Good for you!  ☕️  Someone to help. Strategy: it's all in the doing. Steal these ideas. Clear thinking... a starting point.
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Hello there:

It's back to school in Italy this week. A bit later than the U.S., but the kids there do go to school on Saturdays, so there's that.

With all the stop and go situations with attending in person or online, having a desk, or having to work on a chair because the desks weren't delivered  (true story in Genova) ((my take is that the kids actually found it amusing and made it playful... if only we didn't politicize everything!))  safety remains a concern.

But it feels like we keep talking about children over their heads. Why not hear what they have to say? How do children see empathy and emotion?

Filmmakers Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films) set out to communicate visually how a group of children deal with emotions so we can learn from them.
Empathy is the ultimate ally for connection. And it's good for you!

Can you offer a listening ear? That's often the simplest act that can help someone process what they're going through.

Here's why it matters: when you feel heard, cared for, and understood, you also feel loved, accepted, that you belong.

Nursing scholar Theresa Wiseman speaks of four attributes of empathy:

1.) To be able to see the world as others see it—this requires putting our stuff aside to see the situation through the eyes of a loved one

2.) To be nonjudgmental—judgement of another person's situation discounts the experience and is an attempt to protect ourselves from the pain of the situation

3.) To understand another person’s feelings—we need to be in touch with our personal feelings in order to understand someone else's. This also requires putting aside "us" to focus on our loved one

4.) To communicate our understanding of that person’s feelings—rather than saying, “At least...” or “It could be worse...” try, “I've been there, and that really hurts,” or (to quote an example from Brown) “It sounds like you are in a hard place now. Tell me more about it.”

Most of us struggle with the communication part.

Listening is a big chunk of what communication is about and a good place to start. That's why we gravitate toward great listeners, they make us feel valued.

I'm listening... just hit reply.

Sometimes we only need someone
to help us understand

This illustration by super talented Giulia Neri
speaks volumes.
Giulia is a Bologna-born trained psychologist
working as freelance concept illustrator.
Much of her art
helps explain human behavior for
an illustrious list of clients,
including WSJ, The Guardian,
BBC Science, Scientific American.

Website . Instagram


Are you strategic enough in your work?

It's not a trick question. People constantly ask me how they can get promoted. Well, the path crosses the "strategic" line. You wouldn't know it looking at how companies hire—execution, operational excellence are both mantras.

But, watch out because once in the job, if you execute well you'll get more execution piled on you. There simply won't be time to pause and think to bring new ideas to the table. You'll be too overwhelmed keeping up.

Elite athletes know the value of recovery. You've got to pause regularly to make your work muscles perform at optimal levels. Three questions you can think about to get ready for a bigger leadership role:
  1. Could I recruit and lead a high-performing team?
  2. Could I contribute new ideas that have a tangible impact on the business?
  3. Do I understand the lifecycle of a business?
See how they go beyond—"I can do my job well"—to—"I can help other people do their job well," and the company get results. Maybe you already do these things, but you're invisible to the people in charge.

You can be strategic in your communications as well as in your contributions. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Have I communicated that I helped solve that thorny problem with clarity?
  • Have I focused on the key areas of the business in my problem solving? Think people, growth, retention, and financial health.
  • Have I set up the context properly in my presentations to executives? Think big picture and key takeaways of impact that you can back up with detail.
  • Am I a person people want to work for and not just with? Big difference here.
  • Am I building my visibility with executives? Think champions who could vouch for you.
There's a smarter way to network that can help you develop informal power to support and help coordinate resources. Learn from how executives build their networks.

Contrary to myth, you don't have to be a jerk with your peers to get ahead. You can be a successful giver. Learn about the differences between selfless givers and selfish takers, and you can split the difference with ease.

Start with learning to ask better questions as in: what business are we really in? Here's a tip to figure out if the questions you ask and topics you cover are at the level of the person you're speaking with: record your calls. To get other people involved in championing you/your product or service in a company you need to talk to the impact of what you bring to their level.

Are you talking executive, or are you talking admin? Note your language as well. What words do you use? What do they signal? E.g., "toolbox" vs. "running/changing the operation" talk.

Incorporate these actions and questions in your thinking and work, and you will start creating signal that cuts through the noise of executive busyness. Strategic thinking is... all in the doing.

Steal these ideas:

Something to copy and borrow: Something to adapt and adopt: Something to think about:
  • Josh Waitskin, Grandmaster chess Champion/Prodigy, describes mastery in his book, The Art of Learning:

    "It's essential to have a liberating incremental approach that allows for times when you are not in a peak performance state. We must take responsibility for ourselves, and not expect the rest of the world to understand what it takes to become the best that we can become. Great ones are willing to get burned time and again as they sharpen their swords in the fire. Consider Michael Jordan. It's common knowledge that Jordan made more last-minute shots to win the game for his team than any other player in the history of the NBA. What is not so well known, is that Jordan also missed more last-minute shots to lose the game for his team than any other player in the history of the game. What made him the greatest was not perfection, but a willingness to put himself on the line as a way of life. Did he suffer all those nights when he sent twenty thousand Bulls fans home heartbroken? Of course. But he was willing to look bad on the road to basketball immortality."
Everything we read, we should subject to inquiry.

Ask not what is says, but what it means.

“Because learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do."

- Umberto Eco,
The Name of the Rose

The paradox of our age

Clear thinking in the age of confusion

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