Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Holidays Begin

The Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier. The amusing thing is the memes and drawings created for this thought. Here are a couple of my favorites"

Both of these were found on pinterest on multiple accounts. If you know the originator, please let me know so I can credit him / her

So which one are you? Are you excited for the season, or looking at the season as an upcoming battle?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving (Belated)

As we got ready for a Holiday in the United States about Family, Friends, and giving thanks, I'd came across a thought from the Maxwell Daily Reader (by John Maxwell):

Write a Note of Encouragement to Someone Today. 

It is the lesson for November 22nd, but I would encourage (sorry, couldn't resist) you to write a note of "Thanks" to members of your team. Give them your gratitude for the work they do, and that you are happy they are on your team. You can still do it this week relating it to Thanksgiving, but you should probably do this consistently, as people love moral boosters that show their leaders care about them. 

Several years ago I got into the habit of writing "Thank you" cards for people I appreciated. What surprised me was how often those cards would sit openly on the desk of the recipient, and they would actually share them with other workers. It was a real morale booster, and helped go a long way in showing that their leader cared. 

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, give thanks to your team. It will be unexpected and very appreciated.

Join us later this week, when I correct an over site to Morey's Law #17: Professionals Are Predictable, But The World Is Full Of Amateurs.

Have a great week.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Leadership Quote - Margaret Thatcher

Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States and I didn't post last Thursday. My apologies to my loyal readers. Look out for a post tomorrow that should have ran on Thursday. 

On to this week's quote of the week:

For those that don't know, Margaret Thatcher was the British Prime Minister from 1979 until 1990, who was known for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. A Soviet journalist (which likely means that the Soviet Union at least agreed with this) dubbed her the "Iron Lady."

More than 20 years ago Margaret Thatcher said the words above. This was before colleges created "safe spaces" for people who felt offended, and the world of government fell to attacks and labels rather than arguments and reasoning. Today, people live in bubbles of like-minded people (just look at the discussion of the US election results) and people are more concerned about not feeling offended (or not offending anyone) than about intelligent, reasoned discussion.

As a leader, your role is to help people get through the tough times, the tough discussions. If there were no tough discussions, there would be no need for leaders. Open the doors for conversation, invite people to share their opinions, and then (to provide another quote) look to Habit 5 of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:  "Seek first to understand, then be understood."

In case anyone was wondering, this is my youngest son. He and his brother were playing in the mud of our backyard one spring day and my wife Erin wanted to take pictures. The oldest was hamming it up for the camera, but our youngest didn't want to get his picture taken. My wife took the picture anyway and this is now one of her favorite pictures. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Coincidence?

Pixar expressed something that I find pretty amusing from Incredibles:

Gibbs from NCIS has rules, Rule 39 (dang, he has more than me; I'll have to work on that): There Is No Such Thing As Coincidence

And Dreamworks  shared, in Kung Fu Panda:

With that in mind, let me share a couple of "Coincidences":

From Pinterest

From Universal Explorers

Wrap your mind around that and let me know by commenting below. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Leadership Quote - William Julius Wilson

A lot of faith today is placed on test scores. The SAT, ACT, STAR exam, etc., etc., etc... We focus on test scores as a measure of performance for our students and tie teachers to the scores of their students. The problem is that many would argue that test scores show only one thing: who is good at taking tests.

In fact, Robert Kiyosaki wrote a book called Why A Students Work For C Students. Could it be that school doesn't necessarily prepare people for real life?

William Julius Wilson is an American Sociologist. He is one of 24 University Professors at Harvard (the highest distinction one can achieve), and considered one of the leading expert on race relations in the United States.

Special thanks to my wife for this picture of our son at an art gallery enjoying Andre Derain's The Turning Road

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Morey's Law #17 - Professionals Are Predictable...

One of my favorite shows is Burn Notice, from USA. It was almost educational, including the voice-overs. One particular voice-over that stuck-out was this one:

Dealing with a trained operative is like playing chess with a master. Dealing with criminals, on the other hand, is like playing checkers with a three year old: the like to change the rules.

With my experience in Iraq, I would agree that this is true, even though you may not use the word criminal. In many cases, an amateur can be just as bad. I can think of several instances while in Baqubah where we were training Iraqi police and defense force. It was usually readily apparent if someone had training before. The way they held their weapon, a tilt of the head, a raised eyebrow, a shaking head would all give people away. This was drastically different from the amateurs who were giddy holding a rifle and would raise their butt too high in the air when crawling under barbed wire. The problem in that environment is that a professional is dependable, but the amateur can get you killed.

The civilian world has an equivalent issue, as there are professionals and there are amateurs. Unfortunately, you can rarely tell the difference from a raised eyebrow or tilt of the head. Instead, professionals are typically the people who strive toward improvement in their profession. They educate themselves, earn certifications, attend training, and yes even read blogs like this one. Then they take the information they learn and apply it to their own work. Professionals have processes and procedures they use to make things better, and avoid knee jerk reactions which change the rules and cause more issues than they fix.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Newton's First Law

Sir Issac Newton developed 3 Laws of Motion, which became the bedrock of most of the study of physics. The first of these laws is:

Now that you've had your laugh... what are you waiting to get started on? Until you make a conscious effort to start, at rest you will remain. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leadership Quote - Winston Churchill

Special Thanks to Erin Morey for the Image

I find this quote rather fitting considering the response from the election. People were shocked last Tuesday by the results, and judging from my Facebook feed, the shock has turned into anger for some of my friends. Rioting in protest of the results continues, and people are openly talking about how obstructionist the Republicans were for the last 8 years, and "don't expect us to be different because now your guy won."

At this point, I think everybody needs to do what Oprah Winfrey said: "Take a Deep Breath" from Entertainment Tonight

This is the world we live in today, and I hope people realize that 4 years of obstruction will only continue to anger the people who voted for a perceived "real change" in the first place. During the midterms, 34 seats in the US Senate will be contested, 26 held by Democrats and one Democrat claiming to be Independent (the famous / infamous Bernie Sanders).  Some of those seats are in Red or Red leaning states. I think the Democrats have a more difficult climb to retake the Senate than the Republicans do to keep it.

So instead of finding the difficulty, find the opportunity. I would encourage both sides to be better, open dialogues, and start working toward solutions to the problems of the country. If we don't I think a bigger divide will grow, increasing strife and generating real hate.

We were founded by men and women who left what they knew to avoid oppression and start fresh. It was an amazing opportunity, which everyone arriving knew would be difficult. And even though this quote comes centuries later, the American people can display this resolve again. Look for the opportunity in the difficulty. Solve problems, rather than obstruct. Start conversations with people who don't agree with you, not to prove them wrong but to first understand. When you understand, then perhaps you can help them understand you. Be the optimist.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Morey's Laws #5 and 6 - Simple Things

"I live for the simple things in life... like how much this is going to hurt" - Rocket Racoon, Guardians of the Galaxy. The line is delivered with a sarcastic snarl, and the hint of a smile (even for a furry little rodent) as a massive gun unfolds and releases a bolt of electricity. As I thought about this article, for some reason this line kept going through my head.

Why? Because with a different slant you could argue that the simple things in life will cause hurt (if they aren't properly respected). The simple things in life, of which too many people, companies, organizations, countries use as a mouthpiece for how great they are, yet only pay lip-service to actually living up to them. In fact, if you aren't careful and hold true to them, you can often feel like you're standing in front of a target!

What are the simple things in life? Morals and Values. Easy to identify, easy to claim, difficult to live up to. Hence the combination of Morey's Laws 5 and 6:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Leadership Quote of the Week - Homer

Thanks to Erin Morey for the meme and picture!
Kings, Chiefs, Generals, Captains, whatever. Too many leaders, not enough followers. In the military we often talked about "Commander's Intent." The idea behind the Commander's Intent is that everyone involved in an operations should know what the mission is. If a person is taken out of the fight, then the rest of the team can finish the mission. If there are too many people trying to drive direction, then you end up going nowhere fast.

There should be only one overall King, and it isn't always the person with the title. Who's the leader of your team?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - The Topper

So far I like to think I've led an interesting life. Just a couple of highlights:

  • I've been to war twice (and awarded a Bronze Star)
  • I've seen 130+ degree temperatures (with an announced temperature of 154 Fahrenheit, although I'm not sure I believe it)
  • Slept in a self-made snow cave in below freezing temperatures
  • Visited 45 states and 14 countries (excluding the US)
  • Led a wide variety of teams and projects in a variety of disciplines, environments, and industries
  • I've even been pulled off a plane at gunpoint!
This means I typically have a story for nearly any situation. There is, of course an issue with this. I realized last week that I may have become a Dilbert comic character, by Scott Adams. I may be: The Topper. 

Very often I share my stories because I think they will be entertaining and hopefully helpful, but in many cases my stories are shared in a response to someone else's. I am working on reducing the frequency with which I do this, but in honor of Wacky Wednesday I share a few of The Topper's best:

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Image result for dilbert the topper

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Image result for dilbert the topper

Thank you Scott Adams!