80/20 Rule – Also known as the Pareto principle, a fairly well-established finding that frequently 80 percent of advancement comes from 20 percent of effort or, conversely, that 80 percent of our energy often only produces 20 percent of returns. Classic examples include companies finding that 80 percent of their revenue comes from a core 20 percent of their customers and HR departments noting that they spend 80 percent of their time and effort on 20 percent of the “problem” employees.
70/30 Rule – A well-established ratio for guiding feedback on goals and learning. For goals, the rule states that the optimal zone is when we accomplish about 70 percent of goals (tasks, etc.). If we are accomplishing 100 percent, then our goals are too low and we aren’t being challenged to excel. If we are accomplishing 50 percent or less, then our goals are too high and we run the risk of being demoralized and demotivated. For learning, the rule encourages us to spend 70 percent of our time on what’s working and what’s going well and only 30 percent on areas for improvement. This counter-balances a human tendency to focus on the negative and sink into despair and demoralization.
Action Plan – A concrete implementation plan that breaks large goals into manageable chunks of work, including short-term tasks, and milestones or check-in points along the way to assess progress.
Chunk – A unit of work, bigger than a task and smaller than a chapter. Chunks represent a collection of related tasks that can reasonably be completed in about a two week period. Chunks combine together to form chapters.
Coaching – A supplemental one-on-one process that provides additional support and structure for participants in addition to the regular components of the system.
Daily Check-in – A simple, quick, process of daily reflection, usually done online but also available in a print journal that encourages participants to look up from the daily grind to 1) consider the big picture, 2) note accomplishments and appreciate the moment, 3) look forward to the possibilities of the next day.
Elevator Pitch – a short 15 to 30 second statement of the service you provide to others and why it’s important. A pitch can also be developed for the current goal you have set for yourself for the next 3 months, to help you keep on the right path.
Emotional Half-life – the regular, predictable “decay” period that follows emotionally intense positive experiences. Specifically, the positive energy generated in kick-off sessions will naturally decay over a few weeks unless it is systematically followed with check-in meetings or other devices to refresh that emotional experience.
Flow – a psychological state characterized by intense focus, timelessness (time may pass more quickly or seem to stop), ease, and enthusiasm. Also known as “peak experiences” or “being in the zone” etc.
Gatekeeper – A person who represents an organization and has the ability to introduce a concept to a number of other people.
Hats – A term used to describe the different mental states necessary for accomplishing different tasks, similar to the “head space” that we need to be in to most effectively accomplish things. For example, some tasks require a detail-orientation applied to a specific topic – like bookkeeping, while other tasks require visionary thinking applied to several topics at once, like improving communication flow. Most people wear many hats in their work. Defining a simple set of 5 to 7 hats often helps efficiency.
Importance – different from urgency, importance represents how directly a task relates to a larger goal or life objective. Something is important if it directly relates to accomplishing a life goal.
Jump Start Intensive– An initial, facilitated, large-group process involving a “view from the peak” “success stories” “action planning” and “personal commitments” exercise. The Kick-off session represents about 8 hours of work and can be done in one day-long session (rarely), two half-day sessions, or four two-hour sessions. The be most effective, the kick-off should be done in a concentrated period of time – over a week or less – to maximize the emotional energy creation.
Just-in-Time Learning (JIT) (see also Modules) – specific topic learning modules that are prepared in advance and offered when a critical mass of people are interested in a particular topic. Modules are designed to take between 90 minutes and 2 hours and are delivered in a variety of formats (online, face-to-face, combination), as dictated by the topic.
Large-group – a process involving 50 to 70 people (minimum 30). Large-group processes often generate significant emotional energy as people get a sense of the collective energy of the group. However, large-group can also be somewhat impersonal so need to be balanced with activities that allow direct, intimate connections.
Maven – a person who is a recognized expert or authority in a particular topic or community of interest. Mavens usually have a large contact pool and can spread the word about a new concept to a large number of people.
Modules – specific topic learning modules that are prepared in advance and offered when a critical mass of people are interested in a particular topic. Modules are designed to take between 90 minutes and 2 hours and are delivered in a variety of formats (online, face-to-face, combination), as dictated by the topic.
Peak Experience – a moment when everything seems to come together and you feel enthusiastic, optimistic and empowered. Peak experiences provide valuable information that you are on-track and contain the hints to help you figure out how to stay on track and have more peak experiences.
Period – roughly two-weeks. Really, it’s a fortnight, but no one uses that word anymore.
Phase – A unit of work larger than chunks and smaller than projects. Projects are divided into phases to break the ambitious into manageable “bit-sized” pieces that can be tackled in about 3 to 6 months (for tie-in with the quarter system). Phases are then broken down into chunks of work.
Priority – a value attached to tasks that takes into account importance and urgency using a specific formula that gives preference to importance, but takes into account real-world time demands.
Project – The largest unit of work, a project represents months or years of work. It is defined by a clear set of outcome goals – usually 5 to 7 – and criteria for when those outcomes are “done” including a “good enough” condition. A project will also include short description of the ideal outcome – what success will look like, and a set of project DNA to guide decisions along the way.
Project DNA – A concise list of 5 to 7 governing principles derived from our experiences of when everything has worked (the best of our experiences so far), that are useful in guiding day-to-day decision making. These principles are usually in the form of balance statements, recognizing that most choices are about the degree of “both/and” instead of simple “either/or.”
Quarter – All work is divided into three-month periods which allow enough time to actually make progress, but not too much time to lose your way. Each quarter is bordered by a kick-off session and review and renew session (or for people continuing on, by two review and renew sessions). Ideally, phases will correspond to trimesters, but this is not a requirement and there will inevitably be some slippage between the two.
Rants and Raves – a simple process that starts each Check-in Meeting which gives participants the opportunity to crow about recent successes (and get some recognition for them) and to bitch and moan about recent challenges or set-backs. The goal of the rants and raves is to set the appropriate tone for the Check-in Meetings where participants can be “real” and authentic. Humour is very important in rants and raves.
ReGroup Meetings – Small group, facilitated, bi-weekly meetings that provide participants an opportunity to get together with other trailblazers to talk about what they are working on, make commitments for the following two-week period, get feedback on challenges or issues they are working on, and generally build a more supportive social network around themselves.
Review and Renew – An augmented and abbreviated version of the Kick-Off Session that happens at the end of the trimester. It guides participants to review their accomplishments from the past
Small-group – a group of about eight people that provides a safe place to have more intimate discussions about life, work, and the universe.
Streams – Projects (and Chapters) each establish a focused set (5 to 7) of outcome goals. Streams represent the logical flow of tasks associated with accomplishing each of these outcome goals. In other words, you will have a stream of work associate with each goal, though, of course, there may be particular tasks that relate to more than one stream.
Success Stories – a process in the Kick-off Session that has participants use their peak experiences and imagine the best possible future if those peak experiences become a sustained norm. This process makes use of the power of storytelling to create a powerful, compelling vision of where we want to be heading.
Task – the smallest unit of work. A task is a discrete, focused piece of work that should take between 30 minutes and four hours to complete. Any items that take less than 30 minutes should be combined into a single task. Any item that takes more than 4 hours should be broken into subtasks.
Three 3s – a simple process as part of the daily check-in that encourages participants to focus on their three most important accomplishments that day, three things they are grateful for, and three things they are looking forward to accomplishing tomorrow.
Trailblazers – a demographic group that combines a few related types of people, including cultural creatives, the creative class, independent contractors, social change agents, social entrepreneurs, values-based companies, and creative people.
Urgency – a situation calling for prompt action and demanding attention
View from the Peak – a process used during the Kick-Off Session that guides participants to examine and learn from their peak experiences or flow moments. This exercise makes use of paired interviews to probe deeper into the positive experiences and glimmers of hope that create enthusiasm and lead to a focused set of Project DNA.