Monday, May 21, 2018

Leadership Quote - Alexander den Heijer

Created by Erin Morey

My wife is a bit of an amateur gardener, and since we recently moved we've started discussing how to build raised flower/gardening beds. One of the larger concerns when gardening is the quality of the soil. You amend the soil with compost, lime, and other materials to make it a better medium for growth. It can be critically important to adjust the soil, as the wrong pH balance can kill the plants, and plants grow better in different types of soil.

What about your team? Are you giving them a rich and fertile place to grow, or is it barren and destitute? Do you provide the team nutrients and opportunities to grow (compliments, recognition, challenging assignments) or do you constantly dig up or neglect the seeds? As Dutch Speaker Alexander den Heijer identified:

When A Flower Doesn't Bloom, You Fix The Environment In Which It Grows, Not The Flower.
- Alexander den Heijer

Pretty simple this week. Are you trying to address the environment your team is in or are you trying to address the team? In real life you probably need to pay attention to both, however, if the environment isn't conducive to the growth of the team, then the team members won't grow or bloom. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Leadership Quote - Milarepa

Created by Erin Morey
Are you able to stay focused on what you want to accomplish? Or are you like Doug the Dog from the Pixar movie Up? Unable to maintain a train of thought and easily distracted by squirrels? Regrettably, it is getting harder and harder for us to maintain our focus as hundreds (if not thousands) of things vying for our attention. Just as an example, how often has your phone pinged, vibrated, or lit up since you started reading this? I'm willing to bet it is more than once.

When these things happen, we lose focus and have to try to re-attain it. At least one study has shown that it can take up to 25 minutes to regain your focus once interrupted, and another showed that people switched their activities every three minutes five seconds (Fast Company interview with Gloria Mark, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine). This disruption is at the expense of deeper thinking and consistent effort.

Which brings us to this week's quote:

When You Run After Your Thoughts You Are Like A Dog Chasing A Stick: Every Time A Stick I Thrown You Run After It. Instead, Be Like The Lion Who, Rather Than Chasing The Stick, Turns To Face The Thrower. One Only Throws A Stick At A Lion Once. 
- Milarepa
Are you running after sticks (or chasing squirrels) rather than disciplining your mind? As a leader, what about your team? Are you causing undue stress and impacting their ability to work? Are others? 

Often when I coach Project Managers I advise them to turn off the email notifications because it can be distracting and pull you away from the detailed work you are doing. Instead, pick dedicated times to review, triage and reply to emails. By doing this you take back more control and limit the distractions. If it was important, they would call you!

There are other tactics you can do to protect your time and that of your team. I would suggest you block some time this week and look at your distractions. Work to become the lion, rather than a dog with a stick!
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Milarepa is one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a major historical figure of the Kagyu School of Buddhism. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wacky Wednesday - Accidental Art


Since this weeks quote was provided by Vincent Van Gogh, I thought it would be fun to share some Accidental Art. Thanks to the constant efforts of my loving wife, I've grown a greater appreciation of art over the years (It may have grown to the point of "cool" rather than "eh"). Well, sometimes I'm amazed at what people do, and sometimes I'm amazed at the accidents that can provide moments of beauty. This week I share a couple of interesting picks and a link to a list of 25+ accidental beauties:

Google Maps Glitched Out But It Looks Awesome
Google Glitches - Sleevelessocks

A Tree Pattern Inside A Tree
Tree Pattern In a Tree - AbortedGallow

Oranges Photographed Through The Glass Panes Of A Greenhouse
Oranges through Greenhouse Glass - Mikeleus

A Rock Created Bird Shaped Window Art On My Car
Chipped Windshield Like a Bird - AshlynnMartell

Was Coloring Eggs With My Niece When She Accidentally Made A Dragon Egg
Accidental Dragon Egg - AwkwardPigeon

After I Poured Milk Into My Coffee, I Found Snoopy On The Doghouse Under The Moon
Snoopy Under the Moon - Tacec

The Spray Pattern On This Wall From A Plumbing Exaust
Plumbing Spray Pattern - LysdexicPenguin


Do you want to see more? Check this out, compiled by BoredPanda.com

Monday, May 7, 2018

Leadership Quote - Vincent Van Gogh

Created by Erin Morey
Last week we discussed how the turtle needs to stick its neck out in order to make progress. This week I'll encourage you to be careful of Normality (status quo). The two can often seem related, but I would encourage you to think of them separately. The road can be comfortable, and you can make great progress rapidly by traveling down a road, but you can miss the adventure (or flowers) by staying on the road. Hence this week's quote:

Normality Is A Paved Road: It Is Comfortable To Walk, But No Flowers Grow.
- Vincent Van Gogh

In fact, one of my kid's favorite movies touched on the topic (first 22 seconds Cars by Pixar): 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wacky Wednesday - The Marvel Bunch

This has been going through my head all week... AND I HAVEN"T EVEN SEEN INFINITY WAR YET!



The only thing is that I wish they had done it with Civil War, so that Cap and Iron Man would be the parents.... Missed opportunities!