Trust Experiment — Options

Since I started the Trust Experiment, many have asked me, “What can you do?” or “What do you want to do?” And the honest answer to this question is, at least partially: I do not know.

Second Order Ignorance

I know some of the things I can do, as I’ve done them before. Develop software, build teams, lead people towards a purpose, help organisations unleashing their people’s potential… I will go into more detail in a later post.

Me at Play4Agile, explaining Back of the Room Training

Then there are things that I know I can’t or don’t want to do, like writing specifications, drawing org charts, or running a marathon.

I’m looking for things I might be able to learn given the right challenge… And most interesting out of the things I could learn are those which would not occur to me myself. The things I don’t yet know that I could do or learn them. Talents, skills, challenges I just didn’t think of or haven’t been aware of yet.

Real Options

  1. Options have value.
  2. Options expire.
  3. Never commit early unless you know why.

If you’ve met me or read this blog, chances are you’ve heard the Real Options meme before. What does “Options have value” actually mean…? I recently found (with some help, again, by Chris Matts and Olav Maassen) three levels, or orders:

Value of Execution

The obvious value of an option is in its execution. When I buy a concert ticket, that’s an option to have an amazing night out. Being at that concert has value.

The option comes at a cost. This is transactional thinking about options and decisions, it’s about value for money, possibly win-win… I call this 1st order Real Options.

Value of Having Options

“Options have value.” can be read as “Having options has value.” Seth Godin wrote in “We are all weird” that having a choice was today’s meaning of being rich.

Having a choice is valuable to me. Not being limited to one kind of work, one location to work, one client to work with…

Using Real Options this way, I call 2nd order Real Options:

  • being aware of and valuing having a choice, and
  • avoiding decisions to keep options open, and
  • consciously shifting your context to have more options.

Gift of Receiving Options

Turning this on its head with trust, asking others for the gift of giving options, allows them to surprised you with options you couldn’t even think of.

I can only identify options that are available to my conscious knowledge. Tapping into your collective knowledge (of me and my abilities in this case) allows you to surprise me. I call this 3rd order Real Options, or Deliberate Serendipity.

Please surprise me

Since I published the experiment about 50 hours ago, I’ve got emails, blog comments, tweets and other messages from people who do and don’t know me wishing me luck, congratulating my courage, and expressing their wish to work with me. Some specific options are beginning to emerge. One person suggested a kind of work to me I hadn’t considered before.

This is what I’ve been asking for. I’m grateful for the reactions I already got, and look forward to more. What do you think I could do? How can I best employ my talent to change the world (and earn my living)? Whom would you recommend me to get in touch with? Which event do I want to attend, which community to join? Comment here, drop me a tweet or email me: Olaf at Lewitz dot net. Thank you!.

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