Last week was an exciting week in Hyderabad, India. It included the typical day old meetings, team building dinners, equipment and hardware reviews and lesson after lesson of culture.
But this visit had very special meaning. For the last year, the drive from the hotel to the facility has been an exciting 75 minutes of twists, turns, pumps, jumps, transitions, traffic, construction, obstructions and general discomfort. No more. A number of new roads opened and a smooth ride resulted.
So what does this have to do with old habits you might ask? A few of these newly opened roads also have new sidewalks that are level, clean, unobstructed and unused. Everyone was still walking in the streets. I asked why and generally the answer revolved around the idea that sidewalks are generally not the cleanest and level of places to walk. But this case was different. The sidewalks were clear and ready to be used. It made me think of what old leadership habits we all have that are no longer relevant. Things we do from habit whose basis is gone.
What do you do from habit that you should stop? Have you caught yourself lately doing some no longer relevant?
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
A few weeks ago we talked about the “major league mentoring” Gloria James provided her son. While this story got a lot of comment, less famous moms are providing great advice to leaders all the time.
Gerry was trying to make a very difficult career decision. It was a common question of balancing career and work with family and health. In reality, the answer to the question is so simple. Family and health need to be in line or your career and work performance will never be maximized. Unfortunately, it is often hard to see the obvious and we need someone to help.
In Gerry’s case there were young boys and a wife all in need of his assistance. Once Gerry came to what I’ll call the obvious decision, I asked him what helped him come to the right conclusion. He said he sought the coaching and advice of many people he trusted, but the thoughts from his mother weighed heavily. Gerry’s said his mom only asked him, “What do you think I would have done when you were 12 years old and needed my help?” From that point forward, Gerry focused on the critical issues and is back to his career in a much more balanced manner.
Do you have that person you can depend on for honest guidance? Do you take the trust others give you to provide guidance as seriously as you should?
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This was a good Sunday morning. I woke up to warm banana nut muffins and hot coffee. The muffins were made healthy, except perhaps for those little chocolate chips.
A few hours later, I went for my Sunday “long run” preparing for the New Haven 20K race in a few months. The first three miles went fine. I was a little full from those great muffins, but ok. Around mile five the muffins were becoming my enemy. In mile five I was mad at myself for having eaten more than one, wondering why my wife had made them, concerned my race preparation was going poorly and hoping I would make it home in one piece. Mile six made me walk for a bit.
While I was walking with these negative thoughts it occurred to me that it was really nice outdoors, there were plenty of other people walking the path with me and I had a whole Sunday off in front of me. Within a moment, my attitude changed and all was good. As leaders, we owe it to our people to help them see the bigger picture. We are not hiding the truth, but putting the situation in perspective. Within a moment, I changed mine and enjoyed what I was doing. I’ll do fine in the race in a few weeks (thank goodness I don’t run for a living!).
Have you caught your self-attitude in the past and “decided” to be satisfied? Do you believe satisfaction is a decision away?
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I got to hang out with my niece during a recent trip to California. Knowing I like music and live performances, Delaney wanted to share her favorite song with me. She ran and got her mom’s iPhone from the purse, surfed the icons and music directory and played “Delaney talks to Statutes” by Jimmy Buffet. The song was classic Jimmy Buffet but that was not the special thing.
After playing the song with a big smile, I asked Delaney if she could spell her name. She then surfed the icons on the iPhone again, found the keyboard and typed “Delaney.” So what you might say, but Delaney is THREE YEARS OLD and not capable of holding a pencil steady enough to write clearly. As leaders, if you think GenY’s are a different breed, just wait until Delaney and her friends enter the workforce. This is going to be something really special.
Another way of thinking about this lesson involves your personal skill set. Are you doing everything within your power to stay current and relevant? Do you learn the lessons the kids are teaching?