When you're confidently and constantly coming up with ideas and you feel that nothing can stop you, you're experiencing what Thomas McGehee calls "whoosh." In Whoosh: Business in the Fast Lane (Perseus Publishing, $26), McGehee tells what he's learned running one of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young's Accelerated Solutions Environment centers, where entrepreneurs learn to build "creation companies" that exist in a constant state of whoosh.
The conflict between creation companies and their counterpart "compliance companies" permeates McGehee's thesis. Compliance companies are traditional hierarchical organizations that stick to the tried and true. Creation companies, on the other hand, emphasize freedom over control. They seek new ideas and approaches, and value individual expression and group collaboration.
Think of open communication and collaboration among everyone in your company in terms of the Japanese martial arts facilities called dojos. In a dojo, explains McGehee, there is no rank, and everyone competes on equal terms. By declaring your next strategy or brainstorming session a dojo, you can increase your own collaboration quotient, as well as the odds of hearing and feeling that elusive, exuberant whoosh.
The problem with modern work is we're too accessible, try to absorb too much information and have unreasonably high expectations, says leadership expert Sally Helgesen in her newest book, Thriving in 24/7: Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work (The Free Press, $25). The result she calls "frankenwork," a state of affairs as unnatural as the genetically engineered agricultural products some call frankenfoods.
Many writers have covered this topic, and not all Helgesen's strategies are new. But she makes even familiar scenery look fresh. For instance, she recommends looking back to your childhood to find activities you loved, and doing them now as part of a routine for recharging your batteries. Time to dust off the pogo stick?
Austin, Texas, writer Mark Henricks has covered business and technology for leading publications since 1981.