The Power of Human Leverage

June 30, 2008

I just returned from Dave Lakhani’s unforgettable Renegades of Persuasion event. It was memorable not only for its content but for the unique collection of interesting and talented people that attended. I am sure that the experience will provide material for many future Living With Leverage posts. Here’s the first.

I came away with these observations:

1. Not All Leverage is Created Equal.

If you need to have a website designed, and you don’t have the time or ability to do it, you can put the project up for bidding and have someone do it for you. Your designer could be, say, in the Philippines and leverage knowledge, technology and exchange rates to get the job done. Bravo!
However,

2. You Can’t Underestimate the Power of Human Leverage.

Savvy people attend quality trainings and conferences for the human interaction as much as for the content. Sitting around and sharing knowledge in an atrium, a patio, a restaurant booth etc. increases your experience exponentially because everyone gains from the sharing. Personal contact with a variety of talented people in a variety of fields unleashes a synergy that results in possibilities that were unknown before.

3. Is there any question, then, that it is called Networking.

Louis (Lazar) Green

Get Organized and Collaborate

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Breaking the Drought.

June 25, 2008

I’ve had a pretty severe case of writer’s block for this blog. I’ve had some dandy ideas but didn’t quite flesh them out. In the last couple of months, my eyes have been opened to the power of Social Media, particularly Twitter. At first I thought it was a just a copy of the “What am I Doing” line of Facebook. I read posts from people I knew talking about minutia in their lives that I really didn’t care about. Even worse, I read about minutia from people I didn’t know, but just happened to accept as a friend on Facebook for one reason or another.

Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the sometimes clever & witty mini-blogs (“tweets”) as an incredible extension of leverage. I’ve gotten to “know” several people just by reading their posts. These people are from all over the world and from right in my city. Some are entrepreneurs, authors, and even lawyers. They extend out in some of my core areas of interest: Judaism, Creativity, Vegetarian/Veganism, etc.

It’s amazing how bits of information here and there have aggregated to expand my knowledge-base and more importantly my own personal network. Now I am interconnected with people that are becoming extensions of my own mind.

The world has truly shrunk, and I have the ability to easily add my voice to the World’s conversation from my own living room 140 Characters at time.

That is true leverage.

Louis (Lazar) Green

Get Organized and Collaborate

All writings here are copyrighted by Louis M. Green. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.


The Double Catapult Technique

January 1, 2008

I received an inspiration for a strategy to implement leverage. It took a couple of days to come up with a name, but I decided to call it the Double Catapult Technique.

Here’s How It Works:

  • I’m creating a propulsion system between 6:00AM & 7:00AM and the other hours from Sunday to Friday mornings. That is, I’ll work to make 6:00-7:00AM the most pivotal hour of the day, and then spend the remaining hours to make 6:00-7:00AM more important and useful.
  • I am observing G-d’s command to work on the six days of the week and to rest on Shabbat (Sabbath).

I asked myself to determine the most critical hour of my day. The answer came back between 6:00 & 7:00AM.

Why?

Because if I am awake and together in that hour, it is easier to get to my office at a normal time, with a proper focus. If I have been up late for a number of reasons (spending time on online, lack of exercise, evening caffeine), I get up later and get to the office later. Time gets away. I start out playing from behind.

There are many possible activities to choose from in the morning. The automatic are actually getting, up, showering, shaving, getting dressed. Others are praying, exercising, cleaning, writing, reading, phone calls, etc.

I will put a major emphasis into getting the most out of each day, evening, overnight, so that when I awake, I wake to a supporting environment geared toward a fantastic focussed start which will in turn (i.e. The Double Catapult) propel me onward and upward.

The Genius of Shabbat.

The next level up is to leverage the work week with Shabbat (the Sabbath). Just as there is a day to day strategy, there is also one to the whole week. Each day builds value to the end of the week, so that a full day of rest can be observed. The day is not just of idle-rest, but really of RENEWAL. The day of rest allows time for prayer, study and social and spiritual connection. This day counters and uplifts the rest of the mundane week. This is certainly not anything that I am inventing, it has been around as an instruction for the beginning.

How many actually take advantage of the Sabbath? Talk to those who do on a regular, deep level… they’ll tell you how wonderful and powerful it is.

Louis (Lazar) Green

Get Organized and Collaborate

All writings here are copyrighted by Louis M. Green. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.


Applying Leverage to Uncluttering.

December 24, 2007

On December 9, 2007, I put up a post entitled “How Uncluttering Applies to Leverage.” I intended to make this the next post, but weather and electricity issues kinda got in the way. Ironically, the articles I wrote regarding the ice storm posts led to an expansion of this blog’s readship.

In my quest to add leverage to my life, it occurred to me that I had to apply those same principles to the uncluttering process. I concluded I had four options:

1. Doing It All Myself.

2. Hiring a Professional Organizer.

3. Enlisting a Friend or Friends to Help Me.

4. Using a Combination of the Three.

Allow me to explain.

Doing It All Myself is the most time consuming and the most challenging. I created this mess. I should be able to get it organized, right? There are books like Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing From the Inside Out and David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I should be able to put my intentions and lofty words into a public action plan. I can start with a single victory: a mopped floor, a cleaned counter, an uncluttered cabinet, and build confidence and momentum.

Downside: The “Freakout Factor.” I am not good at sorting, which is why I’m in the mess I’m in. Furthermore, I found that I freaked out a bit when I cleaned my kitchen floor and counters, then later did some cooking and emptied a cabinet. I looked up, and it was a bunch of clutter all over again! Ergo the freakout. It took me a while (days because of aforementioned ice storm) to calm down and work through it. Also, you know those irrational bonds and hoarding tendencies fellow clutterers have? (I might NEED that again even though I haven’t used it in ten years) DIY* doesn’t always overcome that in self-help mode.

Hiring a Professional Organizer is the most time efficient and most expensive. As a professional person (lawyer), I do not begrudge people who become professional organizers and are excellent at what they do. I could see taking off a week that might otherwise be regarded as “vacation time” and taking the money spent on an excursion and putting it into an organizer. That would be something. Actually, I’m a pretty frugal traveler, and I don’t know how far my travel money would go with a professional organizer (One cabinet?), but I think we all get this in theory (though there would be friends & relatives who either think we’re nuts or sing “Hallelujah.”) Set aside a concentrated amount of time with a professional and just get it done.

Downside: Expense. My income ebbs and flows.

Enlisting a Friend or Friends to Help Me brings two things to mind. One is story of Tom Sawyer getting his friends to whitewash the fence by turning it into an event, and the other is an old episode of Oprah where a circle of friends get together (I think with Julia Morgenstern’s help), and each of them rotated going to each others’ homes as a team and spending a day to help them unclutter.

A couple of years ago, I had a friend help me with the kitchen. She helped me sort and unclutter several drawers and cabinets. It was a lovely gesture and lot of work. It was also a one-time, “Don’t Ask Me to Go Through That Again” project. We were able to accomplish quite a bit. As big a challenge the kitchen is today, the work from two years ago still makes it much more manageable.

I’ve thought of throwing a “Tom Sawyer”-type party, where I might put out a lot food and drink and ask friends to help for an hour or two. I think it would work, but would also require a quantity of chutzpah and would be better suited to do in a season other than winter. I also think, ironically, I have to do more uncluttering before I invite people over to help me unclutter [see i.e. Cleaning Before the Cleaning Person Arrives (I think it’s a Jewish thing)]. Such an event would have to be organized ahead of time.

There’s no way I would ask any one person to help with the entire house (and who would be that insane to say “yes” anyway), but I might ask several people to help with one project.

Downside: Potential guilt at asking friends to help me clean up messes I created, even if I become gratefully available to help them with a project.

Using a Combination of the Three makes sense. Getting a start myself would certainly be a good test, and building on success has great value. Hiring an organizer for a specific, high-value project like a garage, kitchen, or home office would give me the experience of working with a professional. I could add more projects on a piecemeal basis. I could learn techniques and strategies and work through emotional barriers, I could apply to projects I take on personally or with friends.

Downside: Would still take longer than a concentrated efforts with a professional organizer.

All in all, I think the flexible fourth option is best; however, this mental exercise does not have value without action.

Louis (Lazar) Green

*Do It Yourself

Get Organized and Collaborate

All writings here are copyrighted by Louis M. Green. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.


Losing Electricity Does Not Make You Powerless.

December 16, 2007

I said in my previous post that I would write about the metaphoric value of the ice storm which knocked out (and continues to knock out) power to hundreds of thousands in this State. Thankfully, my power came back on Thursday morning. I was without for about 42 hours.

The easy metaphor is to say that we get so established into our routines, that it takes a disruption, sometimes on a small, sometimes on a large and even catastrophic scale, to wake us up and really test our mettle.

Another is to say that some people really think that they are in total control of their lives and a disaster comes along to make them realize that there are more powerful forces, and we humans possess tremendous hubris.

I believe these are true statements, and as a religious person, I do believe that the Almighty does send challenges and reveals whose gameboard we are really playing on.

However, I have re-thought the idea of being “Powerless.”

Clearly, we have never experienced an ice storm like this in Oklahoma’s major metropolitan areas (Oklahoma City or Tulsa); however, that is not to say that we did not have advanced notice to prepare.

  • Whether the responsibility of individuals or OG&E (our electric company), there were many tree branches that were susceptible to taking out a powerline in a wind or ice storm that could have been trimmed during the year. In other places, powerlines have been buried underground and were not susceptible to wind or ice.
  • Our local weather stations looked at their radars and told us what was coming and about when it would arrive. However, with weather being so unpredictable, we’ve had our share of dire weather forecasts that fizzled out or didn’t happen, so that many just don’t take the warnings seriously.
  • Resources existed to let us know what sorts of items to buy for home and automobile to prepare. (I messed up on that one. I should have bought more candles). Some people heeded those, and many bought or already had generators, firewood, etc.

It seemed to me that many people who lost electricity stuck it out in the dark & cold at night because they were afraid or too proud to ask friends for a place to stay or avail themselves of the shelter set up in our convention center. There were many who stuck it out of fear because they were paranoid about thieves breaking into their homes.

On the other hand, there were countless acts of inspiring compassion. Family and friends opened up their homes; neighbors knocked on the doors of neighbors, particularly the elderly to make sure they were okay; self-less people who were fortunate enough to retain electricity rolled up their sleeves and helped clear branches or served food at shelters.

Losing electricity simply doesn’t make you ‘Powerless.’

There were opportunities to lessen or even prevent the effect of a potential ice storm. There were instructions of how to prepare for being left without electricity. There were people willing to help and open their homes: some with initiative and some upon asking; there were those who trusted and believed that if they were to take shelter they and their pets and belongings would be fine; and there were those who were spared the disruption who actively sought and selflessly gave help to help those in need.

The point is that there are always opportunities to act before, during, and after a disaster. More action ultimately results in less suffering.

That, I think, is the biggest lesson of all.

Louis (“Lazar”) Green


Sometimes Life Slips You a Curve (or Ice) and Leaves You Powerless.

December 13, 2007

I was going to buckle down and put more time into the kitchen, but life slipped me a curve. The power went out in my house on Monday (Dec. 10) about 4:00 PM. I shouldn’t have been shocked because the TV weathermen predicted the ice storm days ago, and it came in pretty close to the estimated time. I figured that if my power went out, it would be for maybe a few hours. I didn’t anticipate such a major chunk of Oklahoma City, let alone the entire state, losing power for long periods of time. Oklahoma City Ice Storm

Falling trees and branches have knocked out powerlines, and out-of-state crews have even come in to help. There are a lot of areas that are hit and miss. For some reason, the lucky people across the street from me all got their power back already.

I’ve been fortunate enough. I’ve been able to stay with a friend one night and my office one night. It makes me wonder: How many people are shivering in their cold homes because they simply are too afraid to ask for help?

When I get back in the house, I will need to work on the the refrigerator. I don’t think it’s too bad, and the inside of the house is about that cold!

I’m sure there’s a good metaphor in all this, which I probably won’t properly see until I catch up on my sleep.


How Uncluttering Applies to Leverage.

December 9, 2007

I’ve thought about this one. I instinctively first went to uncluttering when starting ‘Living With Leverage.’ Does clutter necessarily prevent one from being proficient at applying principles of leverage to everyday life and business? Not necessarily. I’m sure there are people that apply leverage, accomplish much, and leave clutter in their wake. However, I suspect that they are in the minority.

Clutter is a symptom of a lack of clarity: Clarity of Purpose, Clarity of Vision, Clarity of Values. If you put me under oath, and I would have to admit that that I am guilty of all three. How can I or anyone decide HOW to leverage, let alone WHAT to leverage, without a large dose of clarity?

I have looked around, faced reality, and decided that I have to make major changes. Unfortunately, there is all this baggage that I am needlessly schlepping around. In order to get past my exterior crap, I have to clear up on the inside. This uncluttering process will force me to get clear. As I get clearer and clearer on the inside, I will get cleaner and cleaner on the outside. I will be able to move from project to project, from task to task with greater ease.

That level of efficiency will permit me to assimilate and apply leveraging ideas with increased efficiency.

One thing that I know I will have to guard against is using this process as a smoke screen for procrastination. It is possible to fall into a trap of saying things must be 100% clean and clear before applying leverage. It doesn’t, but people who are into procrastination through perfectionism think so. They never start because things are never perfect enough.

I’m not like that. I’m going to strike a balance between getting a good enough start to begin moving forward.

It won’t be easy, but whoever said it would be?

Louis