The Seven Days of Blog begins tomorrow, but before we get started with that, I thought it might be worth stepping back and reflecting on the first month of 2005 which feels to me like it has just flown by. So I have a couple of reflection questions for you:
What has been the most (positively) surprising development so far for your organization?
What has been the most (positively) surprising development so far for you personally?
What are you looking forward to in February?
I can't wait to see some of your responses. If there is interest, I can pose these questions at the end of each month. I think this kind of reflection can be invaluable. Look forward to reading your thoughts.
Just a reminder that the next edition of The Seven Days of Blog begins on Monday, January 31. If you have ideas on what you'd like me to write about, post them as comments. I really want to hear from you!
Okay TAIB readers, I've decided that it's time for another edition of The Seven Days of Blog! For those of you who weren't with us in the spring of 2004, I hope you'll check out last year's edition by clicking on the link in the first sentence. Basically, during The Seven Days of Blog (TSOB), I post at least once everyday for seven consecutive days on various topics of my own choosing and yours as well. Let's try to get some conversations going! Who knows...there may be some surprises this year as well...;>)
The next TSOB will begin on Monday, January 31 and will continue straight through until Sunday, February 6. So, between now and this coming Monday, I hope you will post ideas and thoughts below about some of the topics you'd most like to read/hear about on TAIB. (There will definitely be at least one audio post during this TSOB. I know most people prefer text, but I like audio.) I have a few thoughts on things I would like to write about, including offering some of my perspectives on "Innovate America," the final report of the National Innovation Initiative. (BTW, the link above is to a PDF of the report. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader.)
So let me know what's on your minds and I'll try to write about it. I promise to pull in as many of your topics as I can. Remember, the fun begins on Monday!
I was flipping channels on the TV last week when I came across an airing on HBO of its 2003 Oliver Stone documentary, "Persona Non Grata," about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the documentary, Stone does an interview with former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who offers the following admonition about leadership:
You know how leaders are tested at the end of the day? They are tested by their willingness to lose the leadership for the right thing. That is the ultimate and only true test of leadership. Whether you're willing to stand up for your values, the things you believe, and to risk failing. That's the test of leadership.
I find Netanyahu's insight powerfully precise. The distinguishing characteristic of the real leader is an essential integrity that is fully realized in the moment of choice to act on fundamental values and beliefs, and informed by the awareness and acceptance of failure as a distinct possibility. There are many approaches, methods and techniques for leadership, but none of them can truly work unless there is first an unswerving belief in a core ideal, reinforced by a sustained and unshakable commitment to advancing that belief even if it means losing everything.
Does your leadership rise to this level? Does the leadership of your volunteers rise to this level?As Israel's prime minister, Netanyahu had to make choices with life and death implications everyday. We are fortunate not to be in that position in the association world, but even though what we do might not be brain surgery, it is very important that we succeed and increasingly difficult to do so. Associations need leaders, therefore, who are willing to embrace the true test of leadership everyday, for the good of their organizations and the community as a whole. Are you one of them?
I want to congratulate my friend and fellow blogger, Ben Martin, CAE, on the recent news that he passed the Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam that was administered in December 2004. Ben has been blogging on his preparations, and now will hopefully keep on blogging about what it is like to be a CAE and how your view of associations change, if at all.
Ben, for those who know you, the outcome was never in doubt. Great job!
Google announced today its test of Google Video, a new service that allows users to search TV content online. At the moment, the company has signed up only a few content providers including PBS, the NBA, Fox News and C-SPAN. As Google's press release explains:
The Google Video beta enables users to search across the closed captioning content of a growing number of TV programs that Google began indexing in December, 2004. Entering a query such as iPod will return a list of relevant television programs with still images and text excerpts from the exact point in the program where the search phrase was spoken.
Since this is only a beta, you won't be able to view actual video excerpts online, although Google says it is working with content providers to provide this additional benefit going forward.
Google Video is just the latest in a series of recent initiatives from Google, including Picasa (organizing and sharing photos), Keyhole (accessing satellite images) Google Print (making library books from leading universities searchable online), Google Scholar (searching academic journals and papers) and Google Desktop Search. These applications are simply the first few elements of an emerging Google "search ecology" grounded in the company's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In addition, while Picasa and Keyhole were Google acquisitions, the other tools are products of the company's on-going innovation effort which is so integral to their continued success..
Joyce Wycoff of the Innovation Network is conducting an online survey in search of a replacement for the hackneyed old cliche, "think outside the box." (Long overdue in my opinion. It isn't a phrase you ever hear me say!) You can complete the survey at https://surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=17959827411. It will only take you a few minutes to scan and select your preferred alternatives, and you also will have the opportunity to propose your own ideas. I suggested a few including:
Freely contemplate the extraordinary
Consider what's beyond the world of your own assumptive design
Think through the intersections and beyond the boundaries
If you offer any of your own ideas on the survey, please also post them here in the comments section. While you're at it, and if you're so inclined, please post other innovation-related phrases that you think should be jettisoned in favor of new options. Thanks!
Just a quick post tonight with my new expanded definition of innovation:
Innovation lives in the careful balance of systemic freedom and systemic discipline necesssary for discovering and developing ideas to create new value.
Some may say that the choice of the verb, "lives" makes this less a definition than a description of innovation. I will respectfully choose to disagree with that interpretation. Rather, through this statement, I am choosing to understand innovation not as an object, i.e., it is this or that, but rather as a holistic experience phenomenon that encompasses individuals, groups, organizations and networks.