Are you better or better?

There, as he leveled out his ship and sucked in cold gasps of oxygen, he was struck by a revelation: He was a better flier than Yrica Quell. But she was the better starfighter pilot.

Shadow fall by Alexander Freed

Just because you are great at a certain skill does not mean that you will be the best at getting the job done. Today, being great at one thing is not enough, we need many more skills to be successful in our work. We often look for the person who is the best at what they do, when we instead should search for the people who is best at applying their skill together with other people.

In this complex and messy world that we live and worked in today, we will never be able to create something meaningful by ourselves.

Can do vs want to do

The rotten thing about having Mum as a mum is, I know how to stop being angry. I’ve been taught any number of ways to manage anger, and they really work. What she’s never been able to teach me is how to want to manage it. So I go on seething and raging and knowing the whole time that it’s my own fault, because I do know how to stop.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

When we want to change behaviors, we need to consider both if people want it, and if they have the ability to do it. Just because we can do it, we might not want to do it. Or in other cases we are highly motivated to change but we don’t know how, or we don’t have the resources. BJ Fogg has created an extremely simple and useful model for understanding and talking about behavior change. He says that behavior change comes from motivation, ability, and prompts. And if any of them are lacking we will not get the new behavior.

What I have seen in most organizations that I have worked with, is that in most cases what we lack is ability and prompts. Most people want to change their way of working or how they act, they just don’t have the skills, time, nor resources to do it.

Freedom in failure

Wu Ying gulped, realizing he was walking along the cliff’s edge of failure. Yet, perhaps the knowledge he was likely going to fail freed him. Knowing he would fail meant he had nothing to lose, and the fear of failure disappeared. There was no fear in certainty—just freedom.

A thousand Li: The first stop by Tao Wong

One of the key factors in psychological safety is that it is ok to fail, and this is also a reason that agile has become so popular. It is a way to break big projects down in small chunks where it is ok to fail each part, but in the end, you have created something bigger.

I think one of the worst things you can end up in is the organization’s most important project that must not fail. Then the stress kicks in, the worry increases. And then flexibility, innovation and creativity disappear.

I have given some presentations around the analogy between skateboarding and working in an organization. When you practice skateboarding you fall a lot. More often you jump off the skateboard when you realise that a trick will not work. But you rarely hurt yourself. Because you know how to judge if something will not work, and you have practiced falling.

Good managers need to train themselves and their teams how to jump off when things are not going to plan and how to fall without hurting themselves and the organization.

How we see others

Red eyes moved to his, and she gave him a shaky smile. He couldn’t return it. He stared into her, thinking about how she saw him. He wasn’t as great as she described. But he wanted to be. She saw through him, and her smile became more genuine.

Bloodline, Will Wight

Sometimes you are in a situation where you feel pressured to do more, to push forward, and spend too much energy. In other situations, you want to do more, you feel a drive to improve, and when you spend your energy, you feel energized. It is all about how people look at us, do they think we can do it or not.

There is a difference in how you motivate others to do better.: You either do it from a point of power, pushing the other people forward, or you do it from the position in the quote; that they feel that you believe in them, trust them and care about them.


It has been a long pause from writing in this blog now, and I have no idea how much energy I have now for this, but I have a craving to start writing again and this feels like a safe place where I can write what pops into my head, and the texts are also short so that I can turn this into a tiny habit to explore. Let’s see what happens.

Do books read?

I love reading science fiction and fantasy books! This blog combines two of my biggest interests; reading fiction and thinking about collaboration, learning and adapting to change. I’m Marcus Degerman and I work at Incredible mess as an organizational developer, I also love reading science fiction and fantasy books. The quotes that I like or made me think ends up on this blog with some thoughts.

What do they remind you of?

“There’s the opposite of love at first sight. There are people walking the earth that the moment you meet them, you want to punch them and keep punching them.”

– Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim

Some people we get along with directly and others we just want to punch the moment we meet them. The people you like and the people you don’t like are either really similar to you or your complete opposite.

I think it comes down to that we like people that remind us about our good traits, and we dislike the ones that remind us about our bad traits.

Who will love you regardless?

I know that when ye think o’ love you’re supposed to think of kissy faces and scented soap and hummin’ happy songs together, but there’s another vital part to it that people rarely admit to themselves: We want somebody to rescue us from other people. From talking to them, I mean, or from the burden of giving a damn about what they say. We don’t want to be polite and stifle our farts, now, do we? We want to let ’em rip and we want to be with someone who won’t care if we do, who will love us regardless and fart right back besides.

– Kevin Hearne, Staked

There is nothing else to add. The quote explains love perfectly! 🙂

It’s nothing personal

“… it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal.
Well, fuck them.
Make it personal.”

– Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon

I think many organizations are starting to realise this simple truth. That we need to make it personal for people to be inspired and motivated.

This is true for marketing. If people feel that you just do business, then they will not be inspired. If they feel that you care about your product and your customers, then you can start a movement.

This is true for organizations. If your employees feel that you just do business, then they will not be motivated. If they feel that you care about your product, about your customers, and them then you can start a movement.

Creativity comes from taking your view of the world and looking at a completely new part of it

‘Now, see, there’s something about your species that I will never understand.’ She let out a congenial sigh. `You and the rest of the galaxy,’ she said. Honestly, what was it about that concept that was so difficult for others to grasp? She would never, ever understand the idea that a child, especially an infant, was of more value than an adult who had already gained all the skills needed to benefit the community. The death of a new hatchling was so common as to be expected. The death of a child about to feather, yes, that was sad. But a real tragedy was the loss of an adult with friends and lovers and family. The idea that a loss of potential was somehow worse than a loss of achievement and knowledge was something she had never been able to wrap her brain around.

– Becky Chambers, the long way to a small angry planet

When it comes to people in organizations, then we seem to value achievement and knowledge much much more than potential. Most organizations also seem to want to stick with their old employees for as long as possible, even if they turn detrimental to the organization and other employees.

I think an organization would gain much more from the fresh perspective they would get if people changed jobs more often. Creativity comes from taking your view of the world and looking at a completely new part of it.

Was that a thought or a feeling?

‘Hand speak expresses things that are either too basic to waste words on or too personal.’ ‘Too personal?’ ‘Yeah, stuff that’s really important or hard to say. Like about love or hate or stuff you’re scared about. You know how when you have something big to tell someone, you stammer through it or sit in front of your mirror practising what to say? Aandrisks don’t bother with that. They let the gestures take care of all the awkwards. They figure that big, deep feelings are universal enough to be defined with just a flick of the hand or whatever, even though the events that cause those feelings are unique.’

– Becky Chambers, The long way to a small angry planet

Research by Paul Ekman states that we have six basic emotions that are recognized across all human cultures: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. It’s interesting that four of them are negative, only one positive, and then one that could be either positive or negative (surprise).

I can’t remember where I read it but someone explained that the difference between emotions and feelings is: emotions turns into feelings when we become conscious of them and stark thinking about them. I like this distinction because it can make it much easier to think about my basic emotions and differentiate them from all the stories I create in my mind based on what happened.

Another good distinction is made in non violent communication where they separate thinking and feeling in a similar way.