"Innovation is CREATIVITY that ships" (Steve Jobs). Not a PowerPoint slidedeck.

“What you do now with this moment is critical. You are not going to get it back.”
John Covington, Cows Don’t Stay Milked

The MBA program that Joe the Plummer (JP) had minted at business school seemed vacuous and had lost its relevance. For brevity let’s label it as Missing Business Acumen (MBA). JP was at a fork in the road trying to decide whether he wanted to “think his way to a new way of acting” or “act his way into a new way of thinking.” A couple of frustrations ran through JP’s head.

In the new normal technology has become a first class citizen. As a result the art of Managing by Wandering Around (MBWA) had lost its luster as high tech has trumped high touch. Yet seasoned managers like JP can attest that, despite the hype of digital transformation, Managing by Walking Around (MBWA) — famous in Peter Drucker’s world — is a critical building block for busting strategic dissonance and building sustainable relationships with employees on the shop floor where work gets done (i.e., value creation) and mining for excellence.

The constant resume grooming on Linked In proved to be exhausting for JP. Jobscan trumped the “person behind the resume.” The PowerPoint of view with $5K words trumped the simple $5 interactions to get things done without corporate fanfare.  In the rat race of “humblebragging,” JP understood that he was always going to be rat. JP hit the pause button and said to himself that he needed to cross the chasm and pivot his career in a new direction.

The doubting Thomas, like a devil, creeped from within and played daily havoc in JP’s brain. It kept sounding the alarm about the risks in implementing JP’s vision to live a full joyous life and implored JP to return to the past and remain a relic. Doubting Thomas also created a false narrative that JP’s vision was bound to be a failure.

JP’s body kept its score each moment he felt discouraged or wavered in his resolve to be in the moment and create the future — arriving in small daily doses.  JP felt trapped in fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), His breath was shallow and the body kept its score with cumulative aches, pains and stress.

The visit to the Hindu temple at St Louis was remarkably healing for JP. The deities were unique unlike any other temple that JP had visited.

An invisible voice in the temple, speaking in John Covington’s voice, invited JP to immerse in “scripture, study, prayer and worship life.”

The sage advice that JP obtained at the temple was that the choice to be unwaveringly committed to this path is a daily yoga practice (moving meditation). It is a vital energy source for (1) building the fortitude and resilience, (2) unlearning fear and (3) erasing the voices of self-doubt that linger like the cops in the head.

The Yoga practice opens my own head to heart channels and the head to heart channels of those I lead in my sphere of influence. Yoga also releases act hunger and enables me to spontaneously emerge from inertia.

Reflecting on JP’s story, I had an epiphany that the chanting of Sanskrit  Mantras (scripture) and Breathing (uujayi pranayama) during one’s yoga practice is the growth engine for connecting with my Wise Advocate (neutral observer) and discovering my higher purpose (true north). Research has confirmed that focused attention and meditation enhances neuroplasticity in the brain.

Sanskrit Mantras with Breathing is my Wise Advocate (MBWA) — i.e., my personal roadmap for transformation. I consider this MBWA as my “reboot” to start my day on a positive note and enjoy life and innovate at work – one moment at a time.

The two aforementioned MBWA’s — in different contexts — are not just a play on words in the lure of jargonized eloquence (aka yet another buzzword). I am unable to feel the two MBWA’s in the fashionable “third place” (!) over a cup of coffee. Each of the MBWA’s is an experiential journey, both creative and spontaneous, without PowerPoint slidedecks!

The following is the MBWA-squared manifesto of a Job Coach.

  • As a Job Coach I draw upon the energy from the first MBWA (Mantras with Breathing is my Wise Advocate).
  • As I transition from the yoga studio to the shop floor in a brick and mortar setting, I am viscerally sensemaking “how things are done” and learning by doing while partnering with my coachee. This is Managing by Wandering Around (MBWA).

I change on the job, one step at a time, discover the hidden fabric of work and my coachee’s mojo.

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