5 actions to avoid extinction

by | Jan 17, 2012 | Blog | 0 comments

If you’re standing still these days, you’re falling behind.

The world is moving that quickly. Just think of the iconic brands that have tumbled or are extinct. The advertising often has more staying power than the products. For example, “A Kodak Moment,” “The softer side of Sears” and “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

So how do you avoid becoming–or working with–a dinosaur that needs to be pulled from the tar pits?

We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can avoid self-inflicted wounds—especially as individuals.

So make sure you and the other members of your team don’t act like moles. In other words, don’t burrow in the ground, being blind to the external environment around you.

Also try to discourage prairie-dog behavior, which is common in cube-like office environments. People tend to pop up and look around them when there’s a loud noise or other disturbance. They react only to what happens in their “ZOR” (zone of responsibility), which is one of my dear husband’s favorite expressions.

Instead, it’s better to act like a hawk, soaring through the sky and scouring the area. While we humans don’t enjoy the visual acuity of hawks or the ability to fly on our own, we can dream, can’t we?

Realistically, though, we can make it a practice to look up and out and scan the external surroundings for items that can be interesting and useful for us and our work.

And with the vast number and variety of choices out there, it’s a career-limiting move to keep our heads down during our workday focusing only on our immediate deadlines or diversions such as Angry Birds. Not only will we lose touch with what’s going on, but we also will lose credibility if we appear to have our heads in the sand or our entire bodies underground like moles.

Yes, you may be crazy busy today, but does your work have as much shelf life as a Twinkie? (By the way, did you know that Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, filed for bankruptcy this month?)

Here are 5 simple actions you can take to help you monitor trends in the outside world:

1. Sign up for Twitter feeds, either for individuals you know who track or comment on topics that interest you on Twitter or experts in fields you follow.
2. Subscribe to Paper.li or one of its special papers. Paperli is a content curation service that lets people publish online newspapers based on topics they like so they can treat their readers to fresh news.
3. Set up Google alerts.
4. Customize LinkedIn’s home page.
5. Add news links to your browser’s home page, such as creating an iGoogle page.

In many cases, you can get stuff pushed to you as email messages or texts. That way you don’t have to remember to go and find it. Plus, if you use a curation service, you’re benefitting from the service editing the material it sends you so you’re getting the cream of the crop.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. To avoid contributing to your clutter or sense of overwhelm, I won’t even start to share the many other options.

Instead, I’ll tell you this story, which I hope encourages you to open yourself up to possibilities.

One of my clients learned about BJ Fogg’s 3 Tiny Habits program by following my tweets about it. My client took the initiative to sign up for the program, even before seeing my blog post about it, Success: Adopting 3 “tiny habits.” A week later, he too had adopted three new “microhabits” that are embedded in his routine and making his life better. Plus, we’re now better equipped to help others make changes more effortlessly–well maybe with fewer difficulties.

By acting more like hawks than moles, we can leverage the work of others to find things of value. (Feel free to follow me on Twitter.)

And remember, you don’t want quantity, just quality that you can review, evaluate and decide how to apply.

Information without action is clutter. Information with action propels you forward.

What are you doing to move ahead and stay out of the tar pits?


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