Alert System Solutions


Action Corners and The Magic Phrase


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NOTE: I cannot be held responsible for any errors in the transcription of this podcast. AI was used; blame the AI. 🙂


Leader Summit Action Corner and Magic Phrase – 11:5:21, 9.17…

Fri, 11/5 9:34AM • 23:00


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Hey, this is Dave Fleming at the ingenuity lab and I am joined today everybody drumroll please. Brenda Pries. Hey, Brenda.


Hi, Dave. Good morning.


How’s it going over there in Tucson today?


It’s going well, and it’s the weather is great and sunny and it’s not hot. It’s a good number second


in that great. It is great. That is a lovely thing. It’s also pretty nice here in southwest Florida today. Like I think our highs only 73, which is low temp, low humidity. That’s the name of the game.


We’ve been waiting for these days, right?


No kidding. Speaking of waiting for days, our next. Our next time together for our next leader Summit is mid October, excuse me mid November. I think it’s the 19th. But don’t quote me on that unless you see it right in front of you there. I don’t tell okay. But you know what, while we’re talking I’ll take a look here real quick. It is Yep, it’s on? Nope. No, no, it’s on. It’s on the 18th on the 18th at 10:30am, Arizona time. And we’ll be looking at creating solutions and sort of extending what we talked about when we were together last time around distributed leadership and how once you really have a process working on your team, how can you make the best solutions. But we were talking with a group the other day, and you mentioned this idea that I thought was really a cool idea called an action corner, where maybe at the summit, we should take a little bit of time and talk about what we’re trying to do in our current work to do something we talked about at a past Summit. Yet say a little bit about that. What what sort of brought that to your mind?


Yeah, sure. Dave, you know, Dallas talks a lot about intentional action, intentional time. And it really worked well, when are resignated when Blanca was speaking to something that she’s incorporated with her team called work at Wednesday. Yeah. And that just, I just felt like that was a great idea to bring back to the team. And then when I when I introduced it to my RA leads, Ashley and Amy. And they just, we all just kind of lit up and thought what a great opportunity for some solution time together as a team. So we’re going to incorporate this with our weekly call out meetings.


Okay, perfect. So so here’s the deal, everybody, at the next leader Summit. What Brenda just explained that her team is going to do with work at Wednesday’s would be an example of something to bring with you to the next leader Summit, like, Hey, this is what we took away, or I took away from the last leader Summit. And I’ve been trying to practice it in this way. It will take a little bit of time at the beginning of our summit, either as a big group or in small groups to talk a little bit about how we’ve been trying to practice distributed leadership. So if you want to go back to the link from the website, where there was more about it, or the podcasts, you can do that as well, just to refresh your memory, but come with something that you’re doing in between last time and our next summit, where you’ve been trying to practice distributed leadership, like a work at Wednesday, and we’ll, we’ll go from there. So Brenda, what’s the first thing your team is going to try to do with the work at Wednesday?


Well, we want to get a creative name.


Okay. So you want you want to own the brand for your own team.


We do we do. We want a mantra.


Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Okay, so So I mean, this is to your point about intentionality, you’re in the process of trying to make this a part of your team culture now. Which is cool.


Yes. And yes, and we want to be able to come back and not only share what we’ve done, but how it’s worked well for us and how how it’s moved the dial or made a difference. Yeah, share that with you soon.


Fantastic. Okay, so everybody just take Brenda’s lead here and think of something from the distributed leader summit that we talked about that you’re working into your way of leading, or with your team and come ready just to share it won’t be probably a super long breakout but even just some, you know, one liners or headliners of things you’re trying to incorporate, I think under your eyes just makes it more likely that we’re not only talking about it and therefore practicing it more, but knowing I’m going to talk about it also makes it more likely that I’ll be practicing it. In the meantime. So, alright, so great, then we will, we’ll do our first action corner at the Nov eight team leader Summit. Thanks, Brenda.


This is exciting. Thank you, Dave.

The Magic Phrase


If you’re listening to this, it’s safe to assume that you need solutions in your life. Whether in your personal life, or your professional life, you need solutions to various problems or challenges or opportunities. The more complex the world you live in is, the more elusive solutions seem to be. They are like a slippery bar of soap. And the first thing I want to reframe, as we talk about the beginnings of finding solutions, is this. It really isn’t that solutions are slippery. It’s that solutions in complex and adaptive systems, likely like the one that you work and live in. It’s that solutions in those environments are temporary. They’re obsolete faster than we would ever want them to be. And the sooner we realize that, the less frustrating it is, when we have to come back and reform a solution.

Now, there’s no doubt that poor design of solutions can also create a temporariness to the solution itself. If I poorly designed the solution, it may not last more than a day, because I didn’t think strategically and reflectively about what I really needed. But even if we do a decent to excellent job, at creating a solution, it’s still incredibly vulnerable to the adaptations and the forces that we cannot control in the systems we live in work in. The more complex that is, the more there are variables you cannot control and predict inside your world. The more you have to view solutions as temporary. They’re temporary experiments to advance your mission, your work, or your life. They’re like booster rockets, but they will run out of fuel. Some might last longer than others.

But they are temporary, based on the nature of the system within which you find yourself. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should abandon smart and strategic solution making as if to say, well, if they’re vulnerable to temporariness, anyway, why put such effort into them. But actually, we could flip that on its head and say just the opposite. Because solutions are temporary. It makes it all the more important for us to get really good at designing the best temporary solutions we can and to get really good at adapting those solutions once they run out of steam. So this only heightens the need for excellence in solution creation. How do we create the best solutions possible? Now in today’s podcast, we’re talking about a particular element of good solution creation. It’s what I call the magic phrase, the magic phrase is where good solution making starts. It’s when you’ve identified an issue, and you use in some form this phrase, we’ve got to find a way to\


fill in the blank, whatever that might be. Now, if you start to really pay attention, in meetings, people will use this very phrase, or one similar to it quite often, when they’re hunting for a solution. I mean, sometimes it literally is that the person says, you know, we’ve got to find a way to, or, you know, I don’t know, we just need to figure out how, but in some way, we intuitively have a sense that this phrase matters. And it actually does. And in this particular podcast, I want to show you why that phrase, when it ignites a certain kind of thinking, can make a difference in the quality of the solutions you create. So let’s take a look at each element of the phrase, we’ve got to find a way to, well, the first obvious place to start is we.

Now sometimes if it’s your personal life, you might say I, but the overwhelming majority of solutions are not AI based. They’re we based, they require people to come together. And the coming together is critical in the solution, creation and execution process, the way people come together matters. Now, we’re not going to talk about that today. Because we’re just setting the table here with the magic phrase and why it’s so critical. But suffice to say, the way people talk to each other about the needed solution, the way they align, or misaligned around the elements of the solution, or around what really is the problem, the way they then bring and harness their collective energy, the way they communicate, whether it’s deflating or energizing along the way, all of this and more has a lot to do with how well the solution is not only designed but executed.

We’ve, we’ve got to find a way that we can beginning point is in the way the people around the table, approach each other. And the creation of the solution that matters. Then, listen to this, we’ve got to, we’ve got to. Now I know that’s not great grammar, but it’s really a good phrase, because it has this punch to it, we have got to find we’ve got to what do you hear, when you hear we’ve got to, there’s a kind of compelling urgency that comes from that phrase. There’s a high stakes nature, like, like, if we don’t do this, something could happen, that could create failure in our system, or something could be lost of an opportunity that could create a lack of in our system, or a wanting in our system, that we had the opportunity to do something about that we can flip these around to see if we can find the way if we if we if we can muster the urgency to find the way think of what we might do. And of course, my favorite epic version of this is when the Apollo 13 disaster was in process. And the engineers on the ground figured out that the astronauts were running out of breathable air because the filters needed to get rid of the co2. So they could breathe. They were running out of them and they had more filters, but they were the wrong shape.


Some of the filters were round, and some of the filters were square, no joke. So it really became the life threatening as as there were so many. One of the life threatening moments was we’re going to run out of filters to take the carbon dioxide out of the air that we’re trying to breathe, because this filters round, and that one is square. And so the engineers on the ground had to find a way, we’ve got to find a way to make the square filter and the round filter somehow fit together so that those astronauts don’t die. Can you sense the urgency, nothing else matters. If we can’t keep them breathing, we’ve got to find a way. Now, some people work in industries, where it really is life and death.

And the stakes are really that high. But for most of us, we probably don’t. Creating a better spreadsheet may not be life and death. But but the solutions that we need have to have a kind of urgency to them, because the urgency and the high stakes nature of that urgency is what compels people to bring their best ingenious thinking and action to the table. And that’s why that second part of the phrase is so critical. We’ve got to, we together must solve this, because of the high stakes nature of what it is that we’re doing.

So one of the most important parts of ingenious solution making is a collective sense of urgency around the needed solution. This is critical, this is essential. We’ve got to and then the last part of the phrase, find a way, man, do you have goosebumps yet? What a powerful phrase, we’ve got to find a way find a way this gets to the entire domain of exploring possibilities that could lead to creative solutions, temporary, though they are, that could advance our mission in a powerful way, finding a way, finding a way cutting a path. Using the resources we have in ingenious ways combining them to optimize them to MacGyver our way forward. Finding the way finding is, is what what is the what is the precursor to finding, curiosity, searching, wondering, questioning, asking, and so forth. And a way what is the way will the way is the possibility revealed the aha moment, the Insight moment.


And this is another critical part of ingenious solution making is exploring together, we’ve got to out of necessity, explore the possibilities of ranging our resources in a way that can help us to advance a solution that moves us forward. And we know even in the midst of designing this important solution, it’s temporary. And so finding the way is not a final attempt at achieving some state that is complete, but finding a way is achieving the next important iteration of our work. We’ve got to find a way. And this is where the importance of the urgency causes people to rally with a sense of must have must Ness, we must do this.

That’s why during times of crisis, we tend to be more naturally ingenious. Think of all the ingenuity that occurred during the early days of the pandemic, to say, bring huge elements or huge swaths of the workforce home to work at home. In some organizations that had never done remote work, but because of necessity, because of the absolute urgent necessity of doing it away is found. So we have to find that energy When it’s not a crisis, to still work with that same kind of urgency that brings out the best in our thinking and our collective designing, to look at our resources, throw them out on the table, optimize them in a design and start the process of execution. There are so many things to talk about when it comes to creative solution making, but a lot of it is encapsulated in this powerful phrase. We’ve got to find a way