Aha moments of a different kind

The Aha moment is that period of enlightenment when you realize a profound truth. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines it as, “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension.” The concept is everywhere, ubiquitous if you will. Business conversations around the water cooler, comments made in meetings, and words printed in business literature and popular magazines focus on the aha moment.

Today’s aha moment is only one interpretation of the word that I encountered when I was growing up in the city of Chicago, Illinois. My first perception of the aha moment was not the classic definition around a moment of illumination. I was not trying to solve a problem and the solution eluded me and then out of the clear blue sky, presto! The answer appeared.

I would like to talk to you about aha moments of a different kind. Aha moments in my early days could have easily referred to the word that was shouted at me whenever I was caught. Someone jumped out of the bushes and screamed aha with the emphasis on the second syllable. It was a gotcha moment. I was busted, found out. It was a sound of discovery. My friends had cornered me in a game of hide and seek. I can hear him saying I got you.” I guess you can say my aha moment meant that I was discovered. I did not have a personal revelation, I was the personal revelation. I was the object of a surprise attack and my assailant screamed loudly to punctuate their victory.

In the first aha moment we discussed, equal weight was given to each of the syllables. The second aha moment had a greater accent on the second syllable. I am proposing a third aha moment where the stress is on the first syllable. This is the aha that was used when people laughed at me or ridiculed me. I can still hear the strident sound on the first syllable as they yelled out, “aha!” I heard this mocking sound several times during my childhood. Many times I was the new kid on the block and there was always something about me that caused others to laugh. Additionally, I remember low levels of disrespect occurring early in my college days. Whenever someone wanted to make fun of me, I would experience one of those aha moments which did not elicit fond memories.

There may be value in the three interpretations of the aha moment. In the classic sense, when did you encounter enlightenment and insight when searching for a solution to your problems? If you are constantly focused on your problems and screening potential solutions, you may have the Eureka moment and scream aha!

Secondly, you may recall the times you were caught performing a positive or negative activity. You may successfully devise a strategy to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Strategic planning of this nature can ensure that you stay far ahead of the competition and your adversaries.

Thirdly, you may remember when you were intimidated by those in control who wanted to stifle your influence. This awareness of competitors will keep you on your toes and cognizant of those who want to replace you or thwart your efforts. This awareness can lead to the appropriate counter response to gain credibility and respect.

In our age of seeking clarity in our communications, it is always critical that we are on the same page with the same interpretation of words, concepts and strategies. When we say an aha moment, we have to make sure that people have the same understanding to match our intentions. I know, in most instances, people are generally speaking of an aha moment as filled with profound insight and inspiration. However, in the back of our minds, we may find value in thinking about aha moments of a different kind.

Copyright © 2014 Orlando Ceaser

Insight – Leadership and the eyes of the poet

I believe that I can learn from everybody and everything. Therefore everybody and everything can teach me something. That is sometimes the mantra of a poet. They are in search of understanding and an opportunity to contribute in a manner that is a valuable and hopefully, a unique expression of insight.

Insight is described by business dictionary.com as a combination of feedback and knowledge.

“1. Feedback; ideas about the true nature of something In business, product testing sessions are used to gather insight from people with different backgrounds, experiences and feelings, with the intent of finding out how consumers may respond.
2. Knowledge in the form of perspective, understanding, or deduction. Someone may come up with an insight after a long period of thought, or suddenly out of thin air as in an epiphany or sudden understanding. “Management had the insight to decrease its expenses amid falling sales before a scheduled earnings release, so that the company would be viewed in a more favorable light.”

Poets use their senses to cultivate their insight to gain a better understanding and appreciation of their world. They can be introspective, sensitive and deep thinkers able to view a situation from many perspectives. They like to experiment with different approaches in search of a fresh thought.

A poet’s insight is used to teach panoramic thinking. They use magnification and peripheral vision to evaluate many sides to an issue, problem, project or situation. Magnification allows them to see things on a different level and expose certain aspects that were never considered. This poetic viewpoint can therefore, help in brainstorming and innovative thinking sessions, whether alone or in groups. Leadership should capture this brilliance and use it achieve the vision and the mission.

Poets learn to;

• Deal with being different,
• Be reflective, alone and sometimes not appreciated
• Explore different approaches to achieve the ideal word painting
• Use ordinary objects to state their case or make a point
• Constructively use their mind and their senses
• Use memory mechanisms to recall lines, associations and patterns
• Develop an appreciation for the entire object
• Give voice to the other side of a situation or issue
• Search for another perspective
• and expressing inner feelings
• Take an inward journey of discovery to increase self awareness
• Use of structure and routines to organize thoughts
• Use journals, diaries and notebooks to record their observation and thoughts

The poet has inspirational words for winning, has a vocabulary for victory and can speak effectively against the pervasive language of losing. You want them linked to the vision and mission of the organization. Their words will immortalize and internalize the vision, mission and purpose. A poet summed up the vision and the spirit of the company by starting each day with a message to his wife, “I am going to save a life today.” He was a successful pharmaceutical sales representative.

The poet may be the introvert in the room, deriving their energy from absorbing everything around them and processing it later in the day. They are the creative ones, who are insightful, observing and analyzing problems. They may see things that others don’t see, mainly because they are looking. In my book the Isle of knowledge, I tell a story about my friend Buttons from my childhood. During our walks around streets and alleys on the West side of Chicago, Buttons was always finding money and other things of value. I tried to match his skill with little success. His secret was that he was always looking down and therefore, had a greater opportunity to find things. He was looking where the treasure was located. The poet is always looking for treasure in the places where they reside.
Poets are always observing, always using their senses, connected and involved in the world around them. A poet likes to experiment. She is always working with different styles, words, formats, illustrations and images. You need to find them and include them in the high-performance functioning of your team.

You may have heard that poetry and business to not go together. However, if leaders practice this reality it may hinder you in identifying and harnessing this valuable human resource. This power, if channeled properly, will improve the culture within your business.

You want to know the poets, because this knowledge can cause an exponential rise in productivity. Leveraging their talent will help you unlock your greatness. You can utilize this talent within yourself and produce a chain reaction of the skill in others. Max De Pree, former CEO of the Herman Miller furniture company, tells a story in his book Leadership is an art, which is a part of the Herman Miller company history. One day the founder of Howard Miller went to the house of a recently deceased employee. The man’s job was a millwright for his furniture company. While visiting his home, the widow asked if the young manager would mind if she read some poetry aloud. After listening to her read beautiful poetry he asked the author of the work. She replied that it was her husband, the millwright. At that moment the young manager wondered,” was he a poet who did millwright’s work, or was he a millwright who wrote poetry?

Max Dupree goes on to say,” understanding and accepting diversity enables us to see that each of us is needed. It also enables us to begin to think about being abandoned to the strengths of others, of admitting that we cannot know nor do everything. This simple act of recognizing diversity in corporate life helps us to connect the great variety of gifts that people bring to the work and service of the organization.” Unlocking your diversity greatness means you are maximizing the creative talent within yourself and the members of your team. This will help you extract and multiply the greatness around you.

The poet was always looking for ways to explore other opinions, described the people and environments in a new way and using language to encourage and celebrate success. The poet may not actually use the gift to write words of verse or disclose this talent of others. However, it is evident in the way they go through life and perform their vocation. They have a desired to find a creative outlet, especially if their skills cannot be used at work.

It is crucial and beneficial to view the world through the eyes of the poet. Their insight is talent on your team that can add to your success and overall effectiveness. Leaders must recognize the poetic perspective as an aspect of diversity and the ways people present themselves at work which could make the world a better place.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser