Poke The Box: A Review and One Question to Seth Godin

Last year, Seth Godin showed us a way to become a Linchpin. This year, he urges us to “Poke the Box” – to act, to start, to initiate, to experiment, to try (and fail and learn from it) and most importantly to finish and deliver. Poking the box is about taking initiatives, not just waiting for someone to delegate them to us.

Seth has packed a lot of punch into this book, so much that the passion and force in his writing almost instigates us to start/act.

With Poke the Box, Seth is also challenging the traditional methods of content distribution adopted by the publishing industry. He started “The Domino Project” – his new publishing venture with Amazon that is aimed at changing the the way books are built, sold and spread. He leads by example!

Here are some gems from the book

“The job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; The job is to invent the status quo.”

“The world is changing too fast. Without the spark of initiative, you have no choice but to simply react to the world. Without the ability to instigate and experiment, you are stuck, adrift, waiting to be shoved.”

“Excellence isn’t about working extra hard to do what you’re told. It’s about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing. It’s a personal, urgent, this-is-my-call/this-is-my-calling way to do your job.”

One question to Seth Godin

After reading this book, I thought about reasons why people stay away from taking initiative in organizations and what could leaders do about it. This led to me to ask one question to Seth Godin:

Tanmay: The readers of my blog are people who are leaders, aspiring leaders and the ones who are willing to make a difference. How can a leader prepare others so that more people from their circle of influence initiate meaningful things and poke the box?

Seth Godin: Simple, but scary: don’t punish failure, reward it. Reward smart initiative, even when it doesn’t work.

Thanks Seth, for nudging us (or rather pushing us) to initiate.

Over to you

I think anyone who is willing to make a difference by doing meaningful work should read this book. You can read Q & A with Seth Godin at the Amazon page and learn more about The Domino Project.

So, what are you doing to poke the box? What are you initiating? Great questions for the mid week.

The Rubber Meets The Road 15

The rubber meets the road when you, as a business leader…

  1. deliver real business results to customers (not just deliver an excellent pitch with an impressive powerpoint)
  2. start executing relentlessly (not just define your strategy on paper at an off site planning retreat)
  3. implement improvements in your processes (not when you create that good looking document with improvement areas)
  4. pick up the phone and talk to that frustrated customer (and not get into a chain of email exchange)
  5. lead by example and live your values (not just pass instructions for others to follow. Not just document your values on the website)
  6. act on your customer’s feedback (not just collect it through your customer feedback program!)
  7. start treating your people like “humans” (and not just “resources” or “capital”)
  8. “do” equal to or more than what you “say” (and not the reverse)
  9. start thinking about “preventing” problems (not just “correcting” them after they happen)
  10. work “on” your business (not just “in” it – easy to get consumed working “in” the business)
  11. communicate and share feedbacks often with your people (not just in their quarterly performance review)
  12. start looking at ways to solve problems (rather than finding someone else to blame)
  13. stay lean, flat and accountable (and not let your growth turn you into a bureaucratic, heavy top-down structure)
  14. understand that excellence is everybody’s job (not just a single department or a few people in the team)
  15. only speak when you completely, totally mean it (and not just throw clichés to please them now)

P.S: “Where the rubber meets the road” is an idiom that refers to the tyre of a vehicle on the surface of a road, meaning “where it really counts.” It is used to represent the defining moments or focus on real actions.

Bonus: My post “15 ideas To Ensure That Trainings Effectively Deliver Value” was featured in HR Carnival over at  i4cp PRoductivity Blog – along with a host of other brilliant posts on talent management, general HR, managerial advice and career advice. If you are a people manager or HR professional, this carnival edition is a MUST READ!

Also download (PDF) 100 fantastic insights that will help you become “BRILLIANT At The Basics of Business” – from none other than NICHOLAS BATE. Visit him for this and tonnes of other great resources – I am sure you will admire his generosity as much as I do.