Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Lexus Syndrome

I don't know if they still use it, but the tag line that Lexus had for a while was "the relentless pursuit of perfection." I loved it. Not because I thought it ever applied to me as such, but just because I thought it was so clever in terms of capturing and conveying their sense of commitment to producing a high quality product on an on going basis.

For many of us, it isn't so much the challenge of getting to perfection that holds us back. After all, I suspect that most people are realists when it comes to batting 1.000. In the real world, most of us find ourselves having trouble moving out of our respective comfort zones and pushing on. Somehow we just can't seem to "get started" or as Michael Bungay Stanier, who I had the good fortune to hear speak at our local ACP chapter meeting recently, puts it, "Getting Unstuck."

Michael, Canadian Coach of the Year among other things, is one of those career coaches who when you first check him out you are thinking "nah, this is too far out for me." "Too idealistic for the real world," but like most good consultants, he overcomes the skepticism by giving his audience examples and tools that can't be ignored. He also does a great job of putting things in a perspective that transforms one's thinking from "there are just too many hurdles to overcome" to one of "wait a minute, this really isn't as impossible as it looks."

To help with putting things in context of the "doable" he has developed a pretty cool set of tools, 10 little cards actually, each of which addresses different aspects of helping someone to "get unstuck." An example:

Provocative quote: "One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time." You are then asked the question: Who's against you? How are you letting that get in your way? Perspective.

One of the tools I liked the best was the card entitled: Probabilities. This card has the following list which comes from ASTD (American Society of Training & Development)

The probability of completing a goal:

10% if you hear an idea.
25% if you consciously decide to adopt it.
40% if you decide when you will do it.
50% if you plan how you will do it.
65% if you commit to someone else you will do it.
95% if you have a specific accountability appointment with the person to whom you committed.

Pretty good list, but one that I had not been aware of until Michael shared it with us.

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that these percentages really play into why it is that we host around 40-50 face to face networking meetings around the U.S. and Canada every month. The meetings give those attending (they are open to anyone) a chance to not only expand their personal and professional networks, but an opportunity to build the kind of relationships that help people to turn their individual 10% probabilities into 95% probabilities.

When people commit to helping each other, good things happen.

1 comment:

Kent Blumberg said...

Great tool. I am using this in my current transition. I have a written set of milestones and goals, and have shared them with my wife. Each week I send her an email (she's just across the room, but email somehow makes it more official) telling her what I accomplished this week and committing to specific tasks for next week. And each month (hopefully not for too many more!) I give her a report on progress against milestones.

I hadn't seen this list from the ASTD, but it fits nicely with what I have been doing.

Thanks for the list. I'll share it with my transition buddies.