful in the long-run and contrary to a high performance philosophy, is “control” (directing and telling) which represents a short-term, knee jerk response to symptoms rather than root causes. The second and more productive path to stability is “clarity”; clarity of direction, goals and priorities; clarity of roles, responsibilities and performance expectations; clarity and documentation of processes and procedures. Clarity communicates the boundaries within which people do their work and make decisions. It doesn’t rob them of their responsibility but establishes the rules of success. The consequence is structure and order that form the foundation of a strong organization.


Although there are many aspects of high performance, it begins by defining an inspiring ideology which consists of the deepest beliefs and values of the leaders of the organization. An ideology, thoughtfully developed and implemented, establishes the attitudes and habits of people throughout the organization and forms the boundaries within which people make decisions and conduct themselves in their relationships with others.
An ideology must be translated into a way of life reinforced by the entire the infrastructure of the organization. Core business processes, policies and procedures, layout and use of facilities, reporting relationships, information-sharing, planning, recruiting and selection, training, compensation, and so on, must be aligned with the ideology and strategy of the business. Such alignment results in dramatic improvements in quality, cycle time, productivity and employee commitment.
Another aspect of a high performance organization is that people are deeply valued. Decision-making and problem-solving are pushed to as low a level as possible. Problems are solved when and where they occur. Jobs are enriched so people have the authority, training and support to do whole and complete tasks. Such empowerment, however, does not happen by decree. It is a process which must be charted by an organizations leaders. This includes specifying the boundaries within which teams of people will work, identifying the tasks and responsibilities for which people should be accountable, designating leadership roles within teams, developing a time-line for taking on new roles, and providing the information, training, and resources needed for people to be successful. As this transfer of responsibility occurs, the motivation of organization members changes from mere compliance to commitment and a genuine desire to contribute.


There is no magic in moving beyond chaos. There are no simple formulas. Real organizational development requires commitment and hard work. However, for those who want to eliminate waste, improve quality, provide better customer service there are powerful initiatives that can lead to a foundation of organizational stability and eventually high performance.