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

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

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

JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund:

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.



Pictures from You can learn more at: 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!