The Ultimate Scarcity

Legacy, Life

If we buy the fact that everyone is indispensable, it means we have access to the ultimate scarcity:


If there’s no one else like you, if you’re one of a kind, if there’s nobody else on the planet who can do what you can exactly the way you can do it — and if you can identify what that “thing” is — you can learn to leverage that scarcity to create demand.

This the heart of personal branding at its most powerful.

It’s also what “having a career” is all about in the new economy.


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When Tech Is No Longer Tech


Over the last couple weeks, one of the other Strengthscope™ partners, Mike Miller, and I worked together on a large workshop. Originally, the session was pitched as a number of smaller breakouts, but was changed to take advantage of the whole team (100+ people) being together — which, of course, meant we had to modify the presentation significantly.

Along with many other format changes, we decided to up our technology game to help provide some extra punch/pizazz/yahoo, etc. This included upgrading Mike’s PowerPoints to the only kind of presentation software I use, Prezi, and trying out a new (to me) product called Poll Everywhere.*

Mike was the main presenter for the day, and I was on hand to help with the group facilitation. After our session, we were making our way back to the hotel room to change clothes and we started talking about the technology part of the day. Due to last minute tech challenges (see footnote), in addition to helping with the groups I also ended up being at the A/V station to help run the tech, as I am what they call, ahem, nerdy.

As we stood in the hallway, Mike mentioned how crucial I was to making the day happen (thank you kindly), but I truthfully didn’t see any other option. We had a story to tell, and the tech was an central part of making that happen.

In our conversation, we quickly realized that tech isn’t just tech anymore. Our technology is now an integral part of what makes the story work.

Of course, it can also be a huge part of what makes the story suck, as anyone who’s sat through a death-by-bullet-point 132-slide PowerPoint seminar can tell you.

“Information technology” used to be some kind of separate department — now, it either helps us work smarter/better/faster… or it’s taking us in the wrong direction. (To be fair, it’s probably always done those things. But there used to be a certain amount of novelty which would cover up failures. That is now long gone.)

In other words, if I’m back at the A/V table cursing because the tech doesn’t work, it isn’t because I have anger management issues. It’s because technology exists for one reason: to help us do things better. If it’s not doing this, it’s unequivocally failing.

The other lesson to learn here is that people who run tech aren’t just running computers, are they? They are a vital part of the storytelling craft — if we let them be.**


*If you’re curious, my experience with this software was not good at all, and I will not be using it again until they provide some substantive updates. It’s a great concept — but so far, horrible execution. It singlehandedly made the 24 hour period of my life surrounding this workshop infinitely much more difficult than it should have been.

**Of course, this is true for almost any “menial” job. There’s almost always a larger story — a greater purpose — that’s actually at stake. Most leaders just let their followers forget what that bigger picture is.


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The Power Of Invisible Business


It’s easy to overlook invisible things.

After all, by definition we can’t see them.

But there are plenty of invisible things which cause real, tangible effects.


What we often forget is that the majority of business is invisible, too. Much of our work happens behind the scenes, out of sight.

This “invisible” side of business occurs in two places:

  1. In our minds. Our perspective on whatever we’re doing is completely invisible, but has a powerful impact on the results we achieve. Our thoughts really do become things.
  2. In the systems of our organization. All groups have processes, rules, and structures. At some point, all these things were created by a human being — many times haphazardly, often times badly, sometimes accidentally. These invisible boundaries dictate how we interact with each other at work.

(More than that, did you know that 80% of the value of your business is made up of invisible things like culture, morale, talent, a strong brand, meaning, and engagement?)*

In our work, as everywhere else, invisible things have a tremendous impact. But we don’t pay attention to many of these things, and they wreak havoc on our wellbeing because we forget they are there — and that they are powerful.

If we were to recognize them, though, I suspect the world might be different. If we would turn our focus towards the invisible, could we adjust these things to be life-giving instead of life-sucking? Could we create a better future for ourselves, individually? Could we design energizing work environments, collectively?

I think we can.


*Read more about this in the book Human Sigma.


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