If you could control someone’s attention what would you do with it?

This content via Tim Ferriss is a fantastic demonstration of what also happens to you when you’re outmatched on social media by companies whose scientists, engineers, and business models focus on hijacking your attention.

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Herbert Simon

“Hailed as the greatest pickpocket in the world, Apollo Robbins studies the quirks of human behavior as he steals your watch.” It’s a fantastic demonstration of what also happens to you when you’re outmatched on social media by companies whose scientists, engineers, and business models focus on hijacking your attention.

A Much Better Way to End Your Morning Meeting – Ready, Break!

Huddle Up!

A morning huddle (daily scrum or daily stand-up) is a proven way for team members to share information and start the day with a sense of direction and connection to others. It sets a positive tone for the day and links us to a purpose larger than ourselves.

 Teams have been holding these short, focused morning meeting for years. Why? 

Because they work.

So how can you make your morning huddles more successful?

What if we applied a simple technique to our business lives that sports teams have been practicing for years?

Ready, Break!

On athletic fields around the country, teams huddle together before every play to ensure success. The coaches send in a play, and then the team leader in the huddle restates the play to make sure everyone understands their assignment. But before the players run to their starting positions, the group, in unison and loudly, will clap their hands simultaneously and yell “break,” or “let’s go,” or some other chant.

It’s a simple process repeated over and over by athletes and coaches around the world. 

At first glance, it might not appear to be that big of a deal. So what if a couple of players yell a word out loud? But “breaking the huddle” with enthusiasm has some overlooked but powerful benefits.

See for yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and call out a made up football play– “Red right, toss 24 on 3” –as if you were the quarterback on your high school team. At the end say, “1- 2 -3 ….break” and clap at the same time.

Probably nothing all-to-awe-inspiring by yourself.

Now get five of your friends or family members. Have them do the same drill. Make sure they participate with some zeal. 

Six to ten or more people chanting in unison is powerful. 

Here’s what it does for coaches and athletes. Let’s say you’re demonstrating a new technique. You’ve covered a couple of points, and now the athletes are ready to try it. If the coach shouts out, “1 – 2 -3” and all the athletes yell “let’s go,” the coach knows they’re ready to train. For athletes, it’s like hitting a reset button. I’m letting my coach know I’m ready to go.

I’m letting my body know it is time to change from passive watcher to active doer.

Breaking the Work Huddle

We have incorporated “breaking the huddle” from the athletic world into our daily business routine. It’s another way we are building a team culture, doing things differently, and having some fun.

Every morning the department supervisors have a short (typically less than five minutes) meeting to discuss things we should all be aware before starting the day. 

At the end of the meeting, rather than walk away, we huddle up, put our hands together, and break the meeting with a word of the day. Each meeting, someone different contributes the word.

In the attached video, the word was “bloom.” The day was May 1, the flowers are blooming, and it was a gentle reminder that part of our jobs is always to help our students and staff bloom too. 

Every meeting should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Dan and Chip Heath’s Power of Moments book describes how disproportionately important the beginning and end of events are. So, if you want to take your team to the next level, first acknowledge that finishing your meetings on a high note is just as important as starting it correctly. Then do something about it. 

Can you apply this practice to your organization?

Besides, why should sports teams have all the fun?

How Might a Wall Inspired By ‘Madness’​ Improve Your Team’s Culture?

No one expected the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers to go very far in the 2018 tournament. The Ramblers were ranked 11th in the South division when they upset the University of Miami, then Tennessee, and when they defeated a strong Kansas State team by 14 points they found themselves in the semifinals–the Final Four–and the buzz of the nation.

The month of March usually gets people thinking of St. Patrick’s Day, time off for spring break, and warmer weather. But for millions of people around the country, they suffer a peculiar Madness…as in March Madness, the annual NCAA basketball tournament.

Different from most other collegiate basketball teams that have experienced competitive success at a high level, but primarily focus on the physical fundamentals of the game–shooting, passing, defense, etc.–the Ramblers have a “cultural” secret.

Loyola of Chicago’s “Wall of Culture” is an intentional and aspirational mural showing who the team is, what they value, and how they play. It is part commitment, part reminder, and a blueprint guiding the team’s selflessness. The Ramblers Wall of Culture is the essence of what makes their program special, and if you asked their coaches and players, a key reason for their success.

Last year, after discussing the Ramblers culture in a weekly supervisors meeting, IT Manager Dan Magyar took it upon himself to create a culture wall for our District’s IT team. He solicited input from the entire staff and created a motivational work of art.

The resulting 14’ x 9’ wall highlights our team’s values, our mission, and aspects of our culture that make our group unique. It’s a daily reminder of how we do things and that we are part of something bigger than just ourselves.

Dan Magyar, IT Manager, standing in front of the culture wall.

What words might be on your wall that accurately describes your culture? 

What intentional, creative, and fun ways do you celebrate and communicate your organization’s culture?

Ski in the Tracks of Someone BETTER

If you want to improve any area of your life, use the trick my big brother taught me – ski in the tracks of someone better! I apologize for the sound… I was trying to keep up with someone better –  my big brother. 😉

Think about the major areas of your life and consider this question. “Who you are consciously following?”

Who are you following in the tracks of when it comes to the leadership area of your life? (As an example, I follow Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak.)

Who are you following in the tracks of when it comes to the financial areas of your life?

I follow my wife, Andrea McBreen , in the health and fitness areas of my life.

How about your romantic relationships? (Hint: If you are taking relationship advice from your buddies you may want to consider skiing differently.)

mentor |ˈmenˌtôr ˈmenˌtər| noun an experienced and trusted adviser

You need a mentor in ALL areas of your life.

Actually, you already have mentors in all areas of your life; I’m asking you to consciously CHOOSE to ski in the tracks of mentors who inspire you.

Rock on, and (as always) be the best version of yourself by taking action before you are ready and focusing on your progress, not perfection!

Here’s a picture of my big brother and daughter #1.

Puffin Success

My wife and I were introduced to the magnificent puffin bird while honeymooning on Skellig Michael in Ireland. (This is the location of the final scene of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. By the way, you must add this island to your travels. If you don’t believe me ask Luke Skywalker.)

Puffins are, well, ‘awkward’ to say the least. They are not graceful. Heck, I am amazed they fly at all.

But they do succeed. As a matter of fact, they THRIVE in some of the world’s harshest weather conditions.

What is their secret formula for success?

They jump. 
They are clear that they want to go and then they GO.
Well, that’s not their entire story of success because after they jump off the edge of a monstrous cliff, they immediately start flapping.
Flapping HARD.
And their flapping effort does NOT help.
They fall like a stone. (I gasped when I saw the first jump from the cliff because it was so clumsy & I thought I was witnessing a ‘puffincide’.)
And they keep falling.

And flapping like hell.

And falling some more.

And trusting.

And flapping.
Trusting that their efforts will mix with the forces of gravity and wind and that their efforts will work – all in spite of visual evidence to the contrary.
And, because they keep flapping and trusting it eventually works!
In the blink of an eye, they are magically transformed from an awkward creature doomed to fail into a majestic, soaring, glorious image of success!
What can you learn from the puffin?
1. Identify an important area in your life (fitness, money, career, romantic relationship, spiritual, etc.) : _____________

2. What EXACTLY do you want in this area of your life? _____________
(Do you want to jump?)

3. What is the next actionable behavior you will take to move you toward #2 : _____________
(Are you flapping like hell?)

4. How long will you act until you succeed? : _____________
(read: flap like hell from #3)

Go be the best version of yourself by taking action before you are ready and focusing on your progress, not perfection!