Showing posts from November, 2017

Pride Comes Before The Fall

All parents at some point tell their kids that they are proud of them. I've done it before, but it is something that I've consciously tried to remove from my conversations with them after reading a number of articles like this one in the Huffington Post . Saying "I'm proud of you." really becomes more about me rather than my kid, just look who is first mentioned in that sentence. If my kids accomplish anything it is really about them, yes I play a part in raising them but it should be about them. It is a similar stance I try really hard to take at work as a manager. Yes, my job is to lead a team of people, but what they accomplish isn't about what I've done. I try not to say "my team", instead it is "the team". Whenever I want to give praise or recognition to anyone, I think about the words that I use because there is power in them. The focus needs to be on them and what they accomplish.  Pride is something we all should avoid, a

Learning How To Learn

As my kids get older and they are doing homework at the kitchen table or with their friends I hear the question, "When am I ever going to use this?" I love it when this topic comes up because I love opportunities to teach my kids what the real world is like. My first response is, "You are probably never actually going to use it in real life." That really gets them going as they wonder what the point is. Inevitably I end up sharing these points in some format. You need to learn how to learn. I guarantee that in life you will have to learn new things. Starting a new job. Moving to a new place. Interacting with people from different cultures. There are countless opportunities in your life where what you already know doesn't help you. Do you know how to acquire new knowledge? You need to learn how to study in a subject that you aren't good at. If you hate math or English you can probably find a job that isn't reliant on those skills. However I guarante

Be A Soldier, Athlete and Farmer

I recently read a short passage that got me thinking about the roles that we all need to play to a degree if we want to be successful. Soldier - I've never served so I can't begin to understand what people go through that do. What I have seen there are certain truths for almost everyone that does serve. They endure a lot - The life of a soldier isn't glamorous, sometimes sleeping on a cot is considered a great night. They fight through the hardships to accomplish the mission. Develop comradery- The men and women that serve together have a bond. They endure and fight alongside each other to have a bond that is unbreakable. Ability to fight - They don't back down when it comes time to fight. Athlete - If you want to win the game it starts with practice. It doesn't matter how good you are, or what your natural abilities are, you need to continue to practice and get better. You also have to play by the rules if you want to win. Farmer - When there is a job to

Make Your Communication CUTE

Every day communication trips me up at work. People not understanding instructions because they weren't clear. Projects not getting done right because the requirements weren't detailed enough. Not getting responses to questions that are asked. These are all things that I control. Beyond that I'm also responsible for other team members, so I have to coach and help them without resorting to statements like, "Do as I say not as I do." There is always room to get better at communication. I know I've written on the subject before, different days provide new insights to me. What I've come up with today is that communication needs to be CUTE: Comprehensive - complete, every point is covered. Often you hear it is important to be concise. I agree, when fewer words are sufficient to get the point across. But you should never favor being concise if it isn't a complete picture. Understandable - don't use a bunch of jargon, if it is confusing them you are

Why Are We So Stressed Out?

I don't remember being in school and feeling stressed. I cannot fathom having someone ask me how things were going and the response at any point being that I feel stressed out. Yet my kids have responded that way to me at different times in their life. Of course understanding what the real world is like I laugh at what they see as stress and then I worry if they are going to be able to handle it when real stress hits. I think our society has created a generation that is passing on to our children the need to be anxious about far too much in our lives. It is easy to see why things seem so stressful. Our jobs continue to be more demanding in the always on, graying of the lines between work and home life world. Turn on any media outlet or your favorite social media destination and there is an onslaught of stories that can't help but make you sick to your stomach over what is going on in the world. We talk about stress and portray to our kids that it is normal to be stressed. I

Three Steps To Changing Our World

I believe we are at an interesting time in our country and the history of our world. There are countless narratives going on now that are dividing our country. I don't want to get into a political debate, so if you are wondering what I'm talking about read any news stories that have a connection to race, religion, gender, political party, sexual orientation, nationality, class, etc. The list goes on and on when it comes to topics that people feel passionately about and argue endlessly. As all of these things are swirling, the thought enters my mind about what I want to teach my children. As part of the next generation what will they believe and know about the discord in the world?  Before they try to determine who is right and who is wrong, I would hope they remember these 3 things: Don't judge others - all of us are human and susceptible to our sinful nature. Even though we want to believe there are levels to how bad a sin is, there is no differentiation betwe

When It Is Okay To Be Scared

A lot has been written lately about Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi after he took over at the end of August. It is a fascinating look at a person coming into a role specifically to change the culture and philosophy of an organization. As I was reading, the most interesting part for me was when he announced to his former company Expedia, which he ran for over 12 years, that he was leaving to take this new role. He sent an email to his now former employees stating, "I have to tell you I am scared." We operate in such a macho world where everyone has to put on an air of having all of the answers. Acting as if you have all of the answers even when you don't. Never to show any sign of weakness. For most people vulnerability is weakness. Vulnerability is what is needed for teams to be successful though. To admit when you are scared, or don't have an answer shows that you trust the others on your team. If you as a leader can admit things that could be better and eve

Garbage In - Garbage Out

Most people probably view themselves as a positive person, really the only way to know for sure is learning how others describe you. However, there is one test that you can do yourself that I feel is pretty accurate in determining how positive you are. Analyze what you consume. Is it more positive or more negative? It is so easy to get lost in social media, news, comments and forums all talking about how bad everything is. People arguing about any topic, trying to tell you how everything is broken. Take the time to analyze the things you read, keep a tally about things that are presented in a positive way versus negative. If you consume more positive than negative I'm willing to bet more people would describe you as a positive person. If you consume more negative, I'm willing to bet it is the opposite. It isn't hard to see that when you take garbage in you generally end up getting garbage out. Once you know your ratio, work on flipping it, keep the scales tipped in favor of