As part of my competitive learning practices, I participate in 4 conferences annually with The Aji Network. Last week was the annual Aji Network Conference–an annual learning and networking event for students, alumni and guests. This format includes a talk by Toby Hecht (founder & CEO), 4 workshop sessions (selected from 20 offered) led by senior students, dialogues with Toby and Greg Schnargl (president) to clarity and/or deepen learning, interwoven with numerous well-structured networking opportunities.
Toby's talk this year was on Spaces of Possibilities. My work with this talk produced new learning and thinking for me...
For something to be a possibility for me, there must be nothing in my reality or structure that makes it not possible. Simply because I can imagine a possibility not negated by reality's operations in general, its a fantasy for me if I don't have the essential capabilities and resources.
I must act in anticipation of breakdowns to avoid crises, and act with velocity in a crisis to avoid a tragedy. Toby distinguished a crisis as including 4 assessments:
- The actors face a breakdown (meaning the consequences are here now or clearly coming in the future)
- To fix the breakdown action is required now
- There must be the space of possibilities to do the action
- If the actors do not take action, they will end up in a tragedy
The 2 interpretations of a tragedy:
- The actors face a breakdown
- There is no space of possibilities for action that will repair the breakdown or avoid its consequences, e.g. being 60 years old with insufficient capital to fund one's survival needs
I have sometimes been distracted with life's immediate demands and failed to act on breakdowns and crises with sufficient velocity. My new action is an intention to increase the rigor I bring to anticipating breakdowns and assessing crises, both for myself, my configuration and for the business owners we help.
I deepened the clarity with which I see the indifference of the marketplace to my concerns. I must continually return to my intention to think and act to take care of my concerns (including those of my configuration), producing situations that build power and continuously refining strategies and actions to be increasingly effective, strategic and competitive.
In every strategy I commit to, I must do my best to produce strong opportunities to realize my objectives. I see full, 100% commitment as a criteria for making a commitment to a strategic objective. My full commitment may be insufficient to produce competitive advantages and superior value, but anything less carries too significant a risk of wasting the finite and precious resources I invest in the strategy.
Working on business narratives I learned to increase power with more attention to the adversary and the major actors. The greater the impact of our help in the Listener's situation, the more compelling is our offer of help. I can improve my narratives by showing the power brought by the major actors of my network and the true depth of the threat(s) from the adversary.
In another session I learned to be more rigorous with how the marginal utilities of my offer(s) contribute to the customer's being more effective, strategic and competitive with their concerns, situations, strategies and capabilities enables me to produce more powerful explanations of the offer in terms of its ultimate, strategic and tactical value.
Working on dominant strategies, I produced a richer interpretation of ours–continually growing and leveraging our knowledge and configuration. This enables me to speak with increased rigor. It is my assessment that we can demonstrate and reveal our power more effectively, benefiting both us and those to whom we make offers.
Competitive Learning is a dominant strategy for owners of private companies to produce top 1% enterprise values and personal incomes necessary to survive, be free and live a good life in the most competitive global marketplace that has ever existed. I invite you to assess your competitive learning practices and your accumulation of knowledge over the past quarter. If what you assess is weak, I advise you to engage, take action.
Strong competitors start early, move with velocity, and keep moving. The strong competitors we face are unlikely to slow down. I can see past career periods where I have relaxed or was significantly slowed by unanticipated breakdowns. I can't avoid the unanticipated breakdowns, but I can keep my commitment, direction, focus and velocity to the best of my current ability in each moment of NOW.
There is no passion to be found in playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you're capable of living. Nelson Mandela
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein
My intention is to be/stay clear about my values, my ambitions and my intentions; to do my best with learning, preparing and acting with powerful strategies, narratives, practices and offers; and to live in moods of gratitude, wonder, enthusiasm, peace and passion. Life couldn't be better.
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