Podcasts rock!¬† I’ve stopped listening to NPR and even music when I drive. Instead, I‚Äôm enjoying and learning from podcasts.
If you haven’t explored the world of podcasts, you are missing out. You can find just about anything!
The bad news for beginners: you can find just about anything. :-(( ¬†There are so VERY¬†many podcasts, with lots of clutter and noise, so let’s start you off right!.
Three podcasts in particular continue to change how I think about and perceive¬†my world:
On his podcast, author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss, “deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.¬† This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more..” ¬†His guests are amazing and DIVERSE. Actors, Athletes, Artists, Doctors, HIGHLY successful entrepreneurs, soldiers, writers and researchers. I’ve gone back to listen to MOST of over 100 shows.
Josh Waitzkin – A Chess Prodigy on Mastering Martial Arts, Chess and Life
Josh was the basis for the book and movie,¬†Searching for Bobby Fischer. In the process of life as a chess prodigy, world champion in Tai Chi Push Hands, he has perfected learning strategies that can be applied to anything. Author of the incredible book,¬†The Art of Learning, Josh now spends his time coaching the world’s top performers, whether Mark Messier, Cal Ripken Jr., or elite hedge fund managers. Josh also appeared on Episode #2, but this is the place to start…
I’ve not been a huge fan of Tony Robbins in the past, yet I really enjoyed all of these episodes:
Oh, the stories! Cal is a New York Times bestselling author and a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine, where he is best known for being a primary writer of the ‚ÄúWhat I Learned‚ÄĚ feature.¬†The Austin Chronicle has described Cal‚Äôs interviewing skills as ‚Äúpeerless.‚ÄĚ¬†He has transformed oral history into an art form, conducting probing interviews with the icons who‚Äôve shaped the last 50 years of world history: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Woody Allen, Barbara Walters, Pel√©, Yao Ming, Serena Williams, John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, and countless others.
Revisionist History with Malcom Gladwell
Malcom Gladwell, a brilliant storyteller “reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.¬†Again, my favorite three, each a¬†must-hear:
Exponential Wisdom¬†with Peter Diamandis and Dan Sullivan
I found this podcast after our work with (and subsequent certification in) the¬†Exponential Organizations¬†Masterclass.¬†The podcast holds “Insights from Dan Sullivan and Peter Diamandis¬†on the Human-Technology Relationship”.¬† This is a fascinating conceptual playground, as the speed of change is outpacing our ability to govern, learn and understand the impact on our future world. Diamandis’ fundamental premise is that we are entering a time of abundance, globally, thanks to technological advances, with evidence that counters the media’s negative, sensationalist biases.
Diamandis and Sullivan offer a¬†deeper understanding of topics such as Brexit, Artificial Intelligence, longevity, healthcare, education… each one fascinating! Go back to the earlier podcasts – even episode one – for the best flow.
I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the podcasts in these series. ¬† Hope you enjoy!
¬† ¬© 2016 Ralston Consulting Inc.
Overcast.fm is a podcast app for iPhone and iPad that saves me more time than any other player I have used, without sacrificing comprehension, and perhaps improving it!
By now, most everyone knows you can save time by speeding¬†up playback of audiobooks and podcasts, and even web videos (see below). But after a point, increasing playback speed reduces comprehension.¬†I can easily listen to 1.25x playback speed, and even up to 1.5x, but I start to fatigue beyond that as the words and phrases¬†get too compressed.
The ‘Smart Speed’¬†effect analyzes the podcast and intelligently removes silence between spoken words and phrases.With the playback set to 1.5x, effective playback¬†speed increased to 1.8x, 2.1x or faster depending on the material, and I experience much less fatigue. The result is more intelligible speech in less playback time. A win-WIN!
The Overcast app is also a great podcast manager.¬†Subscribing to podcasts has been seamless. Automatic downloading just works. If you sign up for an optional online account, Overcast.fm synchronizes your record of what you have listened to across your iOS devices and even offers a simple web-based podcast player.
BONUS TIP: If you have a¬†spoken-word¬†mp3 file you want to listen to faster, you can upload up to 2 GB of files it at¬†https://overcast.fm/uploads .
Overcast.fm. Get it. Learn faster. Have more time to put it all into practice.
Video Speed Controller is our new preference for watching HTML5 video on Chrome on our desktop computer. It is particularly useful in speeding up¬†videos from our executive education partner, the Gazelles Growth Institute.
– Gary Ralston
¬© 2016 Ralston Consulting Inc.
Below are 10 questions to help you assess your company’s¬†overall health and readiness¬†to scale up:
1. Do you have a clearly communicated CORE PURPOSE,¬†shared by everyone in the company?
2. What are your CORE VALUES? How well do you reinforce them throughout employee hiring and¬†development?
3. Can everyone on the team articulate how your business grows profitably, and how they influence the bottom line?
4. Does your whole team know your 1, 3 to 5 and¬†10 year targets – and their individual priorities in¬†achieving them?
5. Who is your CORE CUSTOMER¬†and¬†are you reaching them effectively with an offering they care about? Does your top-line revenue reflect this?
6. What 3 ‚Äď 5 attributes differentiate you from your competition? Do you know your X-Factor, giving you a 10 to 100x advantage in your market?
7. Do you have the right people in the right seats? Are they all A-Players? Is everything operating without drama?
8. Do all team members have priorities with KPIs that they track and share¬†weekly, quarterly and¬†annually?¬†Do do they have¬†current, accurate relevant financials to navigate¬†by?
9. Do you have a MEETING RHYTHM that keeps your teams synchronized, focused, learning, aligned and motivated?
10. Do you have a ONE-PAGE-STRATEGIC-PLAN,¬†and¬†is your team aligned around it? Is it yielding¬†the growth you want?
If you are struggling to answer any of these questions (or you don’t like your answers), we can help.
- Get and read Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It‚Ä¶ and Why the Rest Don’t¬† [Audible Edition]
- Download the Scaling Up One-Page Growth Tools
- Run your own planning retreat [instructions, here]
Scaling Up Public Workshops
- Bring your leadership team to our next¬†Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop,¬†held in Columbus, OH October 6, 2016. For more information or to register your leadership team, please visit¬†http://ScalingUp.cvent.com/Columbus .
- Outside the US Midwest,¬†please visit¬†https://gazelles.com/g/growth-workshops for workshops near you.
- Talk with¬†Ann and¬†Gary Ralston¬†to discuss options to¬†more easily and effectively¬†scale up your¬†organization. Gary is certified¬†with Gazelles International Coaches to deliver Scaling Up programs.
– Gary Ralston
Much like¬†our own body weight, organizations have a ‘set point’ they gravitate to, be that $5 million, 10 people, $50 million, 100¬†people, $250 million, and so on. And much like our own body weight, organizations can be quite stubborn about deviating from that set point. This is obvious at a gut level (*ahem*) to¬†anyone who has tried to change either their weight or their organization’s size, relying only on sheer grit and willpower.
If we¬†don’t change the underlying systems and structures, first, and in the right sequence, any change¬†we¬†achieve through willpower will be short-lived.
Fortunately,¬†UNLIKE our bodies, we can dramatically change the fundamental, underlying systems and structures so that the organization can rise to a new, desired set point. Of course, one can do a lot of damage to an organization by changing the wrong systems, or changing things in the wrong sequence.
Learning to Scale Up an organization is not necessarily¬†hard, but to be effective¬†requires specific knowledge, skills, processes and discipline in four key domains: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash.
Check out this short (2 min 14 sec) video, then¬†chat with Ann or Gary to learn more about how you can more easily and effectively¬†Scale Up your organization.
Our next Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop will be held in Columbus, OH October 6, 2016. For more information or to register your leadership team, please visit¬†http://ScalingUp.cvent.com/Columbus .
– Gary Ralston
¬© 2016 Ralston Consulting Inc.
– Ann and Gary Ralston
Watercolor ¬© 2015 Ann Ralston
(click on image for larger version)
We are excited to introduce you to Yuri van Geest, member of Singularity University and the co-author of the ground-breaking book,¬†Exponential Organizations, published in the fall of 2014. (The book is now required reading for all practitioners at the prestigious consulting firm, McKinsey and Company.)
Yuri hosted a webinar focused on the real cases and experiences he has seen over the past year and the challenges companies have overcome.¬†Ann and I¬†just¬†completed the webinar, and we were BLOWN AWAY at the rate of innovation reported, worldwide, especially in China!¬†Yuri, who tracks¬†emerging technological breakthroughs for a living, reports,¬†(11:01) “In the last six to twelve¬†months since the launch of the book, the pace of change of technology is accelerating more than ever before.”
Recent innovations include:
- Solutions for¬†Cancer, Alzheimers Disease (your lost memories come back!!) and Type 2 Diabetes.
- A quantum computer of mind-boggling processing power to be released December 8, 2015 that will disrupt existing solutions.
- Artificial Intelligence more advanced than Deep Mind and IBM Watson that can ask and answer its own questions.
On the rate and number and variety of technological breakthroughs in the last 12 months, Yuri¬†says:¬†“These quantum¬†leaps I have never seen in the last 10 years – this is a new phenomenon…” “…and all these technologies are converging for the first time.” (Self-teaching AI + powerful quantum computer = Skynet??)
Ann and I are registered for (and anticipating) the Exponential Organizations (ExO) Master Practitioner course starting next week. The 10-week hybrid program includes video, workbook, live group sessions with Yuri and his co-author, Salim Ismail, and discussion forums for participants. We¬†will be exploring and applying¬†new ways to help our clients in both business and social sectors accelerate growth where it matters to them, be that in profits, social impact or both.
This course is really important to us – truly a framework for ventures and social causes in the 21st century.¬†We think the Exponential Organizations work is a match for many of you in our extended community of changemakers. We hope you will join us!
Enough said. We have a world to change…
– Ann and Gary Ralston
¬© 2015 Ralston Consulting Inc.
Wind over fresh snowfall yields¬†a field full of ¬†‘snow logs’.
photo: Ann Ralston
(click image for larger version)
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Is this new music video a comedy¬†or a tragic cautionary tale to corporate leaders, strategists and consultants?
Music parody master, Weird “Al” Yankovic, has loosed¬†his incisive wit on¬†corporate-buzz-speak, in a video from his just-released¬†album, Mandatory Fun.
Mission Statement, is composed in the style of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, playing¬†against¬†an RSA-like whiteboard animation (which apparently took 10 months to produce!). The production quality is brilliant, and I found myself smiling and wincing in equal parts.
WARNING: This video is NOT recommended for anyone who has written¬†a mission statement¬†in the past decade. Showing this to your¬†CEO or board chair may shorten your career.
But seriously, Ann and I¬†are not¬†fans of mission and purpose statements, even though we’ve had a hand in creating more than one in our day.
Our friend, colleague and mentor, Robert Fritz, writes:
“Which would we rather work for, a company that had a purpose statement but didn‚Äôt have a purpose, or a company that had a purpose but didn‚Äôt have a purpose statement?
Of course we would all choose the real thing over the propaganda. But even an organization that has a true purpose can rob that purpose of its power by reducing it to a slogan.” *
So please, enjoy the video, and then commit yourselves to eradicating corporate-buzz-speak wherever you can – we promise to do the same!
‚Äď Gary Ralston
¬© 2014 Ralston Consulting Inc.
¬†A special thanks to Jerry Marselle at our client, SMBH, for turning us on to this gem!
*¬†Fritz, Robert (2011-01-04). The Path of Least Resistance for Managers. Newfane Press. Kindle Edition.
More Weird “Al”:
- Great background info in this¬†post on the Wall Street Journal¬†
- Video: Word Crimes – a cry against bad spelling and grammar.¬†(I liked this video even more, but then, my mom is an english teacher and editor -G)