Archive for the ‘Personal Philosphy’ Category
Founder at The Infusion Group LLC
Raleigh-Durham North Carolina Area
We have one life to run the best race set before us. Our potential to achieve is intended for us to first learn what our own best race is by understanding the key talents, strengths, motivation, passion, and creativity that live within us. How we fuse all of these intangible attributes into becoming worthy outcomes we desire from this life is an art. When we infuse this potential and partner with others who care deeply about what matters, life becomes more meaningful and the outcomes are even more remarkable for everyone.
Whose race are we running?
Is it your race or mine or are we racing our own race, together? As leaders, when we deny ourselves the benefit of reflection becoming aware of our actions and the impact they have on others, if we’re not careful, we may find ourselves slipping into the trap of racing someone else’s race, the boss’s race, a competitor’s race, that’s the way we’ve always done it race and in the end we lose a real sense of our beings. Eventually our workplaces lose something unique too. Through reflection we find the freedom to show up as we truly are and no longer are reactionary to issues. The safe space of reflection that we extend to ourselves and others helps us to discern what is realistically within our control and what lies on the fringes.
The past few weeks have been an interesting experience and a lesson in terms of “what good does not look like” in the wonderful world of customer service. Here is the situation. I am in the midst of trying to move some retirement $ around and have been doing so for the better part of 3 weeks. Lets be more specific. I want to do business with this particular company and they will not call me back.
After the first week of zero contact with a human being, I went to their website and found a local person in my area and figured that I would contact them. Guess what? It has been the same exact experience (ground hog day). I called him approximately six times and emailed him on four other occasions. For some odd reason, I cannot convince this “sales person” to contact me. At this point, I am frustrated and shocked so this actually turns into more of a research project. I call his office and ask to speak to him and of course he is unavailable and I am told to leave him a voice mail message. Here we go again. I am getting somewhere now though; at least I know that he is alive. I will take a small win at this point.
President at Aniden Interactive
“So, why do I want to do this?” I remember asking myself this precise question when the request from Sean to contribute to the Executive Club blog was first discussed. My immediate reaction was to question the real motivation behind why blogs exist, why companies spend time on them and equally important, why people read them. More directly, why would I want / need / desire to devote time on this particular group buried within LinkedIn? I will admit my interpretation of most blogs seems to be narcissistic at best and do little more than provide a stage for an anticipated audience which may not exist.
The only thing worse than writing a blog and having no one to read it could be equaled by one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes of an entrepreneur opening an ethnic restaurant in Manhattan and no one eating! No Babu! No Babu!
Director Business Development at Follett Library Resources
In this ever changing, fast paced, technology driven world we live in, both as individuals and as business people, there is a real danger of death by stereotype. Obviously I don’t mean actually passing away, what I mean is more your visibility within your organization or your market.
Ever been in a meeting where someone was regaling the group with talk of innovation and all the ground breaking technology, software, and applications coming to market and then they comment, “but this isn’t really something thing that most of you will understand because you are over XX”. I’m assuming that XX can vary but generally means you’re near to, or over, forty. Well here’s where you need to object. Hell, get downright indignant and let it be known that there is no correlation between your age and your passion for change, technology, risk taking, and innovation. If you let that moment pass you are silently saying “yep, that’s me”. Whoa, major mistake! You have just begun passing away… So, I don’t care how you do it, tactfully or jokingly are always a good way, but do something, say something, that lets everyone in that room know that you’re not buying it.
I’ve had the chance to work in very creative companies in industries that were valued by their customers for being cutting edge with a focus on creating great content and products. Constant reinvention of what you did was not only desirable, it was mandatory if your company was going to continue to grow and prosper. There was no better feeling then that of being in constant motion, driven to change, adapt, and invent by forces that you controlled or by those that you had no control over. Bottom line it was a rush to go to work most days (have to be realistic here right). At these companies I worked for I’ve been everything from the finance guy to the operations guy but always made sure I knew what was new, what could give us an edge, and what would make workers and our customers more productive and happier.
So if you haven’t yet choose today to promise yourself that you will embrace change, look forward to it (not exactly a bold statement since change is coming whether you want it or not) and make sure that you are a part of it and influence it wherever and whenever possible. You can’t, or won’t be allowed to if you’ve been labeled, stereotyped, as to old to get it….. No more silent consent on your part, you owe it to yourself.
Vice President at First Data
I consider myself to be a successful mother of two, career woman, student, and active leader in my local community. I am often asked by countless people, “how do you do it all?” Well, to be quite honest, I have NO idea! But I do know that there are a couple of factors I consider to be absolutely critical to my success, and to maintaining some degree of sanity; some personally owned by me, and some that I am just fortunate enough to benefit from. Let me describe.
I work in a 24×7 financial services operations environment. Now, I try to tell my colleagues all the time, “we are NOT savings lives, here people,” but more often than not, others try to tell us that we do. It is hectic, to say the least, and sometimes unpredictable- well, actually, MOST of the time. Everyone wants a piece of me and my team, and they want it yesterday. My job also requires a fair bit of travel. Add to this, I have a nine-year old daughter (who in her mind believes she is 18- “whatEVER, Mom…”) and a very, very active three-year old son. These two alone remind me at least once per day as to why many animals eat their young. Several years back, I also decided to return to college to finish my degree. I am finally at the home stretch, so for some ungodly reason I thought it would be a good idea to take three courses this semester and try to zip through a little faster.Additionally, I am very active in my community. I serve on two local boards, one of them as current chairwoman, and I also volunteer at several other non-profits in the community in my ‘spare time’ (that sounds even funnier if I read it out loud). Oh, and did I mention that my daycare provider for the last year recently gave us her two weeks’ notice and we’ve been in nanny h*ll around our house while we try to find a new one?
President & CEO at Alzheimer’s Association’
Beginning this year, the first wave of the Baby Boomer generation turns 65. The generation has experienced many triumphs and tragedies: the Apollo moon landings; the birth of the civil rights movement; witnessed thoughtless assassinations of an American President, his brother, and the peaceful leader of the civil rights movement; the Vietnam war; along with remarkable advances in medicine – the first heart transplant, cures for many diseases such as cancer, and the ability to successfully bring many babies born prematurely into the fullness of life.
One disease threatens every baby boomer – Alzheimer’s disease. The coming tsunami of baby boomers developing Alzheimer’s jeopardizes this generation and their families. Alzheimer’s disease robs the patient of his/her freedom – the patient loses the basic ability to care for him/herself. Think about the basic daily activities each of us takes for granted – cooking, dressing, eating, toileting, to name a few. An Alzheimer’s patient eventually loses the ability to take care of these simple tasks. Someone must step in to provide this basic level of care. Caregivers face a burden not easily imagined. The burden adversely affects the caregiver’s health, employment, and financial status. The vast majority of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for by family and friends – not in care facilities.
Chris A. O’Connor
How often do you speak before thinking, or take action before considering the consequences? This isn’t a problem per say, unless of course the words spoken or actions unfavorably impacts you or others.
When you hear the words ‘Think About it’…. What comes to mind? Do you start with your reference being in the past, present or future? I have no documented evidence to support my thesis, but based on personal interactions & experiences with family, friends & business acquaintances… I am of the opinion that a majority of people initially reference the past.
Shucks, are not past experiences what many folks & even companies base their future choices on? When you look at the profiles of your friends, or even well -known people, isn’t there a direct correlation between one’s willingness & adversity to risk with how they have played or made decisions in the past? I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but it does limit one’s realm of thought. It’s kind of like rolling up a piece of paper to make a play telescope then looking through it. You have limited sight based only on the experiences you know, assume or see.
There are definite lessons to be learned from past experiences. I know if I had thought long & hard about some decisions I’ve made over my life, I definitely would have done things differently. I have only a very few regrets, but again, that is like thinking & looking in the rearview mirror. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it & be a better person, Okay move on. (It is never that cut & dry, but really… “let’s not cry over spilt milk”.)
Where do you do your ‘daily thinking’? We often hear about quality time with the kids, & needed time to spend with your significant other, but when is your time to ‘think’? I realize in business, we are making decisions all the time & thinking on our feet constantly, but that is essentially reactionary tactical maneuvers. The ‘thinking’ I am referring to is the mix of lessons learned, feelings hurt, strategic opportunities & risks, as well as, considerate & grateful thoughts we should have daily. Maybe it’s on the drive to work or in traffic headed home. It could be a thoughtful time at lunch, or before you go to bed at night. Hopefully you can find several times a day to embrace this thought principle. What kind of distractions do you have? Maybe that quiet time is when you are doing yard work or going for a run, or even 10 minutes by yourself in the bathroom – good multi-tasking there! I have four children & an awesome wife. For me personally, that ‘Think About It’ time is in the shower every morning & when I lay my head on my pillow at night.
I admittedly have had too much time on my hands lately to ‘think’. It is a full time job searching for a new one, but that can’t occupy all my/your time & thoughts. The last few months have in many ways been a great wake up call for me. I have constantly been struggling with what I call “Proper Perspective”, (God, Family, friends & work), for almost 20 years. I throw myself into my work too much. It almost cost me, my family 15 years ago, when I was juggling a promotion, grad school & my family. I woke up just in time. Still sometimes I do not think enough & lose focus. It is all too easy to do. This past year I slipped badly! Why, simply because I did not think until it was too late. But here is the good news…. I will never forget my mistakes; I am determined to focus on the present & future and not make the same mistake twice.
Some folks however just can’t get beyond thinking in the past tense. I personally can’t hold a grudge. I try not to judge folks. My wife & kids don’t understand how I can be mad for 5 minutes, then everything is okay. I am not going to get an ulcer by letting something fester & fume inside me. Get it out! It’s gone… move on, know who you love & what is important. My family lost $100k to a shady contractor over 20 years ago. Boy oh boy, did it get ugly. It involved lawyers, time & more money. Still we saw the same contactor in church every Sunday. I had the hardest time staying mad at him. I couldn’t listen to my priest’s sermon then go & hate someone, week after week, year after year. I did learn several valuable lessons from such a loss in both a personal & business perspective. I‘ll never invite him over for dinner or recommend his work either, but it is not right for me to hold a grudge or hate. God knows what happened in the past & that is all that matters as we look to the present/future.
There are some people however that ‘Think About It’ and hang on to the past & label others forever. I personally believe that is unhealthy. No one should obsess about the past, especially when making judgments of others that impact the future. I have a friend who is an alcoholic, (his label for himself, not mine.) Clean for 10+ years, but he still considers himself an alcoholic, in order to remember what he was & what he did… so he won’t do it again. I say, Good for him! It is not however my place to call him an alcoholic. I know he has changed & is sorry. I don’t understand how some folks can judge, especially if they were never directly impact nor know the effort or contrition he has made to improve & become a better person for himself & those around him. Maybe these judgmental folks should ‘Think About It’. What is that biblical verse about casting the 1st stone… (John 8, 7-8)
Sorry, I digress…. Back to my ‘Think About It’ time… I bought a tankless water heater for our home a few years ago. With six family members including 3 women in the house, it was arguably the best purchase & quickest payback I ever made. Another benefit, is I can take a longer than normal shower myself now. I find it a great time to think. I won’t get graphic, but waking up & showering in a ‘thought process’ is like washing away the past, then smelling the rose & lavender of another day. It’s my chance to sweep away yesterday & focus on the gifts & blessings I have in my life today, as well as considering what I plan to do the balance of the day, tomorrow & the future, which includes weighing options, pros & cons for myself, family & others. Walking out of the shower, I feel refreshed, hopeful & energized for another day. My ‘Think About It’ time is present & future based.
I may not be “on the clock” in the shower, but one should not undervalue a daily 10 minutes to ‘Think About it’ when it comes to business too. I’m going to run the gambit, by referring to the simplest gesture of the way we treat our workers across all levels, (regardless of our positions), to bigger decisions of whether to refinance the corporations long term debt or make a move with the bundle of cash we have been sitting with on the balance sheet these 2+ years of economic uncertainty. Do we acquire that company or not, what will the impact be on business & the employees? These 10 minute sessions are for ‘thinking’, not decision making.
How many leaders, make sure their people have time to think or come together to genuinely, openly think, in lieu of merely pushing through an agenda ?! It is good to have some alone time, but sometimes a friend or partner is “just what the doctor ordered” to help a person think clearly! The key is making time to ‘Think About It’, (alone or with a friend.) The clarity that comes from ‘Thinking first & speaking or acting later’ can be enormously beneficial at all levels for an individual, family & business!
VP – Global Network Strategy & Standards at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
I know that this may seem like an obvious statement because times have been changing since the very beginning of time. Even still, I’m writing this blog entry from an airplane equipped with onboard WiFi. This morning I had a remote teleconference meeting from my home office. And any time I travel outside of the country my Google Voice number seamlessly allows me to communication nearly cost free.
These personal experiences are just the tip of the iceberg as I watch the IT industry continue to evolve. Look at the effect that Blackberries, iDevices and Android phones have had on corporate America. Think about the major implications of Microsoft announcing Windows on ARM. Witness EMC marketecture showing how you can reduce storage spend with deduplication. Even Big Blue is still showing up to the innovation table with Watson taking a landslide victory on Jeopardy.
I have many “C”level friends in the IT service industry out looking for jobs today. Beyond the general economic downturn, the IT service industry is experiencing a consolidation caused in large part by the change in support policies of the large IT companies such as Oracle/Sun, HP and others. These companies are using their muscle in the marketplace to restrict access to needed updates and patches which are needed to keep their systems working at peak performance. The only way now to obtain these essential updates is to put you equipment on maintenance support contract with the original equipment manufacturer.
In the case of Oracle/Sun, the restriction is even greater. Oracle now requires the end user to put all their Sun hardware on maintenance support contract with Oracle in order to obtain software updates that had previously been made available under Oracle’s software license agreement.
Director, Industry Outreach at Microsoft
If you open a newspaper or magazine or surf consumer sites on the web, you will see ads everywhere for 3-D TV. I walked into Best Buy the other day and it was 3-D TV everywhere. There was a neat display where you could put on 3-D glasses and watch a soccer match that was in 3-D. Since there were only two pairs of glasses, a small group gathered while waiting their turn to try out the glasses and watch the match. The conversation among the people waiting and the people exchanging glasses after watching was interesting. Not one person said “I have to get one of these!” Those waiting their turn were moving around to get better angles at the TV and commenting on how poor the picture quality was without the glasses. Without the glasses, the picture reminded me of the days before cable, when I was a kid and would watch over-the-air television. The picture wasn’t completely focused and there was an outline around each player on the screen.
When I was kid that was called Ghosting; I am not sure how they refer to it in 21st Century. Those who had their opportunity and were handing glasses off to people waiting their turn, commented that it was interesting but most made a mention of how they wouldn’t want to watch everything in 3-D and some commented that 3-D movies gave them a headache.