Delivering A Crisis Of Purpose


When we bring our message to executives about a work revolution, we are reinforcing the message that profit is no longer a good enough reason to be in business.

This is flat-out terrifying for many company leaders, because their entire career they’ve been taught that “maximizing shareholder value” is the entire reason business exists. You probably had to unlearn this, too.

So, when we bring in this idea that profit is no longer enough (and, moreover, that it’s quite possibly the dumbest idea in the world), we are upsetting a pretty enormous apple cart.

If we dig a little deeper, the truth is that we’re forcing them to answer the question:

“If I don’t work for profit, why do I exist?”

Talk about disruptive.

The revolution will continue, but clearly this is a big and intimately personal question. We must be firm, but sensitive, to what we’re asking people to address within themselves.


Special thanks to my friend Kibibi Springs for the great discussion around this topic yesterday!


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Read This: BURST


Much to my own disappointment, I haven’t read very many books lately. To some this may not be a big deal, but I have always loved reading — which makes this fact a rather huge bummer. It seems there are times in life when business and life circumstances conspire to keep us from our regular extra-curricular fun, and now is apparently one of those. Lately it’s all I can do to stay “caught up,” without putting anything extra on my plate. (Perhaps you can relate.)

Despite this, when my friend Ryan asked me to read his new eBook, I said yes. To be quite honest, though I’m rather certain I didn’t hesitate outwardly (at least I hope not), I’ll admit I enjoyed an internal moment of panic. “How big was this book going to be?” Also I thought, frankly, “Was it going to be any good?” I knew Ryan was a fantastic thinker, but as you probably know, good thinking and good writing are sometimes very different things.

My worries were completely unfounded. Ryan’s book is called BURST: Bursting the Bubbles of 5 Teamwork Myths, and first, it is very short (the official page count goes to 47). More importantly, however, it’s wonderful.

I’ve been a dedicated student of the subject of leadership for almost a decade and a half, so I’ve read quite a few leadership books. There are a lot of good ones out there, and perhaps one day I’ll make a list (although for now you can peruse this if you desire). But BURST is different, and I loved it for a couple specific reasons.

First, this is the kind of book that can only come from a deep thinker who has also practiced leadership. Having known Ryan for quite a long time, I know that he’s not only well-read, but he’s tried this stuff out. He doesn’t just think about what it means to lead, he’s done it. This is of enormous importance, and it comes through in the writing.

Second, this book is succinct and straightforward. I don’t know about you, but I am completely over the bullshit. Give it to me straight, and give it to me clearly. I don’t have time for anything else. I don’t need to see how well you can confuse me with your complicated vocabulary (yes, I’m talking to you, Academia). I just want to understand the world better. BURST is delightfully clear.

Third, this book is counter-intuitive. I talk about this a lot around this blog, but much of what we know to be “common sense” is actually bad habits passed down through bad leadership. To fix this, we have to deliberately adjust our thinking, and that is precisely what this book does so well — it points out the five most popular myths about leading teams, and then gently shows you why they’re a bunch of crap. (My word; Ryan is much more diplomatic.)

Here they are, if you’re curious:

  1. Bubble #1: Teams are best built on trust and relationships
  2. Bubble #2: You can empower others
  3. Bubble #3: Teams need to establish a leader
  4. Bubble #4: Conflict indicates a lack of unity
  5. Bubble #5: Teamwork requires people to set aside their self-interests

You can probably see why this book is so important: these myths are everywhere.

If you’ve read this far, I hope you won’t delay. Click here and then trade an email address for a terrific eBook that will improve your thinking, and therefore, your leadership.


P.S. Just FYI, this book is written for a faith-based audience as Ryan focuses his work on a particularly complicated kind of organization called “the church.” I promise it will work for teams of any kind, but you should be aware of this language going in!


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The Commoditization Of Everything


Awhile back I wrote an article for Fast Company where I talked about the “death of ownership.” The other day, I got a nice note from a writer at HuffPo Canada about it, and we proceeded to have a fascinating conversation about how the nature of what it means to “own things” is changing.

He will be writing more about this topic, which I’m very much looking forward to, but there was an interesting idea that came up in our talk I wanted to share.

When I was a kid, I saved everything. While part of my pack-rat-ness might be genetic (you know who you are, Dad!), I also inherently understood that if I got rid of a particular comic book or Transformer or magazine or trinket or whatever that I would probably never see it again. So, I lined the shelves of my closet with keepsakes, and when I moved, my treasures migrated to large tupperware storage boxes (which is where they’ve stayed, much to the chagrin of my parent’s basement — hey, there’s just not much space in my LA apartment).

But it isn’t like this anymore, is it?

Now, if I were to lose a comic book (or anything else), I just go online and find one just like it. Today, almost everything is available, right at my fingertips. It doesn’t matter how old or how obscure; I can acquire almost anything that I want — assuming I have a nimble clicker finger and a high-balance credit card.

Everything has been commoditized.

(Or if it hasn’t yet, it will be soon.)

The newfangled über-connectedness of humanity is re-wiring what it means to own anything. I talk about scarcity quite a bit (and even more in Igniting the Invisible Tribe), but that’s because it’s a pretty key part to understanding the world’s changes. The simple truth is that owning things just isn’t as difficult as it used to be. And whenever scarcity/accessibility moves, value shifts.

Will people still own stuff in the future? Of course. But the reasons for doing so are shifting beneath our feet.



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