I am happy to be a Twitter follower of Ayelet Baron and now her face to face friend. With that background I was both thrilled and scared when her innovative manifesto came out. I knew that Ayelet had "divorced her job" as chief strategist for Cisco Canada to take on bigger things. I expected she would be singing me a siren's song, and I was right. Getting Unstuck: Live Every Second in Our 24/7 Life is the right message for many of us today.

Getting Unstuck is not just a book. It's what you need it to be and is written to be used flexibly. Ayelet offers these sections noting they can be used in any order:

  • Unlearn talks about why connections, conversations, and trusted relationships are increasingly important. Unlearning focuses on shedding old ways that are no longer relevant.
  • Unstick looks at what gets in our way and why we may need to choose to do the hard work.
  • Unleash discusses the world of abundance and our opportunity to unleash our voice and make our ideas a reality. It's about creating what matters to you.
  • Be is about making a conscious decision to work on that hard problem we want to solve. If you feel you are not stuck, you may already be there.
  • Getting Unstuck with Seth Godin is a summary of the wisdom Seth shared with us and includes some of his insights to problems workshop participants shared.

Great mentors do not tell you what to do

They ask you hard questions and call your bluff when you give pat answers. They also have relevant examples to share. Getting Unstuck is similar. The questions help me bring into focus how I'm adding and subtracting value from my life, work, and relationships. Notice the tense I used in that last sentence. This isn't a one off. It's a focusing process that if used well is used often.

Good mentors also help you find others who can lend support

Getting Unstuck is full of connections and possible relationships to create. I'll add a few more here. John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison offer:

The ultimate promise of pull [speaking in their book, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion] is the opportunity to reclaim our individuality and pursue our potential in ways that were never feasible in a world of push. Many of us will attempt to approach the world of pull in a very instrumental fashion. We will study the techniques and practice them as if they were the familiar scripts that we learned in the world of push, all the while hiding our individuality and defining out potential in very extrinsic, material terms. We will try this, but we won't get away with it. For, you see, pull requires much much more from us. It requires us to get in touch with ourselves, to relearn how to be, in order to more effectively become.

Nilofer Merchant describes "onlyness" her her book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era:

Onlyness is that thing that only one particular person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human. Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring each person, first as we view ourselves and second as we are valued. Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Some of those experiences are not as “perfect” as we might want, but even those experiences are a source of ideas and creativity. Without this tenet of celebrating onlyness, we allow ourselves to be simply cogs in a machine—dispensable and undervalued.

We are each unique. But we are not alone

Tightly woven into Ayelet's message is the value of relationships. Relationships bring together the power of our unique contributions, but we are still learning how to do this outside of formal organizational jobs and positions. "How do you let others know what you do and how it might help them?" is asked in the Unleashing section. So important.

We don't do this alone. As I offer in the Sharing chapter of The Plugged-In Manager, all of this is much easier if we all understand the rules (unrules?) of the game. If others understand what we do and how we can help, the process is smoother and the outcomes more powerful. This is true in negotiation, team work, and life. Ayelet makes her "ask" clear:

My goal is is to give you a nudge and help as many people as possible simplify our lives and do what matters. Please share Getting Unstuck with at least five of your friends or colleagues.

I've done my sharing and will continue to do so

My posts are focusing more and more on how work is changing, and how we all have more control around this work. The more I think about it, the more I've taken on my challenges in a backward order. I wrote The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive to help people get the most from their work, but perhaps I should have tackled what that work might be first. Ayelet Baron and Maynard Webb (watch for my next post) have taken on the more foundational question and I thank them.