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Meet George Jetson: Successful people envision the future–not just adapt to it

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian
Author of A Quarter Million Steps

I grew up watching the The Jetsons, a futuristic television cartoon created by Hanna and Barbara in the early 1960s. As George Jetson and his family traveled around in flying vehicles while living and working in buildings that seemed to float in the sky, it was easy to think that anything representing a total paradigm shift from current life had to be light years into the future.

However, I recently attended the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The largest air show in the country, AirVenture was loaded with state-of-the-art military and civilian aircraft and even modern, private sector rockets such as Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. But it was the smaller, more experimental aircraft that fascinated me. Despite my Air Force years on fighters (F-111s to be specific - now appearing in museums), I found myself repeatedly drawn to these very personal flying machines the entire week I was there.
The o…

A Brick in the Hand (or is it a Bird?): Secrets to becoming more Creative

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian
Author of A Quarter Million Steps

Decades ago my dad, always the jokester, would tell this "multipart" joke. The genius of his approach was in how it was told––as two separate jokes, delivered back-to-back, each totally dependent upon the other. No one ever saw the connection until the end (often after it was revealed), which is what always made it funny.
Today, when I speak about creativity, I frequently begin the presentation by telling a version of his joke to help illustrate a point. It goes something like this:
A little girl is skipping down the street when she comes upon three colored bricks lying on the road: one red, one yellow, and one blue. She pauses, reaches down for the red one, thinks for a moment, and heaves it into the air. The brick hits the ground hard and breaks into pieces. After laughing a bit, she reaches down for the yellow one and heaves it higher into the air. The brick hits the ground with a greater force and shatters. Laughing a…

Pressure really blows

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian, the author of A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change

I recently saw the movie "Deepwater Horizon." Since the movie is based on actual events, I’m not spoiling anything by describing how it chronicles the 2010 oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the largest oil spill ever in U.S. waters. What struck me the most was how I could actually feel the gradual, yet massive buildup of pressure ultimately released from the ocean floor more than two and a half miles below the surface—pressure that literally blew apart the entire structure.

It got me thinking about how pressure can also affect our everyday lives. Except in a few scientific and engineering contexts, intense pressure is seldom a good thing. However, people often think they actually perform better under pressure, despite the research showing just the opposite: No one performs better under pressure.

“The idea that people perform …

The not-so-secret secret

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian, the author of A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change

Over the years, I’ve been asked a number of times how to creatively develop and maintain a competitive advantage in an environment marked by rapid changes in technology, fluid delivery systems, intense competition, real-time communication and instant (and often brutal) customer “experience” reports through social media.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear about someone bemoaning a poor customer service experience. In fact, I believe customer service has gotten so bad that some people generally seem to expect a bad experience. As a result, I believe we have lowered our bar to the point where we now just tolerate being treated poorly.

Although I do think it’s becoming more difficult to maintain an advantage, I believe there is a solution … perhaps even the solution. Here’s the “secret” competitive advantage solution, especially if you’re trying to build a…