9 01 2011

I began a totally new project in December–ghostwriting a romance. I’ve ghostwritten nonfiction, but this is my first attempt at working from someone else’s synopsis. That’s been a challenge.

I find that my brain starts popping out kernels of ideas until I have bowls full of popcorn, but I have to sweep more than half of it in the trash because it doesn’t fit the outline I’ve been given. I’m convinced that my additions would make for a better, stronger story, but they’d take the book in a totally different direction.

I guess writing to a preset outline is good discipline, as is setting aside several hours a day to work on fiction writing, but I wonder if my creative brain will suffer if I constantly ignore its ideas and directives. Any thoughts?


Rethinking Goverment

3 10 2010

I’ve been exploring the concept of holacracy—a new form of company and leadership dynamics. If I understand it correctly, it’s based on the principles of holism, where the whole is greater than the parts. It also involves being in harmony with something beyond yourself. It may be a social unit (family, nation) or an ideology, or even creation (or perhaps beyond that to the creator).

I’m excited by the possibilities of applying these ideas to business. Management expert Gary Hamel, ranked as the #1 most influential business thinker in the world by the Wall Street Journal, believes that to build a company for the future it must excite passion in its people. People who care about the company and are invested in it will be its greatest resources. I believe a company can harness that passion by freeing those who work there to find their unique purpose and to follow their higher calling.

Holocracy frees a company to evolve beyond the limits of set values. Rather than polarizing toward one value, say innovation, which then automatically excludes its opposite, stagnation, this construct embraces both values. Redefining stagnation can mean maintaining the status quo and retaining ideas and systems that have worked well in the past. It may encompass stillness, reflection, and stability. Innovation without balance can result in exhaustion and instability, and change for change’s sake. By allowing room for both values, the company can make the wisest decisions.

That also means a diversity of personalities and backgrounds are vital within the company. Each person brings a unique take on the world, with varying ideals, values, and thoughts. A company that appreciates these differing viewpoints and integrates them into a meaningful whole greatly benefits from the expertise of each person. It also means doing away with the top-down structure and empowering people to work autonomously.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could apply these principles to government? Perhaps a blend of the best of the traditional political parties would work wonders for balance, unity, and harmony.

I Survived… I Think

21 04 2010

So, one day after the event, I can look back with equanamity. If you read my public speaking post, you might have gotten the impression I don’t like to speak in front of groups.

That’s partially true. And I’m a procrastinator who avoids thinking about the presentation until the last minute, then…gulp!…realizes that it’s time to go out the door, and I have no time left to prepare. Why do I do that? It means I panic as I rush to pull some thoughts together as I drive to my destination and pray that I’ll come up with an interesting and inspirational topic. Yes, I was asked to talk about myself, but every talk should be structured like a story, with a beginning (inciting incident), middle (rising action), and ending (dramatic conclusion).

Luckily for me, my muse works well under pressure. I came up with several exciting (at least I hoped they were) events in my life and made them steppingstones, using an underlying theme of how I jump into careers, then learn on the job, often after I being forced to change directions by a tragedy or a roadblock. That helped me choose my anecdotes.

But I also like to give each audience a takeaway, something meaningful that they can apply to their own lives. My muse, my creative mind, my subconscious didn’t fail me. It dredged up a wonderful idea–one I’d heard years ago in someone else’s speech that had a powerful effect on my life…

Stay tuned for: Seeing the Other Side