“True innovators have a mantra: The enemy of the best is the good.
They are constantly daring to make things better.”
—Robin Sharma, The Greatness Guide
Do we dare? Yes we do…
We dedicated a good amount of time during November to a rediscovery of one of our bests: The Daily 5 Minutes. I claim it to be the single best tool offered to you within the pages of Managing with Aloha, and I still believe that to be true, yet that does not give the D5M any immunity: We can still work on it, and continually make it a better practice.
Working on it within this effort to make it better launched us into an experiment within our virtual playground this past month. My series of D5M rediscovery posts here culminated in bringing the D5M to a brand new coaching challenge on Ruzuku, a new software app presently in alpha testing:
Ruzuku is a learning community built around support and encouragement. You commit to a challenge and then report periodically on your progress all the while supporting and being supported by the community going through the same thing you are.
—Rick Cecil, Ruzuku is here.
I created a free, 15-day habit-building challenge on Ruzuku aimed at helping people begin the D5M habit (or solidify it) and we had 30 people sign up. Here is what happened, and what we will be doing next having learned from the experience.
The Daily 5 Minutes is about having a new conversation, one you give to another person as a gift. We asked each challenge participant to simply give one D5M conversation to someone else each and every day of the 15-days within the program, and to post about their experience with it. Here are some of the things they shared:
“We continued our conversation on a project that he is interested in pursuing that is outside of his responsibility area. I appreciated the fact that he wanted my advice. I think it will be a good thing for him and motivate him in his responsibilities here at work.” —TM
“We took 5 over sandwiches, and she asked if we still could do it sometimes because she liked how it had a time limit to it. I asked why that was important to her and she said that it wasn’t just gossiping or chattering away. It was focused, meaningful talking and it helped her organize her thoughts.” —RG
“[He now knows] that it will be available whenever he asks or I ask for it. The reflection on this has been powerful. Internally I am progressing a lot. I will put this [new learning from our conversation] into action throughout the week.” —MK
Even the set-backs were encouraging in what they helped us take stock of!
“Yesterday was filled with meeting after meeting – frankly none of which produced more value than the D5M conversations I have been conducting lately. Missed my D5M opportunity.” —AO
The participants received a coaching tip each day from me, but I do think that the peer-to-peer coaching they gave to each other made the challenge much richer. As we had anticipated and hoped for, the Ruzuku alpha gave our D5M learning challenge the addition of co-learning camaraderie so that the one-on-one D5M conversations everyone had personally became exponentially revealing as other experiences were shared as well and they could compare notes. Take another look at those quotes I have shared, and imagine reading more like them for each of those 15 days running!
There is absolutely no doubt about it, we learn best from other people, and the alpha proved that once again.
Was it all rosy?
No, there were stumbling blocks, however those were expected, for we know that we basically learn in two ways:
- We celebrate our successes when we have them, and then we seek to duplicate them.
- We get to the root causes of our non-successes, and then we brush ourselves off and try again, continually improving our efforts.
There was also a number 3: Adding habit-building to the challenge meant we needed to get into a rhythm of continual success.
What the alpha attempted to do, was create a forum in which all 3 of those things could happen.
In watching the challenge unfold, and participating in it as both coach and participant (I continued doing my own D5M practice, sharing my experiences as well) I learned several things. So much so, that I am very eager to roll our learning into developing a set of new challenges at Ruzuku, and they will begin in each of the 2 Mondays coming up. Let me frame them for you before I share the new Ruzuku challenge links.
The playing field matters
My biggest learning was that we attempted to do too much in the challenge. While it called for just one Daily 5 Minute conversation per day, the playing field was much too large: People gave their D5M gifts in a number of diverse relationships including the workplace, friendships, family and marriage, and community volunteer work. Wonderful applications all of them, but too diverse to build a D5M habit in the way that habits are repetitiously created. It also had the effect of our trying to watch several games happening in different corners of the same field at the same time: There is no way you will see everything, and in trying to keep up with all the action you are going to miss a lot of important detail.
What I have learned from practicing the D5M for many years now, is that managers do extend their D5M practice outside the workplace and into their other relationships quite naturally and successfully. The alpha taught me that this is not as easily done the other way around, starting in relationships which are much more personal. We, as the givers of the D5M, need more practice first: It seems that the workplace (itself with a number of diverse reporting and peer relationships) is a good first base to start from, with other relationships then leading to optimal success eventually grand-slammed toward home plate.
We all want to be Better Listeners
There were also several people who seemed to sign up because they wanted to better their listening skills, but they were unsure about the other added 5-minute framing we purposely impose in the workplace. The daily and the 5 minute framing of the practice are critical in the way we apply them within the workplace for optimal effectiveness: They are not as important in other relationship contexts, and in fact, they may be too restrictive.
What we discovered was that everyone started with a focus on better listening, but once that was achieved, several people dropped out of the challenge choosing not to push forward with the habit building that would be predicated by the constancy of pushing their new conversations into previously uncharted territory. Within the workplace these opportunities can present themselves readily. They too are uncharted (again, the D5M will be a new kind of conversation), but there are more compelling reasons to pursue them. To use our metaphor, the game is already in motion, you are suited up in uniform and at the ready in position, and you are looking for a strategic way to make your next play.
New Game: We value those Base Hits
In trying to keep this post as short as possible I have not shared that much about Ruzuku itself, and let’s just say this: It is FABULOUS. You will meet new people there and you will love the way it works. It is simple and highly effective. Yes, it is an alpha, but Rick, Abe and crew are wonderfully responsive, and they jump into the learning with us and for us.
To all of you reading who did participate in the first one, thank you so very much for your participation. Because of you, and what you taught us, and learned with us, I am so very pleased to offer our next two Ruzuku challenges:
1. Starting Monday, November 30th, a 5-day challenge you can take on its own merit, or as a D5M warm-up:
The “Take 5” Listening Challenge: Daily 5-minute Conversations focused on Becoming a Better Listener. Sign up here.
You will improve your listening skills in a daily self-coaching focus, seeking to fully value others and learn from them every day for 5 days: 1 new listening conversation each day is required to participate. The challenge will end on Friday, December 4th.
2. Starting Monday, December 7th, a 15-day D5M Habit-builder. This time, we will stick to the playing field we know best, and will be focusing on our efforts exclusively on you as a manager and emerging leader in the workplace setting:
The Daily 5 Minutes Habit-Building Challenge: 15 Days to Build the Manager”²s D5M Conversation Practice in Workplace Communications.
You will practice the Daily 5 Minutes as a giver in your workplace, creating and building your D5M conversation habit as a better manager, and fully valuing another person within your learning process: 1 D5M is required to participate, every day for 15 days. The challenge will end on Monday, December 21st.
Update: This challenge is being rescheduled for sometime after the holidays: I will keep you posted.
Both are still free during this time we remain in the alpha stages of our Ruzuku offering. We will begin to charge for these programs shortly after we enter beta testing, so sign up now and give yourself the Christmas presents of peer-to-peer coaching in a terrific virtual learning environment.
Please participate, and share the news with every manager you know!
The Daily 5 Minutes remains one of the very best ways to introduce Managing with Aloha to your workplace in a very valuable, foundational way – or kick it into high gear. We are 6 short weeks away from a brand new year, and if you want to be ready for it with a newfound confidence these challenges will get you there.