"Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me............
Welcome to beginning of the second half of the year. We hope this email finds you getting a chance to enjoy the long days and warm evenings with family and friends. The next 45 days are an excellent time to plan your moves for the second half of the year and if you are brave, peek around the corner into 2015. The team at Banyan found their way into some interesting rooms and listened to some excellent commentary, we wanted to pass along to you what we learned.
"....Death." What does Patrick Henry's famous line have to do with your ability to rent a taxi?
We are fresh off a week-long trip to Washington DC and Colonial Williamsburg, and our thoughts have turned to Patrick Henry’s commanding line in the Virginia House of Burgesses as the American Colonies marched their way towards Independence. The historical sites such as Mt. Vernon, Monticello and Williamsburg do a fantastic job of recreating the environment and the stimulus that surrounded the beginning of our country 238 years ago.
What hit me coming from the land of innovation and independent thought was that maybe there is a sliver of a connection between the current revolution of “freelance workers” and our founding Colonies. The Colonies suffered under a mercantile system that hemmed in their ability to grow and was set up to fill the coffers of England. Laws like the Stamp Act of 1765 were passed that limited the Colonies ability to accumulate wealth much the way industry regulation over the last 100 years has made it difficult for individuals to participate in a trade vs. companies.
Looking for an example? Just follow the experience and short history of “Transportation Network Company” UBER. In a sense they are just a nice taxi or limo service and really not that many of us have been worried about the number of taxi’s available or the costs of them once you are inside. You either can find a Taxi, or you can’t, and the fees while oddly calculated have a “fixed” price.
That fixed price and the odd fees, especially if you get picked up at the airport are where things start to look like the 18th Century in America, and the fact that sometimes you can’t find a taxi also has a lot to do with regulation. To read more about this click here.
Our focus centers in on the regulation being similar to the Taxes of old. Currently, the regulation that exists in running a Taxi business, a Hotel business, or a School has been built up for the last 100 years by special interest groups funded by the largest companies in those industries.
Competitively you can’t blame them, they are just shoring up a left flank, as it were, to make it hard for new players to enter the market. Yet at the very moment that new players can’t enter a market is the second that choice walks out the door and when choice is gone…..well you can see where we are headed.
Choice has a friend in technology and the future looks interesting. In the past decade venture backed companies have started to leverage mobile technology to connect millions of buyers and sellers of goods and now services. Enter the UBER’s, the AirBNB’s, and The Khan Academies into these old regulation laden service industries and let us watch as the millions of competent individual actors (and some not so competent) come rushing in to serve you; the car riding, bed sleeping, and learning public.
Maybe it is a leap to correlate the two but the next time you are really in a pinch to get somewhere, are you going to stand on the street corner hoping a cab comes by? Or are you going to pull up your UBER app and within minutes have a clean car with a driver who cares a lot about the customer experience rating you are going to post after she drops you off.
Liberty may have many names, we think one of them should be called choice.
Competition: Does It Fuel You, Or Drain You?
As spring turns to summer most sports offer us a “Major” championship to follow. Media channels abound and the actors in these live dramas have massive exposure. The narrative of live competition is a draw to a huge percentage of our population and if you follow a sport like Golf or Tennis you can even go out and attempt to transfer some of the magic into your own game.
Yet most of us “compete” within a social context, few of us really play a sport for a living with people we don’t know, and once you have a social context much of the game gets tilted on a new axis. This new axis is very familiar to most as it is similar to our work life where your performance is all relative to the structure of your enterprise. (Don’t show up your boss etc.)
Add to this interesting fabric the dynamic of youth sports and it is hard to get a consistent definition of the word “competition”. However, because we study the performance of self and as a part of a team, we dove headlong into the matter and have some interesting conclusions to share.
One of America's best youth advocates and former NFL All-Pro Joe Ehrmann wrote a book in 2010 called “InSideOut Coaching”. On page 213 he gives us the etymology of “competition”.
“The root word of “competition” is the Latin word “petere”, meaning to search or strive for. Most often it is used in the context of striving or searching for something of value or excellence. The preposition “com” means together. So literally, competition can be defined as a “mutual quest or striving for excellence.”
In short, it means “TO STRIVE WITH”. But what a minute, I thought we competed AGAINST others, not WITH others. Well, it turns out it depends on your point of view.
We have noticed that if you watch the players on the biggest stages you will see a kinship, a fellowship where they realize they need the other person or team to get to their best performance. Russell needed Chamberlain, Magic needed Bird, and the 49'ers needed the Cowboys.
However you have to look for it, because standing between you and the players are the announcers and a media bias that we, the viewing public, won’t watch a match that doesn’t have conflict or acrimony, and maybe there is some truth to that. With this thought in mind they add their words to the affair and so extends the narrative that “these guys hate each other” etc. So builds the compete AGAINST story-line.
Getting back to youth sports, which definition would you like to pass on? If the dropout rates in youth sports are any indication, it appears the AGAINST story line doesn't sit well with our children, as up to 70% are out of organized sports by 13. It turns out that the kids leave sports because they “stop being fun” Really, isn't that the whole point?
We would like to offer that you consider looking at your competitive efforts through the “Strive With” lens and see if it in fact helps you enjoy competition more. The attached graphic shows how a simple switch of the mind can make a big difference.
"Quiet" by Susan Cain
Yes, we can hear you chuckling, was Drew doing opposition research by reading a book about Introverts? No, this book was referred by a friend who shared just how impactful the quiet half can be to an organization when the leaders engage them fully. While certain parts drag on, we highly recommend this book for both “verts” as we need all parties making a contribution.
Here is her @Google Authors Talk
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