What Credentials Leaders Can Say to ProfessionalsApril 13, 2020
Framing & Better Questions. The Ultimate Guide for Recharting Your Business Path (Step 2)May 7, 2020
5-Part Series on Rediscovering Your Business Model
This week we pass the two-month mark of Staying in Shelter and Social Distancing. Maybe it’s been less than 60 days for you, but let’s just go with the reality it’s been every one of those 1,400 hours of uncertainty and mixed emotions for most.
What is emerging from all of this is—not you.
As much as you want to run outside, soak in the spring weather and rebuild your business and many relationships, it’s still not time for that. Instead, what we are seeing this week as the most popular indoor activity for millions of professionals working remotely is this: Rethinking the Course of Business and Life.
Starting this week and walking this out with you for the next five weeks, we’ll help you chunk the elephant into bite size pieces so you reach your “Eat the Elephant” goal.
We will feature each of the five Reinvention of Business pieces in weekly publication of Certification Journal.
This is the first installment: The Basics: Mastering the “What If” List.
In the absence of a crystal ball, let’s begin with the assumption that COVID-19 virus and the social upheaval that came with it aren’t going to go away all at once.
Allow and commit one week for this installment–The Basics. First, brainstorm it on your own. The time to bring in others for this first step lands at the beginning of week two with the Questions Lists. The time to step back and say if it makes sense is later. Because you cannot edit a black page, week one is about writing rapidly, without judgment, without spell checking.
Four Secrets to Getting Genius Thoughts into a Document
Maybe you know this already, so I’ll be super brief. Email questions to Georgia@Communicators.com if you’re not clear on any of these four elements of Brainstorm Thinking and Drafting.
- Sleep well and start working on this the first four hours of the day.
- Clear your working space of any clutter or distractions. Where have you been going for uninterrupted conference calls and quality thinking? Go there. Remember, research comes later so you do not need any books, notebooks or reference materials now. Distance those at least 6 feet away from where you sit to work, for now.
- Set your emotional state to high trust. Speak to your partner or person you love and remember they are part of the reason why the world needs you. Most of all, trust yourself and shut off any noise in your head. Shut off social media apps, too.
- Set some kind of timer to go 40 minutes. Stay focused only on this planning work the whole time. Stop at 40 and take 5 minutes to stretch, refill coffee, renew and then right back on it. Keep doing that for a total of 4 hours each day. Anything less and you are probably skipping steps or running down rabbit holes.
Now Think, Write and Breathe
However you want to get thoughts from your head and into words, so that you can work with it, settle on that system. A keyboard and software you already know or pen and paper come to mind right away. Do not dither the details now. Just depend on what you know will work if you have to write as fast as you can, just to keep your brain in momentum and the creative flow. The challenge is your brain has neurons moving at the speed of light and millions of signals are being sent every second. Your writing, even if a 10-fingered typist at high speed is 100 words per minute. Essentially know that your brain will always overrun your writing and that’s a good reason to celebrate the isolation you are in now—so you can do your best brainstorming and writing.
Your Business Model, Recharted, 2020
Ready? Here we go. This really works . Brainstorm on these questions and make lists. Not even complete sentences or whole thoughts for now. The good news is brainstorming allows you to bounce from one list to the next all week. You will connect the dots later. First you have to create or gather up the dots.
List A: What’s Nearly the Same? Things that seem to not change fast? Examples: Nature, the Chicago skyline, love, the characteristics and training of a professional. Each of these lists ought to have 100 or more items. Everything out of your brain, put it down. Logical or silly words. All of it. Don’t put brakes on your brain. Let it further amaze you how this is your superpower.
List B: What Changes Seem Huge—especially in my life and for my profession? Examples: Global economy and further uncertainty on years of depression or growth. High unemployment and people finding new ways, different professions, moving forward. Social distancing with lasting impacts on any physical venues, such as travel, conventions, sports, entertainment, Times Square crowd traditions. Education and learning methods and models evolving faster than ever.
List C: What have you learned during the pandemic? This is a list of short phrases or statements that provides an important mental inventory, so that others will understand you quicker. This helps tremendously in the Sorting Out and Weighing Options element of recharting in weeks 3 and 4. Examples: The pandemic demonstrated, among other things, that we all have access to each other digitally. If you want to learn something, the chance is there. We learned internet connections can be powerful, and that leadership is priceless. Perhaps you looked at other businesses like yours and notice that purpose statements are so generic that they do little to challenge business as usual, and others don’t emphasize the concerns of employees, volunteers, and all who most of the work for us.
List D: “What if…” statements. This is a list of the desired to the unimagined, until now. Again, get it all out. Only you and your brain are in this now. Let your heart and intuition lead the way. Don’t worry about the grownups in the room, yet. You need this in order to get to next week and the four steps thereafter. From this list we’ll create scenarios in week four. Examples: What if the changes in healthcare systems and policies changes the demand for our professionals? What if our customers want us to deal more directly with employment issues instead of assuming they will maintain a certification? What if the current board of directors voted themselves out of office to make way for a smaller, nimbler leadership system?
Do you see why The Basics takes all of the first week? This part sets you up for success. There’s a lot to get out of your head, just in the brainstorming and total elimination of assumptions and guesses.
Now do this. Answer these finishing out “what if..” questions for The Basics, to complete your first 7 days in recharting your business.
What if I (my team) commit to recharting our course today? What if we wait for someone else to save us? What if we wait for someone else to go first and then believe they will come back for us?
Eight months from now when you look back at this week, will you be thankful you decided to rethink your business model, starting today?
Bravo! You just completed week one, The Basics. Next week: Framing. Better Questions and Questions Behind the Questions.
Two Things Necessary for New Territories: Reliable Maps and Experienced Guides
When Shelly Alcorn and I created the Certification Core three years ago we had no idea that the world would shift in this way and we’d need new voices and new leadership so much right now. At the time, we simply noticed the lack of bold and facilitated conversations about the impact of global issues, technology, economic shifts and the nature of work within the hundreds of professional associations, adult training enterprises and credentials creators–all of whom we love to serve.
Maybe it felt too heavy handed or people did not want to hear about the need to think through disruptive changes, such as artificial intelligence replacing the learning, if not the functions, of most of their members. We included pandemics and other inevitable scenarios in the options to consider.
The good news is chief chart creator and most experienced guide at The Communicators is still here and providing a positive, proactive path to your desired, “better” destination.