Monday, December 30, 2013

C'mon New Year!

2013 is ending like the setting sun, giving way to the rise of 2014.

The new year is where people begin making resolutions that they hope will create positive improvements in their lives.  Although I have a ton to work on, I am choosing to not make a list of resolutions that I know right now I won't be able to maintain.  My focus for this year is to improve my listening, understanding, and inclusion of others perspectives in order to create win-win scenarios for not just myself, but for those around me as well.

As a result, here are my goals for this year.

  1. Self improvement
  2. Home improvement
  3. Financial improvement
  4. Employment improvement
The reason I chose goals like these is that just like the airlines say, first take care of your own oxygen, then help others around you.  If you don't put yourself first, you can't really help others if you are not at 100%.

I look forward to the New Year as I do every year.  I know that while a lot has gone right this past year, I have so much more to work on over the course of the next year.  I know that this year is going to be a year of change, a year of challenge, and a year of collaboration.  But, if I am able to accomplish these goals, it will be a year of growth and success.

Have a great New Year and a more positive and successful 2014!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Do you have Friends who provide you Benefits?

The title is not meant in the "sexual way", but more in how we look at our trusting relationships with others when we enter new environments.

I remember the Doctor Seuss book, Oh, The Places You'll Go!  I received the book as a graduation gift from High School (no it was not an original issue, I'm not that old…).  When you watch the above clip from the movie Friends with Benefits, there is a correlation between the two.

Dr. Seuss encourages the reader to go out and explore and experience new experiences.  In the movie, Justin Timberlake's character has to make a decision to start his life over in new surroundings, or stay with the what is most comfortable for him.  Those decisions are never easy…

We make decisions on a daily basis, some of which may require us to change a job, location, surroundings, etc.  It's important though, when you make a change, no matter how large or small, that you have a proper support system.  Those who you can rely upon for unfiltered advice and those who truly have your best interests in mind.

In the workplace you need to determine who your formal and informal mentors are.  Remember, they don't all need to do the same job you do.  Sometimes being buried in the weeds, will lead to unforeseen results.  Establish a network outside of your workplace that you can bounce thoughts and ideas.

Take chances and remember that everyplace we go can be awfully lonely if we allow it to be so.  Take a chance, make a change if you need to, and don't look back!  It is cool to be part of something that is bigger than yourself and have fun doing it.  You never know who you will impact in the process!

Have a great week!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nothing's Impossible

Tis the season of hope, of dreams, of compassion, of thinking that things will be better for each of us in the future.  This year, I am seeing things a little differently for no specific reason, but just different.  Maybe it is because I have a senior in HS who will soon be leaving for college, with a sophomore in HS right behind him.  Maybe its the holiday lights, maybe I am just more aware of things this year than in years past.  

I had a conversation with a complete stranger over the phone the other day that gave me an epiphany of sorts.  While we working through some work related issues (she was working on a help desk in a contact center) we began small talking.  I found out the help desk was located in the same city as my beloved college Alma mater, Lawrence Kansas.  I mentioned to her that both my wife and I were alumni and that my oldest son had already been accepted there.  She mentioned to me that she and her husband had their first child who was now 2 years old.  We began talking about Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general.  Then it happened!

We spoke about how my boys had progressed to the age where they understood about Santa and weren't as impressed with all of the lights as they used to be.  She stated that her son was in complete awe of all of the lights and joy of this time of year.  We talked a little more but I had the greatest parenting/leadership lesson I have ever received.  When her son goes somewhere, his innocence and trust is placed with his parents that they will introduce him to positive new experiences.  It's like seeing the warm feelings that come over people the first time they see all the candles on a menorah lit up, or when a trail of lights is seen for the first time, a child is in awe.  As a parent, we often forget that life sometimes has jaded us, and we take for granted life's little experiences.  Our kids lives are full of firsts on a daily basis, especially when they are young.

As a leader, we often find ourselves making decisions but forgetting about the development aspect of a decision.  Critical thinking and evaluation lead to confident, well thought out decisions.  The most critical aspect of thinking and evaluation is experience and the outcomes of past decisions.  Just like a child seeing a holiday light for the first time or receiving a surprise gift, our teams are filled with the same awe when they see the results of their hard work.

For whatever reason, this year is a special year for me personally and professionally.  I have seen my children grow into solid young men; I have seen the team I lead more than double our customer base and become significantly more efficient; I have seen every team member extend and develop in some way.  It has been fun to be able to sit back and watch others talk about what has been developed with appreciation and allow each team member to celebrate their individual accomplishments.

It is easy for us to see how success and failure through our own lenses.  It is far more rewarding to see life through someone else's eyes though.  Be the encourager, the guide, the resource for others and remember it's not all about you.  This is easy to say, harder to do.  If you make the effort everyone wins!

Have a great week and an even better holiday season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Are you seeing clearly?

Over the past week, many of us have had the opportunity to spend time with friends and family.  Many of us will hear stories of successes and accomplishments that our friends and other family members have had, and as a result be envious to have their success.  What we often don't realize, is that the same people who we are envious of, may actually be trying to compete with us.

Life doesn't need to be a competition, but should rather be enjoyed for the moment that you are in.  Here is a clip that in my opinion illustrates how we can get so caught up in winning and losing that we forget to recognize success and accomplishment.

Take the time to recognize the successes you are having and the impact you have on a daily basis.  If you don't, you may not recognize success when it is right in front of you.

What accomplishments are you going to enjoy this week?  If you think about it, I guarantee that you have had some that you haven't given yourself enough credit for!

Have a great week!