Monthly Archives: July 2009

Illuminate the Negative vs. Complaining and Whining

During yesterday’s interview with the Washington Post, I was asked whether an organization who adopts the Illuminate Philosophy will be inundated with complainers. That’s a great question and one which we confronted in the early 90’s when we formed the model.
NO. ILLUMINATING ORGANIZATIONS HAVE LESS COMPLAINING THAN ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. Why? Simply because the process for communicating are discussed beforehand with Illuminators and not in others.
What is complaining and whining? It’s a waste of energy- unless the complainer or whiner’s goal is to transfer stress from themselves to others. Not very productive.
Illuminating the Negative is very different. Firstly, it is illuminated in a positive light- in the context of ‘lets make things even better’.
Does the Illuminator need to have the solution?
No. Many believe that one should keep their observations to themselves if they don’t have the solution. That’s crazy. I might not have an extinguisher but that doesnt mean that I shouldn’t alert everyone of a fire!
We don’t always have the solution to the challenges we face yet we still must capture them for consideration, contemplation, brainstorming, etc.
Examples of ineffective comments are; ‘this stinks and I hate it’, or ‘our competitor has the turbo widget and we dont stand a chance of competing’, or even ‘management doesnt have a clue’.
Illuminating individuals might say, ‘Im not at all comfortable with this situation and I’m not sure why. I’ll give it thought and get back with you.’, or ‘in consideration of our client’s new turbo widget, Im wondering what we can come up with to compete with them?’, or ‘it seems to me that our managment might be out of touch with the following and was wondering how we could bring it to their attention.’
Sound unrealistic? It’s not only realistic… it’s real.
Look around at the most productive organizations, those with stable workforces and those which are rated top companies to work for and you’ll see this as a common thread.
Talking WITH people rather than talking ABOUT people is a common characteristic of…. character! Discussing issues openly and allowing for NOT YET KNOWING THE ANSWERS is a common characteristic of…. character. Taking responsibility for Illuminating the Negative in a positive light is……character.
People and organizations with character win. Complainers and whiners lose. Who would your rather be around? Who would you rather be?


Sincerity, Integrity, Quality

I read this morning that trust is the basis of excellent business relationships and that sincerity is the basis of trust. Sincerity? ‘No really, I mean it’. Why do we have to say that ‘I mean it’. Shouldnt we always mean what we say? Worse is when someone says, ‘let me be honest with you.’
Back to sincerity. From wikipedia I found that, “An often repeated folk etymology proposes that the word sincere is derived from the Latin sine = without, cera = wax. According to one popular explanation, dishonest sculptors in Rome or Greece would cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer; therefore, a sculpture “without wax” would mean honesty in its perfection.”
Good story (whether it’s true or not) to illustrate the concept.
Woody Allen once joked, “if you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.”
You cannot fake sincerity and get away with it…. for long. People, like children, like puppies can sniff out insincere knuckleheads. Be real or be gone. Don’t waste you time or the time of anyone else by representing a product, service or idea that you don’t believe in. It’s just not worth it. Remember, be real or be gone.
Building real, solid, caring professional relationships has no room for covering up challenges with wax. I can assure you that in the light of day- under Illumination, that wax will melt and expose/reveal not only your inferior deliverables but also your character.
And that aint no way to run a business or life for that matter.
Get real, Illuminate and live that BIG life.

Enlightenment vs. Endarkenment

Ok, I confess. As a kid, sometimes I would ask my Mom to keep the light on as I was falling asleep- classic ‘fear of the dark’.
The odds were against a fire coming through and killing me much like it did to Bambi’s mother but still, the dark was a fearful space.
Now segue 40yrs forward to today. We’ve made a collective shift and are less fearful of the dark….I contend that businesses and organizations are less fearful of the dark and are much more fearful of the light- shining the light on issues and challenges that are best left alone.
Keeping challenges and issues (the Weaknesses and Threats that we discussed in the SWOT analysis) in the dark seem to be much preferred than dealing with them in the light of day, under the light of scrutiny and the focus of illuminated attention. (oh, no….. dont go toward the light……)
Are you working in an environment where people would rather stay in the dim light of mediocrity than risk out and illuminate challenges? Would you prefer to live in a culture in which you are able to discuss issues openly, confront challenges and collaborate on solutions? Then you will be happy to read, and Im happy to refer you to my blogs that discuss the Illuminate philosophy and process of Face It, Follow It and Fix It.
The book becomes available next month thru the big booksellers.
I ask that you envision a world where we are courageous enough to speak our mind (kindly and positively) about concerns, weaknesses, threats, challenges,etc. and where our successes in dealing with this reinforce that culture. Then I challenge you (us) to create this world.
This focus on, what I dramatically refer to as ‘the Negative’ in the subtitle of Illuminate:Harnessing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, will facilitate a ‘wake up call’ of monumental proportion and may just be a leverage point to your and your organization’s leap to success as it has with thousands already.
Live in enlightened life and help those who are stuck in the endarkended one! The rewards are huge; joy, peace of mind, self esteem, achievement, success, accomplishment and ?????

Emotional Recovery Rate

The most wonderful gift we can give ourselves and others is the gift of forgiveness.
Think about it. We go to the Doc for a heart test where she brings our heart rate way up on stairs or a treadmill, and the test is to see how soon our heart rate comes down to normal- otherwise known as ‘recovery rate’. This obviates our heart health.
Another recovery rate that can demonstrate our emotional health is the forgiveness recovery rate- the amount of time it takes us to come down from heights of anger all the way to peace and joy.
In the case of our heart rate, we dont necessarily do anything proactive to impact the recovery rate. However, in the emotional recovery rate we can, indeed, compress the recovery time with intention to do so.
What are your strategies to forgive and ‘let it go’?
Affirmations? Visualization? Physical activity?
Those who do not have a strategy for letting it go and coming down to a place of forgiveness, peace and tranquility are cutting short this amazing gift that we call LIFE.
Lets enjoy the BIG life, let it go and live unencumbered of anger and dis-ease.

My Rant: Beware of SWOT Analysis-Unless you Get REAL

Since the 1950s when Stanford’s Albert Humphrey developed the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, it has been used by companies and individuals all over the globe. That’s the GOOD news.
Here’s the rest of the story from my perspective and, yes, I consider it to be pretty BAD news. Here’s my logic stream:
1. In strategic planning sessions, the assembled team considers the S,W,O and T’s of their enterprise. Great.
2. Shortly after the strategic planning EVENT, the team emerges with time bounded, people responsible action commitments. Excellent.
3. When things ‘settle down’ after the ‘big guns’ come from their strategic planning EVENT, they go back to the same ol’ same ol’. Ouch.
4. Everyone is in the realms of T.S. (no, not tough *&%$#, I mean Task Saturation. Excitement wears down and things return to business as usual. Not Great in these times.
5. Focus goes back to the Strengths and Opportunities and what we’re doing right. Cool.
6. The Weaknesses and Threats- those Negative Ditties that we dont want to FACE recede back into the darkness- unattended and avoided because “we’re a company based on Positive Mental Attitude” and when you focus on these W’s and T’s you’re manifesting a ‘bad attitude’.
Hmmmmmmmmm. Danger Will Robinson.Xtreme Danger.

Corbin’s Premise:

If you leave them in the dark… they will proliferate like mushrooms. Irradiate them with your brilliant attention.
More to come…..

Service Recovery-Small things-BIG Impression

Mea Culpa.
At our son’s wedding, we selected a wonderful caterer- excellent reputation- nice people. So, at the event, when we realized that some of the delicious meals were not hot enough we were a bit disappointed. We didnt know if ours were the only ones that were not up to par.
We did what we usually do in this situation- we sent a letter out the next day- a nice letter informing them of our observation, simple feedback.
That same week we received a letter from them- thanking us for the feedback, discussing the situation, apologizing for our dissatisfaction and, taking responsibility.
Oh, they also sent a bottle of red wine. The lable? In big gold letters- Mea Culpa.
How cool is that?
Stuff happens when you’re preparing and serving lots of meals at once. They were prepared for the occasional service lapses.
In my book on service, Psyched On Service, I offer a step by step service recovery plan which works. This is an example of ‘give the customer a little extra with your apology even if it’s no more than honest eye contact’. Im going to love that bottle of Mea Culpa Red.

Our Great Nation

The Pride Day Parade in San Diego was fantastic. It was like the 60’s and 70’s because there was a focus on freedom and equality. This great nation has been built on diversity- and as sensitive as the issue of Gay Marriage is- we will emerge from this issue on the right side- the side of equality and respect for the individual. I believe in the goodness of this great nation. Having spent some time in Philadelphia this summer, visiting Constitution Hall and many of the sites that were frequented by our Founders- I want to believe that our Constitution will be upheld and equality will be maintained.