Funnel, Focus and Flow

Abundance Organizational leadership Productivity


Key Point: How do we manage not feeling overwhelmed at work? When will things slow down? When will we have the right balance? When will someone set the priorities and tell us what’s most important so we can put tasks in order? When will priorities stop changing so dramatically?

I hear this type of discussion all the time at every level of all organizations. Literally, everyone feels swamped, and most of us question our capacity to sustain the relentless expenditure of our personal resources. And I’m not sure there is a completely satisfactory answer to this debate… However, there may be ways to calm the overflow a little? Or even a lot?

To some extent we are all FUNNELS. Each of has a limited capacity. At the same time, there is likely to be even more pouring into the FUNNEL in the future, not less. Technology, Moore’s Law and what is becoming an even more turbulent, borderless, flat, economic and geopolitical world, translates and tumbles into our daily work and lives in the form of relentless, continuous change. And when the mouth of the FUNNEL is limited by resources, (time, money, people, etc), it is natural to want to adjust it by expanding resources and/or lessening the volume. Yet, there is only so much fiddling with top of the FUNNEL we can do. The conclusion is almost always the same. Too much stuff… Too small of a funnel. So how do we cope?

My view is that trying to narrow or constrict what comes in at the top may help with focus, but it does little to help with capacity. My argument is to turn our attention toward how stuff gets through more than fussing exclusively about managing the “top.” We might get more return by attacking and improving FLOW through the funnel. As an example, asking the IT department to do less these days is literally a big fat waste of time. The projects and needs are always outstripping capacity at the top of the funnel. And delaying people who have projects circling around the top is like air traffic control making it more “reasonable” by restricting access to runways and allowing planes to land only at certain times. Yet, there is usually a natural limit to the top of the funnel due to limited resources.

The same metaphor applies to us individually. We may have more capacity if we urgently and relentlessly improve FLOW. That is, if we allow “stuff” to flow through the funnel easier, faster, with less resistance and destructive conflict, it helps us reframe the way we feel about the amount. The momentum of positive flow normally positions both the organization and individual to be in an advantageous space. Life will be no less turbulent, and no less resource constrained. But the speed of flow to achieve results is much smoother.

Character Moves:

  1. Learn to get more results done by improving flow first. Find new and better ways. For an organization, this means breaking down stupid barriers, rules, policies and structures that restrict rather than accelerate. As an individual, find ways to better learn, self improve, communicate, develop relationships and get results. Time is a reality, not an excuse. Stop whining and blaming everything else on “can’t.” You’re the only one capable of establishing balance. 
  2. Choosing and determining priorities to control your own your agenda is a great joy in life. Before full technological mobility, time away from work meant rest. The decision to not “do work” was easy. Someone set hours, controlled overtime, and locked workspaces. Today, many of us are able to decide when it’s “enough.” Yay! We’re not going back and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a mindset matter. That’s what self-accountability is about.
  3. Create meaningful value for yourself and others or stop doing it. That’s the best filter at the top of the funnel. Focusing and flowing… It’s not perfect but a better answer than hand wringing and hoping for the day the merry go round stops… Don’t worry; it will stop permanently sooner than you can blink. In the mean time… 🙂

Flow focused in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: I’m a fan of asking questions… What’s most important? What can wait? What can I do to contribute in the best way right now? Maybe that’ll help change what kind of “ingredients” that are added to your funnel. Maybe next time it’ll be more premium stuff. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis 

Do You Know Your PE Numbers?

Respect Transformation Well-being


Key Point: I am committed to building, developing and spreading the concept of personal equity (PE). The most important investments we ever make are in ourselves, not in a narcissistic manner but in the broadest definition of individual growth and wellness. 

People often talk about the importance of investing and building equity in things like houses, businesses, or other financial investments. Of course this is important. However, I genuinely believe the greatest gift we can give everyone is the investment in our WHOLE selves. This includes developing a balanced personal equity investment “portfolio” which includes: Financial equity, intellectual equity, emotional equity, physical equity and spiritual equity.

We all know how our physical equity investment eventually ends (haha). But lasting wellness and knowing how your physical equity investment is currently paying off needs some numbers to tell us where we stand. According to one recent article, the following are THE key indicators and many current or future (for example: Apple Watch) wearable devices will give us some or all of the following numbers in real time.

“1. Step Detection

An algorithm translates an accelerometer reading into distance traveled and helps estimate activity level and calories burned.

Healthy Range: About 10,000 steps per day

  1. Pulse

A sensor opposite an LED monitors fluctuations in light transmitted through your finger. The rise and fall of light indicates heart rate.

Healthy Range: 60 — 100 beats per minute

  1. Heart Rate Variability

A heart rate monitor measures the variation of beat-to-beat intervals. High variability is indicative of good health and a high level of fitness.

Healthy Range: 18 — 44 percent variability while resting

  1. Blood Oxygenation

A pulse oximeter detects the light absorption of hemo-globin to see how much oxygen reaches your extremities. That data helps athletes determine whether they’ve recovered fully from a workout.

Healthy Range: 95 — 99 percent

  1. Body Temperature

A thermometer that sits against the skin assesses surface temperature. Abnormal spikes or drops are early warning signs of sickness.

Healthy Range: 97.6 — 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Sleep

Sensitive 3-D accelerometers detect small body movement during the night. When paired with continuous heart rate monitoring, it offers a rough idea of sleep stages — light, deep, and REM.

Healthy Range: 7– 9 hours of sleep

  1. Blood Sugar

Sensors measure glucose in skin fluid using infra-red light or low-power radio waves. For diabetics, it’s a pinprick alternative. For others, it’s a way to see how diet affects health.

Healthy Range: 80 — 140 milligrams per deciliter.”

Character Moves:  

  1. Like any solid equity investment portfolio it is important to have meaningful metrics and an index to understand where we stand on the broadest definition of personal equity. Where are you on the above physical wellness metrics? Do you use a wearable and/or other app to help you get real time insight? Learn and know your physical wellness numbers. Now expand the process. 
  1. Establish a basket of personal equity measures. Using the physical wellness numbers as a sample guide, determine metrics you might use to determine where your personal equity investment is at, regarding your emotional well being, spiritual well being, financial well being and personal market value. This information is typically a private matter for you. However, it is useful to track some key numbers or metrics on a balanced basket of numbers that give us an ongoing sense of where you’re at. And balance is very important. What good is it to have a high net worth but low score spiritually and/or physically? And some might argue the reverse is also true. 
  1. Hints: Check out Daniel Goleman for a Emotional Intelligence (EQ) , Cindy Wigglesworth for spiritual metrics (SQ), your financial advisor for financial health, etc. There are many options. The key is to determine what YOU want as key PE growth /wellness numbers to inform your personal “annual equity report.”

 PE growth and wellness in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: I recently invested in a financial advising firm. Basically, it’s with me for life… Scary, right? I invest a certain amount of money per month that will essentially be professionally invested instead of me spending it on Xbox One and bars… Much more dignified… But, what’s cheaper and more important is my personal equity. I feel like I do well on all seven of those aforementioned indicators, except for sleep, because after all… I’m a needed millennial.

 – Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Keep Your Zest and Hug Your Firsts!

Accountability Growth mindset


Key Point: Last week was “Learn at Work Week.” While I strongly believe in continuous learning during all 52 weeks, this particular week involves a search light type focus on the subject.  All this concentrated conversation about learning reinforced my view that high impact leaders are hungry learners with insatiable appetites. As the proverb says, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” True leaders appreciate they will never know it all.

In 1990, the late and celebrated Stanford professor John W. Gardner gave a speech on this topic to executives at the renowned consulting firm, McKinsey and Company. He questioned and reflected on what might be the personal attribute that allows individuals to keep learning, growing, and changing, to escape their fixed attitudes and habits. According to a recent HBR blog by Bill Taylor, Gardner responded to his rhetorical question this way: “Not anything as narrow as ambition. After all, ambition eventually wears out and probably should. But you can keep your zest until the day you die.” He then offered a simple maxim to guide the accomplished leaders in the room. “Be interested,” he urged them. “Everyone wants to be interesting, but the vitalizing thing is to be interested.”

In the same blog Taylor cites a recently published book called The 10 Essential Hugs of Life, by Roy Spence. Some examples include, “Hug your failures,” “Hug your fears,” “Hug yourself,” “Hug your firsts.” In his book, Spence notes: “When you’re a kid, every day is full of firsts, full of new experiences. As you get older, your firsts become fewer and fewer. If you want to stay young, you have to work to keep trying new things.”

The idea of replenishing ZEST through seeking firsts and fully embracing the “new” in life much like a bright-eyed child is a wonderful thought and reminder. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Seek out and hug your firsts. This is the beautiful mindset of viewing all the new in our daily lives. It could be a person we meet for the first time, a concept we’ve never thought about, a book we’ve never read, a new website, personal best during a work out, the list goes on. And as Spence says, “hug them all!!” 
  2. Remember that the way to be interesting is to be interested. Who can resist someone who is genuinely interested? When someone wants to really learn something about us it is hard not to connect with that person. We usually find them very interesting… Hmm.

Zestful hugs in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Sometimes as a 20-something, firsts are seemingly experienced all the time by a lot of people you know… It’s usually that newly engaged/married friend, or that person buying their first house, etc. Those are HUGE, but it’s not hard to appreciate (hug) those things… Although I’m developing and looking forward to the big “firsts,” it’s still important to always be doing something new that you’re looking forward to. I always want to be planning a fresh, exciting new “first.” Who wants to go skydiving?

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis