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Episode 4 – Meet awesome people (everyone is awesome)


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People are Interesting… maybe you too.


The Most Complicated Technical Engineering System



Many people of the world understand the basic concept of this word, and in fact, demand it for themselves from others, but obviously we’re a long way from everyone really living it, otherwise we wouldn’t need locks on our house and car doors, security systems, virus protection software, police officers or armed forces.

All these things (and many others) protect us from the disrespect our fellow man gives to us and our property.

We may always need to design more airtight security systems and stronger defense mechanisms for those forces of disrespect that prevail, but they won’t address the root of the problem.

As history can testify, the most powerful force in the world, and therefore also the most dangerous, is an idea.

The most horrifying and extreme case of man’s inhumanity to man in recent history is the story of the holocaust in Nazi Germany, although there are many other similar stories around the world that have not been as publicized.  Our recent terrorist attacks are also examples of the awful brutality that can be administered by our fellow man.

These extreme cases, along with all the others of lesser extreme, are due to some idea held in the hearts of man that justifies their actions.

Therefore, the best offense and defense against these dangerous ideas is to spread the opposing idea of respect for our fellow man.  And when I say ‘spread’ I don’t mean like a news story that everyone hears about one day, then forgets the next day. The idea of respect must lie deep in the heart of every individual so that it guides every decision and therefore all their actions.

This kind of deep, imbedded standard of behavior usually doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes many years and most easily occurs during the time when our minds are most impressionable.

It’s called upbringing.

Therefore, the solution is for me to teach my children to respect others.  And to try to teach others to teach their children respect for their fellow human beings.  And when I say ‘teach’ I don’t just mean ‘tell’.  It must be part of our entire way of life.  I must lead by example, and through many little opportunities I must instill in my children’s hearts the strong desire to respect others.

It may not be easy, or work very quickly, but in the end, it’s the only viable solution.

Consultants Thoughts

The Meeting Canoe (Part 2)

I thought I’d try a new tactic and keep you in suspense for a day (of course, it only works for my one daily reader.  There’s more? Please reveal yourself.)

Or it could be that I just ran out of time last night and didn’t want to finish the post.

Anyway, here’s the rest of the story.

The Meeting Canoe is about how to design a meeting, and it gets it’s name from the shape associated with the design concept, which looks like the top view of a canoe, when you’re looking down it – thin on one end, getting fatter in the middle, then getting thin again at the end.

1.  Welcome

The first thing you want to do in a meeting is welcome people.  Let them know that they are in a different space.  One of the most important aspects in architecture is how one enters the building – the entryway.  The same is true for a meeting, make it pleasant and welcoming.  Let people know you are glad they are there and make it a place they want to stay.

2.  Connect to each other and the task

Remind people what they have in common and why they are there.  When people are connected to the group, they are more likely to participate and be engaged in the conversation.

3.  Discover the way things are

Share information, have a discussion about the current state of whatever topic you are meeting about.  Allow all perspectives to be presented.

4.  Elicit people’s dreams

Get people into the future.  What would the situation look like if everything happened the way they’d like it to?  Get creative and invoke the arts, use skits, freewriting, stream of consciousness, headlines, or any method to get people thinking outside the norm.

5.  Decide who does what

This is where you create action plans, give assignments, and have a clear understanding of the next steps.

6.  Attend to the end

Review agreements.  Understand the path forward. End with a feeling of excitement, motivation, and possibility.  Appreciate everyone’s time and contribution.

Those are the 6 steps to the meeting canoe.  The canoe shape is derived from the size and depth of the conversation.  At the beginning, it is somewhat small talk with little emotion or feeling.  As the meeting progresses, discussion gets deeper, more involved, more passionate and detailed.  Then, in closing, we begin to converge on specifics, wrap up the loose ends, and feel complete or finished.  It’s a gradual curve, thus the canoe shape – a great memorable image for designing any meeting.