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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
God. I know I will be scared when I see you
My wife and kids. Why you put up with me I will never know. I love you all deeply and pray for each of you. Please don’t give up on yourselves or me
My parents. Your love and concern was/is the deepest I have known
My sisters. Beautiful people with good hearts
Our troops for enduring conditions and situations we can’t imagine. They are our heroes, and we must never lose sight of that
Policewomen and men. My dad was a cop for many years. They are always in harm’s way and are fighting some very bad people every day.
Nurses. Wow, what you do is incredible
Firemen and women. They are under paid, under appreciated, and they should be commended for their dedication and courage
Kids that defy the odds and always strive to do and be their best
George Bush and Dick Cheney. I’m mad at them for rushing us into war and their other mistakes, but they have worked very hard to help us avoid another 9/11
Military families. Their support helps our soldiers endure
Jimmy Carter. He works tirelessly for others
My manager. Your dedication to family and work is inspiring and awesome
Co-workers and bosses – past and present - that supported me (and those that didn’t). Without them I would be nothing
Leaders. We know who you are
Friends. It has been a wild ride
People with character. We see you
Honest politicians. They do exist. Trust, but verify
People struggling through hard times, yet remaining faithful
People with kind and gentle spirits
People that love to laugh
Anybody that says “thank you”
Women. You guys are awesome
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
I hope you have some time off you can spend with family. By the way, thanks to the people that read this blog. It has been an interesting year. I'm happy and thankful that I'm healthy and employed. And most especially, I'm thankful for my family and two great daughters.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life
How about these Chapter Titles!
"Too Much Cost, Not Enough Value"
Too Much Speculation, Not Enough Investment"
"Too Much Complexity, Not Enough Simplicity"
"Too Much Counting, Not Enough Trust"
"Too Much Business Conduct, Not Enough Professional Conduct"
"Too Much Salesmanship, Not Enough Stewardship"
"Too Much Focus on Things, Not Enough Focus on Commitment"
"Too Many Twenty-first Century Values, Not Enough Eighteenth-Century Values"
"Too Much 'Success,' Not Enough Character"
Mr. Bogle begins with this:
"At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds, 'Yes, but I have something he will never have; Enough".
The only thing I can say is Buy this Book
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Originally found here.
"A Kenneth Copeland Ministry jet worth $3.6 million has been denied tax-exempt status by the Tarrant Appraisal District, setting the stage for a battle that could require the minister to reveal his salary if he wants the jet to be tax-free.
Jeffery D. Law, Tarrant chief appraiser, said the jet was denied tax exemption because the ministry failed to disclose salaries of directors as an application requires…
Compensation paid Copeland and other members of his family has been the source of a U.S. senator’s inquiry, but the televangelist has been unwilling to disclose the information publicly.
If the ministry gives the compensation information to the appraisal district, it would be open to public disclosure."
I'm so happy our preachers can ride around in their own corporate jets. These guys are too "good" to ride coach?
Friday, December 05, 2008
1. Learn to thrive in unstable times—our lot (and our opportunity) for the foreseeable future.
2. Only putting people first wins in the long haul, good times and especially tough times. (No "cultural differences" on that one! Colombia = Germany = the USA.)
3. MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. Stay in touch!
4. Call a customer today!
5. Train! Train! Train! (Growing people outperform stagnant people in terms of attitude and output—by a wide margin.)
6. "Putting people first" means making everyone successful at work (and at home).
7. Make "we care" a/the company motto—a moneymaker as well as a source of pride.
8. All around the world, women are an undervalued asset.
9. Diversity is a winning strategy, and not for reasons of social justice: The more different perspectives around the table, the better the thinking.
10. Take a person in another function to lunch; friendships, lots of, are the best antidote to bad cross-functional task accomplishments. (Lousy cross-functional communication stops companies and armies alike.)
11. Transparency in all we do.
12. Create an "Innovation Machine" (even in tough times). (Hint: Trying more stuff than the other guy is Tactic #1.)
13. We always underestimate the Innovation Advantage when 100% of people see themselves as "innovators." (Hint: They are if only you'd bother to ask "What can we do better?")
14. Get the darned Basics right—always Competitive Advantage #1. (Be relentless!)
15. Great Execution beats great strategy—99% of the time. (Make that 100% of the time.)
16. A "bias for action" is a "bias for success." (Great hockey player Wayne Gretzky: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.")
17. No mistakes, no progress! (A lot of fast mistakes, a lot of fast progress.) (Australian businessman Phil Daniels: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.")
18. Sometimes "little stuff" is more powerful than "big stuff" when it comes to change.
19. Keep it simple! (Making "it" "simple" is hard work! And pays off!)
20. Remember the "eternal truths" of leadership—constants over the centuries. (They say Nelson Mandela's greatest asset was a great smile—you couldn't say no to him, even his jailors couldn't.)
21. Walk the talk. ("You must be the change you wish to see in the world."—Gandhi)
22. When it comes to leadership, character and people skills beat technical skills. (Emotional Intelligence beats, or at least ties, school intelligence.)
23. It's always "the little things" when it comes to "people stuff." (Learn to say "thank you" with great regularity. Learn to apologize when you're wrong. Learn the Big Four words: "What do you think?" Learn to listen—it can be learned with lots and lots of practice.)
24. The "obvious" may be obvious, but "getting the obvious done" is harder said than done.
25. Time micro-management is the only real "control" variable we have. (You = Your calendar. Calendars never lie.)
26. All managers have a professional obligation to their communities and their country as well as to the company and profit and themselves. (Forgetting this got the Americans into deep trouble.)
27. EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS. (What else?)
See more great stuff at Tom Peter's Website
Friday, November 28, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
From the Guardian
Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the
The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.
Monday, November 03, 2008
What key activities should be undertaken?
Collect data on all aspects of the theme (all problems)
Clarify the problems from various viewpoints
Select a problem collected in the previous step
Identify what the customer wants (their requirements)
Write a clear statement of the problem
Utilize data to help establish a target
Present the problem statement to management or your project sponsor
Tools You Can Use:
Problem Statement Matrix
Note – Step Three will be coming in the next few days
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Step 1 - Reason for Improvement
Objective – Identify the Problem (Theme).
What key activities should be undertaken?
Research for Theme(s) (Problems)
- Review key processes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Survey internal/external customers
- Identify what the team knows (brainstorming)
- Conduct interviews
Determine Process Ownership (related to problem/improvement)
- Document the “As Is” processes
- Determine customer needs
- Determine what improvement is needed using available data
- Show likely impacts of the solution/new process
- Get to work on the new solution/activities
Tools to Utilize
* Control Charts
* Process Maps
* Relationship Interaction Diagram
* Variance Analysis
Key Questions to Ask
* What do we produce? (Work products)
* Whom do we do it for?
* How well do we do it?
* How do we know we are doing it well?
*** Note: The other five steps will be posted in the coming days.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
The PMI website summarizes General Powell's remarks below.
“Leadership is leadership is leadership,” says General Powell, who served as a U.S. National Security Advisor for former President Ronald Reagan and held executive positions at several organizations.
“At the end of the day you have to convince a bunch of followers to do what you want them to do—and [convince them] that they want to do it.”
The goal, he says, is to make sure every member of the team knows what is expected of them and to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. That means providing support, plus clear, concise missions and inspiration.
“The leader’s passion has to be the example of excellence in the organization and people will want to follow you,” he says.
Sometimes, though, the difference between a good leader and a bad leader is as simple as the ability to recognize when an employee is worth the investment—and when they are not. While it’s important, General Powell says, to capitalize on strengths and build on weakness, leaders can’t “carry dead weight.”
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I'm traveling to Denver on Saturday to attend the PMI Global Congress. Anybody else going? Want to meet up? E-mail me at sfseay(at)yahoo.com
PMI North American Global Congress 2008 Announcement
PMI is proud to host its Global Congress 2008—North America in Denver, Colorado, USA. The city of Denver is the largest city in Colorado and is also the state’s capital. The nickname of "the Mile-High City" was given to Denver because it is situated at an elevation of one mile above sea level. Denver has the largest park system in the U.S. and experiences more than 300 sunny days in a year, which makes it sunnier than San Diego or Miami Beach. Because of this and its proximity to the mountains, Denver has gained a reputation as being a very active, outdoor-oriented city for skiing, hiking, climbing and camping.
Denver lies at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and experiences a semi-arid type of climate. Autumn (October through December) has a warm climate with sunny days and cool nights. The climate of Denver can be quite unpredictable and does experience frequent weather fluctuations. A popular saying in Denver is that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute; it will change.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
I believe a most of our problems in society come from the fact that many of our leaders don’t live principle-centered lives.
What are principles that are easily recognized? These are a few: Patience, Kindness, Tolerance, Integrity, Honesty, Encouragement, Empathy…
Principles should guide our conduct, and when they do, they are easily recognizable by others. When our leaders decide to reject principles in order to gain power, influence or money, the organizations they lead are in deep trouble.
Many times leaders attempt to put aside principles to get short-term gains. They believe by making speeches filled with empty promises they will gain the trust of others. This happens all the time in our organizations and results in the same mistakes repeated over and over. Having said that, we keep electing the same people to office over and over, don’t we? Where has this gotten us?
Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. To solve the tough problems we need to look at our paradigms and habits and be willing to change them. Sometimes this means firing (not re-electing) our current leaders.
Do we really think we can just buy our way out of the current mess on Wall Street without fundamentally changing the way things work (paradigms and habits) and putting principled leaders in place? Can you or your organization really change things for the better without focusing on principles and rethinking your paradigms and habits? Do organizations really believe that layoffs alone change anything when their current broken paradigms and habits are left intact?
I have seen the results of unprincipled leadership, and the behaviors these “leaders” exhibit can have a profound, lasting, and negative influence on others. The sad part is these leaders believe they are part of the solution, however we know better. You can’t lead your way out of a problem that you don’t fully understand, and if you try to do it without principles the results are easily predicted. DISASTER!
Big problems cannot be solved by small people and small mindedness. Remember, principles aren’t values. The Mafia has values, but their practices certainly aren’t related to principles. As Stephen Covey say’s “Principles are the territory. Values are the map”.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Give the Public $600 Billion By John C. Dvorak
The administration talks a big game about economic stimulus packages and claims that the public is the winner when taxes are low or they are simply given a handout to spend. So take $600-plus billion and give each man, woman and child $2000 each. That will distribute all this money. A family of 5 would have a nice $10,000 nest egg for a down-payment or to rent a house and pay off their credit cards thus sending the money back into the system.
The trickle-down bail-out is designed to go to the same people who gave themselves huge salaries and ran these firms into the ground? It gets them off the hook. They can then slither out of town when they all should be tarred-and-feathered.
Why not let the public buy up the mortgages at these low-ball prices and move in? Why can’t that be arranged? Use the FHA to do it if the banks cannot. Why do the crooks get to re-buy the bad mortgages at the low price? So they can gouge later?
There has never been economic stimulus from the top down when the money is given to these weasels. These are people who will sell dollars and buy Euros, or horde the money or move to Switzerland to spend the money there. All of the CEO’s of these failed companies have offshore villas. The average Joe spends his money in the USA, not Europe. It stays in circulation. Good things happen.
According to the pro-bail-out “experts” the economy should have melted down on Tuesday hurling us into a depression. Instead the market went up. So how does that work?
Start looking at this bail-out and you start to see that it is an exit strategy for Paulsen and his friends at Goldman, Sachs. There was a need to rush it through before anyone discovered what it was all about.
No oversight, a finance Czar, more free reign than ever.
Exactly why is there such a rush? It’s like the sleazeball salesman telling feeble-minded customers that they MUST buy now. It just makes no sense.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
One bad leader can poison an organization. Have you seen the destructive behaviors listed below?
Here are some of the "bad leader" traits that I have witnessed.
treat people as things or objects
rarely arouse, engage or inspire
aren't good at fixing problems, but excel at assigning blame
are great delegators, but don't like to follow-up
don't trust people that aren't in their close knit group (sometimes their close knit group is them)
believe in a sense of order, as long as they define the order
are greedy (more power, success, money)
believe people are easily expendable (they often have a history of failed personal relationships, marriages, business relationships, etc.)
don't have many (if any) true friends and close business relationships
aren't trustworthy and don't usually trust others
don't possess a common code of decency that others can easily recognize
consistently put their needs above those of their followers
aren't satisfied with what they have (jealousy and envy often drive their behavior)
take advantage of others in a way that can be personally destructive
usually can't create or implement lasting beneficial change due to non-involvement, personal courage, and conviction
are unwilling to have a personal stake in outcomes
often have personalities traits that are out of sync with mainstream thinking (this can also be a positive leadership trait)
often possess an uncanny ability to have both a blind eye and a deaf ear when dealing with others
take personal credit for group accomplishments or the accomplishments of others
are deceptive or intellectually dishonest. They muddy the truth with distorted language or they change the subject to attack your beliefs
rarely give public praise to another
aren't specific or can't be pinned down regarding their position
often leave others asking them to clarify their remarks or explain their position (often a hopeless cause)
love to communicate via e-mail to avoid facing others
often don't understand that the big picture is sometimes just one of the snapshots
use politics to gain power in a way that is unethical, unnecessary, and unwelcome
are self-centered vs. organization centered
often leave their followers "hung out to dry"
say one thing while actively planning to do something different
are poor role models
often make important decisions based upon sketchy information, emotion, or something out of the latest trade journal
believe they are smarter than everybody else
don't like to debate or participate in brainstorming sessions (this is beneath them)
are as transparent as a sheet of glass
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To help fix your organization in a small way, think about these ten things (I like the letter "S") to help you regain your planning focus:
Strategy - Where are you going? Why do we need this? What is important?
Scrub - Scrub your data, scrub your processes, scrub your silos and across the silos to understand how things are managed and how work is accomplished.
Sort - Think about how work is done and who does it. Sort the work into distinct areas or functions. Plan for rework.
Scrutiny - Carefully review all information. E-mail isn't always your friend.
Sacrifice - Be willing to go to extraordinary lengths to have project success. Take your project's success personally.
Systems - Routines and processes for managing systems of things.
Strength - Focus on relationships. Focus on your strengths for each project.
Standards - Procedures that are followed. Continuous process improvement.
Stand - Be visible. Let the project members know where they are going and why. Lead!
Success - Define success for the project, and define success for your team.
Project management by the numbers
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Every project that crosses functional lines of authority needs a project sponsor to remove barriers, assist in resolving conflict, and mediate negotiations. The sponsor can also act as a mentor and coach to the project manager and team members.
The project sponsor is usually chosen by senior management, but sometimes the sponsor volunteers because the project directly impacts their resources or budget the most.
Typically Project Sponsors are responsible for:
Providing project direction
Monitoring project progress
Assisting the Project Manager to define the Project Management process for the project
Approving final scope, project objectives, schedule, resource assignments, roles and responsibilities
Providing accurate, relevant and timely communications in writing when appropriate
Approve scope changes
Obtain or resolve issues surrounding resources (people, money, equipment)
Setting project priorities and removing barriers to project success
Personally responsible for project success or failure.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Project Planning: Assumptions versus Facts
© 2003 by Dr. Lewis Ireland, Clarksville, TN
Introduction - The difference between an assumption and a fact is often subtle and confusing. Some organizations, and individuals, view assumptions and facts in the same light. This approach causes confusion in managing both the assumptions and facts as well as communicating accurately the situation during planning and execution of projects.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines both words in the context of planning as:• Assumption – a statement accepted or supposed as true without proof or demonstration.• Fact – something presented as objectively real or something that has been objectively verified.
Planning a project using the wrong term can convey a different meaning to fact or assumption with catastrophic results. Facts do not change whereas assumptions are typically about a future state that may or may not come true. Listing both facts and assumptions as assumptions can also cause confusion because the project manager does not know which assumptions to track to ensure they are converted to facts.
Facts and assumptions in a poker game - Herbert O. Yardley, a noted mathematician and code breaker from the late 1920s and author of The Education of a Poker Player, gives some insight as to facts and assumptions. His explanation of poker is instructive and is used here to give examples of facts and assumptions. Yardley used mathematics to explain poker and the human element associated with playing a very competitive game.
Some of Yardley’s advice included rules that guided a person to play poker in realistic terms. Some rules are:
• Don’t play any games that you don’t understand. Luck does not favor the person with the least knowledge of the rules or who doesn’t understand the game.
• Use facts to determine your best odds of winning and discipline yourself to stick with the facts.• Don’t assume that something good will happen if you ignore the facts.
• Don’t drink alcoholic beverages or engage in any practice that reduces your mental ability.
• Don’t talk to try to sway the opposition, but play your cards.
Editor's note: the same rules apply to projects!
If we take facts as “absolutes” and assumptions as “maybes” in managing projects, we have a distinct difference in information. Facts are what we know and assumptions are what we hope will happen. Remember, assumptions are always stated in a positive framework. Both facts and assumptions have a positive or negative impact on the project.
Following Yardley’s instruction in his book, let’s use poker as an example of facts and assumptions as work. First, we need to review the rules of the game of seven card stud – a card game where a player may draw as many as seven cards for a hand, four face up and three face down.
Typically, there are from three to five players in the game. The sequence for the game play is that all players ante (place a nominal amount in the pot just for the privilege of seeing the first three cards). Three cards are dealt to each player – two down and then one face up. The highest face up card starts the betting. Players may “call” (match the bet), “fold” (remove self from the game), or “raise” (call the bet and make another bet). This sequence continues until only one player remains and is the winner of the pot or the last card is dealt face down. This leaves the hands with seven cards, three down and four up. The final betting takes the same sequence as prior bets, but the high hand wins when all betting is concluded.
How does this help us understand facts and assumptions? Let’s take a look at the game in progress.
1. Five players ante a dollar each and are dealt three cards, the first two face down and the last face up. With fifteen cards in front of players, we know, or the facts are, that we can see seven cards (fact) and there are eight hidden, for which we must make an assumption. Based on our three cards and the other four hands we can bet, call, or fold. An opponent may give us some indication of his/her cards by the betting – high bet, medium bet, no bet, call, fold, raise.
2. Say that a medium bet of one dollar is made and all players call. The pot is now at $10 with each player contributing a dollar for the ante and a dollar for the first bet. Therefore, we have five players who have neither shown a strong nor weak hand. We make the assumption that our chance to win is still viable based on seeing seven cards and the betting. We can make the assumption that no player has a totally worthless hand or he/she would have folded.
3. The fourth card is dealt face up to give each hand two up and two down. We can now see 12 cards -- all face up cards and our two “hole” cards. Yardley tells us that if another play has a higher card hand showing in his/her two cards, we should fold. The fact is that we would be beat by the cards showing. To make an assumption that we can out draw this other hand is against the odds. Actually, we have the highest hand showing, but the other players are not folding when we make a modest bet. The facts are that we have the highest showing hand, but must make the assumption that at least one other player has a higher hand in his/her four cards.
4. The betting is over and the fifth card is dealt. The facts are that we can see 17 cards. Our hand is still high and starts the betting. Two players fold and two opponents call the bet. With 17 cards known and three players remaining, we make the assumption that the two opponents have a better hand than our three cards showing. Therefore, we need to have a better hand with our two hole cards than just the values of the three face up cards.
5. The sixth card is dealt face up to the three active players. We now have two pair with one pair showing and a face up card matching a hole card. The other two players each have a pair showing. The facts are that either of the opponents could have a third card matching the pair for three-of-a kind, which always beats two pairs. Further, all players may draw the seventh card down, which could improve any of the hands.
6. The seventh card is dealt face down. The only change to the facts is that we now know the full extent of our hand. It has changed in that we have three pair and can only use the highest two pair. The opponents have given no indication that they have better hands. It is a fact that we cannot bluff by making a high bet. This group has always covered bets just to see what the other person’s hand is. So, the betting starts with one dollar and the two opponents call. As the first bettor, we show all of our cards and declare two pair – aces and nines. The second player shows two pair – kings and tens. The third player shows three fours as the winning hand.
The game of seven card stud shows that we have continually building facts and changing assumptions. Each player sees the same number of card values at each play as facts. Each player does not see the same number of card values at each play and must make some assumptions about the probable worth of each hand. Weighing the facts and assumptions at each play gives us a relative worth of our hand compared to the cards that we can see around the table and the probable hole cards.
Projects are similar in that we need to assess our progress to successful completion of the work and that each day changes the relative worth of the end product. We deal with the facts and analyze the assumptions to arrive at the best solution.
Our example of a card game gives us several lessons about facts and assumptions.
• Facts are what we can see and what we know about the future, e.g., we have a number of cards available.
• Facts only change with the situation, e.g., each new card dealt to the players changed the actual situation and the parameters of the game.
• Facts are what is visible and real, but do not give a complete picture.
• Assumptions are used to assess the unknown and to make judgments for future actions.
• Assumptions bridge knowledge gaps, but are not necessarily true situations.
• Assumptions are necessary to make decisions about the future.
Conclusions - It is concluded that a more rigorous approach to developing facts and assumptions in project planning can enhance the quality of the plan and the probable success rate for projects. There are some rules that help in developing and working with facts and assumptions. Facts are real and have more weight in our decision process that assumptions.
Developing guidelines for the use of facts and assumptions will give a better solution that random application during critical times. Facts are real and assumptions are what we think will happen. Assumptions should never be made because we want them to happen – this is an emotional approach rather than a logical approach.
Know the rules for developing facts and assumptions and use them rigorously. Be consistent in the use of the objective evidence (facts) and the subjective evidence (assumptions).
Monday, September 01, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
The following article was originally published in the Marine Corps Gazette in January 1997.
Part 2 of 2
16. Thank the Invisible People
There are lots of fine people doing great work who seldom get thanks because they are "invisible." They work so quietly and so competently that they often are not noticed by the leader.
17. Don't Send Out "I Don't Trust You" Messages
People who say "I never want to be surprised" or "Check with me before you start anything," or "I'm off on a trip; I will call in every morning for an update" are sending out very strong "I don't trust you" messages to their subordinates. People who know they are not trusted will never contribute at their full potential.
18. Serve, Don't Humor the Boss
Too many leaders see their big tasks as keeping their bosses happy, getting to the bottom of the in-box, or staying out of trouble. That is not what leadership is all about. Leadership is serving the mission and serving your people.
19. Criticize Up, Praise Down
Leaders must deflect at least some of the bad guidance they get from above. Is it being loyal to your boss and to the institution you serve to tell the bosses when they are wearing no clothes?
20. Be Physically Fit
Everyone has a "health age." If you exercise regularly and watch your diet, you can make yourself four or five years younger than your chronological age.
21. Develop Solid Leadership Skills
The best leaders in business, the nonprofit sector, and government are superb at time management and are competent in speed reading, personal computers, dictation skills, and the use of manual and electronic brainstorming techniques.
22. Help Your People Understand You
When you take over a new organization, get your key people together and tell them what your top priorities and your pet peeves are. It is especially important for them to learn very early what really bugs you. They will appreciate your candor.
23. Smoke Out Those of Low Integrity
Leaders must sniff the air constantly to ensure high standards of ethics are maintained. In almost all large organizations, someone is walking out the back door with something. Expense accounts, personnel records, training reports, and contracts need regular scrutiny.
24. Concentrate on Performance, Not Just Results
How you get results is important. Leaders who don't concern themselves about the process and the performance that leads to the results are making a big mistake. Always ask yourself what it took to gain those great results.
25. Maintain a Sense of Outrage
There are many super-cool managers who worry too much about keeping their bosses happy. As a result, they never allow themselves to be outraged when the system is doing serious damage to those who work for them. The best leaders get mad occasionally and, using controlled outrage, can often make right wrongs that are levied upon their people.
26. Beware of Intimidation
Be very careful here. Some bosses allow themselves to be intimidated by outsiders, by their bosses, and even by their subordinates. An intimidated boss can never be a great leader. You have to have an independent mind to make the right choices.
27. Avoid the Activity Trap
Don't confuse being busy with being productive. Without discipline, managers can become slaves to their meetings, travel schedules, in-boxes, and telephones. They get so wrapped up in the minutiae that they can become "in-box managers" rather than visionary leaders.
28. Build a Robust Braintrust
One of the great secrets of success is to have a braintrust of experts on various issues. I have learned that a braintrust of around 300 real smart and quick thinking friends can be very helpful whenever I need help. I have their office and home phone numbers and their e-mail addresses so I can get hold of them quickly. The braintrust is reciprocal in that we help each other.
29. Beware of the Paul Principle
Too many leaders allow themselves to slowly slide downhill in competence. When they lose touch with the issues, the new technologies, and the people, they have fallen victim to what I call the Paul Principle.
The future is coming fast. Leaders need to think about the future and prepare their people for it. To keep a close eye on the future, join the World Future Society and read two magazines regularly - Business Week and The Futurist.
30. Get Ready for the Future
Soon leaders will have exciting new technologies to help them be more efficient and effective leaders. The automatic dictating machine will allow leaders to quickly answer their daily mail or write their memos or weekly column. Teleconferencing will reduce the need for travel and speed up consensus-building and decision-making. Electronic brainstorming will accelerate the velocity of innovation. Electronic mail will reduce time wasted with "telephone tag."
All leaders must work hard to build the future, for that is where they and their people will spend the rest of their lives.
A retired major general, Perry M. Smith served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force. During his career he had a number of leadership experiences, including command of the F-15 wing at Bitburg, Germany where he provided leadership to 4000 personnel. Later, he served as the top Air Force planner and as the Commandant of the National War College, where he taught courses on leadership of large organizations and on strategic planning. He is the author of the book Rules and Tools for Leaders and is currently the President of Visionary Leadership in Augusta, Georgia.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Check out this link for a good Asset Management article.
Hofstadter's Law is a self-referencing time-related adage, coined by Douglas Hofstadter and named by himself. The law states:
"It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account".
—Douglas Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 20th anniversary ed., 1999, p. 152. ISBN 0-465-02656-7
Hofstadter's Law was a part of Douglas Hofstadter's 1979 magnum opus Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. It is often cited among programmers, especially in discussions of techniques to improve productivity, such as The Mythical Man-Month or Extreme Programming.
Hofstadter's Law is a statement of the difficulty of accurately estimating the amount of time it will take to complete tasks of any substantial complexity.
Hofstadter's Law is infinitely recursive in nature (i.e., it calls itself by reference), as it has no terminal condition or case. That is, even after one has taken Hofstadter's Law into account, by Hofstadter's Law one must still apply Hofstadter's Law, and so on.
Projectsteps Note: This makes sense to me especially when estimating software development projects. Comments?
Monday, August 11, 2008
The following article was originally published in the Marine Corps Gazette in January 1997.
Part 1 of 2
Successful leaders don't need rows of sharp teeth to swim with the sharks. Here are 30 common sense, often-forgotten tips for good leadership.
In speaking to large audiences on leadership, I am often asked to do the impossible. In less than an hour's time, I am expected to motivate them to improve their skills, inspire them to be better leaders, and to acquaint them with the new technologies and concepts.
To cover all these points in the time allotted, I have come up with "30 Blazing Flashes Of The Obvious" about leadership. Here they are:
1. Know Yourself
All leaders should realize they are, in fact, five or more people. They are who they are, and who they think they are, (and these are never the same); they are who their bosses think they are; and who their subordinates think they are.
Leaders who work hard to get feedback from many sources are more likely to understand and control their various selves, and hence be better leaders.
2. Develop Mental Toughness
Leaders must be brutally honest with themselves or they will slip into the terrible habit of self-deception. Even the best leaders make mistakes. By smoking out these mistakes and correcting them quickly, a good leader can become a superb one.
3. Be Magnanimous
Leaders who share their power and their time can accomplish extraordinary things. The best leaders understand that leadership is the liberation of talent; hence they gain power not only by constantly giving it away, but also by not grabbing it back.
4. Squint With Your Ears
The most important skill for leaders is listening. Introverts have a great edge, since they tend to listen quietly and usually don't suffer from being an "interruptaholic." Leaders should "squint with their ears." Too many bosses are thinking about what they will say next, rather than hearing what is being said now.
5. Trust Your Instinct and Your Impulse
If something smells bad, sounds funny, or causes you to lose sleep at night, take another look. Your instincts combined with your experience can prevent you and your organization from walking off the cliff.
6. Learn By Failure
In my professional career, I have learned much more from my failures than from my successes. As a result, I have become tolerant of the honest failure of others. When a major setback comes along, try to treat it as a marvelous learning experience, for most certainly it will be just that.
7. Protect Innovators
For three years I had a Medal of Honor recipient from Vietnam, Army Col. Jack Jacobs, working for me. He is by far the most innovative person I have ever known. Well over 50 percent of his ideas were awful, but buried among these bad ideas was an occasional pearl of great wisdom. I learned that I had to protect Jack and my organization from his bad ideas while encouraging him to present all his ideas, so we could use his great ones.
8. Beware of Certainty
Leaders should be a bit skeptical of anyone who is totally certain about his or her position. All leaders should have a decent doubt especially when dealing with "true believers" who are always sure they are right.
9. Be Decisive
Top leaders usually must make prudent decisions when they only have about 60 percent of the information they need. Leaders who demand nearly all the information are usually months or years late making decisions.
10. Don't Become Indispensable
Organizations need indispensable institutions not indispensable people. Leaders should not allow themselves to become indispensable, nor should they let any of their subordinates do so.
11. Avoid the Cowardice of Silence
During meetings, so-called leaders often sit on their hands when it is time to raise a hand and speak up. Leadership requires courage - courage to make waves, courage to take on our bosses when they are wrong, and the courage of conviction. Every Robert E. Lee needs a James Longstreet to tell him exactly the way it is.
12. Fight Against Paranoia
Welcome criticism, help people understand that it is OK to have "love quarrels" with the organization. Loyalty and criticism are mutually supporting while slavish loyalty is deadly. Avoid the defensive crouch. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
13. Be Goal Oriented
Leaders, even at a lower level, must try to set some long-term goals for their people and for their organization. People want to know where they are going and in what order of priority.
14. Follow the Platinum Rule
The golden rule is marvelous. But in leadership situations, the platinum rule may be even better: "Treat others the way they would like to be treated."
15. Don't Waste People's Time
The best question a leader can ask a subordinate during a counseling session is, "How am I wasting your time?" Not everyone will tell you, but cherish the ones that do, for they will help you grow and prosper as a leader.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Health Information - Author Unknown
This is scary stuff, and I'm sure it has gotten worse since this was written.
The worlds most influential Medical Journal, 'The New England Journal of Medicine' has admitted that 50% of drug therapy reviews were written by researchers for undisclosed financial support from the drug pharmaceutical companies. This only represents those who admitted this breach of ethics. This is for the period 1997 to 1999. In 2002 some admitted to falsifying research results so as to be more favorable to drug company claims. This raises the question of medical integrity of lesser publications and the Medical Industry as a whole. Most lesser Medical Journals do not consider allowing the fox in the chicken coop as being an ethical problem. Some believe this is only the tip of the iceberg on how far pharmaceutical companies have gone in the control of academic research and publishing. (Feb 2000)
Eighty-seven percent of doctors who set guidelines on disease treatment have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The 2002 study suggest the percentage is likely in the 90% range. It is the pharmaceutical companies who finance most of the nation's drug research.
MAJOR MEDICAL MYTH: Physicians have an ethical obligation to tell patients about significant medical errors when such disclosure would benefit the health of the patient, would show respect for the patient’s autonomy, or would be called for by principles of justice.
INFORMATION: Major faulty medical advice that has been widely communicated when proven in error only receives very minor public coverage. Statistics on systemic medical delivery problems are not recorded and communicated to the general public for correction. Hospital errors in the United States for example are estimated to be as high as 3,000,000 per year at a cost of 200 billion dollars.
Medical errors are the leading causes of death and injury in America according to the medical authorities in both Canada and the U.S.A. Health-care professionals cause 225,000 deaths per year in the United States. 12,000 from unnecessary surgery, 7,000 from medication errors, 20,000 from hospital error, 80,000 from infections acquired in hospital, 106,000 from non-error, adverse effects of drugs. Another 199,000 deaths are attributed to adverse effects in outpatient care. 2000 Journal of American Medical Association.
Only 50% of medical mistakes are even disclosed to the attending physician.
Only 25% of medical mistakes are ever disclosed to the customer, we the patient.
In 1998 in the United States 160,000 patients died because of adverse medical events.
Canada is estimated at 20,000 deaths per year because of medical errors. The Canadian Medical community admit that there are likely 4,000 to 10,000 die due to medical errors, more than are killed in automobile accidents.
Studies conducted record 100,000,000 people believe they were adversely affected by medical mistakes.
- 42% were directly affected themselves, a family member or a friend
- 40% site misdiagnosis and wrong treatment
- 28% for medication errors
- 22% for mistakes during a medical procedure
The largest 50% sited carelessness, improper training and poor communication.
My dad was the victim of several medical mistakes when he was in the hospital last year. He died at the hospice within hours of leaving the hospital.
Friday, July 25, 2008
The World is Flat Audiobook Giveaway
With the No. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman helped millions of readers see and understand globalization in a new way. Now you can have it for free.
From now until August 4th, you can download the audiobook version of The World Is Flat and receive an exclusive audio preview excerpt of Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
Sign up here for details
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Technobabble (a portmanteau of technology and babble) is a form of prose using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification, misdirection, and obfuscation. This is not to be confused with jargon itself, but rather technobabble is a conscious attempt to deliver jargon to outsiders, without insight or comprehensive explanation, to make unsound or unprovable arguments appear to have merit.
Various fields of practice and industry have their own specialised vocabularies (jargon) that are intended to convey specific features in a concise manner to those educated within that industry, which would otherwise appear confusing or nonsensical to an outside listener. Additionally, the sound use of jargon will concisely convey information (even if that information is not fully understood by the listener). Conversely, the primary function of technobabble is to obscure the truth of a situation by overdressing the words and concepts.
Read the rest at Wikipedia
I like the quote by Malcolm Forbes that goes, "You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them". I have been fortunate over the years to have worked for people that had good character and lived by high ethical standards. At the same time, I have worked with and for people that only care about their own vague agendas, that speak mostly gibberish (technobabble), and refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. I call these people, "VUGs". VUG is an acronym for Vague, Unclear, and Gibberish- speaking.
I'm sure you know a few VUGs. They come to meetings, (they love e-mail) and try to prove how smart they are by using "industry" jargon, corporate gibberish-speak, and what has been referred to as "technobabble". They are generally laid back, often personable, will complement you to your face, and put you down behind your back. They are insecure, generally soft-spoken, power hungry, yet calm in the face of crisis. They blame others, never apologize, and love recognition. When they do try to recognize others, it is usually out of guilt or a sense of corporate duty.
VUGs like unclear (immeasurable) strategies and objectives. They ensure that they can't personally be held accountable because they speak in vague terms and future perfect scenarios. Timeframes usually aren't important to VUGs. In fact, they will never state a definitive deadline for anything that can come back to bite them. They love to delegate, are unwilling to debate, and are usually unable to deal effectively with others because of a lack of self-confidence or guilt from the way they have treated others.
VUGs speak in VUGlish, a language all their own. When VUGs speak what they say rarely has a connection to organizational strategy, is peppered with gibberish, or is a long-winded rambling of disconnected thoughts and ideas linked to immeasurable goals.
So what does all this mean? For the project manager, having a VUG for a project sponsor, as your manager, or as one of your stakeholders is inevitable. How we handle them will help determine how successful we are when managing our project.
As project managers we have to de-VUG our projects. We de-VUG our projects by ensuring that language in our scope documents, project plans, and other project documentation is:
Specific and Clear
Linked to Organizational or Departmental Strategy
Is Written in Plain Language
Has Definitive Dates (deadlines) for all Milestones and Deliverables
If you are ignorant of the VUGs that can influence your project, your projects could get VUGly!
What do you think? Do you agree, or disagree? Do you know a VUG?
Leave me a comment or e-mail me.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Why did progressives recoil [over the New Yorker cartoon]? Because the more savvy among them sense that, like much humor, this cartoon was an exaggeration that contained no small kernel of recognizable truth.
And assume the point of the cartoon had been to satirize the Obamas. Why would that have been so outrageous? Journalists, after all, still celebrate Herblock, the cartoonist who portrayed Richard Nixon with the body of a rat climbing out of a sewer. Hillary Clinton has been compared to the sex-starved Glenn Close character in “Fatal Attraction.” George Bush’s verbal gaffes are endlessly panned by late-night comics and Comedy Central. But Barack gets the special-ed treatment. Our first affirmative action candidate.
The New Yorker made a “damn-fool decision,” said George Lockwood, a lecturer on journalistic ethics. David West of Brookings wailed to USA Today of the cartoon: “It’s the mass media at its worst. It perpetuates false information, and it’s highly inflammatory. … It gives credibility to what’s been circulating for months, and that’s what makes it dangerous.”
But dangerous to whom? Again, it is only a cartoon.
For it suggests that Obama is an untouchable to be protected. As an African-American, he is not to be treated the same as other politicians. Remnick and Hertzberg obviously felt intense moral pressure to remove any suspicion that they had satirized the Obamas. No problem, however, if they were mocking the American right.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
43 Folders: Merlin Mann started a lot of us on this journey, so now he has to pay. In the meantime, though, he and his crew of happy Folderers keep on providing great tips on productivity and getting things done, especially for Mac users.
All Things Workplace: Tips from Steve Roesler on becoming a more effective leader.
Awake At The Wheel: Great stuff from serial entrepreneur, yoga expert, and writer Jonathan Fields on being happy and successful in all your endeavors.
Black Belt Productivity: Co-written by Jason Echols and Michael Ramm, BBP covers workplace productivity and GTD. Home of the “GTD Primer”, an excellent series of posts introducing GTD methods.
Change Your Thoughts: Steven Aitchison’s blog on health, finances, relationships, writing, and generally keeping a positive perspective on life.
Conflict Zen: Formerly “I Can’t Say That”, Conflict Zen is all about dealing with and resolving interpersonal conflict. If you know people, you probably need to get a little conflict Zen.
Cranking Widgets: Brett Kelly offers practical GTD-minded advice on life and productivity.
Creating a Better Life: Personal development in its purest form, CaBL deals with productivity and related issues from the perspective of creating internal attitudes that make us more productive. Check out the rather thorough listing of free personal development e-books, too!
The Daily Saint : I have it on good authority that Mike St. Pierre isn’t a saint at all. But who cares? He offers great tips on being more productive and managing time better, with an emphasis on creating meaning in your life.
Design Your Writing Life: Lisa Gates poses thoughtful questions and exercises to help you tap into and express your inner creativity, in writing or any other form.
Diary of a Four-Hour-a-Weeker: Like the title says, this is the journal of an entrepreneur trying to implement the suggestions of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek.
Did I Get Things Done?: Andrew Mason’s blog focuses around his efforts to implement and live by the principles in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
D*I*Y Planner: The blog is wacky and often deeply obscure, celebrating a sometimes unholy love between the writers and their pens and paper. But the main attraction is the DIY Planner templates — an incredible assortment of print-them-yourself forms for all your productivity and creativity needs.
Dumb Little Man: DLM’s Jay White ain’t so dumb after all. Jay shares tips on productivity, personal development, and business life.
Escape From Corporate America: Advice on working the corporate world to your advantage — even if that means leaving it — from career change expert Pamela Skillings.
Even Happier: Counselor and former Italian pop sensation Marco shares his insights on living a happier life.
Flipping Heck!: Productivity notes with an emphasis on the workplace. Offers lots of tutorials on using various pieces of software as well as on dealing with common workplace tasks.
Genuine Curiosity: Dwayne Melancon reviews books, software, and other tools that help keep us productive.
Get Rich Slowly: GRS is devoted to personal finance, offering tips and advice on saving money, investing wisely, and getting a grip on your investing.
Getting Things Done: Getting Things Done (the blog) is all about applying the principles of Getting Things Done (the book). Home of the Ultimate GTD Index, which pulls together feeds from GTD sites across the ‘Net.
The Growing Life: Clay Collins takes on everything you thought you knew about productivity with his anti-hacks and the concept of lifestyle design.
GTD Times: Officially sanctioned by David Allen, GTD Times focuses especially on business productivity.
LifeClever: Tips on life and productivity with an emphasis on design, both how design aids productivity and the special challenges designers face.
Lifehacker: Lifehacker offers a mix of daily news on the productivity beat as well as an assortment of handy little apps that help you get things done. It’s not Lifehack
The Life Hackery: Lots of clever tips on health and fitness, household organization, Internet apps, and plenty more.
Life Learning Today: Learn about life and live to learn with Life Learning Today. Tips on personal development and productivity, but also health, money, work , blogging, and more.
Life Lessons of a Military Wife: The title says it all: this site offers life lessons from a military wife, with a focus on personal and home finances and family organization.
Life Optimizer Life Optimizer: Donald Latumahina’s blog about making the most out of the resources you’re given to live with. Great stuff to keep your outlook strong.
LifeReboot: Shaun Boyd’s blog on finding and pursuing your passion in work, learning, relationships, and life as a whole.
Life Sutra: The 4-Hour Workweek Journal: Andrew Brick, a 30-something software professional, offers tips and tricks centered around the ideas in 4HWW.
LifeTweak: Blogger Manu writes on general productivity topics. Distinguished by his amusing hand-drawn illustrations and earnestly helpful content.
LivSimpl: Happiness through simplicity (and the elimination of silent e’s).
A Long Long Road: Lawrence Cheok’s blog on personal growth, careers, and relationships.
Matt’s Idea Blog: Matthew Cornell is a personal productivity consultant who shares his ideas on productivity, motivation, and personal growth.
MonkAtWork: Adam Kayce is not a monk. Instead, he writes about bringing a sense of spirituality and passion to your work. If you must have a monk, though, there’s a very cool drawing of one.
Newly Corporate: Group blog covering workplace and life “best practices” for young professionals.
One Bag Nation: Ann at One Bag Nation documents the journey of a naturally disorganized person in her quest to gain a little order in her life.
Open Loops: Good, solid GTD-oriented advice from a man with a beard (there’s no About page, is what I’m saying).
Organize IT: Practical-minded advice on productivity, health, finance, personal growth, and GTD.
Nick Pagan: Nick Pagan wants you to understand you better. To that end, he presents productivity and personal development information based on how the mind works. Meaty, deeply researched stuff.
Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog: Are you smart? Then you owe it to yourself to check out Steve Pavlina’s personal development tips for smart people. Steve writes eloquently about entrepreneurship, especially working online, and the tools and attitudes that make it work.
Personal Development Blog: Gleb Reys shares what he learns on his own quest for personal development.
Personal Development Ideas: You want personal development ideas, Personal Development Ideas has personal development ideas. Goal-setting, time-management, and personal growth top the bill here.
Persistence Unlimited: From the man who gave MobilePC users “Achieve-IT!” comes a blog about coming up with and acting on your ideas. By turns inspirational and funny, PU knows how to get stuff done.
John Place Online:John Place helps you maximize your potential for happiness with tips and advice, with a lot of strong material on relationships.
Productivity501: Great blog from Mark Shead on productivity tools and techniques. As the name suggests, Mark is focused not just on getting started but on advanced thinking about productivity.
Put Things Off: Nick Cernis enlists the aid of a fuzzy kitten and his lunchtime banana to transform productivity from a hobby into a way of life. Refreshingly contrarian — and a little silly. Focuses on freelancing, software, entrepreneurship, and general productivity.
Right Attitudes » Ideas for Impact: Nagesh Belludi offers practical advice for developing the right attitudes in life — and transforming attitudes into behaviors that help you be more productive.
Ririan Project: Ririan is a guy on a quest to remake his life, and he shares the process with us.
David Seah: David Seah offers advice and a set of great templates (including “The Printable CEO” series) to empower you to reach new heights.
Alex Shalman : Lifehack.org contributor and medical student Alex Shalman’s site offers thought-provoking essays on relationships, the examined life, and health, along with general productivity and personal development tips.
SimpleProductivityBlog: Lots of great ideas here, including several multi-part series on various aspects of GTD and productivity.
Slow Leadership: Focused largely on business leadership and the evils of “hamburger management”, Carmine Coyote’s ideas about leadership can be adapted to any life.
Slower Living: Slow down! What’s the big rush, anyway? Find peace, happiness, and even greater productivity (in the things that matter to you most) with these tips on living life in the slow lane — or off the road entirely.
SuccessMinders: Jacob Cazell’s tips on developing a success-oriented mindset.
Success Soul: Shilpan Patel offers inspiration and advice drawn from the greatest minds, all with an eye towards what you and I can learn so we can make our own success.
Technotheory.com: Technology and productivity talk from a DC-based efficiency trainer.
Think Simple Now: Creativity, clarity, and happiness — what could be better? Think Simple Now covers the tools and techniques to get there.
Today is that Day: Aaron Potts’ goal is your empowerment, with posts on success, wealth, and happiness.
Uncle Joe’s Leadership Blog: “Uncle” Joe Hungler shares his advice on cultivating and teaching leadership.
What’s the Next Action?: Read What’s the Next Action for advice on project planning and getting things done.
Wise Bread: A personal finance site committed to helping readers live within their means with budgeting tips and advice on finding the best deals saving money on life’s necessities.
Work N Play: Good advice from Ritu, especially on making the most out of the web for networking, freelancing, and doing business.
Scott H Young:: University student Scott Young takes on general productivity topics as well as offering studying tips and advice on lifelong learning.
Zen Habits: Leo Babauta writes incredibly well about productivity, health and wellness, and most of all about living the simple life.