Clarity First Newsletter, June 9, 2017

The answer to our suffering isn’t to take care of ourselves, it’s to learn to take care of each other.

One company’s trash could be another’s treasure.

When ad agency JCP Nordic updated its brand identity after 19 years, it realized it had a lot of old, outdated swag that would just go to waste, including sweaters, hats, notebooks, signage and even a branded car. So instead of doing away with it all, it ran a campaign offering the whole package to takers on the internet.
Article: The Lovely Story of a Scandinavian Agency That Gave Its Logo to a Romanian Car Wash

Men overestimate their abilities and performance. Women underestimate both.

Ouch. Valuable insight from my mindfulness teacher and coach, Shalini Bahl.
Article: 3 Skills to Overcome the Gender Gap in Confidence

Introducing Disruption, a new magazine about technology and how we use it.

“We deserve a better conversation.” By “we,” the authors mean everyone, because everyone uses technology. We are all both its subject and object. Introducing a new magazine about technology.
Article: Disruption: A Manifesto

“Conventional” collaboration is becoming extinct.

I have the privilege of knowing Adam Kahane as a client. For more than 25 years he has helped organizations address their most complex and vexing problems. Along the way he’s learned that conventional collaboration techniques, ones that seek what he refers to as the “miraculous option”, in which all parties work things through together, are too simplistic to meet the needs of an increasingly complex world.

He points instead to what he’s named stretch collaboration. Rather than just race toward consensus on the best solution to a problem, stretch collaboration allows groups to try out multiple perspectives and possibilities in order to discover, one step at a time, what will work and move the group forward.

For most people, stretch collaboration is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Fortunately for us, Kahane is an able and trustworthy guide into this uncharted territory. His new book is essential reading for any change agent in any kind of organization. It is essential reading in a time when our civic and economic lives are increasingly complex.
Book: Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust

The roughly 3500 books most essential to sustain or rebuild civilization

I live for the belief that we can learn to build species-wide cultures of respect, solidarity, mutual support and true sustainability. I look forward to watching this project grow.
Article: How Can We Create a Manual For Civilization?

A fasting and cleansing program for your organization

If you don’t do the conscious splitting up of signal and noise, discerning
– what is authentic and useful, and
– what is inauthentic and not useful,
then you’re just bathing in pure noise. In this state you are unable to determine what to act on and what not to. But fasting and cleansing works.
Article: How to Have an Organizational Detox

Start from an insight, not a product.

If nothing else, this is a brilliant example of how to articulate and express a company (brand) point of view.
Article: Moleskine: Anatomy of a Mindstyle Brand

RIP Jack Trout

I’ve got two complimentary definitions of your brand. Your brand is your promise to those you serve of how you help them, and your brand is what people think of your promise when they think of you. Jack Trout, one of the guys who taught me both, died last Sunday at the age of 82. Thank you, Jack. We’re carrying your work forward.
Article: The Origins Of Brand Positioning


Five days after Chris Cornell died in Detroit, Norah Jones played to a sold-out house in that city’s Fox Theatre. Without any intro she launched into a painfully beautiful rendering of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun. It’s because we, humans, can do this that I have faith.

Image of the week

The images in the headers are by Willie Cole. The smaller is called Procession (2006), and the larger is called Loveseat (2007). They’re part of On Site, a traveling show of the artist’s signature found-object sculpture, “which transforms common domestic objects like irons, shoes, and bottles into powerful ensembles evoking ancient gods and contemporary consumer culture”.
Article: Willie Cole brings steam irons, women’s shoes, and plastic water bottles to the Arthur Ross Gallery.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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