Archive for June 2007

Breakthroughs Happen in a Social Context

Tuesday night I rode my bike down to Fayetteville, just south of Atlanta, to attend Lisa Haneberg’s “2 Weeks 2 a Breakthrough” talk And talk about your breakthrough ideas – Lisa is riding her motorcycle across the country to promote her new book. I feel safe in saying this is the first time a business book has been promoted in such a way. And I’m certain it’s the first time ever by a woman. Pretty cool.

So what did I think about the talk? Lisa’s premise for this talk (and the book) is that little things matter. She relates in terms of chaos theory and the Butterfly Effect – which is a little new-agey â€“ but the analogies are for inspiration more than analysis. The main idea is that continual forward progress, even in tiny increments – builds velocity, and forward velocity leads to breakthroughs. To illustrate Lisa uses the consulting mainstay – the 2×2 matrix:


I think many of us spend our lives either in “Dreamer” or â€œStuck” modes. Those with adult ADD tend to be in the “Victim” quadrant – confusing motion with progress and paddling furiously but getting nowhere. But where we all want to be is in the “Peak Performer” quadrant.

Lisa offered two points that stood out for me:

  • Breakthroughs happen in a social context – If you aren’t out actively promoting your goal or idea – discussing it regularly with friends, colleagues, and strangers and sharing your challenges, achievements, and objectives – you aren’t going to make any breakthroughs.
  • Introverts, no matter how smart, rarely make breakthroughs – Breakthroughs do not happen in front of your face. They happen in the connections and gaps and networks that emerge from constant forward action and focus. [Editor’s note: Following a comment from Lisa the above bullet point should read ‘Introverts, no matter how smart, rarely make breakthroughs until they breakout of introverted behavior patterns…’]

I am a natural introvert. I’m more comfortable sitting alone in my office than I am in a crowd. Over the years I’ve worked hard at developing my extrovert capacity and done a lot of public speaking and presentations. But at my core I’m always more comfortable alone. That makes it easy for me to slip into the Stuck or Dreamer states.

And that’s a dangerous thing. It’s like exercise, or eating habits, or any other behavior you want to modify. What’s required is constant forward progress – even in small steps. If you stop – even for a little bit – getting started again is difficult. The inertia that builds is deadly. This is really the underlying principle behind all behavior modification, from Alcoholics Anonymous to Weight Watchers.

And so it is with Lisa’s program – simple, proven principles packaged in an easy-to-read program and supplemented with specific plans to help you move forward. More important, Lisa is building her own network and cult following. She asked each attendee to contact her by the end of the week and let her know how it was going, and if she could help, she would. Her goal for this tour is to help as many people reach a breakthrough as possible. Lisa has quite a few cities still to visit as she heads back west. Check her travel itinerary and go see her if you get the chance.