Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Randy Pausch - Forever in our Memory

Randy Pausch
1960 to 2008

Randy was a born just a little two months after this author in the year 1960. In his short life, he did much to help all of us with technology, innovation and to view the world in a little better way. In a way, being my age - his age, created a connect with him that left me deeply engaged with his journey. After reading his book, I was taken back by the thought that in the 48 years he has danced upon the planet and soared well over what most would have thought possible.

Randy was a role model... Look at the way he showed us how to live!

Randy was a teacher... There is much we as leaders can learn from just watching him teach.

Randy was inspirational - We were all taught the grace of facing death in a way that was very inspiration.

For his courage, his honesty, his openness... My hope is that his children will always know that he will always be with us. His spirit was great! My greatest hope is that I can one day face death with as much character and courage as he did.

I will end with a Jimmy Valvano quote:

“Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind; it cannot touch my heart; and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Randy Pausch.... exemplified Mind - Heart - Soul! Forever in our memory!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tom Rath's Gallop Findings

Tom Rath (2006) reported in his book Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without that there are eight vital roles that friends play in helping employees succeed:

  • Builders (those who motivate you to achieve more)
  • Champions (those loyalists who stand up for you)
  • Collaborators (those with similar interests)
  • Companion (those classic friends who you call
    first with your news)
  • Connectors (those who introduce you to others)
  • Energizers (those who give you a boost when
    you’re down)
  • Mind-openers (those who expand your horizons)
  • Navigators (those who you go to for advice)
In 2007, he spoke to the crowd at ASTD about the findings that each of us are more likely to stay in our jobs and with our organizations if we have more than 5 friends at work. So what does this all mean to the workplace leader. Here in the USA where our workplace culture asks us to be task oriented and not relationship oriented, to be objective or rather not subjective, to focus on return on investment and competition.. maybe we are missing a major lesson. Competition, return on investment, and being good at our tasks are critical to success, but creating a culture where employees can build and foster friendships may be the different in having a sustainable engaged workforce. Using the eight types of friends listed above, ask yourself what your are doing to create a workplace culture that encourages these types of relationships. Look at everything.. for example:

Does your system of giving raises and bonuses encourage or discourage employees to take on these roles?
Does the funding priorities set by you create opportunities for these friendships to emerge?

It is very revealing.. For example, leaders are pushing training more and more to distant mediums to save costs these days... I'm not convinced we can develop the friendships we need without some time face to face...

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Leadership Lesson of July 4th

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted what we now know in the USA as the foundation of our liberty. The document, the declaration of Independence, is something each of us should at a look represents one of the most significant change management efforts in the history of the world.

There are several lessons that leaders can pull from the happenings of July 4th:

  • Courage - All change management requires courage.. imagine what it was like to sit in that hall in Philidephia as each state's representative rose to answer the vote, knowing that to say yes was to create an act of treason. They were all wealthy men, with much to lose, and yet almost all rose and voted yes.
  • Guiding Coalition - The effort required a group of "United States." It required great a deal of team building. Each member of the congress had to develop trust among their rivals. These individuals spoke a little different, lived different lives..
  • Diversity - Each of the founding fathers had strengths and weakness. Some gave great speeches, others were very good writers. It took a diversity of thought and skills to create what is maybe one of the best written documents in history.

It is a very good read... so, now that you have enjoyed the food, the family, friends and fireworks.. have a good read and remember why we celebrate this time....

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish [sic] brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Leadership in Action

Who was your best teacher growing up. Think about how much this person impacted your life. What they meant for your development and how much success you have today from what you were taught... Now, Imagine growing up with no schools, no safe place to play, and worst, no hope for a life without war. Your teacher never existed.. what would that mean for you and your life.

I want to share today a great story about leadership in action.Allie doesn't know I am doing this, but her work needs to be acknowledged. Great leaders do more than achieve success... the work to improve their community. Allie Russos, a young adult in my community, is an example of the greatness of Gen X & Y. Allie is still in the middle of developing her skills toward becoming a great health care professional, but at the same time she has managed to give of herself at Hospice, her hair at compassionate kids, take several mission trips to South America to help build homes for the poor, and in the past couple of years travel to Africa to help with health and education of some of our poorest world citizens. To top off all of this, she just formed her own non-profit with the amazing goal of building a school in northern Uganda! All this before she is much older than I was before I got a real job.. and yes.. I didn't even come close to giving to one project like she has made in helping others less deserving than her. Leadership such as her's needs to be acknowledge and thus, I have chosen to do it three ways:

  • Blog on her a bit and maybe inspire all of us to be more giving to those who have less that we do.
  • Make a small, but meaningful gift as a jesture of my support. (Done)
  • Encourage all of you to join me in supporting her cause with a small gift and by sharing her site to your friends. A jester is all that is really needed, but if enough of you read this, share this with your friends and all give small meaningful gifts.. we will help Allie to reach her dream of a school in Uganda.. and yes.. reward her through our acknowledgement.
Her Non-profit (which by the way seeks to give every dollar donated to the project) is called The Ubuntu Way. Here is their mission:

The Ubuntu Way is a non-profit organization established in October 2007. Our mission is to provide educational and medical aide to those who need it the most, who are unable to provide for themselves, regardless of race, sex, age, ethnicity, culture or religion. This will be achieved by raising awareness of current situations, purchasing life-saving medications, providing a means for children to attend school, funding and constructing schools and health clinics, providing medical and school supplies along with further educating teachers and health care providers who will work in these facilities.

You can donate at: Donate. Think of this as a great social networking project.. see if you can get as many individuals to donate $10 using their credit card this summer. I will talk with Allie and report back later this year on how successful we are in achieving the goal. And the great thing about this.. you will all feel great, and Allie will build a school for some of the world's poorest children! Thanks in advance if you choose to join me in this journey!

Blogged with the Flock Browser