Archive | October, 2011

Happiness Revisited

26 Oct

Recently a colleague forwarded an article to me written by an exchange student from Denmark. She says:  “I am from Denmark, and came to Orlando to study abroad for this semester. I love it here, but life is different from back home. Here, everyone talks a lot about money. In fact, everything is money.”

This article did not make me happy (pun intended).  How did this young woman get such a distorted view of America?  Do you know anyone who is personally driven by money?  I have been in 350+ organizations and we almost never talk about money.  I now have 99 posts on this blog, not one of them is about money.

I concede that Danes are very happy, in fact Denmark is the happiest country in Europe, perhaps in the world.

But Americans are also very happy. Except for Mexico, North America is a very happy place.  However, it seems that Florida is not as happy as the upper Midwest, perhaps this explains her perception of the experience, as well as her lack of graciousness.  Clearly, no Iowa Nice where she has been living.

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“A Crucible Is….

19 Oct

a place or set of circumstances where people are subjected to forces that test them and often make them change.” – dictionary

I hope you viewed the video of Steve Jobs at the 2005 Stanford graduation last week.  If not, please do so.  Three powerful crucibles helped shape his life.

Research on leadership shows that such crucibles are an integral part of the development of leaders.  To read an article on this goto Crucibles of Leadership.

Recently, in a leadership development retreat, individuals shared crucibles that shaped their lives.  What an extraordinary experience to hear these stories.  All were personal and powerful.

Consider:  A shy, introverted young man who met his future wife and she helped him to play from his strengths and become a better person.  A woman who was fired from a stressful job she was reluctant to leave and then moved on to find the perfect job for her.  A woman who was informed by a high school counselor “Women go to college to obtain their Mrs.” She used that insult as a source of motivation to become a successful professional and mother.  A college student preparing to drop out when his mom convinced him to stay in and succeed – and he did.  A teacher who convinced a young girl she could do anything a man could and opened up new horizons and opportunities for her.

These crucibles can be inflection points in our lives.

Food for thought.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

 

Thank You, Steve

11 Oct

The leadership literature often speaks to the importance of ‘crucibles” in the development of leaders.  Crucibles are powerful emotional events that catalyze self-analysis and lead to important life-change.  In my own experience as a consultant I have had many opportunities to discuss such events with clients and am impressed how powerful these discussions are in the context of a change process.

Recently Newsweek had an interesting article, one of many in the press, on Steve Jobs.  Here is a quote from the article:

“The essential things to know about Jobs’s life emerged in a speech he gave in spring 2005 at Stanford University. It was a commencement address, an ungripping form, and yet Jobs’s speech was one of the wisest I have ever read. The style in which he framed the address shows that while the computer world gained a supergeek, the literary world might have lost a powerful storyteller. In fact, his life has a weirdly fictional flavor, as though he’s the embodiment of the urgent dreamer.”

To read the text of this speech, it’s pretty short but emotionally powerful, goto: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

For those of you who prefer video gotto:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

Not many graduation speeches get a standing ovation.

To read the article in Newsweek goto:

http://magazine-directory.com/Newsweek.htm

Then goto SEARCH and use: “How Apple Revolutionized Our World”

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Two Fine Things….

5 Oct

… every manager should do.  First, maintain a high say/do ratio.

Second, make sure your people get as much feedback about their performance as possible.  Take some time to reflect on how candid you are and understand the power of thoughtful negative feedback.  Also, understand that when you are using feedback one of the goals is to improve your working relationship with your colleague. Thus, attention to your emotional message is very important.  For a more in-depth discussion of this goto: What did you say? Feedback. What’s That?

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.