Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mind the Gap!

"Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter."
~ Nadine Gordimer, South-African Writer,
& Nobel Peace Prize Winner

"Mind the Gap" seems so much more civilized than "caution", "danger", or "step back"! And yet, I have only really seen it used in Europe for politely warning people of what is, in fact, a gap in the area for footing. I like it. Naturally, my mind wandered to what else we could mind...what were our American gaps?

In addition to the gaps in politics, religion and road construction, other gaps quickly entered my mind. Sticking with leadership of ourselves and others, it seems appropriate to be aware enough to mind the following gaps in order to ensure we are using our resources (time, energy, money, etc.) to the best of our abilities in order to yield positive, productive results:

* Complaining vs. Solutioning (the gap leaves positivity out and sadly welcomes negativity)
* Judging vs. Appreciating (the gap ignores differences and our strengths that combine)
* Advising vs. Friending (sometimes someone just wants an ear for listening and not a mouth full of advice)
* Snobbery vs. Exclusivity (It is not good to exclude for ill-intended reasons, yet it is smart to build and grow a niche/target)
* Demanding vs. Commanding (demanding gets compliance while commanding yields commitment)
* Expecting vs. Leading (communication, effective communication that is, is definitely not overrated)
* Telling vs. Selling (there is nothing wrong with passionately pitching an idea and getting buy-in)
* Needing vs. Wanting (need is burdensome, where want is anticipatory and focused on the results and potential outcomes)
* Hearing vs. Listening (hearing is a physical act where listening is physiological)
* Taken/Given vs. Earned (the act of realizing efforts in the form of money or accolades will likely never compare to that which is simply bestowed)
* False Politeness vs. Sincerity (people can see through the first, and long to see the second)
* Positioning vs. Interest (I said it wasn't political, but this one can cause office politics to get out of hand)
* Intent vs. Result (while intent is a consideration, results are lasting and likely tangible)

Stick with the second half, the right side, of this list, and ensure you are one who will "mind the gap" by being intentional, direct and communicative as a leader of thoughts and actions!

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