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The MacGuyver Factor

by Karla Robertson, PCC – Executive Coach, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator

Remember that television show from the 80’s called MacGuyver? The tagline was: “His mind is the ultimate weapon.” A few years ago they even resurrected his character in a tongue and cheek commercial send-up for Mastercard.

This series ran from 1985-1992 and starred Richard Dean Anderson as a secret agent who was armed with an almost infinite capacity for mental resourcefulness. He called upon this in each episode to get him out of impossible jams. Impossible to us viewers because we couldn’t imagine how he was able to assess his situation, identify his needs, scan his immediate environment for the resources available to him, connect the dots, and then put it all together into a solution which he used to get himself into the clear. How did he do that?

Well, one thing he did was reframe how he thought about what was available to him in his immediate surroundings. What are in your immediate surroundings that you could see differently that could prove to get you from being stuck to being free?

If you’ve been in a management or leadership role for any length of time, you have heard this phrase or something like it from your team (or maybe even yourself?) 

“In order to do that, I’d need a bigger budget, one more support person and…”

More and more the response is, “Well you don’t have that.” Now what?

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to step back and take stock of what you have to work with and ask yourself a few questions…These are only some of the areas in your immediate area to scan

Technology

  • What else could we do with what we have?
  • Instead of buying an upgrade or new system, do we know of anyone who can help us use what we have in a different way that will free us up or open new capabilities for the business?
  • If we are to invest, what should we do that will give us the biggest lift for the smallest investment?

Human Capital

  • What else could we achieve with who we have?
  • What other talents lie within our staff that we haven’t tapped?
  • What ideas might others have that we haven’t thought of?
  • Is there another way to draw out and leverage the collective experience, talent and wisdom of our people?

Current Products & Marketing

  • How else can we position what we sell?
  • Is there another way our customers could use our current offering? (product or services)
  • What do our customers say they are looking for that isn’t being fulfilled that we could fulfill with what we have? (with perhaps minor tweaks)
  • Is our current approach to market still relevant and speaking to our audience in a way they hear?

What would a corporate MacGuyver do these days?

Quote of the Month

“The happy and efficient people in this world are those who accept trouble as a normal detail of human life and resolve to capitalize on it when it comes along.”  ~ H. Bertram Lewis

Message from Karla

What story are you telling yourself these days?  In keeping with that theme, I thought I’d introduce you to the 12 stories or archetypes in what Pearson-Marr call “The Hero’s Journey” as we move through the rest of 2009. Carol S. Pearson and Hugh K. Marr created the PMAI™ (Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator) which speaks to archetypes or stories. Archetypes are psychological constructs that come to us in images, symbols and themes that are found in all cultures and throughout time. Each archetype has a story and a character that is rooted in that story. The vision of each archetype we experience was shaped long ago as we grew up and embodies certain attributes and ways of seeing the world. As we move through our lives, we live one or more of these stories which shape the way we see the world and how we show up and operate in it. The PMAI is based on the work of the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung and is supported by years of research, highly validated and use in many arenas including education, counseling and personal growth development including coaching most recently. It is alive in all cultures though each character may be visualized differently, the story is still the same e.g. The Warrior in Japan might look like a Samurai and in America would look like G.I. Joe but it also would include someone who fights for a cause they believe in. The external details and settings will differ based on individuality and culture but the underpinning of their archetype story is the same.

Where each of us starts in our own hero’s journey is not as important as being in touch with what story or stories we are living and are most awakened in us at any point in our lives. What do they mean? How do they influence where we’re headed and how we’re going to show up each day on the way there? The reason I ask the question, ‘what story or stories will you be telling yourself this year,’ is because we become the stories we live each day. They influence how we see and make sense of the world and engage ourselves in it.

Some archetypes are active continuously while others come and go as our development and experiences call on them. None of us, however, follows the exact same path and our archetypal companions that are with us along our life’s journey vary in the time they spend as our internal gurus as we make our way in this world. I encourage you discover the stories that are actively guiding your life today.  Take the PMAI and I’ll give you a complementary debrief on it!

Want to discuss your own hero’s journey and maximize how it works in your life? Contact me at 732-845-4833 or karla@karlarobertson.com