Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sacrificing the Long Term for the Short

In the last couple of years, I've started seeing more and more books and articles about the fallacy of shareholder value as the primary responsibility of a business exacerbating the drive to meet the monthly and quarterly numbers at the sacrifice of long-term goals and plans. Organizations are so concerned with hitting the short-term metrics that they are literally leveraging the businesses future to reap today's bonuses; even when it hurts the long-term health of the company and foreseeable impacts the ability to hit the future numbers. Unfortunately, this is an issue I've seen up close and personal several times.

I've worked across multiple ERP implementations, for Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions. As is the case with most of my projects, I am typically not on the ground when the projects start but instead work to fix the projects after errors, missing change management, and difficulty with expectation management have driven the projects off the rails. In this particular case, as I conducted Lessons Learned, I realized the company made the exact same mistakes twice (once during a Finance implementation, and then again during a Sales Order implementation), and the cause of the mistakes was a focus on hitting the current monthly/quarterly numbers rather than planning the resources and strategy to ensure a smooth deployment of the new ERP system, which would impact the business for years to come.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - 100 People

A little more than a year ago a video started making the rounds, showing the statistical breakdown of the world, based on if the world was 100 people:





Some interesting numbers from the video:

  • 60 out of 100 people would live in Asia
  • The world would be 50/50 split between women and men
  • 12 would speak Mandarin, 6 Spanish and 5 English
    • The rest would be spread out over 6,500 other languages
  • 71 People make less than $10 a day
  • 1 Person controls 50% of the money
  • 44 have Internet, but 75 have a mobile phone!
Interesting numbers, don't you think?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Leadership Quote - Douglas MacArthur


As we wrap up Veteran's Day weekend, I wanted to share this quote from Douglas MacArthur. Integrity is a key asset of a leader, and yet so easy to lose, very similar to Trust, a leader's most fragile asset. When Integrity goes Trust follows. So, as we recognized our veterans this weekend, I bring you a quote from a great American General, and ask are you maintaining your integrity? Are you doing what you say you would? Can your team count on you to make tough decisions and trust you to listen to their needs? Leadership isn't easy, but it is critical to success. Can you keep your integrity? Can your team trust you to?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Last Project Steps... Under Pressure




I'm a big fan of Queen, and one of the songs I love is a partnership with David Bowie called Under Pressure from 1981. Maybe it's because I often feel that leaders are under pressure to get things done, or maybe that I'm usually under pressure because I tend to be brought in on projects that are falling behind. 



Unfortunately, leaders aren't the only ones under pressure. The members of the project team are often under pressure too. Let me share with you one example:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - The Universe Shouldn't Exist!



Apparently the Big Bang should have ended with another bang as Matter and Anti-Matter collided causing complete annihilation of everything we know (almost feels like a Star Trek episode). This was confirmed by an even more precise measurement of anti-protons by physicists at the CERN Baryon-Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) near Geneva, Switzerland.

From CERN
Not to get too precise about it (you can find the start of the real sciency stuff here), but basically science has no way to explain why the anti-matter and matter didn't collide and decimate all of existence before it even began. This asymmetry is the reason we all live today, but as far as science can explain, we shouldn't have gotten anywhere near this far.

The reason I share this is because it reminds me that there are things that we simply cannot explain. No matter how much you know, no matter how precise you think the measurements are, there is always more to learn. I share this as a reminder that discovery continues to happen, not just for myself, but for the human race as a whole, and I think that's AMAZING!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Leadership Quote - Robert F. Kennedy

Created by Erin Morey
So often we seek the safe path, and yet the safest path is also the path of mediocrity, or average. Do you want to play it safe, or dare to fail greatly in order to achieve greatly? Fortune favors the bold, no pain no gain, the bigger the risk the bigger the reward. These are all sayings about taking the risk to reap the reward.

The question you should be asking yourself isn't whether or not to take the risk. The real question should be how do you mitigate the risk and maximize the opportunity for greatness? To that, I would say start with the Risk Management posts from this blog (1, 2, 3, and 4).

In case you were wondering, Robert F Kennedy is related to John F Kennedy (brothers), he was a politician, and he too was assassinated. A shame and I wonder what the world would have been like if the two assassinations didn't happen...

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Bad CGI

Last week I shared a list of effects you wouldn't believe aren't CGI. Now, we have 10 effects you can't ignore are CGI (warning mild language):


These moments take you right out of the movie and are in some cases just a horrible, horrible joke.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Leadership Quote - Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Created by Erin Morey
A spin on the quote from Alexander the Great, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand was the chief diplomat for Napoleon, whose main job was to secure French gains through peace after the battles. In the end, some would argue that he was a traitor as he gave up a lot of the French conquests at the Congress of Vienna, although the settlement was favorable for France.

Most often when I see this quote it is associated with a full-maned male lion who is roaring out his defiance, but prides are matriarchal, typically led by a female, while the male is almost there solely for breeding and protection. The lioness hunts, protects the cubs, and in general looks after the well-being of the pride, while the lion will fight other lions and laze about, occasionally roaring to let everyone know he is still dominant and around. So which leader would you rather be? As much as it may hurt my male ego, I would rather behave like a lioness

I am often amazed what a weak team can do with a strong leader, and dismayed at what a strong team cannot do when they don't have a leader. Many times a change in leadership often brings different results. Most of my life I've been the second or third leader on a team, taking over units/teams that were not meeting their goals. I've found superstars in those teams, but they were held back by the lack of leadership.

Now it is hard to make a sheep into a lion, but often you can find lions in the ranks and grow them. As John Maxwell often says, the true job of a leader is to make more leaders, not followers. Take a moment for a not so small thing (last week's quote). Are you lion or sheep? And if you are a lion, are you making sure to find and grow other lions?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Special Effects that AREN'T CGI

Beleive it or not some effects are still done without CGI, especially before the turn of the century, but includes Lord of the Rings or the Dark Night, or Inception among other movies. Here's a pretty interesting video about some of the practical effects from big movies:



Monday, October 23, 2017

Leadership Quote - Richard Branson



Created by Erin Morey
Sir Richard Branson makes another appearance on the C4Leader blog. Time for a little bit of my funny side to make an appearance. We've been doing a lot with the family the last couple of weekends, which is great, and honestly often gets put to the side because of work, an emergency, etc. Well:

If you don't have time for the small things, you won't have time for the big things - Richard Branson

What are you making time for? So often we get caught up in the Urgent and Important and even the Urgent but Not Important, but instead we miss out on the Not Urgent but Important things, like making time for family, exercising, polishing shoes, stepping back to plan, or taking the time to read a book or enjoy a moment of silliness (like the picture above). If you want to learn more about the Urgent and Important, Urgent but Not Important, and the Not Urgent but Important, I would recommend my post on the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:


So where are you spending your time and are you making time for the small things?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - RedBull Flugtag

This year the Flugtag was in Nashville, and the family made a day of it. It was nearly 90 degrees, but the entertainment value was great. Here's a video (warning, LONG video) of the Flugtag:



And here are a couple of moments before ouch captured by my wife Erin. Enjoy!









Monday, October 16, 2017

Leadership Quote - ?

Created by Erin Morey
An adage that is attributed to many places, the Bible, Chinese Proverb, or perhaps a lady named Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, but the truth will continue to be accurate for as long as people are human. This particular quote is holding a little bit of literal truth as well as figurative, as the family prepares for a few camping trips in the coming weeks and my oldest son has found a joy in fishing (pictured).

In previous posts, I've written about the need to train your people, as you cannot only rely on the superstars but also need to build up others (Morey's Law 16: If You Complete More Than Your Fair Share of Work...). When you do the work for your people, the job may get done, but the person doesn't learn anything. When you train them, it may take longer initially, but they will learn more and take more work off your plate in the long run.

In parenting, it is the same thing. Are you teaching your child or doing the work for them? One of our favorite activities every year with the kids is the Pinewood Derby. Each year we give the kids more to do with the cars, with our hands on the piece of wood for the more difficult actions, but under supervision, only for the things we know they can handle. We are teaching them self-confidence and some minor woodworking, as well as problem-solving. In fact, this quote folds well for one shared a couple of weeks ago from Richard Branson (with my other son):


So are you giving fish, or teaching to fish for your team?


Thursday, October 12, 2017

They May Need It, But They Won't Read It! - Email with Management

I seem to be on a Communication kick lately. This post is a direct result of a conversation with a fellow Project Manger earlier this week, where we were discussing how to model communication for managers and executives, to get them to actually read it. Along they way, I muttered the line "They may need it, but they won't read it!" and I realized that the topic was perfect for my readers.

Earlier in the week I identified that we all have the same number of seconds in a day, and asked what you were doing with your time. Well, managers and executives are even more pressed than most people, and are often flooded with "important" emails and meetings that eat away their ability to concentrate, make decisions, or manage their time. Very often they feel like this:
StockUnlimited.com: 1891725

Project Managers and team leaders often find themselves needing input or decisions from others, and feel they need to provide a lot of background to ensure that the recipient is well informed. The problem is that very often our recipient can feel like they've been thrown-up on with data, and unable to identify what exactly we are asking for. With that in mind, I would recommend a couple of courses of action to improve the chances that your targeted recipient will actually read the email you are sending:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Life-Hacks



So Bored Panda has an ever growing list of life-hacks, and some of them you might even use. Here are a couple from the list:


Monday, October 9, 2017

Leadership Quote - Mark Twain

Created by Erin Morey
The world will continue to spin no matter what you do about it, and everyone has the same 86,400 seconds. What are you doing with them? One of the largest issues I have is that I often will have great ideas and then put them on the back burner because of a contract, project, or sometimes just not sure what the next steps are or from (honestly) fear that it might not be as good as I think it is. We can stay safe in harbor, or we can sail away for adventure and perhaps even a little glory. Ships are made for sailing not staying safe, and neither are we made to stay safe. Fortune favors the bold, which means casting off the ties and exploring what comes your way. Who knows, perhaps I might even join you out on the seas.

Mark Twain was the nom de plume (pen name) of Samuel Clemens, a famous American author credited with writing The Great American Novel about the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Generative Design





Yesterday's quote from Charles Kettering was about keeping an open mind and finding opportunities in any industry. Well, are you ready for something truly fascinating? I was amazed about this:
Source: http://www.arup.com/news/2015_05_may/11_may_3d_makeover_for_hyper-efficient_metalwork
We tend to think that computers would design things in a clunky, logical fashion; but instead they take after nature, looking to provide the best support with the mininmal material. Each of these pieces are designed for the same structural load and forces, but the last one is using a latest form of algorythm in a practice called Generative Design.

And it can be applied to more than structural supports. How about car frames:
Source: http://www.femnews.pl/en/2016/07/26/where-vr-meets-the-road-how-gpus-power-hack-rod-worlds-first-ai-generated-car/



or engine blocks?

Source: http://inthefold.autodesk.com/in_the_fold/2015/07/autodesk-within-generative-design-optimized-for-3d-printing.html

I find the concept fascinating. Who knows where it will appear next. Perhaps it will be how the cast is made for the next broken bone you see:

Source:https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/smart-cast-algorithms/

For an interesting article on the topic, click here



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Leadership Quote - Charles Kettering (Belated)

Created by Erin Morey

Sorry for the delay in posting. This weekend was a Cub Scout Camping Trip, and we came home to a power outage. But we are back up and running, so here is this week's quote!

Charles Kettering was a prolific man. Inventor, engineer, businessman, and holder of 186 patents, I wonder what he would think of the world today. I'm sure his quote would resonate even stronger with the rapid pace of technology and the availability of rapid fabrication procedures and 3D printers.

With that in mind, I would complement this quote by stating that the opportunities are limitless in every industry because you never know what new discovery or technology can do to an industry. Just last month, as I presented to the PMI Nashville Symposium, I stated: "Your position is no longer secure. It is no longer enough to take a project from start to complete. You must be able to see how the project fits in the business strategy. If you can't do that, you won't be a Project Manager for very long."

So what are you doing to explore the opportunities? If you aren't making the opportunities, what are you doing to stay abreast of them? Industries will change without notice, and if you aren't trying to stay on top of it you'll wake to find that your cheese was moved. Keep that open mind and prepare for change. It is one of the few constants a person can count on.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How Critical is Clear, Concise Communication?



The Communication Cycle - C4Leader.com
Recently, my child reminded me of an important leadership/project management fact: The importance of CLEAR, CONCISE Communication. Previously in this blog, I've shared the Communication Cycle and the 8 Diffusers of Communication (1-7 here, 8 here). What my youngest inadvertently taught me was that the verify step is incredibly important and that even if you think you are being clear, the intent of a task or requirement can still be easily misunderstood.

During a parent-teacher conference with our son's 2nd-grade teacher,  Mrs. W pulled out an assignment she wanted to share. Her thoughts were that our child is easily distracted (he apparently tried to sneak books to read under his desk when bored) and doesn't always pay enough attention to follow directions. The assignment was Write About Your First Week of School. Here is my son's paper:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Everyday Objects or Pop Culture Icons?





Bored Panda shared a group of photos that showed everyday objects. I was amused by a lot of these pics:
This Truck Carrying Rolls Of Plastic Looks Like Cookie Monster


And a couple were disturbing:

Meth. Not Even Once. Rip Thomas The Tank Engine



See the full collection HERE.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Leadership Quote - Richard Branson

Created by Erin Morey
Richard Branson's name carries the same mystic as only a few others: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs.

The best way of learning about anything is by doing. - Richard Branson

Human beings are typically creatures of comfort, meaning we rarely step outside our comfort zone. As we get older, we gravitate toward activities that we are good at, often forgetting that everything we are good at we once were terrible. I am guilty of this too. I have projects that sit for days, weeks, months, etc. because I don't want them to be terrible. But no matter how many books you read, lessons you listen to, or videos you watch, you will not fully gain the skill until you try. 

Woodworking definitely falls into that category. I've read a lot of woodworking books, watched videos, attended classes, and yet my hands rarely make the tools do what I know they should, at least the first time. As I gain more practice, I am better able to use the knowledge from books and videos, and my hands become more sure and my skill grows. Now I try to pass some of that to my children. The picture is my youngest sanding his pinewood derby car for Cub Scouts. 

In the same vein, leadership skills grow not just from reading books or blogs, but the use of the techniques identified, and self-assessment to determine how to be better. As I speak at conferences, I often encourage the members of my audience to pick one thing that was learned (and only one) to implement immediately, and to not let the "self-help" of the conference become "shelf-help" as notebooks rest on bookshelves and the day to day life of the attendees resumes. 

To wrap this up, what are you putting off, because you are afraid of how it might turn-out? Do you have a project you want to do, but feel you need to learn more before you start? Well, perhaps you have learned enough and the best way you will grow from here is to do!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Texas (American) Hero - JJ Watt


A post shared by espn (@espn) on


Hurricane Harvey has been a fairly constant posting topic for this blog the last couple of weeks. A while ago, for a Wacky Wednesday, I posted a link to JJ Watt's crowdfund to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.  As of the closing of the program more than $37 million has been raised! Not bad for something that started with a goal of $200k.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Snipers, Door Kickers, and Girl Scouts



My sons are selling popcorn to support the Boy Scouts, and are doing a fantastic job. While I was poking around the internet, however, I came across an interesting photo:

Image may contain: one or more people and text
from CHEEZburger.com

This caused a laugh because I often call the Girl Scouts outside the various stores in our areas Snipers because they are there to snipe our dietary plans. Usually, the moms laugh as I reach for my wallet and buy some Samoas.

I have to admit that these tactics might be a little too aggressive, but definitely amusing...


If you want to support Boy Scouts by purchasing popcorn from my boys, please use this link and the following codes:
http://www.popcornordering.com/Popcornordering/Store/Entry

Oldest Son:
7133107776
Youngest Son:
8127633502


Monday, September 18, 2017

Leadership Quote - Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant - Robert Louise Stevenson

We return to Robert Louis Stevenson this week for our quote. How are you judging your day? By the rewards you received or the effort you put in? Today especially people want the instant gratification of seeing rewards without necessarily doing the work.  Simon Sinek mentions in a video about "Millenials in the workplace" that people are often at the starting point of their career, relationship, or goal and they see the summit of where they want to go but don't see the mountain:

The full interview can be found here

With that in mind, what are you planting for tomorrow? You and your teams should be working towards tomorrow's harvest. Be aware of the mountain, and climb a little bit of it every day. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Leadership Quote - William James


Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. - William James

The quote this week is from William James, an American philosopher, and psychologist. With all the focus over previous weeks related to reacting to life and how the best-laid plans can be ruined by Nature or Fate, I felt it was worth noting that you decide how you react, and if you decide that life is worth living, then it will be for you. 

From the leadership perspective, you must do what you can for your team to decide the "life is worth living" as well. Work with them to remove obstacles and see the value in what they do. Team members are happier when they understand the impact of what they are working toward and that their role has value. Communicate that to the team and help them remove obstacles, and their lives will be immeasurably happier. 

As an FYI, this is my oldest son running into the waves, enjoying a previous summer break, and truly enjoying life in that moment. How often do you have moments of pure joy like that? Perhaps it's time to find more?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leadership Quote - Charles Swindoll


Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. - Charles Swindoll

This week's quote is from Charles Swindoll, an evangelical Christian pastor, and author, and relates well to the theme from the past weeks. Last week I shared a quote related to and the story of the missed total eclipse, with a quote about how Nature can impact plans. This week we discuss that life is mostly how you react to things rather than the careful planning you created in your life.

Way too often we've had plans for how our life will move forward, and yet rarely does life give you what you expect or plan for. Most often you have to adjust to what life gives you and then find ways to move forward, good or bad.

As a leader, your reaction is contagious. When you react with anger, your team reacts with anger or fear. If you react with confidence (even if you don't feel it) your team will be more comfortable and confident that they can handle the situation. During the eclipse, when the cloud arrived, my friends and I still had a good time enjoying the sight of Jupiter, the bats, and what felt/looked like sunset at 1:27 in the afternoon. So, how are you going to react?

Friday, September 1, 2017

10greatest.com - Top Leadership Blogger

Earlier this week, I was thrilled and a little humbled to learn that I was included in a list of the top leadership bloggers from 10greatest.com. The link to the article can be found here (my efforts are the 25th in the list of 57).

This is the second year in a row where I've been recognized as a top leadership blogger. When I first started this blog, it was meant to be a way to explore the various lessons and experiences I've had over my lifetime, to help solidify my thoughts on leadership. Apparently, I must be doing something right, as the lessons are helping others too.

Thank you for this recognition, I am humbled to be included with some of the other names on this list, like Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Stephen Covey/Franklin Covey, Allison Green, and Michael Rogers. I only hope that I can continue to provide insight and clarity for years to come as we continue to explore this calling of leadership!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - FEMA Director Brock Long



From NASA twitter account


Hurricane Harvey is a disaster on a massive scale. I cannot express how significant this particular event has been. 800-year storm, with destruction and flooding across areas in Texas, the size of several smaller states, and billions of dollars in damage (potentially $40 billion+).



People line up to volunteer
People line up to volunteer CREDIT: MICHAEL CIAGLO /HOUSTON CHRONICLE VIA AP

In the wake of the Hurricane, many local heroes have appeared. First responders and local civilians banding together to help their community. Lines around the block to be a volunteer and help. People coming from across the country to help evacuees. The amount of effort amazes me.

Image result for Brock Long FEMA
FEMA.gov



One other thing that did surprise me. FEMA Administrator Brock Long. I've watched Administrator Long spend a significant amount of time in front of cameras answering difficult questions and providing real leadership for the government's operations/activities.








A couple of things that he did that deserve kudos:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Hurricane Harvey

From NASA twitter account





Normally I try to share something light-hearted on Wednesdays, as a break for the week and a way to enjoy hump-day. This week I'm going to focus on a more recent and pressing concern. Hurricane Harvey has created a lake out of a place I called home for nearly 10 years: Houston, TX and the surrounding areas. Thankfully, the area of town I lived in is an island in that lake, but many of my friends were not so lucky, and even more so, with the media's focus on Houston, the damage in Rockport, Corpus Christi, and other areas of Southeast Texas is largely overlooked.  It is a sad state of events, but thankfully people are banding together to help each other out. Many of my friends who are capable are using their large trucks or boats to rescue those that are stranded, and the stores like HEB and Buc-ee's are opening their doors to first responders and evacuees alike in order to hopefully provide much-needed supplies, and Mattress Mac is once again showing how big his heart is by opening his furniture stores to evacuees and sending out his employees and trucks to help with rescue efforts.

Today I'm sharing a link to some of the pictures from Hurricane Harvey. If you are not in the area but want to help, I would suggest donating to either the Red Cross or to the Hurricane Relief fund set-up by Houston Texans superstar (and fantastic guy) JJ. Watt, which started with a $200,000 goal and is quickly rising to $6 million:


Red Cross
https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund:
 https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053

In case you were wondering, the total amount of rainfall from Hurricane Harvey is more than 9 TRILLION Gallons, and still continuing (from the Washington Post):

Monday, August 28, 2017

Leadership Quote - Arthur C. Clarke


All plans are subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Univers - Arthur C. Clarke

This week's quote is one of many from British author Arthur C. Clarke. Human beings do so love their plans. We become so wed to them that we often don't think about the "What ifs" that could occur and thwart those very same plans. How could anyone be so malicious as to cause a failure in our efforts? Sadly, it isn't always a someone who throws the monkey wrench. Often it can be something well beyond our control, as I re-learned last week.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Set-up to Fail

For the last 10 years, my career has largely focused on fixing projects that are on fire and where chaos reigns. I often call myself a "Parachute Project Manager" who jumps into chaos and controls the fire because of this. I even provide a program based on the lessons learned from those experiences for PMI chapters and other organizations.

In point of fact, there are typically three things that cause the failure of a project: Poor Scope Definition, Poor Change Management, and non-existant Stakeholder Management.  Why are these problems so prevalent? Typically because the previous "Project Managers" were set-up to fail from the beginning!

First, I'm not saying that the projects were poorly specced (although most projects are). Second, the "Project Managers" that are given these roles often tend to be highly intelligent and technically capable people. The reason I say that these "Project Managers" were set-up to fail is that they typically don't have any training in leadership, team building, or even Project Management before being given the project!

A typical scenario is that a company will promote or hire the most technically capable person they can find into the role of "Project Manager." The logic is that if the person is capable of doing the project by himself/herself, then they must be capable of leading a team to do it. This logic is flawed, because the skill-sets are dramatically different between designing a software solution, an oil rig, a skyscraper or whatever, and leading a team of 5-100 people who are trying to accomplish the same goal. That is why I put the term "Project Manager" in quotations up to this point. In many cases, the person who was promoted, without the skill-set, falls back into what they are comfortable with: the technicals. Instead of becoming a Project Manager, the person becomes a Lead Engineer, Drafter, Designer, etc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Screen Junkies



House Bolton does what it wants! And the Screen Junkies are at it again. Very amusing with some fantastic singers. Stick around to the end to hear Micheal Bolton's theme for Game of Thrones!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Bobby Unser

Today is the day for a solar eclipse, and since we moved to Nashville, we were able to enjoy a partial experience of totality (partial because a cloud decided to be mean and hide the sun just as totality happened and cleared out just after). It was still interesting to see the darkness drop, see a couple of stars, and even watch a few bats slice across the sky acting like it was dusk rather than 1:30 in the afternoon. 

This week's quote is related to the eclipse because:


Picture by Erin Morey, of a previous Eclipse, viewed from Texas

Success Is Where Opportunity and Preparation Meet - Bobby Unser (American Automobile Racer)

Some people ordered glasses early, found a place to see the total eclipse, booked the travel, and were prepared. Others sadly were not as prepared. My Facebook feed probably wasn't the only one filled with people asking for extra eclipse glasses or looking for places to crash. 

The end result was that many of us were prepared for the opportunity and met with success, others missed it, and yet others (like myself) were impacted by variables beyond our control and achieved partial success. 

The questions are: Are you prepared for the opportunity? Or are you hoping random chance will intervene? What goals do you have and how can you prepare? As a leader, how can you prepare your team for the organization's goals? Are you preparing your team to be future leaders?

I hope many of you enjoyed the eclipse and have a great week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Game of Ikea





I haven't commented much about a favorite show, Game of Thrones, on this blog. It is one of the few shows that is nearly always "must watch TV." For a while, we even had friends come over every Sunday night for dinner, board games, and then GoT. I can understand why some people aren't watching it, and I respect that. I enjoy the political intrigue and military strategy shown in the show, and even toyed with the idea of using the show as a leadership tool for videos and blogs.

Part of the thing that makes GoT so compelling is the level of detail for show. Sets, props, costumes, it all appears meticulous and REAL. Today, I offer a glimpse behind the glass:

Would it shock you to learn you could make a cloak/cape similar to John Snow's with an IKEA rug? It certainly did me.


game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea-9


game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea-1


Pictures from BoredPanda.com. You can learn more at: http://www.boredpanda.com/game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea/. Enjoy and let your Night's Watch costume grow!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

You Can Get Use To Anything

I've been toying with a story and possible speech for some time now, but I'm unclear how to present it. It is related to one of my more popular posts: HD vs. Black & White, in that it is about how one makes the transition to HD over time, and can get used to anything in a rather short time.

More than a decade ago, I was 23 years old, just over a year out of college, and deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I deployed as one of the Strategic Planning Officers for an Armor Battalion. It's a fancy name for Gopher and peon, which is exactly what you expect for an unproven 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) deployed to a combat zone. Iraq is hot, sandy, and because we were in a valley between two rivers, humid. You woke up sweaty, went to bed sweaty, and itched constantly from the sand, sand fleas, and, of course, being sweaty. Not a fun environment.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Bad Dad Jokes

Long time no new content. Shame on me for that one. Not offering an excuse, time to keep the game going, with some really bad dad jokes:




Look for my next post on Thursday, and Motivational Monday will return next week!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Skydiving

Earlier this week we shared a quote related to fear and how it is in the way of everything you want. To keep the theme rolling here is Will Smith sharing a moment of pure terror turning to bliss:



At the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. It's bliss!

The full story from the video is 6 minutes long, which you can find here.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Leadership Quote - George Addair

Photo: https://www.grandcanyonwest.com/skywalk--eagle-point.htm

At the Grand Canyon there is the Skywalk. It is a horseshoe shaped steel and glass structure that juts out over the Grand Canyon (4000 ft.) and makes you feel like you are stepping onto thin air. To get on the bridge, they take all the items out of your pockets, you have to wear little booties, and you aren't allowed to bring your phone or camera. Instead, there are people whose job is to take pictures, you hand in the ticket they give you and you get a great memory.

Erin and I are not the easily scared type of people, in fact, we were told we could jump on the glass and we did, much to the dismay of several people nearby. Someday somebody remind me to share how I was the photo-op for a bus of Chinese tourists. It's a good story.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Leadership Quote - Will Rogers



Lots of things happening in the Morey household these last couple of weeks. Moved to a new home, the family finally arrived with me, and then a trip to Phoenix followed immediately by a trip to Sweden for a client. Hopefully, things can start to settle to a level of normalcy. I apologize that I missed last week, between the short trips, jet lag, and poor internet, I just didn't have the bandwidth (get it?) to get things posted from overseas. It tells me I need to start building a repository of material. Anyway, here is this week's quote:


Thanks to Erin Morey for the meme!

First and foremost, are you on the right track? Are you doing what you want to be doing, or are you doing things that support what you want to be doing? People often find themselves doing things because it is expected of them, or they think "this is a temporary situation, someday..." The problem is that temporary can become permanent when you aren't paying attention and someday quickly becomes never in those situations. So, are you on the right track?

Second, are you making progress on that track? The world moves even faster than in Will Rogers times, which means that if you are standing still opportunity will pass you by, and others on the same track may run you over to get it. I recently read an article that a woman invented a tool to help her daughter concentrate, perhaps you've seen it:
Fidget Spinner - The Original Stress Relief Toy
As Seen on TV and Beyond
Well, for want of $400 she let the patent slip and now companies are making millions while she receives nothing, is struggling with house payments and doesn't have a reliable car. She was on the right track but has been run over. Now, I am not going to make judgments, because I cannot know her situation. All I can say is that in 2005 if she spent $400 would we be seeing this tool everywhere still today? And would she be making money from it, rather than watching it on TV and wondering?

The world is full of these situations. So, what track are you on? And are you standing still or making progress?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Leadership Quote - Anonymous



Sports history is full of teams that were full of superstars yet failed to win championships (here is a list of 5 NBA teams in recent history, but we can find more across all sports). Why is that? So many teams appear "guaranteed" for a championship, how could they not with all that talent? 

The answer is in this quote, which I wish I knew the original author. The superstars with all their talent played to be superstars and for the glory rather than for the team. Because the players were more interested (more often) in the name on the back of the jerseys, the name on the front lost. Egos got in the way of teamwork and the teams were unable to gel and win championships. 

The same holds true in most businesses. Management strives to put the best team together, however even if they bring together a group of superstars, the management team often misses the mark of getting the team to work together for the same goal. 

What are you doing with your team? Do they know what the objectives are? Do they understand what the priority is for the entire team, and not just the individual? And are you managing the people so that they aren't in it only for themselves? If you have a "player" who is brilliant, but constantly causes team dynamic issues, it may be time for a change. 

What actions can you take to make sure people are working for the team? I would love to hear your ideas. Perhaps we can make it an article for future publication?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Darren LaCroix Part 2

This is a quick one, as I have an NSA conference this weekend, then an international trip immediately after. Towards the end of last year I shared a quote of the week from World Champion Speaker Darren LaCroix, who delivered it directly to an audience who was getting a little too empathetic for a person receiving an evaluation. Reviewing the post, the material was good, but the picture didn't work with the written material. Here's why:


I have two young boys who I love more than anything in the world. One of our favorite activities are board games. Monopoly, Risk, Settlers of Catan, Sorry, Uno, Skipbo, Scattegories, etc. etc. etc. The games are fun and the kids love them, but there is a caveat. Erin (my wife) and I DON'T LET THEM WIN. Now we aren't mean during the games, and we may go easy on them, but we don't intentionally lose.

Checkers is one of the more difficult games for the kids because it requires looking at the whole board, and they need to think several steps ahead, but they love to play against dad. When we play checkers in particular, I have a tendency to make my move to watch the surprise, then back the pieces up and ask them how they could have avoided the move (double jumps, triple jumps, king-me's etc.). The boys will look at the board and then show me how they could have avoided my move.

Here's where the not so nice part happens. I then reset the board to what it was after my original move and we continue the game. The results, thus far, are that the boys are getting better at checkers and thinking about the whole board. I'm not mean, but I'm definitely not "nicing" them in the game. Hence the picture of one of my son's hands on a checker's board with this quote.

In a similar vein, are you helping your team grow or are you being nice? Are you letting the team face the challenging situations, or are you bailing them out? It's a fine line between letting them experience the challenge but not letting them fail. Are you attempting to walk that line, or are you bailing the team out the moment they hit a speedbump?

Enjoy the weekend and look for an update next week from Europe!





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Audi Desert

My wife is a bit of an artist (see this week's leadership quote) and an amateur photographer, which means I'm often introduced to differences in perspective because of her talents and interests. This particular picture caught my attention:

audi-q2-photography-miniature-toy-cars-felix-hernandez-3
hernandezdreamphography.com (h/t: petapixel)















Why this picture? What if I told you it was a toy car?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Leadership Quote - Guy Kawasaki


Are you doing what you want to do? What you're passionate about? Or are you just marking time in a job that doesn't motivate you? From the leadership perspective, Enchanting (charismatic) People attract other Enchanting People, and the sphere of influence for Enchanting People grows, thus improving and increasing their opportunities to lead. 

One of the most interesting (and to me enchanting) people I know is my wife, Erin, who in this picture is learning to blow glass. In this picture, she is rolling the glass in a wet newspaper to get the shape she wants. The reason I find her interesting and enchanting is that she pursues nearly everything with a drive that amazes me, and she is capable of so many things that are effortless to her, but would take significantly more time for me to accomplish and the result would only be half as good. These items tend to be artistically related because her passion is art. And I love her all the more for it. 

Myself, I have a passion for education, self-improvement, and leadership. I find myself most motivated when I am helping others grow or when I can provide some guidance to manage surrounding chaos. These are things that I do well, and people find me interesting because of it. It's one of the reasons I write this blog. 

What are you passionate about? How are you interesting and enchanting? What are you doing to pursue those interests and passions? As with last week's quote, don't put off to tomorrow, what are you doing today?