Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wacky Wednesday - What Is It?

I've watched how quickly my children pick up technology and I wonder how far off this really is:

Thank you George Takei on Facebook

Perhaps we are there already and just don't know it yet...

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Not About You (INAY) and What's In It For Me (WIIFM)

Leadership is a position that many seek, however not always for the right reasons. Some people are looking for the recognition or the prestige. They picture the kudos, and often will not think about the benefits for the team that he/she is responsible for and/or the job he/she is supposed to do. But what can you do to avoid this?

A couple of years ago, I spent time as an Area Governor for Toastmasters International. The intent of an Area Governor (AG) is to be a leader for 3-6 clubs, and report to the Division Governor (who has 3-7 Area Governors). The goal of an AG is to become at least Distinguished, if not Select or President's Distinguished in your Area. In order to do that the clubs you work with need to (among other things) achieve a level in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). The goals of the DCP for the club are:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wacky Wednesday - Family

In some cases, it's easy to see the relationship between parent and child:

Yup, I think they're mine...
Photo: Matthew, your turn for a mohawk! 

Happy Belated Father's Day!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Breaking Track

Typically in the Army, an officer and enlisted personnel try not to mix too much. In previous posts I noted how I went to Dallas to see people in a battle of the bands, and how I attended a wedding for another member of my platoon; however, I always tried to maintain a space between my platoon and myself.
As an example, when the company moved inside a building at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Scunnion (yes, that was the name), my entire platoon had a large room to live in. I set-up my cot in the hallway, or when it wasn't too hot, on a patio outside the building. Why?

The reason is that I felt my soldiers needed time away from "daddy" (or maybe it was "mommy").  They needed space to have the conversations that they shouldn't/couldn't have around an officer, and it prevented us from getting too comfortable together. I was the leader, and the job may have required orders that would be very difficult with a friend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A long time ago, I was watching TV at home alone. My wife was out with the kids. I heard the washer stop and thought I would be helpful. I pulled the clothes out of the wash and into the dryer. I thought I was helping my wife (and thought I would get grief if I didn't do it..., looking back I should have known better since she didn't tell me to do it).
Little did I know that there was several items in the washer which DID NOT belong in a dryer. It was an expensive lesson, and one where my wife was frustrated with me, to the point where she asked me if I ever did laundry before in my life.

If you're wondering, the answer is yes; but I'm a guy, so all my stuff goes from wash to dry, and for the longest time I didn't understand the importance of sorting colors. I think I still have some "white" shirts with a green hue to them.

And now I don't touch the laundry unless it is to fold it.

I bring this up because this weekend my wife had a similar experience.

Friday, June 7, 2013

PMI Conference - Houston

This was a very busy week. I spent the first 3 days at the PMI Conference in Houston. You may remember my video (with my fellow Toastmasters):

It was a great event. There was more than 500 participants! The event was well organized, with a lot of solid (if not great) sessions for Project Managers to learn from (including two of my own). Discussions topics ranged from leadership and communication, to high performance teams; memory tricks and tips, to LinkedIn. A lot of ground was covered.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wacky Wednesday - PIZZA

For the Engineers that read my blog... I have to cater to them occassionally. I just hope they are hungry!

George Takei, Facebook

Monday, June 3, 2013

Your Team Will Talk... About YOU!

I was in a store yesterday, purchasing print-outs and office supplies for the PMI Houston Conference this week, where I am presenting 2 breakout sessions. I asked the cashier for something, which needed the manager to go to the back of the store, and while she was away the cashier said:

"I can't stand the manager, all she ever does is talk on the radio. She's got two strikes against her, one more and she's out... you know what I mean?"

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at

I was absolutely shocked! I've never met the cashier before (although I frequent the store a couple times a month), and although I had asked some questions, I don't think that I opened the door for that kind of comment.

I wanted to say "You probably shouldn't be saying those types of things to a customer, how do you think they will react? Will the customer come back if they know there is an issue?" Unfortunately, the manager came back just as he was finishing his statement, and I decided discretion was the better part of valor, for this day at least.

What this instance did for me was remind me of a simple truth: YOUR TEAM WILL TALK ABOUT YOU!

Now, whether the talk is positive or negative is completely up to how you treat your team. Do they feel respected, engaged, and that they are part of a team? Or do they feel dis-respected, under-utilized (or only perform busy work) and are just waiting for the clock to run out? Take a look at your team and really analyze which question better fits your circumstances. If it's the latter, then you have a lot of work ahead of you.

I hope that many of you will join me for the PMI Houston Conference at the Hyatt Regency. If not, I will continue to update the blog as the week goes on, so look for some highlights from the Conference. Talk with you soon!