Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Reflection’

…gentle reminder

March 23, 2015 Leave a comment

I spent a few hours with an individual this past weekend that inspired me to remind myself (and of course anyone reading this) of a few things;

1) As cheesy as this is, this quote from a sad attempt at sustaining a franchise says it all. “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” Now that’s powerful stuff! Now, I’ve always told folks to remember that work/life balance is not a balance – it is a choice. I am sure I stole that from someone, but if I cannot remember who from – then I think it is okay. Enjoy the good, the bad and in-between as there is a point in everyone’s life that whatever plasticity exists – decays.

2) All of your problems will still exist the next day – trick is to figure out what you need to do to work smarter and solve them rather than carrying them around like rocks in your pockets. I do not like rocks in my pockets as they make funny sound when I walk. The next point speaks to this, but made a conscious decision not to carry rocks, by creating measurable chunks of achievable deadlines. Try it until it becomes a habit, like it you will. Repeat it, you shall. Yes, I was channeling my inner Yoda.

3) I was deftly reminded of Parkinson’s Law. It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Holy crap, that is an oldie (’55) but goodie! There are some insightful corollaries, applying to task management as well as technology use – very durable thought construct. Draw lines, meet them (make sure you define done) and find closure…move on to the next line.

Just a few random thoughts.

…make wise choices,

-sk

 

…double tap

November 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Two days (among a few others) that remain etched into my mind are before us. Yesterday, marked the 237th Marine Corps Birthday  and today marks Veteran’s day here in the US. One is a joyous occasion celebrating the continued existence of the most fierce fighting force in the world. The other, a day of reflecting on the past and present men and women that gave service to our Nation.

Both events have an underpinning that I have discussed a few times in this blog – the notion of service. Doing something beyond yourself, and in many cases with no personal gain as a motivating factor whatsoever.

We do what we can so that others can do what they must.

Actively support organizations that help our warriors return to civilian life and contribute, to return to whatever normalcy they can and help support the families that they leave behind.

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

http://www.taps.org/

http://www.fisherhouse.org/

…make wise choices,

-sk

…which side are you on?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading an article the other day interviewing Tom Morello, one of my favorite artists – and a funny few lines came up. A certain political candidate (I think they all suck by the way) was commenting on some of bands that he enjoyed – those that partially shaped him.

One of the bands, this person was influenced by Rage Against the Machine (another favorite of mine), in which, Tom played for a bit. The amusing portion of this interview was where Tom recognized and quite intelligently (actually one of the most well articulated responses I’ve heard to date) retorted with a litany of reasons as to why this political candidate clearly had no clue about the music as people like him were the target!

Now, in true sk fashion, I’ll not even bother discussing the leftist views expressed by the bands and the hypocrisy of their messaging – now being multi-millionaires. And I want to make it perfectly clear that a certain death row inmate (that had his death sentance commuted to life w/o parole) actually deserved to die….but I suppose we all die in the end….that’s why they call it the end.

It’s all about the music – and I am not a political candidate. Message here is that if you are going to reference something in a context where it may have an impact on your (stated) belief system – make damn sure you are not supporting the opposition!

I am sure they have enough ammo on you…

…make wise choices,

-sk

…ripple in the water

July 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ll not spend time discussing recent events in CO. It is a topic that has been beaten to death by the media and I’ll not even bother. What I will discuss is a theme that has peppered my previous posts, the notion of always moving forward and living for the present. None of us know when our time will come (suicide notwithstanding) and whether we will be ready.

Plans we make, promises we give and futures we imagine for ourselves and our families can be eviscerated in the blink of an eye. Our lives are but a series of random events that are put in front of us and our actions sometimes impact the outcome. We can reduce the likelihood of early tragedy, but are only one snake bite, cancer growth, stroke, accident…etc away from oblivion.

Dismal shit is it not?

Many ask themselves (those that pontificate on the points above) if this is the case then why bother?

Simple answer is that we ultimately exist to create a positive impact on others, through pro-creation and/or passing down knowledge and values to those we meet along our journey. Sure, I can get wrapped up in the evolutionary need to spread one’s own genetic code in order to ensure that certain characteristics are propagated throughout generations – but I’m too lazy to write about that right now.

Re-evaluate where you spend your time, energy and resources. Is it in the right areas? Who will remember you (for the right reasons…no Hitler jokes please) when you are gone and for how long?

..make wise choices,

-sk

…does this make me look fat?

June 9, 2012 Leave a comment

It is important that we all understand the benefits of receiving feedback from those around us – those who we trust. Whether that is explicit verbal feedback, nuances in body language and/or other means of non-verbal communication.

We should seek to understand how we are perceived in the eyes of others, in as many scenarios as practical. Not so much so we can change who we are (that, of course is a choice), but so that we can understand the impact that we have in personal and professional lives.

When you seek to understand how you look from the outside, you gain tremendous insight that can serve to create new opportunities. It is all about perspective, as invariably there will be those that offer feedback, which may be predicated on thoughts/feelings not relevant to the situation on which it is based upon (re-read the last sentence). Of course, you should be ready to receive feedback that you do not like, and in some cases do not agree with and/or are offended by…that’s ok.

This is not an argument or a conflict inducing exercise. This is a catalyst for introspection.

…make wise choices

-sk

…every day is Monday

June 2, 2012 1 comment

The other day, I attended the Google Atmosphere Tour in NY. It went as expected, with typical a Google-centric view on how their products and services are awesome…..no shocker there. The keynote speaker was Don Tapscott, who discussed our changing times, how we have become an hyper-interconnected world. This, in turn, has created a business and cultural transformation with shifting paradigms for everything we do – a massively complex topic to fit in a 30 mins speech. Many of the folks there (packed crowd) were tweeting, updating facebook accounts and/or looking at their free goodies….I was listening (fine fine, I sent 1 tweet).

The message from the speaker was fairly compelling; we do not predict the future, we create it.

So this got me thinking about what motivates us, propels us to accomplish great things (for those who dare). As I walked back to my car, I overheard a few folks having a conversation that ended with “thank god it is almost Friday.”

This got me thinking – why is Friday so great? Is it because the weekend us around the corner and folks need to recharge, spend time with family and/or catch up on sleep? Is it due to people’s lives being so seemingly terrible that they need to escape to the safety of the weekend? Is it a mental milestone, that when accomplished, seems to rigger a rush of dopamine? I’ll not circle the proverbial bowl discussing the fascinating concepts of neuroplasticity and how our behaviors are shaped…another time perhaps.

I often think about the impact of technology and globalization on culture, communication and collaboration – in work and personal life. How different cultures perceive time is an awesome topic that deserves a long conversation (just not now). How are our lives shaped by the time we spend with each other, the time we spend alone – and the time we spend in transitionary phases?

Is there really such a thing as a weekend off or is it about maximizing the time we have, regardless of what day? I am a firm believer in the latter, as Friday is no different, better or worse than Sunday. As our personal and professional lives continue to overlap, it is up to us to determine what drives us and how we find balance.

For me it is a simple concept.

When people walk by me and feel compelled to proclaim – it’s Friday, my retort is often the same four words…

…make wise choices.

-sk

…picking teetsie

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

On more than a few occasions I have discussed the notion of decisive action. As such, wise action often requires a fact base in order to propel us forward. In our personal and professional lives, we surround ourselves with advisors. Generally, those individuals are segmented based on numerous criteria, that often, is a combination of situationally based dimensions coupled with certain skills/knowledge.

What does one do when we have an advisor that is hell bent on giving the most ill-conceived feedback, that almost certainly has a high probability of poor results? Better yet, how do we handle those same advisors that stand to personally benefit from our failure?

I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again – Rule #1 is “Always be aware of your surroundings.” This is as much a geospatial construct as it is an interpersonal one, in that only through knowing those that you have around you – can you truly understand what motivates them.

…make wise choices,

-sk

…top of the mountain

April 15, 2012 2 comments

I met an interesting person in my travels that gave me cause to stop and review priorities. I walked past a random stranger at an airport and was asked how I was doing. Of course, I am not used to random acts of kindness, generosity or pleasantry. My standard smart-ass response to someone asking me how it is going, is “every day above ground is a good day.”

As I finished my retort, I looked at a man in his seventies (maybe older) wearing a hat with a combat patch from the same infantry unit that I served in, back when I was younger, stronger and faster (just to name a few). He looked right at me and told me that he could not agree more. So we got to chatting about randomly useless topics and before I knew it, he was sharing his life story with me. Usually, I disengage and just walk away, but for this old Marine, I could not do that – I was compelled to listen.

He talked about his military service, the places he went, the things he did and the nightmares he still has…college, getting married, burying his wife..etc. Throughout his storytelling he had conveyed a sense of accomplishment, failure and cycles of learning – this dude sucked me into his story. The thing that compelled me to stay engaged was his ethos on personal accomplishment. Simply put, when he felt he had accomplished a certain personal or career goal – he just stopped what he was doing and started from scratch doing something else. The paradigm seems so darn crazy but to him it made sense.

His reasoning was simple. Every mountain has one peak, every pyramid – one apex, every skyscraper one top. Once reached, you can either wait to be toppled by someone/something else – or you can just get down and find something new climb. It is not about the destination, but instead, the journey. Then he sheepishly looked at me and said “hell what do I know, I’m just some old man…”.

We both smiled and parted ways.

What will you do when you reach the  top?

…make wise choices,

-sk

…farmer or gardener?

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Let’s talk about scaling talent a little bit. There are plenty of content out there centering around developing leadership as one grows throughout the enterprise. The topic of being self-aware, evolving your style and approach as you climb the proverbial corporate ladder is a popular one.

I believe, that a lesser explored topic is just as important and relevant to the overall success of a leader. That topic is Personal Elasticity. Ultimately, an individual needs to understand the dynamics of larger (or smaller organizations), map them to corporate culture and marry them to an execution plan (over simplifying here I realize…). The reality is that leading a co-located team of a handful of individuals is vastly different than being a part of a larger, globally federated team with both direct matrix relationships.

While this seems like a no brainer, it never ceases to amaze me how often we as leaders make the fundamental mistake of repetition on previous approaches to organizational leadership and simply failing to adapt. Often, there is no awareness of this as we do not take the time to build peer relationships that provide this type of valuable perspective.

…Who are you?

…make wise choices.
-sk

…the buck stops here…no…here…no…over here…

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Recent events have uncovered an interesting question. When something goes wrong – how does a team respond post-recovery in terms of accountability? Some say that the member of the team is held accountable in some fashion for the mistake, others believe that its their leadership that is held accountable. Still others claim that these actions detract from the purpose of the team concept and ethos, celebrating successes and failures together.

This is a bit of a slippery slope, of course depending on the nature of the error and its impacts. How does a leader hold his team accountable, and in turn, how is that leader held accountable in a fashion that does not stifle initiative, innovation and thoughtful risk-taking?

Ultimately, it boils down to corporate culture, the nature of the mistake as well as over all team cohesion. I am not talking about repetitive mistakes that would have another, less pleasant avenue for remediation – but mistakes every now and again from an otherwise high-performing team. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that leader of people needs to come to terms with early on, as it will chart the path for how team members’ achievements and misses are perceived within the team, organization and company.

How do you lead when things go south?

…make wise choices,

-sk