What are your side effects?

When Celeste and I married, we both changed our name to Sarvata, which means wholeness or integrity. It means that around us, you get to be exactly who you are.

Put another way, by Dave Rendall, author of the Freak Factor, everyone comes with side effects. Every strength has a corresponding weakness and they cannot be separated. Someone who is structured (strength) is also inflexible (weakness). One is a side effect of the other. What are your side effects?


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Do the Words “Change Process” Make You Gag?

So much corporate jargon turns me off as it just seems to complicate things. “Change Process” is one of those terms. Imagine my surprise this week when Ari Weinzweig of shared the change process they use at Zingerman’s and I immediately used it in my family and started sharing it with clients. I was pre-disposed to like what Ari had to say as I interviewed him for the Purpose Podcast almost two years ago and had a great time.

The Zingerman’s change process starts from the idea that every can provide leadership, even the brand new employee. If that new employee (or anyone else) sees a change that could be made to make things better, their supervisor can immediately coach them through this change process and the whole organization gets stronger. Do you want to learn about the process? I recommend you pick a small change you’d like to cause at home, for example, and then follow these steps in real life, not just theory.

  1. Pick the change you’d like to make. Write it down in a few words. (I picked: Reestablish weekly biz/family meeting with my wife Celeste)
  2. Write as many reasons as you can think of for why this change is a good idea. (more alignment between Celeste and I, getting clear on priorities will make our summer better for the two of us and our two kids, etc)
  3. Write down different stakeholder groups and customize how you might sell the change to them (sterotypically HR will need more people-focused reasons while accounting more numbers-focused reasons, etc). In my example, it’s just Celeste I needed to sell.
  4. Write down a vision for this change, set in the future, that is inspiring and strategically sound. Once you type it up, put DRAFT at the top and get some people to look at it and make it better. My draft started this way: “It’s Labor Day weekend 2016 and we’ve had a great summer!”
  5. Depending on how big a deal this change is, you may want to review and re-draft with many different people over a period of time.
  6. Get input from content experts.
  7. Share the vision widely. He’s got more detail on how to share the vision as well, for example to include a cynic on your team to help create the plan for communicating the change to the cynics in the organization. We’ll cover that in another post.

Let me know what change you bring into being with this process! ted@TedSarvata.com

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What do you stand for?

The best, most inspiring businesses are about something more. And it comes through when they tell there stories. Check out this beautifully-done video from The Little Potato Company to see what I mean.

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Move Authority to Where the Information Is

I’m a sucker for these white-board animations of speeches, if the speaker and content are good. David Marquet is both.

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Excellence is Weird

Everyone says they want to be extraordinary, great, excellent and make a difference, but by definition, this means you can’t be average. Yet when we do unusual things, well-meaning people around us pull us back to the normal. They say “That will never work.” “That’s never been done before.” “That’s risky.”

And, the fact is, to make a difference, you can’t do what everyone else is doing. You must break out of that. You must be willing to be weird. This isn’t a matter of becoming weird. You already are weird, deep down. The idea is to take the masks off; take the costumes off; take the normal off. Be yourself. Be weird. Make a difference!

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What are you willing to suck at?

When you try to be good at everything while your competitors are trying to do the same, you’re doing the opposite of differentiating. You’ll basically converge on 3 for every attribute that customers could care about. Look at how Southwest does it differently:Great at : suck at.png

The attributes at the top are the ones more important to their core customer (not every airline customer, just Southwest’s core customer). Notice how the top 3 are the brand promise (low fares, lots of flights, lots of fun). The ones at the bottom are ones the core customer cares about least. These are what Southwest is willing to suck at. By choosing to deprioritize these areas, they can take the money they would otherwise spend there and use it to improve performance at the top of the page. I recommend you try to make a map like this for your company. I’d love to see what you come up with. Send me a copy: ted@tedsarvata.com

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What are you willing to be bad at?

Average at everything is the default when you try to beat your competitors are every measure. When you’re willing to be bad, you free up resources (time, attention, money) to be great at something.

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Facebook’s BHAG


Did you see that Facebook has a new BHAG this week? Zuckerburg calls it their ten-year roadmap. Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone. Inspiring? You bet! That’s one of the hallmarks of a great company, an inspiring vision. Go Facebook!


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Weekly Collective Intelligence

We’re running into a bit of confusion about what the hot seat is supposed to include every week. Can you give me a basic rundown of what that means for the person who is on the hot seat?

Sure. The rock-holder will be speaking for the first 5 minutes or so. This could include:

  • Here’s the plan for the quarter …
  • Here’s what we’ve done so far …
  • Here’s what we think we know …
  • Here are the open questions we’re facing …
  • Here’s what we need …
  • etc

The remaining time is for the team to ask questions and give feedback, such as:

  • What about X. Have you considered that?
  • I’d like to help with Y.
  • Please add Z to your open questions list. (Alternatively, let’s talk about Z for a few minutes now.)
  • I’m confused about detail A. Please explain / defend that decision.
  • etc

In general, this is the time to go deep. Some of the detail I interrupted at the offsite would fit perfectly here.

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Portland Scaling Up Workshop (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits)

Portland Scaling Up WorkshopJune 9, 2016: Register now or find out more.

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