The Virtues of Procrastination

“You call it procrastinating, I call it thinking.” -Aaron Sorkin.

How many of you would have guessed that moderate procrastination is a good thing?

My friend AJ and I took a first step last night: we have started a podcast about the books we read in our mutual journey toward leadership, business, success, and self-discovery! And already, there’s been lots of talk of future procrastination…

In Adam Grant’s TED Talk on “Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers”, procrastination is lauded as: “…a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue when it comes to creativity.” Fantastic! I think I need to hold off on writing more for this blog and go see if I can dig out my Super Nintendo from my old room! Unfortunately, Dr. Grant, a PhD in Organizational Psychology and top-rated professor at Wharton, founded a study that seems to indicate too much procrastination can actually decrease inflow of creative ideas around a project.

Although AJ and I have batted around the idea of a podcast before, truthfully there was never anything we felt mutually motivated to speak about until my journey toward the subtitle of this blog started a few months ago. That makes this particular venture a new idea. A new idea that we are in no particular hurry to publish.

As Grant says:

“Originals are quick to start, but slow to finish.”

We’ve accepted that we want to do this project correctly. We’ve also accepted that it’s likely it will take awhile to get things right. Grant indicates that successful “originals” skip the step in creative creation where you take poor-quality project results personally, and instead, accept them as an inevitability toward making something great.

So, we don’t have a name yet. We might take a year to get our first material out there. There are lots of things we need to learn about podcasting in the meantime…

“The first movers [have] a 47% failure rate compared to 8% for the improvers.” -Grant

All that said, I think we’re on the right track.

You can find Adam Grant’s fantastic TED Talk on “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers” here:

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Achieving Greatness

Climbing Up

In November 2014, Susan Colantuono gave a TED talk about achieving equality for women in the higher echelons of the business world, and in doing so, she gave a broad guide to everyone in how to make it up the corporate ladder.

She enlists three phrases to describe what attributes management looks for when seeking to promote someone:

  • “Use the Greatness in You.”
  • “Achieve and Sustain Extraordinary Outcomes.”
  • “Engage the Greatness in Others.”

This forms a sentence: “You have to be recognized for using the greatness in you, to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.”

Susan hints at there being a promotional hierarchy to these three, without directly stating that with all of them. It would seem finding work has to do with proving the greatness in you. Being promoted to middle management has to do with proving that you’ve engaged the greatness in others. Getting promoted to the top has everything to do with proving you have Business Acumen, Strategic Acumen and Financial Acumen-a subcategory she came up with that branches off from Achieving and Sustaining Extraordinary Outcomes.

Learning More About Business

I went to college and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry at the end of 2013, which covered a little bit of everything concerning Counseling, Public Speaking, Non-Profit Leadership and Management, as well as Theology. I remember missing the business class. Oh, I had one. It was very good, in fact, entitled “Business as Mission”, but it was a substitution put in place to allow me to graduate the following semester. I can probably tell you something about an excellent missions strategy, but not much, unfortunately, about how money works in church. It’s enough, as I am learning how to be great and engage the greatness of others that I want to learn a little bit about business in general.

You can find Susan’s TED talk here:

On the Search for Open 3’s-Networking According to Christopher Barrat

The Four Tenets of Networking

According to Management Development Skills Author Christopher Barrat, all of networking breaks down into these four simple concepts: “Know”, “Like”, “Trust” and “Buy”.

“…and you have to do them in that order. You can’t jump it, you can’t suddenly go to the buy bit, you can’t get people to buy you without the first bits. ‘I need to know you, I need to like you, I need to trust you before that can happen.'”

Christopher believes that the first two steps of that process are usually what you cover at your first networking even with someone: Know is a process that only happens by meeting people face-to-face. Like comes from listening, and incorporating the WAIT principle, which stands for “why am I talking?” Mr. Barrat encourages you to draw people out and as people naturally enjoy talking about themselves, by transference, they Like you for allowing them to do so. While they get to know and like you, they may grow to Trust you, especially upon providing them with needed contacts and finding ways to serve their needs based on what you learned from drawing them out. And at some point, usually not immediately, you will be rewarded for your patience and giving attitude-the network provides for you with a Buy event, where somebody pays back into you.

Social Configurations

When entering a large party of people, either for business, pleasure or some amalgam of both, Mr. Barrat suggests searching for what he calls “open threes”, or a configuration of three people, standing staggered in such a way that although they are speaking to one another, they are somewhat facing out, rather than all three directly facing each other and forming a triangle (and thereby closing the group). Think of them as an open square or an incomplete diamond.

“If they’re closed groups, ignore them. Go for an open three with at least one woman.”

“…and there’s a really important reason for that […] women tend to be more socialized in bringing people in groups. That’s been proven in sociological in research.”

He recommends then, joining the group of “open” three by asking politely if you can join them, thereby closing that group of open three, and creating a closed group of four.

The Tennis Match

Tonight I was able to integrate “Know”, “Like” and WAIT from this talk into a conversation with my driver as I took a Lyft to a concert-she was a natural introvert, and I was able to curtail talking about myself and made every effort to draw her out. At some point, when the conversation stalled, I was able to keep her talking by doing a reverse and relaying a relevant story about my life; I discovered sometimes it’s okay to share when your intent is also to focus on learning about the other person. It’s part of drawing people out because naturally, conversation is always a bit of a tennis match.

After the concert I Lyft-ed to was over, the networking (also known as socializing in non-business parlance) started and I went up to greet the band leader who was a friend of mine. She was actually in a “closed five” (a band-leader speaking with her band-mates) so I awkwardly stood there for a bit, caught myself approaching a closed group, and turned around to seek out my buddy until she was available. She was gracious, because when she opened the group, and saw me facing out, she invited me in to introduce me to everybody. I learned I need to scan the room a bit more closely, as I get single-minded and excited when I am seeking to speak to friends.

As usual, I’ll try to incorporate my life experiences using these lessons into the blog, because I’m definitely excited to try them all out. You can find Christopher Barrat’s TED Talk here, entitled “Successful Networking – The Ultimate Guide”: