Archive for September, 2010

Love is the “killer app” – of happiness and productivity

Posted in Leadership on September 19th, 2010 by kjr – 1 Comment


Tim Sanders wrote an interesting book titled Love Is The Killer App, How To Win Business And Influence Friends. It’s worth a read.

I’ve modified Tim’s title to suggest that Love is the killer app of happiness and productivity.

Those of you who have history in the technology world will know the meaning of “killer app”. Some may not so let me give some history. First a definition from that authority of all modern information, Wikipedia:

“A killer application (commonly shortened to killer app), in the jargon of technologists, has been used to refer to any computer program that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology, …. A killer app can substantially increase sales of the platform on which it runs.”

The concept isn’t new to software, think about Kleenex, it was the killer app of tissues. It became so ingrained in our culture that it defined the product.

Google is an example. Google is the “killer app” of online searching – we’ve even turned into a verb, if you want something you “google it” to see who is selling it, you “google” definitions, we “google” how to get somewhere. Unfortunately for other online search engines we don’t “bing it” or “yahoo” how to solve a problem with my printer. But if we want an address, phone number, or to see what’s on the menu at some restaurant  someone will undoubtably tell us to “google it”.

So, what is the “killer app” of happiness and productivity?

Love.

Understand, if we live in America today we can’t deny the choice and opportunity in front of us.

When it comes to work and our day to day lives, if we don’t love what we are doing, if we don’t love the people we are working with, then why are we doing it? Don’t play victim to our self doubt, or our too big mortgage, or our fear of change, do something different, change. And if we can’t change our situation right away, then change our attitude and take the incremental steps we need to in order to find what we love doing, and who we love doing it with.

Allow me to end with a section from the book Tuesdays With Morrie By Mitch Albom.

Mitch quotes Morrie Schwartz to say:

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

Self respect is not tied to position

Posted in Leadership on September 11th, 2010 by kjr – 4 Comments

– And self worth is not tied to possession.

Most of us would agree with this, but do we behave like we believe this?

Years ago after 15 years of fast promotions and rewards, the company I then worked for merged with a firm that had very different values and methods. I quickly went from the proverbial “golden boy” to the proverbial “chump”. Literally overnight.

In the course of the next few months, I realized, I no longer had a long term future with a company I had grown up with, professionally and personally. My friends were there, my accomplishments, my titles from trainee to VP, and most of all my financial stability at a time when I had lots of bills, young children and no professional connections outside of that company.

It was all at risk, I was vulnerable and scared.

It became a crucible of sorts. Definitions of good ethics changed, what constituted appropriate treatment of employees changed too. I came face to face with a decision of holding to my values and being an outcast or compromising those values in order to “fit in”.

It’s the adult version of peer pressure. We tell our children don’t bow to the pressure of that bad boy in your class. You remember the line, “if Jane jumped off a bridge would you too? ” we hear our moms saying to us in that small voice in our heads.

There is enough change in today’s work environments, community, church, or volunteer organizations that I will suggest we will all come face to face with a similar crucible. In one way or another we will be where I was back then (and have been since) in some organizational life or another.

What have you done?
Would (will) you do something different next time?
Do you know what core values you hold that are unmovable and you will pay whatever price it requires to stay true to those values?

The titles, stuff we own (too big a mortgage), and self identity we build becomes the challenge to our values. The fear of losing that stuff or that position, not the external situation that pressures us to compromise ourselves.

What did I do?

I’d like to tell you I immediately rose to the occasion stood up for the values I knew were right in both life and business that being an outcast was just A Okay with me if that’s what it took.

Instead I tried to walk a line between the two. I would go quiet in certain situations, tried to hold onto the past and preserve position and possession.

That doesn’t work. We must know our values and surround ourselves with work, friends, community that match those values.

Enjoy the journey

Posted in Leadership on September 9th, 2010 by kjr – Comments Off on Enjoy the journey

It’s not the destination that counts.

Many of us are always in our mind thinking about the pinnacle of our efforts. Something we hope for but we know is a way off. Graduation, a new home, marriage, a special event.. We become so focused on the fact we don’t have that yet, or haven’t completed something yet, that we fail to enjoy the process of getting there.

Truth is, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Some years ago a friend shared the following story with me. It makes the point better than I am able.

The Station

by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing, and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering … waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.

However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

“When we reach the station, that will be it !” we cry. Translated it means, “When I’m 18, that will be it ! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it ! When I put the last kid through college, that will be it ! When I have paid off the mortgage, that will be it ! When I win a promotion, that will be it ! When I reach the age of retirement, that will be it ! I shall live happily ever after !”

Unfortunately, once we get it, then it disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.