Discovery.  Don’t give up on that – ever.

Posted: June 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

We’re here and doing such insignificant things as blogging, sweating 9-box (*@”*”*!!) grids and the like because of discovery.  We are – apparently – hard wired to discover.

It’s what’s taken us through various stages of societal and economic advancement from going to war with each other with clubs and swords to going to battle with each other with spreadsheets and 12-point strategic plans.

What is still paramount – but in my opinion lacking – is discovery.  We’re still doing so – of course.  Only yesterday I saw that Virgina Tech University School of Medicine has discovered a connection between the brain and the immune system previously thought to be non-existent which may make for a breakthrough in immuno-diseases like Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

I’m not talking that discovery nor am I talking (necessarily) about an existential discovery of self.  Although that has a range of amazing outcomes, possibilities and the like.

I’m talking about constantly being curious, discovering through experimentation and using others discovery not just to know but to influence your doing.  So you discover and whatever the outcome in terms of success, you gain – surely?

Yet I am bemused, amused or even disappointed at the discovery killers.  Knowing souls.  Who may – themselves – have discovered things and seem to revel in the killing of others discovery.  Those knowing souls who may be academically gifted, full of intellect, wisdom and hubris.  Who almost cannot wait to destroy others discovery.  Or fun of discovery.  Or maybe they’re warning people of danger?  Whatever they’re doing it for I wish they’d be more considered and even shut the f*** up…

Let’s take a real life example.  Zappos.  A shoe retailer based in Las Vegas, Nevada who are wholly owned by Amazon and run by Tony Hsieh as CEO.  Someone who invested huge capital in the company. A company who has a growth curve many would die for.  Who are famed for alternative thinking.  Who are a WorldBlu accredited Freedom-centred workplace.  Who are introducing holacracy because they want to discover a way to work without the manager calcification that afflicts many companies in 21st century work.

And already – before they’ve really got going on this – people are calling it out, criticising it, knocking it, lauding it whatever.

Folks, they’re DISCOVERING.  FFS let them get on with it.  They may find the key that unlocks Brian Robertson’s Holacracy and make it work amazingly well.  This may flop and cost them dearly and go from boom to bust.  What do you know about it anyway?  Who are you to call it out?  You may have had 10 years holacratic experience before it was called that and therefore have acquired wisdom. Well you do.  BUT YOU DON’T WORK AT ZAPPOS.  So you don’t know do you?  Unless you’re in there now, working with it and seeing what it does you’ve little – if anything – to add.

Wait.  Let them experiment and discover.  When it succeeds/fails you can knowingly say “I knew it would” and we’ll all be grateful you shared that post-mortem/implementation analysis.  Not.

If you have something constructive, warnings of things to avoid, by all means share them but don’t be surprised if they say “well thanks but we’re discovering so we’ll see”.

I’m not talking about complicit acts, or knowingly destroying something in the name of discovery.  Of course there’s a rationale, a reason, a rejection held there.

In Zappos case, we’re talking about a shoe retailer.  Not humanitarian aid.  Or medical care.  Or psychiatric support.  Shoes.

Please though, don’t destroy discovery.  Holding the space, your nerve and an ideology is hard enough without someone tearing that playhouse down.

If we all listened to the voice of fearful leaders, all-knowing professionals or academic doubters we’d likely discover nothing but the pain of a missed opportunity.

Let go of your own fear and discover patient observation.

Let your ego discover silence.

Let discovery be.

  1. hrmannz says:

    Great post Perry. Spot on

  2. Andy Lancaster says:

    Nice blog post. I think it’s quite common that those who have “gone before” often mess up the discovery opportunity. Bit like old footsteps on the beach and discarded rubbish! It’s either so much easier to follow someone else’s tracks or get disappointed by the clear evidence that you are not the first! Somehow we need to develop a “high tide” reset mechanism that wipes out a previous path and returns it to seemingly “untrodden” ground. Perhaps true discoverers should do everything they can to deliberately hide their trail “SAS like” – that’s if they truly value discovery! Or maybe the truly authentic approach is to just go off a lay a trail on a whole new beach that no-one has pioneered. In fact the latter sounds fun!

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