Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving today in the United States, I would ask that our readers not only think about what they are thankful for with their families and personal life but also show appreciation and thanks to the teams they lead and people that they interact with. Take the time to write a couple of handwritten notes to key team members and be thankful for everything they do too. I hope all my readers will have a great day and enjoy the company of friends and family today!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Thanksgiving Turkey Fail

As we prepare for Thanksgiving in the United States, I know that many people have decided to deep fry the turkey for that day of thanks. While this method of turkey prep is very tasty, it can also be very dangerous. If the oil boils over the top of the pot, you might have a less thankful time:

Please, everyone, be careful and have a great holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Leadership Quote - Bernard Baruch

Created by Erin Morey
People don't often realize the difference between hearing and listening, especially when all most people tend to do is listen just enough to formulate a response rather than determine the intent behind the communication. Communication is extremely difficult most of the time, even before a leader starts trying to determine a response between his/her own ears (which by the way there are two of for a reason...).

Most (but not all) successful people know that they are (probably) not the only smart person in the room. Other people see things from another's perspective, and can often provide solutions or responses that a leader hadn't considered. While working on some of the more complex projects in my career, I've realized that I cannot be an expert in everything, and as such need the expertise of my team to complete most stages of the project correctly. Even with that realization, I often struggle with this, as I like to think of myself as smart and able to determine a lot of answers. This means that I often jump into a conversation with a proposed solution rather than hearing everyone's thoughts. This also means that I influence the conversation and may even have shut-down thoughtful responses in the past due to my passion and position. I've started trying to cultivate the habit of speaking last rather than first so that I can hear the opinions/comments of my team and then learn from them. It's a habit that is hard to maintain when so much training, instinct, and years of perhaps the wrong approach are in conflict, but I strive to be better. What are you doing to improve your listening skills? How can you be more effective with your communication? I would be very interested to know, so please share below.

Bernard Baruch was an American financier, philanthropist, and political consultant. He was a key advisor to Presidents Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.

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.

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.