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Photo Credit: "second thoughts" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by laurabillings
Fear, Insecurity and the Scarcity Mindset

Fear, Insecurity and the Scarcity Mindset

I feel as if there is a significant volume of works adoring, in a sense, and vilifying the scarcity mentality in our culture. I was fist exposed to these concepts by Brené Brown, and I was challenged by her first TED talk. Personally, I was inspired and motivated for the longest time by the “greed is good” mantra. I felt the constant longing for more was a staircase that drove us to higher levels of personal and professional development. Life is not simple. I learned that it could just as easily be a death spiral that we were riding.  Having taken this train ride up and down over my career, I have learned one key element. The lack of satisfaction with what we have or achieved thus far in life is not the panacea of upward growth I once thought when it is anchored in the bias of scarcity. We are consumed with desires for more time, effort, energy, goodwill of others, and building our professional kingdoms (power) while burning ourselves and others out.  It will never be enough; there is always another mountain to climb.

Further thought provocation arrived when I was pressured to define scarcity and its possible causes. The conversation began to focus on root causes in our culture and my sub-culture. In Southern California, we, for the most part, do not suffer from any real form of scarcity.  So, the best causal idea was to attribute scarcity mindset to a misguided belief of insecurity.  Scarcity mindset and fear are interwoven, and I believe they are mutually reinforcing.  It might be a fear of loss, of limited attainment, sustainability, achievement itself, or not knowing what is coming next that develops the fear and sense of scarcity.  These fears are the life blood of insecurity and lead people to extreme levels of consumption.  It is the “more for you is less for me” taken to an aggressive stance. The void we try to fill by over consuming everything can never be filled because of a nagging scarcity fear.  It is a zombie-like craving that controls and takes away bits of our humanity and the enjoyment of everyday experiences.

At some point in your career, you arrive at a moment when you start questioning everything.  You wonder what will be the next challenge or goal that should be undertaken. I thought a lot about what I had received, and what I am giving back.  This was the first step for me.  I stopped and began to question my motives, desires, and long-term goals. I bounced ideas off people, sought out feedback, worked with a coach, and took more time to be with my family and friends.  I made no significant changes or jumping to a different track of life.  I made a few tweaks here and there and had a realization that my thinking had to change. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress, and each day I hope to make a positive contribution to my endeavors.  I am more content with what I have achieved, adjust goals and pacing, and finally appreciate how much I enjoy helping others to achieve their aims.

I intentionally did not edit or refine from my first draft…I just felt like writing tonight, and this was what was on my mind.

Photo Credit: "Emoji Stickers | Wicker Blog" (CC BY 2.0) by Wicker Paradise
Getting Your Point Across in a Text Message

Getting Your Point Across in a Text Message

It is well documented that nonverbal communication transmits a significant amount of contextual information during personal communications. When using a written form of communication those clues are absent. The result is an increase in the chance of a misunderstanding because of the missing information. Emails have a reputation for being misconstrued and read in a negative context even when it is not intended. Email is no longer the preferable digital communication method for many people. Texting and instant messaging have supplanted the favored communication channel for many younger people. So we had a hard time understanding context when an email is used, now the problem is made more complicated as the message lengths become shorter.

Ashley Carmen wrote an interesting piece on The Verge talking about how people do not interpret emoji icons in the same way. I had taken for granted that the emoji image was standardized across devices. This is not the case as different platforms display the same emoji symbol differently. Adding these little images to text messages is a frequent occurrence. Reading her article made me wonder if the inconsistent emoji images had clouded the meaning of some of my messages. The short answer is clearly a yes. I asked a couple of people who I spoke with today about whether emoji icons had made them question the meaning of a received message. Both people confirmed they had experiences where they questioned the underlying message because of an emoji icon. Okay, a n=3 here, but I agree with the researchers’ position.

This serves as a good reminder to make sure that we are very clear in the writing of our text and email messages.

Treating text messaging as a quick communication method that does not need the scrutiny of a more formal communication such as an email is counterproductive. All communications regardless of their platform must be understandable by the receiver. There is nothing wrong with utilizing emoji images given its context is proper, but we should be aware that it may hinder the effectiveness of the message. Taking a moment to check the clarity of the message before sending it is always prudent advice. Ask yourself if this image or icon is adding clarity, authentic emotion, or introducing some vagueness that is not needed. The last thing any of us needs is to spend time explaining what our message meant when someone becomes offended due to a different representation of an emoji happy face.

Time…We Never Seem to Have Enough

Time…We Never Seem to Have Enough

I have a little more time at night now and have started to write once more.  I forgot how much I enjoy writing even though I think I am a bit of a hack. I am envious of all the good authors I read all the time. I know the only way to improve it to write, so I will write here and torture the people who stop by and visit. 🙂

Thank you all.

Mike

Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Ulrik De Wachter
Modern and Postmodern Management Theory

Modern and Postmodern Management Theory

In working on another project, I completed some research on Management Theory.  I found the reading insightful and wrote some thoughts on the topic…

Modern management theories arose out of the industrial revolution through the First and Second World War.  Modern management theories adoption was occurred slowly because of the belief that organizations were too diverse and the practice would only work over a short time (Witzel & Warner, 2015).  As discussed by Len Nixon, modern management theories focused on maximizing productivity and frequently treated employees as a cog in the machine.  Scientific approaches were employed to standardize processes, select appropriate workers and reduce employee movements.  Along the same lines, division of labor, defined rules and regulations, and the more formalized relationship with a defined chain of command was established between employees and management.  Modern management theories were embraced widely and have applicability in today’s workplace (Nixon, 2003).

The postmodernist movement humanize employees and encourage management to increase worker productivity by considering the needs of the employees, developing incentive systems, training, and have career pathing (Nixon, 2003).  Additionally, the division of labor took on a team-based focus, management became more concerned with motivation and communication, and the hierarchy and rule system became less comprehensive (Nixon, 2003).

The modernist management practices are utilized today in manufacturing and many industrial settings (Nixon, 2003).  Additionally, these management practices are frequently used with inexperienced workers and entry-level positions.  As the jobs become more complex and the workers more skilled, postmodern management theories become commonplace.  Basic job functions benefit by initial scoping through the modernist theories.  However, employees are the key element in most businesses and thrive under postmodern theories.  By combining these two sets of theories, modern managers are better able to understand employee motivations and improve productivity.  Employees need to be needed, want to be appreciated, rewarded for their efforts, and work on tasks that are engaging.  The postmodern theories of management allow managers to understand these feelings and design tasks that will deliver for the business and the employees at the same time.

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