Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Seagulls

There's a group of people who create a series of videos called "Bad Lip Reading" where they take videos from popular sources and try to change the dialog. Most are clever. This one made me laugh:

Enjoy, and avoid the Seagulls on the beach. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Thomas Edison

There is a fable that Thomas Edison was once interviewed by a reporter who asked how many times he failed before perfecting the light bulb. The response people know is:

I didn't fail. I just found 10,000 (number up for debate depending on source) ways that won't work.

Don't worry, that isn't the quote of the week. Here it is:

From the Smithsonian in Washington DC. By Erin Morey

What if Thomas had stopped at 9,999? Or for that matter, 10? Would we all still be using gas lights? Or would light bulbs look completely different from today? Would we even know who Thomas Edison was?

Persistence is the secret recipe for success, and the honest truth is that you only fail if you quit. With last week's post about NYRs, what are you working on? Have you figured out your Why? Do you have a Plan? Missing these things can easily lead quitting and failure. Until Wednesday, best of luck, and comment below to let us know what you are working on!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year's Resolutions

Welcome to 2017!

The last couple of weeks I've made jokes about New Year's Resolutions (NYRs), especially about how most people don't do them right and the huge failure rate of the resolutions. Some statistics put it as high as 92%!

Why do so many NYRs fail? Because we aren't doing them right! Think about it. Resolutions often circle around several themes:

1. Eating healthier
2. Exercising more
3. Stopping a "bad habit" (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.)
4. Starting a new habit.

We are encouraged to write them down and then start working on them. Within weeks they are forgotten or people quit. The first step is often the first problem. With the definition! When we write down our NYRs, they often take the form of:

"I will eat healthier"


"I will exercise more"


"I will quit smoking"

These are almost guaranteed as doomed before you even begun! Would you accept such loosely worded goals from you teams? Or as part of your business goals? Of course not! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Ninja

Sometimes people fall down for no apparent reason. Finally there's an explanation: NINJAS! Watch and learn:

I believe this is the original by Street Troller at FailArmy. It reminds me of America's Funniest Home Videos, but at least provides a reason for the end result. Some of these can only be explained by the sudden appearance of a ninja (or in some cases stupidity). I only hope the last guy managed to pull the cord for his chute...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - New Year's Resolutions (Part 2)

As I searched for something to share on Wacky Wednesday, I came across this picture and it brought a smile to my face:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Warren Buffett

One of the major traps of today is that of instant gratification. People want things to be be better now, not next week, month, year, decade or lifetime. It's not just related to electronics. The Harvard Business Review published an article about how most publicly traded companies can't have a legitimate 3-5 year plan because Wall Street pushes for Quarter to Quarter improvements, and if a company experienced several quarters of losses in pursuit of the plan, the CEO would be ousted for someone who could "provide" Quarter to Quarter improvements (forget being ready for the future).  A leader is supposed to have a vision for the future, plan for it, and take action to accomplish it. With all the expectations and lack of patience, this is a very difficult requirement. Hence, I find Warren Buffett's Quote even more pertinent:

Thanks again to my wife Erin for the picture and meme. The picture was taken at George Ranch Historical Park. Those two people enjoying the view are actually a statue meant to represent AP and Mamie George, the last generation of George descendants to run the ranch. If you get a chance, the family story is quite fascinating. Back to leadership.

As we progress into the New Year, what are you doing for the long term? How are you providing for the future of your team, or for that matter, of people in general? What goals and resolutions are you pursuing? Let me know in the comments. Maybe later this week I'll share a few of my own.

We may not always be around to witness the end result, but that shouldn't be the excuse not to lay the groundwork!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

'Tis the Season

This particular article is a little different than the one I intended. I was going to write something about New Years Resolutions (NYR), and how they almost give you permission to fail by calling them a NYR. Instead, I received an interesting LinkedIn message this week, and felt it was something worth sharing. After all, I write this blog to share my leadership experiences and the lessons learned. I would hate for people to think I'm avoiding topics.

The sender (on Christmas Day no less) sent a message intending to get under my skin and spit some venom. I was accused of being a joke and that people talked behind my back during a previous project several years ago. The message came from a person who I let go. It hurt to do it at the time (and hurts to see him still holding on to his anger several years later), as the person is a very likable person who was in over his head for the system design we were implementing and was slowing the rest of the team down because they had to correct or compensate for his work. He would make an excellent inspector or client representative, but detailed system specifications and designs were not his forte.

I never enjoy firing people, although I've been called upon to do it occasionally. I prefer to work with people to grow them and address issues. After all, if a person can improve then they become an asset, and you don't have to spend valuable time and resources trying to fill a void in the team. Sadly, not everyone makes the effort to grow (or can in the manner you need) and your job as leader is to solve problems and remove obstacles.

Back to the message. I honestly was surprised to see the message, not just because it came on Christmas Day, but also that it came from someone who hasn't interacted with me in years. Rather than ignore the message or respond with more venom, I decided it would be best to embrace the Christmas spirit, and hopefully help him resolve his anger.

My response to his venom was: