Development

Consumer Experience, Culture, Design Thinking, Diversity, Empathy, Human-Centered Design, Inclusion, Innovation, Leadership, Mindset, Patient Experience, Power of Yes, Strategy

The POWER OF YES! in Claiming What You Believe


The Story

2017 was an amazing year both professionally and personally. I celebrated 20 years with my Carlaamazing wife who, if it were not for, I would be completely crazy. (Thank you, Carla, for who you are to me and for everything you do for me.) As a parenting team, we saw lots of firsts for both of our children and got to enjoy some special times together. In September, I joined North Star Receivers and met a fantastic group of guys who have changed my life for the better. I also published a book called The Power of Yes! in Innovation! If you know me, you’ll know this is a true miracle within itself. (Thank you, Steve, for all of your hard work in pushing me to get this project over the finish line.) The Nason Group experienced tremendous growth and impact, including team members coming and going.

What I Learned And What You Can Learn

Throughout all of the events of 2017, I had a little voice in my head saying, “Shawn, what do you really believe?” That voice kept BELIEVE-IN-YOURSELF-ALWAYS--1challenging me to be a better person for my wife, kids, friends, and business partners. To respond to this nagging voice, I gathered the Nason Group team towards the end of the year and asked, “What exactly do we believe?” Something magical happened next. We hacked away at the question and, many iterations later, we have a set of We Believe statements that will help us move into the future together. We even brought in our partners to help us frame the statements so that the statements speak to the essence of who we are as the Nason Group. So, here they are:

We Believe . . .

  • The best thought solutions don’t always have to be complicated.
  • Using know me, surprise me, and make it easy will reconstruct the customer experience.
  • Disruption is healthy and necessary for growth and leads to new ideas that change the world (your world).
  • Ideas that are radical enough to change lives require a space for teams to create, develop, test, and implement.
  • Engaging consumers’ stories and voices are mission critical when exploring new ideas and the ONLY way to do business well.
  • Figuring out the right questions to ask takes time and energy.
  • With the POWER OF YES! anything is possible.

Working as a team to create these statements led me to a deeper understanding of the difference between doing and being. For too long, I’ve been caught up in the doing without spending enough time working on a foundation of being. Maybe you’ve been in the same boat?

What I Did And What You Can Do

In December, I spent a retreat weekend with my group from the North Star Receivers. Throughout the weekend, we examined at our lives and challenged each other to engage some hard questions, which led to even more clarity about my beliefs. My challenge for you this week is to do the same. Take some time to claim what you BELIEVE through these questions:

  • What conversations do I need to have?
  • What relationships do I need to address, let go of, or heal?
  • What activities do need to stop doing?
  • What activities do I need to start doing?
  • What am I going to do about “me” time?
  • What support do I need and what support am I open to receiving?
  • What is my mantra and brand that I want to live out?
  • What’s the impact I want to have in the world?

Enjoy!

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Development, Innovation, Leadership, Mindset, Power of Yes, Well-Being, wellness

Find Your Purpose Today! The Narrative Of Self-Care Being Selfish Is Over!


The Story…

Imagine with me, you enter a restaurant for the first time in a city you have never been. You come from behind the fire place and there are nine men sitting at a table; the table you are getting ready to sit at yourself. You sit down and introduce yourself to each of them. All are very personable and you have great conversation throughout the meal; but there is that time when you all look at each other thinking, “Who is that man? What does he do? Where is he from? Why is he here?”  

All of these guys are from different walks of life.

A Realtor.

A Restauranteur.

A Life Coach.

A Bio-Hacker.

A Wine Maker… just to name a few.

They are all entrepreneurs. Passionate about life. Passionate about family. Passionate about learning from each other. Each one of them are on a journey. All in different spots, but a journey to be a better person! 

Well, that experience is real. It is real to me! I had the honor to travel to Vancouver and stay on Bowen Island for the weekend.  I was introduced to these incredible men through an organization called ManTalks. Connor Beaton is the founder and the one I hold responsible for wrecking my life (in a good way). We spent the whole weekend digging deep into who we are called to be as men, husbands, partners, friends, and most of all; how to be true to ourselves. I had the opportunity to connect in honesty, integrity, transparency, and loyalty, in a way that I had never done before. What’s amazing is this; they are all now brothers in my life, and I get to spend the next year on an amazing journey with them.

Over the weekend, we focused a great deal of time on PURPOSE. What does purpose mean? It’s simple…

Purpose Definition

I think all of us have thought about this at one time or another, and many of us have struggled through it; possibly even lying to ourselves on why we exist or why we were created.

What I Learned And What You Can Learn…

Where do I begin? I learned that it is OK to focus on me. To focus on what I want as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a friend. I learned that for me to be my best in each of those roles, I need to take care of my emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

One of the exercises we did through the weekend was to create a purpose documentI am still working on my SFD (those of you who have worked with me, know what this means.) It is coming along and will be a work in progress. What it HAS done is allowed me to bring focus in the right areas in my life.

There are two things I believe that you can learn from my journey. First, stay true to yourself. Be the best you and then you can be the best for all of those around you. Second, take time to breathe. Breathe in all around you. We learned a wonderful new breathing technique. If you are interested you can go here: Wim Hof Method.

What I Will Do And What You Can Do…

I have taken time already on this journey to write out goals and objectives that will allow me to live out my purpose statement. In these goals and objectives, I will focus on things that will make me better in each area of purpose. It may not always be easy, but it is what is right.

What can you do? You can take time to slow down. Write your purpose statement. Focus on the best you and begin to live it out. Take 30 minutes today to do that.

P.S.:  Take 5 minutes today and go put your feet in the grass! It’s amazing! (Adam Hart this is for you Brother!)

Feet In The Grass

Development, Empathy, Inclusion, Leadership, Mindset, storytelling

The Power Of Your Story! When One Door Closes, A Thousand Open!


Pre-Cursor: I am writing this blog from 35k feet in the air and I will be up-front that this one is a personal story and journey. I hope you can take a nugget from it.

The Story…

This week I have been on three flights.  I have driven several hours and have visited six different states. WOW! That sounds like a lot! I was able to reflect on the great things in my life as well as spend some time listening to my heart. I started the week off with a great team finding their way to tell their story. We wrote break-up letters to current situations and love letters to the future (I know is sounds weird, but it was truly a IMG_8922transformational time.  Besides that, we got to listen to 80’s and 90’s love songs). During this time, my colleague and I got to see passion, excitement, and a burning desire to change the world. As the week progressed, I met more of our team and got to see the progress one of our partners had made in pushing to transform their organization. It was truly powerful and I know they are going to move mountains with their work.

 

Through this week, I had spent time praying and meditating to find answers to a couple of key situations in my life, career, and business. There were some decisions that were not going to be easy to make.  I needed guidance and asked for specific direction. Guess what? It happened! A door closed, but a thousand more have opened in the process! I am so grateful for that door. It taught me so much about myself, about the leader I want to be, the business owner I need to be, and the person I am! That door was powerful in my life. I am grateful for it, but it was time for it to close.

“When One Door Closes, Another Opens; But We Often Look So Long And So Regretfully Upon The Closed Door That We Do Not See The One Which Has Opened For Us.”  ~ Alexander Graham Bell

What I Learned And What You Can Learn…

Now, I am looking at some new doors and I am excited!  It is part of my story, our story, and your story! Those doors make us who we are and who we want to be. They form us, transform us, and guide us into the next chapters in our life. This is how we learn and this is how we grow.

My greatest learning in this is this:  it is alright to not always know what doors to close.  Just trust they will get closed. Also, do not force doors to open but, let the right ones fly open for you.

What I Can Do And What You Can Do…

What am I going to do? I am going to live life to the fullest. Recently, I read a three-part article series by Jonathon J. Doll titled Open Doors. I encourage you to go read them. I also you encourage each one of you to look at all the doors in your life. Ask yourself, are they the right ones? Are these the best for me? Close the ones that need closed, and run with open arms to the ones that are opening.

I hope this speaks to at least one person. If not, that is OK! It may have just been for me. As I stated, I am 35k feet in the air, and that is what I feel like in my soul right now.

GO FLY and BE FREE!

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Consumer Experience, Culture, Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Leadership, Mindset, Power of Yes, storytelling

What I Thought I Knew – I Learned At “The Network!”


The Story…

This past week Steve and I traveled to Boston to attend the inaugural Innovation Leader event, The Network! There were 50 innovators and disruptors from all industries and IMG_8304walks of life. Now, let me be perfectly honest – most in the room were at one-time involved in corporate innovation and frankly got sick of all the red tape and bureaucracy.

Additionally, many of us in the room are in some type of consultant role. I wasn’t sure what to expect – but it turned out to be AWESOME! We met some incredibly cool people and made new friends that in the future, I know we will turn to for their rich knowledge and expert skills.

One of those crazy people was Toni Newman. Toni is a ROCK STAR who is passionate about the architecture and dynamics of consumer experience. I love Toni’s favorite saying, Why Not!

This story is just one of the many that we heard during the day. I look forward to getting together again. Thank you Innovation Leader!

What We Learned And What You Can Learn…

Innovation Failure 97% of Executives or CEO’s are unhappy with their innovation work in Corporate America. The discussions in the room that day were rich – so many execs present had experienced failure and felt unhappy. The interesting thing is that FAILURE is at the heart of Innovation. It’s what you do with it that makes the difference in attitude and value. Unfortunately, many of these teams are just doing innovation for innovation sake, instead of tying it to their business goals.

Just recently, I read a blog from Phil McKinney,  The CEO Innovation Dilemma. Phil states, that 97% of CEO’s say innovation is important, 73% agree it’s important in their organization, but only 35% are confident their organization can do it. So, what do we do?

Storytelling – What is your desired ending? What is your controlling idea? How Can I Build Empathy? What FullSizeRenderIs My Innovation Story?

Think about these three things

  • Act One: What is the Challenge?
  • Act Two: What is the Struggle?
  • Act Three: What Changed In The World?

Each of us in this space have a story that connects us to our consumers. Some of them good, some of them not so good. But the bottom-line is that we all have a narrative around our journey and our experiences. Learn how to share your story. People and/or consumers respond with richer engagement and loyalty when they can connect to who you are.

Landscape Scan – At the end of the day at THE NETWORK, we did an exercise to examine the Innovation Landscape, which was led by Dave Rutley and his team from Collective Next. We started with 2017 and looked back 10+ years and forward 10+ years. It was a powerful exercise witnessing the think tank in the room. Here are a couple of quick highlights the group came up with:

  • Thought Leadership – The people and influencers we currently look to are shifting, yet we still depend a great deal on the founding leaders of this movement.
  • Methodologies – These come and go, but what doesn’t change is there is always a consumer!
  • Landscape – Things are moving so fast in the world today that we as innovators are challenged to keep up more than ever before.

What We Can Do And What You Can Do…

This is pretty simple! Keep learning! Keep partnering! Keep exploring! As I stated above, the world is changing at an incredible pace – you must stay ahead of challenges and obstacles so you can continue to INNOVATE! 

Take 15 minutes this week. Get out and do something new and different. Challenge yourself to get out of the norm!


 

Consumer Experience, Culture, Empathy, Human-Centered Design, Leadership, Mindset, storytelling

The Power of YES! In Life, We all Need ‘Team Jimmy’


It is my honor to have not only an amazing family in life, but also, amazing friends and colleagues. This blog is written by one of them: Steve Junion. Enjoy! 

The process of Consumer-Centered Innovation often generates fear in both executives and their front-line employees. One our greatest passions here at Nason Group is to help people overcome their fears and succeed at higher levels than they may have believed possible!

The Story…

As I waited with my family to take a ride on a huge water slide, I notice a young man we will call Jimmy. He was approximately 11 years old and was clearly agonizing like a stock broker during the recession. The anticipation of getting on the water slide, with a five story, seven second drop, had bent him over in physical pain. As I continued to observe him, he came close to hyperventilating and was in tears.

Me: ‘Hey kid, what’s your name?’

Kid: ‘Jimmy’

Me: ‘You got this buddy – you can do it’.

Jimmy: ‘No! No, I don’t think I can do this!’

Me: ‘Alright Jimmy, first thing you got to do is breathe. We don’t need you passing  out! Pausing for a moment, I continued, ‘You got it buddy. I know you are scared AND you got a lot of people up here cheering you on”.

Everyone turned to look at me. They had originally been only observing Jimmy’s meltdown and now I was dragging them onto ‘Team Jimmy’. I continued to encourage Jimmy, and at the same time initiated intermittent group cheers. Jimmy eventually negotiated with the lifeguard to allow him time inside the ‘pod’ before the door was shut. After sitting in the pod for a moment, the door shut and we all became very quiet. 3-2-1. Whoosh!

In under seven seconds Jimmy was at the bottom. Two minutes later, he was back up and ready to do it again – collecting high fives from ‘Team Jimmy’. Jimmy was beaming with pride after facing his fears. This single event altered how Jimmy views himself – and strengthened his personal courage to face and overcome challenges throughout his life.

What I Learned and What You Can Learn…

Many of us have stress inducers in our workplace and personal life. This stress holds us back and prevents us from experiencing higher levels of happiness and success. Here are four things Jimmy taught me that I believe can help all of us:

  1. We all need someone to have our back. More people are willing to support you than you may realize. Seek them out!
  2. The first person to step out of their comfort zone is going to feel like Jimmy. As a leader, it’s up to you to build a support team.
  3. Facing your fears at work can cause stress – however, most stress is self-induced.
  4. To overcome fear and reduce stress, shift your mindset to Yes!. Focus on your breathing and be willing to take a risk – it is not as scary as the story you tell yourself.

What You and I Can Do…

First, identify the stress inducers in your work and/or personal life. Next, like Jimmy at the height of his panic, pause for a moment and consciously slow your breathing. This will help to take you out of the “flight or fight” mentality. Next, bravely step into that ‘place of fear’ whether it be a conversation or taking action. When you come out the other side, and you will, you’ll realize that your five-story drop wasn’t as terrifying as you originally thought it would be – and you’ll be ready to take on the next challenge!


 

Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Innovation, Leadership, Power of Yes

“No, We Can’t Do It!” – The POWER OF YES In Innovation!


What I Was Doing…

“No, we can’t do it!”  This is the most common phrase I have heard in my years as a leader in innovation. From big organizations to small ones, from the government to educationresilient-quote. It seems that it is easier for people to say, no, instead of YES!

This week I began working with a new client that comes from a very strict and regulated organization. The team is faced with more opposers than supporters at times. Their mission is powerful to help change the lives of those they serve and make them better. You would think it would be easy to innovate, but it’s not for this team.

What I appreciated during my time with them was their passion to keep moving forward, their passion to make a difference and not let the organization take them down. I would love to say in my own personal walk that I always had that attitude, but I did not. I allowed at times for the organization to overpower my passion. To distract me from the greater good of what I was called to do. NEVER AGAIN!

What I Learned…

The team this week taught me again what it means to have RESILIENCE. Resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or succeresiliencessful again after something bad happens. In my world, many times that is focused on failure or the failure of a new idea, solution, product, or service.

As I look back on my experiences, there have been times where resilience was the only thing that got me through what I was doing. I had to have a mindset that nothing would distract me from the purpose or mission in front of me. I am not going to lie; innovation is not for the faint of heart. It is for the person who is willing to take the biggest challenges, opportunities, or frontiers not yet explored and go after it.

What I Will Do…

This week as I was traveling I viewed an infographic published by The Center For Creative Leadership  entitled, 8 Steps To Become More Resilient. Here it is:

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As I read through the infographic, I realized it really did come back to simply saying, YES!

Yes, I will accept change!

Yes, I will learn!

Yes, I will take charge of my destiny!

Yes, I will find my sense of purpose!

Yes, I will be me!

Yes, I will have relationships!

Yes, I will reflect!

Yes, I will shift!

Yes, I will shift!

This is truly the essence of the POWER OF YES IN INNOVATION! You have to say, Yes to yourselves some mornings when you get up, or when you walk into that meeting where you know you are gong to face opposition. You have to have RESILIENCE!

So, over the next week, I am going to focus on these eight steps to becoming more resilient. I will encourage all those that I come into contact with to do the same. Say, YES first, then take action!

What Can You Do…

So, what can you do? I am going to ask that you take 30 minutes and identify one area where you are facing opposition or challenges – whether it is at work, at home, or anywhere you are a leading a project. Look at each of the eight steps above and identify how you can say YES in that situation! It may simply be to accept the change. Or, maybe you will need to work on building a positive relationship. After, you spend these 30 minutes, GO DO IT!  

II would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story on being resilient.

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Development, Engagement, Leadership

Conquering Your Fear By Facing It! Part Three: Leadership Principles to Live By


Years ago when I stepped into a leadership role, I never anticipated how often I would be expected to step outside of my comfort zone and face my fears. Through the years the one key lesson I’ve learned is if you do not face the fear – whatever it is – you will go right back around that mountain until you do. That leads me to a personal story and lesson I want to share with you from this past week.

I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia to meet with colleagues on our team. The city was truly amazing and inspiring to me. As I am in the process of taking better care of myself, I choose to run three different da2016-10-05-20-45-37ys in three different areas of the city. WOW! Truly beautiful.

One evening I rode a ferry through the Sydney Harbor and took this beautiful picture. It was in Sydney that I was presented with an opportunity to face one of my biggest fears personally; the fear of heights (I will share m
ore on that in just a bit.)

On my way to Sydney I had just read an article in Harvard Business Review titled, If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything.  In this article, HBR presented three basic truths: be honest with yourself, make the behavior your own, and take the plunge. Three simple truths, but not always three simple things to do.

This gets me back to my story. There is an experience when you are in Sydney known as the BridgeClimb Sydney. In this experience, you have the amazing opportunity to climb 1332 steps and 440 feet above the water to reach the summit of the bridge. Now, for someone who has a fear of heights, doesn’t this sound exciting? There was no way I was going to do this. The trouble is I had just read the article about being honest with myself, making the behavior my own, and taking the plunge. So, I thought to myself, I will call my wife, and she will talk me out of it. NOPE! She told me I should do it. So for the next 24 hours I contemplated and tried to talk myself out of it, but I just couldn’t do it. I knew I had to face this fear or I was going to have to go around this mountain again. So, I DID IT! Below is an eight-second video of me at the summit of the bridge.

I have to say that it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, but also scary at times. So, what does this have to do with leadership? EVERYTHING! 

Later that afternoon when I got back to my room I sat down at my computer to answer some e-mails and a blog post entitled, Success isn’t comfortable, came across my e-mail. I just had tyourphoto_0012o laugh. In the blog post they give three principles for leaders to remember.

First, leaders who learn to stretch their comfort levels and ask tough questions make better leaders and innovators.

Second, being uncomfortable and trying new things makes people more mentally flexible and creative.

Last, accepting uncertainty, ambiguity, and change creates a comfort level with the unknown – an educated fearlessness that today’s leaders require.

So as a leader, there are days it may be rough, even tough and you may feel as if you just don’t want to do it anymore – but you have to. We have to be willing to stretch out of the comfort zones and be honest with ourselves and accept that we may not always have all the answers or the skills to get yourphoto_0010everything done. Being uncomfortable isn’t fun, but as leaders, we do learn from it. I have not always wanted to take the plunge and do things outside of my comfort zone, but in the end, 99% of the time I am glad that I did.

So, my challenge to you today as a leader is: What are you going to do to get out of your comfort zone and take the plunge? Reach out to me and tell me. I would love to hear from you!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pictures from the week. It was my last morning in Sydney a few hours before I got on the plane. I decided I needed to run the bridge one more time as the sun was coming up. Enjoy!

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