Igniting Growth

Alphabet Soup Lessons

Cindy Tripp & Company - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Some clues on how to be successful in business, sports, human centered design, life....



E + R = O

As 2016 begins, I have been reflecting on these letters of the alphabet to consider how to engage in this year of discovery, growth and joy.  I thought you might want to explore them too!

C. O. G. "Connect, Orient, Guide".

Have you ever noticed when you are busy (and when are we not busy) that you sometimes jump over the niceties of connecting and get straight away to business. STOP! This is not a sustainable or an effective way to do it. In fact, it can actually cost you more time later due to rework or lack of alignment. Whether innovating or growing/managing a current business, you need to make sure people are ready to engage. So, before you do anything, treat them as humans and connect. This can be brief, a simple "check in," or a more meaningful update. However, before you move to doing, start with being human.  

Once you are connected, you need to orient people to the problem, the job, the work ahead.  People need context and without stopping to orient people they will have a hard time engaging fully.

Now with these two important, but brief steps, you can get on with the work and guide people through the task at hand.  

I think the most overlooked step in this simple, but effective process, is to connect. I catch myself and see others jumping ahead only to have to circle back later in rework because people were not connected  or oriented.


This acronym is a new one to me, via Urban Meyer's new book Above the Line, a book on leadership and success. Urban outlines an approach for winning through behavior that is above the line (the book is great, I recommend it if you like sports metaphors on leadership or life).  He also talks about the below the line dark side that undermines success, the B.C.D behaviors. Urban has no tolerance for them and I think business should not tolerate them either.

Blame (others). Complain (about circumstances). Defend (yourself).

Think about your business, your past year.  Did you see any B.C.D. behavior? Did you participate in any?  B.C.D. undermines accountability, which is critical in delivering anything--your word, your work, a new idea.  Urban explains that mistakes can happen but at Ohio State B.C.D. is not tolerated.  In 2016, let's all take on the task of eliminating B.C.D from our own lives and help others do the same.  Imagine how much could be accomplished if all the B.C.D. energy was spent on creative problem solving (What if, How might we)!

E + R = O

As Dr. Seuss would say "things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you."  Events transpire. Sometimes they are positive and other times not. It doesn't matter.  It is not the event that matters. It is your response that does. How you respond to an event matters more than the event itself when it comes to the ultimate outcome.  When a challenging event occurs, B.C.D. behavior assures a response will lead to a poor outcome.  A positive response will lead to creative problem solving and most assuredly a better outcome.

My alphabet soup of inspiration for a successful 2016.  I wish you all the best in the coming year.


Take Action

C.O.G.:  before you begin a meeting, take 5 minutes to connect. Instead of asking "how is everyone doing" which can eat up more than 5minutes, do a structured check in. One technique is asking people to share their "weather report".  Are they sunny, stormy, snowy, foggy, clearing?  A simple weather check in helps everyone know how everyone is coming into the meeting.  They feel more connected and are better equipped to begin.  Here are some ideas from the dSchool and here are some other ideas.  

B.C.D.:  Share the B.C.D. concept with your work team and discuss how you did last year. Do you need to make any changes as a team?  How about personally? Do YOU need to pay attention to eliminating B.C.D. from your repertoire.

E+R=O:  Remember, your response is what counts. When events happen that challenge you, be intentional in your response, avoiding all B.C.D. behavior!

Leave your comment

Follow Cindy

RSS iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon YouTube icon

Subscribe to Cindy’s News

IGNITING GROWTH for ideas, THOUGHT STARTERS and INSPIRATIONS to ignite your team and yourself on this journey

Recent Posts