September 2011

[Enchantment is] the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization, or idea.  The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial.

When I look at the items listed in Guy Kawasaki’s definition of enchantment I realize they all involve a form of relationship.  I have a relationship with an organization through its products and/or services.  I communicate my ideas through relationships.  Reflecting on the substance and structure of Mr. Kawasaki’s book, Enchantment, it strikes me that the first two chapters focus on character qualities, likability and trust.  What does this say about relationships (personal or professional)?

Mr. Kawasaki offers many different views from many different sources on how to be trustworthy.  Some of them are clever.  Some are insightful.  Some are practical.  Since he offers so many views on achieving trust, I assume the reader is free to pick and choose based on their need and preference.

To me, trust can be achieved two ways.  Be trustworthy.  Trust others.  To trust others you must give them responsibility.  If they handle it well, you will trust them with more.  If they don’t handle it well, it is an opportunity for you to build trust with them.  What’s my point, trust is a two way street.


I may be the last person to see the video below but that is nothing new.  I post this without comment for those who have not seen it and for those who would benefit from the reminder.

Steve Young, the Hall of Fame quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, is a weekly guest on a local sports talk show in San Francisco.  After enduring the speechifying by the hosts, it is a treat to hear him talk about what it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL.  His insights on leadership transcend football (see below).

Let me tell you what we’re all looking for.  And I look back on my whole career the one thing that I’m most grateful for.  Was the platform to find out how good I was. So many guys in this league don’t even have a platform.  Look at what happened in Jacksonville.  Look what’s happening around the league in a number of cities.  The quarterback does not have a chance.

I think the full half hour is worth listening to so I will continue to share insights from this broadcast throughout the football season.

Here is one other noteworthy exchange from the Sept. 7 broadcast.

Host: Can you ever see Alex Smith lifting the Lombardi Trophy?
Young: He has been dealing with people for four or five years that look at the quarterback position as just another place…another guy.  And that is the worst way to ever get anything out of your quarterback.  So, with that in mind, is it possible that Alex has that ability…if the team can play well and they can build a repertoire and build a great history together and have a great locker room like the Packers have developed, in five or six years he’s that grizzled veteran that can take them there I can see that.  Because I know what a big difference a great coach, a quarterback coach, a play caller, who can put combinations of plays together.  Who can prepare you in a way.  That looks at you as different.  The position is different.  And when I got to San Francisco and was dealt with that way it was as if I was given the platform to be good, even better than good.

Steve Young is passionate.  He also knows what it takes to win.  He knows how to motivate.  Watch the video below to hear him speak about rising to a challenge.


The idea is to let the body do what it is capable of doing. But that’s hard because your mind is always there saying, “I want to do better.  I want to do better.”
–Tim Gallwey

There is a tendency in training to break a process down into its component parts.  The intent is to teach the process in manageable segments.  This approach ensures each segment is easy for the learner to comprehend.  It also helps the instructor check for understanding before moving to the next segment.

The downside of this approach is that it assumes the learner will be able to put all these segments together correctly and perform complex tasks at a high level.  It also distracts from the larger purpose, to improve performance.

Tim Gallwey takes a different view.  He believes we have the capacity to self correct in realtime and can make the necessary modifications to learn with minimal direction.  You can the idea of the video below in 3 minutes.  If you aren’t intrigued by the message or the groovy 70s fashion stop watching.  I think you will be (why else would I post this).

If you watched the whole video its clear this works with tennis.  The question is, “can this work at work?”  Mr. Gallwey would answer “Yes.”  Apparently others agree.  He has written books on this topic, speaks at conferences and consults with companies, such as Apple and Coca-Cola.

Below is an summary of the inner game from Mr. Gallwey’s website (emphasis mine).

In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.

In simple terms the game can be summarized in a formula: Performance = potential-interference, P=p-i. According to this formula, performance can be enhanced either by growing “p” potential or by decreasing “i,” interference.

It is impossible to achieve mastery or satisfaction in any endeavor without first developing some degree of mastery of the relatively neglected skills of the inner game. Most of us have experienced days when our self-interference was at a minimum. Whether on a sports field, at work, or in some creative effort, we have all had moments in which our actions flowed from us with a kind of effortless excellence. Athletes have called this state, “playing in the zone.” Generally at these times our mind is quiet and focused. But whatever it’s called, when we’re there, we excel, we learn, and we enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately most of us have also experienced times when everything we do seems difficult. With minds filled with self-criticism, hesitation, and over-analysis, our actions were awkward, mis-timed, and ineffective. Obviously we all would prefer to have more of the first and less of the second.

In the video above it is clear the potential of the players is limited.  However, by reducing interference even the least capable and confident person learned to play fairly quickly.

In summary, according to Mr. Gallwey, what are the characteristics of performance?

  • Mastery over fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, limiting assumptions
  • A quiet mind
  • Enjoyment

What interferes with performance?

  • Self criticism
  • Hesitation
  • Over analysis

Throughout its nearly 90 years of history, Hasbro has grown its business with iconic toys like Mr. Potato Head and acquisitions of well-known companies like Parker Brothers and Tonka.

In the 2000s, Hasbro “needed to refocus, shifting from acquisitions to nurturing the cadre of more than 1,000 brands in its portfolio with the goal of total brand immersion, including games, toys, entertainment and housewares.”

How did they do it?  By developing on internal talent.  In this article, we learn how this change in focus enabled Hasbro to identify and capitalize on new markets and strategies.  The approach they took could be right out of the ISPI handbook (if there was one).  Below are some highlights and my thoughts.

In 2003, the company, in partnership with the executive education program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, created the Hasbro Global Leadership Program to bolster the talent pipeline and provide opportunity for high potentials to expand their leadership roles. (ISPI standard #4)

To set the initial curriculum, Tuck professor Vijay Govindarajan, faculty director for the Hasbro program, worked closely with Hasbro’s leadership to identify skill gaps and plot where the company needed to go and the skills needed to get there.

Three things jump out at me here.  First, they had a vision for what they wanted to accomplish (ISPI standard #1 Focus on results).  It appears this was used to stay focused (plot where they needed to go).  Second, they identified skill gaps (ISPI standard #5).  This is huge.  I am sure most of the stakeholders had opinions about how to achieve the goal.  Taking a systematic and systemic approach is a much wiser course.  I hope they didn’t end there.  Identifying gaps in knowledge and attitudes is just as important.  Finally, they prioritized they skill gaps.  Focusing on skills that will achieve their goals will maintain momentum and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

So, what did they come up with?

Modules were mapped out to address global strategy, personal leadership, brand building, emerging markets and ethics. Specific modules included “Changing the Rules of the Global Game: Creating the Future,” “Developing Transcultural Competence,” “Emerging Markets: Challenges and Opportunities,” “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and “Building the Global Organization of the Future.”

To execute this plan they created “action learning teams.”  These teams would talk “about ways to stimulate out-of-season sales, such as promoting the games business at Easter, leveraging Kids Day in Latin America or Canada’s summer cottage season, or the cultural particulars of emerging markets. In some countries with low per-capita income, it is essential for parents to understand the educational benefits of play.”

Is this approach only good from a corporate perspective?

Of the more than 200 participants since the program started, nearly 20 percent have been promoted or taken on greater responsibilities.

HR will love this approach too because the retention rate of participants is around 90%.

Read the whole thing.  It will only take a few minutes.