Showing posts with label Opportunities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opportunities. Show all posts

August 4, 2019

Open Your Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Open Your Eyes to Hashem."


G-d has a plan and a reason for everything–not only for them, but for all of us. We are all on a journey, and even if we don’t always readily see G-d, it’s part of our core faith that He is always there, He is guiding us, and that everything is for the best. Yet despite our best efforts to have faith, at times, we may feel that we don’t know what we’re doing here–why we’re at this place, at this time, or even how we got here–we may actually feel a little lost. Maybe we just can rattle off a list of “Well I did this and then that and then this other thing happened.” But exactly how we got to where we are, regardless of our best laid plans, is often a mystery to us as human beings. As I often tell students and colleagues in the planning discipline of enterprise architecture, “Man plans, and G-d laughs.”

While we may think we are going about fulfilling our plans and accomplishing our life dreams, the truth is that everything ultimately comes from G-d. He gives you the strength, the health, the family and friends as support, the talent, the opportunity, and the right thoughts in your head and the right words in your mouth to do what you do. Of course, we must do our part and the hard work to find and fulfill our mission in life and to overcome the challenges we face, but we are flesh and blood and in the bigger realm of things, messengers of G-d in fulfilling his bigger plan for all of us. If we open our eyes, we realize that wherever we end up and whatever happens to us is by His merciful decree.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 14, 2019

Leading Change

I heard a great presentation on change management.

Some highlights I really liked:

- U.S. Army War College in developing high performance leaders seeks to develop competency to operate in an "VUCA" environment:

Volatile
Uncertain
Complex
Ambigious

- The key is NOT to get "emotionally/amygdala hijacked" where our "reptilian brain" in response to threats jumps to:

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

- Instead, we need to manage change methodically as "transitions" (which are personal and emotional) so that we understand that:

Every Ending is a New Beginning

(G-d does not close one door without opening a new one for us.)

-  When one thing in life comes to an end, this is where there is enormous potential for growth in:

The Reinvention of Ourselves

Release the emotions and be ready to move on!

- In short, it can be difficult to accept change unless we realize that:

Problems = Opportunities

And this is the critical place where we can try new things and learn and grow. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2019

Not A Level Playing Field

Yesterday, dozens of wealthy parents were charged in a pay-to-play scheme.

To get their kids into choice colleges, prominent lawyers, business people, and Hollywood stars paid millions of dollars for bribes, bogus exam scores, and fake athletic achievements. 

Uh, let's give Bobby just a little extra advantage and he'll do just fine...

But while some people pretend to be so shocked that this is going on, the truth is that we all know that it's definitely not a level playing field.

All I have to do is drive by the local Mansions in Potomac, Bethesda or Chevy Chase, Maryland or in Northern Virginia and see the extravagant homes, schools, shopping, and neighborhoods, and you know there are the forever haves and the have nots. 

As the old adage goes, "Money makes money!"

If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth in the U.S., the chances are you will stay that way

Having the assets, information, connections, and opportunities seems to bode quite well for those who leverage it.

The worst part is that those who have these things often really believe that they are better or more deserving than others.

Can you see the nose elevated and those snooty eyes staring down on you? 

Wealthy parents cheating the system and paying off others to get their kids into the best schools--a surprise?  

Not a chance.

What the real surprise here is...that this time, they got caught.  ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2018

Appreciate The Good

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Seeing the Good in Life."
After synagogue services today, we sat at the Kiddish with a lovely couple, and the lady took the opportunity to go around the table and ask each person: “What good thing happened to you this week?” I really appreciated the idea of focusing on the good and the miracles we live through every day rather than the bad things. It was interesting though that people seemed to have trouble saying something really positive from their week. In truth, they seemed more enveloped in the problems of the times rather than the opportunities that each day brings.
But truly, there are so many good things that we can appreciate each and every day, and that inspires faith and hope for many more good things to come. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2017

Naked Sitting

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

This "Big Man" is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.

Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.

In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 

What are we to do when we give in to weakness?

We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.

But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 
"Liebe Gott sieht alles" 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don't really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won't be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 21, 2016

Prove Them Wrong

So I was recently teaching a certification class. 

And this was a very high-caliber class of professionals attending. 

One gentlemen was a wonderful African American who I will call John. 

As part of one of the class assignments, John,  a very successful man, told of how as a young man growing up in the DC projects, a neighbor told him something very hurtful and potentially devastating to him.

The neighbor angrily said, "You'll never be anything in your life!"

And John described how he pursued his education, his career goals, his family, as well as philanthropic pursuits to give back to the community--and he went quite far. 

He told with great emotion and tears in his eyes how ten years ago, he went back to his old neighborhood to thank this neighbor for motivating him (even though in a negative way) to go as far in life as he did. 

You could hear a pin drop in the class--I think a lot of people could relate to this story in their own lives. 

I know that I for one certainly could. 

For me, while I am a simple person and have not gone so far, I have certainly had an interesting life and lots of wonderful opportunities.

Yet, I too remember more than 20 years ago, when I had taken a job in a wild pursuit in my youthful ambitions that one crazy boss that I was briefly working for who was considerably older than me and with his own business abusively said to me one day, "You're not half of what you think you are!"

BAM! Like a huge sledge hammer hitting me right across my head--I was still relatively young and impressionable.

Also, I came from a pretty blue collar-type working family and although upwardly mobile, and I was certainly trying to become "more," I never really felt at all entitled. 

Anyway, the story this student told really brought my own experience hurling back to me from my past. 

In the class, John said--you have to go out and "Prove them wrong." 

And while I don't exactly feel that proving others who wish us bad to be wrong is the point, I do agree that we shouldn't let any of these negative nellies in our own lives drag us down. 

We all have our mission in life--and it's up to us to become the best people that we can--and to hell with everyone who looks down on us, discourages us, maybe are competitive with us or jealous in some way, or simply don't wish us the best. 

So John is right--go out there and do great things! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2015

The Millennial Workplace

So a colleague from a law enforcement agency told a funny story the other day.

When he was an agent-in-training he said they told them, "Keep your eyes open and your mouths shut."

Basically, you are new--so watch and learn before you do something stupid and potentially get yourselves or someone else in trouble. 

But now as someone who been there for decades and is a supervisor, he was interviewing someone right out of school, and in the interview the kid says, "I want to be in charge!"

The difference from Generation X and the new Millennials couldn't have been starker. 

But what did this guy do, he didn't show the candidate to the door by his earlobes, but rather he ended up hiring him. 

Times have changed--not only with all the technology we use--but also in terms of people's expectations from the job.

What do people want these days--aside from good compensation and comprehensive benefits?

- Engagement through challenging and meaningful work that has tangible outcomes from day one

- Innovating and creating versus pushing paper and doing routine, repetitive work

- Using current and cutting-edge technology

- Opportunities to stay and advance or building the resume to "move out to move up"

- Lots of feedback, teamwork, sharing, and transparency

- Considerable work-life balance 

The bottom line is don't be surprised by the kid who wants to be in charge from the get-go, instead relish their gusto and unleash their talent in your organization--with guidance, they can do amazing things. 

It's not your fathers workplace anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to g Tarded)
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December 23, 2014

Freedom Pays

Another great article by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today.

The usual saying is that freedom is not free (i.e. that we must fight for it). 

But Stephens shows us that Freedom actually pays. 

It is our freedom that helps us to be creative and innovative like no others on this Earth.

Stephens comments on his growing up as an American abroad:

"I find it amazing that, in the U.S., I can drink water straight from a tap, that a policeman has never asked me for a 'contribution,' that my luggage has never been stolen, that notbody gets kidnapped for ransom, that Mao-esque political purges are conducted only inthe editorial of the New York Times."

Instead of having to focus on fear in everyday life--we can use our energies to plow creatively into the next great thing for mankind. 

In sync with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, when we are not scavaging for food and huttling in some abandoned building or cave to protect ourselves from marauding bandits or corrupt dictators, we can self-actualize ourselves by leaps and bound contributions through science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities and arts. 

Our society looks for opportunities, rather than having to look over our shoulder at daily threats.

We run to invest in great ideas, rather than have to use our money to escape the corruption and tyranny that surround us.

With the holidays are upon us, it's a perfect time to reflect on our good fortune at being part of a democracy where freedom and human rights power our success.

Thank G-d for where we live and what we are able to achieve. ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to Eric Magnuson)
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October 29, 2014

Who Makes Change Happen?

Well if "Station Managers do not make change" (happen), who does?

Personally, I like to see everyone think creatively about what they do and how they do it--looking for efficiencies and to create positive change, where warranted.


Not change for change itself...but where requirements have changed or methods and/or tools have changed to create opportunities or mitigate threats. 


While there certainly are "tied and true" ways of doing things, we are an evolving species, and change is fundamental to survival. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 21, 2014

Waiting For You To Succeed

I love this on the sidewalk this week. 

"The World is Waiting for you to SUCCEED!"

Encouraging, inspiring, motivational, hopeful, purposeful, future-oriented, and more. 

Too often we can focus on the negatives--how hard things are and can be; how many obstacles and challenges there are to getting somewhere; the many failures along the way; the bullies, naysayers, competition, and power-mongers who don't want us to succeed.

But think about it...

When we overcome all these (with G-d 's help), the world is waiting for our success--our contributions, our building blocks, our ideas, inputs, innovations, and creations.

When we succeed in advancing things (and not just doing for self), the world benefits!

We can have a purpose and meaning to our lives--we are part of something bigger and greater than ourselves and our mortality. 

Everyone has to do their part for the world to succeed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2014

Time, Our Most Precious Asset

Albert Einstein taught us how this world is governed by space and time. 

Before we are born and once we are gone, space and time no longer apply--we are in G-d's realm.

Time is so important and precious, that even space is constrained by time--i.e. we cannot be in two places at the same time.

When it comes to time, we can never have enough and this pervades every aspect of our lives.

Here is a short list of how we are bound by time:

What Time Is It?

What Time Are We...?
Do You Have Time?
Can You Spare Some Time?
Who's Got Time?
How Many Times?
How Much Time?
Do You Remember The Time That...?
Where Has The Time Gone?

Time Is Precious
This Time is Different
Only Time Will Tell
If Only There Was Time
Wish I Had More Time
Time is Too Short
It is Time
Time is Ticking
Time Flies
One Step At a Time
Maximize The Time You Have
Stop Wasting Time

Decision Time
Time To Change
Timeless
Timeline
Time Bound
Time Heals
Time is Money
In No Time
From The Beginning of Time
Once Upon A Time
There Was A Time
Now's Not The Time
A Long Time Ago
Time To Getaway
Awesome Time
Great Time
Good Times
Bad Times
Marvelous Time
Excellent Time
Meaningful Time
Hopeful Time
Horrible Time
Depressed Times
Manic Times
Next Time
Time of My Life
Makeup Time
Time Out
It's About Time
The First Time
This is The Last Time
There Is No Time Like The Present
Between The Time
About That Time
Same Time
Different Time
Parallel Time
Past Time
Make Time
Use Time
Spend Time
Save Time
Best Use of Your Time
Take Your Time
Short of Time
Losing Time
Taking Time
Stealing Time
Don't Have Time
Some Time
No Time
Anytime
All of the Time
Every Time
Numerous Times
Exact Time
All The Time
At The Same Time
For The Time Being
Keep Time
Out of Time
Long Time
Short Time
Right Time
Wrong Time
Before It's Time
Now is The Time
Past Time
Present Time
Future Time
Spacetime ContinuumTime Travel
(Not) Enough Time
Most of The Time
It's The Only Time
Need More Time
Time is of The Essence
Tell Time
Local Time
World Time
Time Zones
Timetable
Timekeeper
Timekeeping
Time and Attendance
Overtime
Comp Time
Part Time
Full Time
Old Times
Modern Times
Wartime
Peacetime
Summertime
Wintertime
Springtime (wonder why there is no falltime?)
Setup Time
Time is on Your Side
Time of Redemption
Time of Mashiach (Messiah)
Time to Forgive
Time to Avenge
Judgement Time
Time Unfolds
End of Times
Confusing Times
Work Time
Busy Time
Down Time
Quiet Time
Meal Time
Bed Time
Nap Time
Starting Time
Ending Time
Almost Time
Happy Times
Sad Times
Holiday Time
Hopeful Times
Solemn Times
Special Time
Important Times
Tough Times
Structured Time
Lawless Times
Time of Doubt
Time of Birth
Time of Death
Time to Work
Time to Retire
Time Alone
Time Apart
Time Together
Me Time
My Time
Our Time
Family Time
Play Time
Party Time
Happy Hour Time
Game Time
Show Time
Movie Time
Real Time
Dinner Time
Lunch Time (no real breakfast time!)
Private Time
Time Stamp
Time Magazine

Thank You For Your Time ;-)

With special appreciation To Rebecca Blumenthal for brainstorming this with me--it was a fun time! 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 4, 2013

Will You Be Missed?

There's a question everyone always ask themselves--when they are gone from an organization will they be missed?

We all tell ourselves that we are irreplaceable--when we leave everything will fall apart, that "then they will be sorry," and maybe they will finally appreciate us.

But when calmer heads prevail, we sort of know the truth that we are all indeed replaceable--there are others just waiting in the wings to swoop in for a chance to do our job and perhaps better than we ourselves did it. 

But won't we be missed? They'll be a party, cards, well wishes, maybe even gifts, and people will say how much they will miss us, but then when we are gone--24, 48, 72 hours later--does anyone really care? 

If we left things in disarray and without a succession plan--we kept it all in our head waiting for the day to show them all--then there will be a period that may not be so pretty for the others taking on the responsibilities we are leaving behind.  

However, someone who would do that to the organization and their fellow employees, you may ask what good were they really anyway? 

For the most part, when people leave, I think there is a transition period for people to adjust to change--this is normal, and then after that people go on thinking about life afterwards.

- What new opportunities are there for them? In a crude way, some may even think that there is now one less person for them to have to climb over to advance. With someone leaving, one can say even that their power flows back and is dispersed to the others in the organization to "pick up the baton," influence and lead. 

- Some may realize that the problems the person brought to the organization (and everyone brings a mixed bag--both good and bad), have now left with them. Were they entrenched in the current ways of doing things and naysayers to any sort of change? Did they have an ego and a sense of entitlement after serving for years? Had they become stale and fallen behind the times in terms of best practices, new technologies, and so on?

- Others can look forward to new people and "fresh blood" coming in--reinvigorating the organization, bringing in new perspectives, fresh ideas, or as they say, "mix it up a little," shake the limbs, ask questions of the status quo--of course, you never really know about a new person, until the marriage equivalent of "you wake up with them in the morning"--you see how they actually perform on the job, in the culture, with the people. 

Sure, there are some special people that are practically irreplaceable, because they are such visionaries, innovators, and leaders of people--that they are truly one in ten million. Steve Jobs is one of those that come to mind. These are the exceptions, not the rule. 

For most people, we give to the organization and provide value--some people thrive for years or decades. It is individualistic and depends on many factors but especially the person to job fit and the person to organization fit. Factors that are in some ways quantifiable based on knowledge, skills, and abilities, but also depends on personality, culture, style, adaptability, motives, and many more things. 

When a person is a good or great fit--there is almost nothing better for them and the organization then a long and productive marriage of the two!

But when the fit is bad--then it is bad for the person and the organization--there can be poor productivity, negative interrelationships, and bitter feelings. 

Depending on the situation and fit...Often we wished people stayed longer and could keep giving their gift. Sometimes people know when the tea leaves are telling them to move on and the fit is no longer right. And still other times, some people overstay their visit and thereby do more harm then good. 

How will people see you when it your time to leave? You want to be missed for all the right reasons. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bernt Rostad)
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September 3, 2012

Smart Cats Aren't Afraid to Innovate

It's really hypocritical that on one hand we put innovation on a pedestal, but on the other hand, we tend to nix new ideas. 

The Atlantic (July/August 2012) has an article called "Let's Cool It With the Big Ideas."

The author, P.J. O'Rourke, rails against innovation, saying: "I don't have a big idea, and I don't want one. I don't like big ideas."

Let's just say this article by O'Rourke proves his point and not only about big ideas. 

Unfortunately, like O'Rourke, many in our society seem to have a love/hate relationship with innovation. 

We love new ideas when they work to our benefit--like having a smartphone perhaps--but we fear the worst about failing and people seem to loathe change of any kind until it's a "proven entity." 

Hence as O'Rourke points out the derogatory feelings and sayings about new, big ideas:

- What is the big idea?
- You and your bright ideas.
- Whose idea was this?
- Me and my big ideas.
- Don't get smart with me.


The last one is really the clincher with it all--without new ideas and the bravery to explore them, our "smarts" really do go out the window. 

This is reminiscent of when the great Library of Alexandria burnt to the ground almost 2,000 years ago, destroying many of the "new ideas" of the philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, poets, and playwrights of the time, leaving us for centuries stuck in the Dark Ages!

Sure, new ideas are threatening to old ways of thinking and doing things, but we are an evolving species--stagnation is death. 

According to Harvard Business Review (October 2010) in "How to Save Good Ideas"--a more enlightened article here, explains how to counter fearful and destructive people "who try to kill ideas" using "fear-mongering, delay, confusion, and ridicule."

Some of the suggestions to counter the naysayers:

- When they attack you for "dictating" a new idea--you can explain that there is a vetting process, but like with a train conductor, we need to provide direction for our people.
- When they say, no one else is doing this--for any new idea, someone has to be the first to try it, and we have the capacity to innovate and succeed.
- When they criticize your timing--acknowledge that you can't do everything and the poor projects should be weeded out, but promising new ventures should proceed.  

From a leadership perspective, we cannot shove new ideas down people's throats, but rather we need to explore ideas openly and honestly. Leaders should explain the imperative for change, explore organizational and market readiness, look at costs and benefits, mitigate risks, and help people in adopting and adapting to change--and this last one can be the most difficult. 

For those that are comfortable with the status quo or afraid of what change may mean to their jobs, status, and security--there are times, when reassuring and working together can move people and the organization forward, but there are also times, when perhaps the person-organizational fit may no longer be right, and it is time to part ways. 

The way we do things today--no matter how comfortable--is not the way we will always do them.  Times change, challenges build up, opportunities emerge, and as survivors, we either adapt or fade into the annals of history. 

"There is more than one way to skin a cat," but if we are cool to new ideas, the cat will most definitely get away from us--and it may be for good. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ivo Kendra)

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June 30, 2012

What Number Are You?


This is an amazing video that has won 15 awards and was translated into 27 languages. 

It is an animation film and moves a little slowly from my perspective, but the message is terrific!

The short film is about us--all people--we live in the ever present "caste" society, not of yesteryear, but of all time. 

It is about where people are (or aren't) in the pecking order of life and that despite our "place," we can still find success. 

Some are born "Zero's" and live a life of prejudice, persecution, bullying, and torment. 

Others are born high numbers, and they are the elites in society--given the best educational and professional, materialistic, and networking opportunities. 

Many in our age have recognized that this trend continues unabated--only now it's called things like Occupy Wall Street and referred to as the 99% and 1%.

In the past, it was variations of slaves and masters; fiefs, vassals, and lords, and now-a-days even average workers and the C-Suite.

In the video, "A Zero is a zero"--he is bullied in school, and thrown into the gutter as an adult by "the higher numbers."

I am certain that many of us can relate to this...in fact, this video has been viewed almost 1.3 million times on Youtube already.

Only when Zero meets another zero and has a baby--who is born an "infinite," does everyone else stop and literally bow down. 

While I believe that we all need to work hard and contribute and in no way, believe that anyone who is able to contribute should be given a "free ride," I do believe firmly that we are all human beings, G-d's children, and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. 

Everyone has a value in society and from nothing (or Zero) can come something amazing, if we only give people a fighting chance.

Personally, I am a child of Holocaust survivors, and my family came over with nothing. My grandmother cried that they didn't have a chair to sit on when they came to this country.  

The Nazis took everything, lives and things. As the presumed high and mighty "Aryan race," everyone else was zero fodder for the ovens in the concentration camps or to be shot through the head while begging for mercy on their knees. 

Like my grandparents, my uncle by marriage and his brother came over on a children's transport train, alone and completely on their own, to try and "make it," after being orphaned by Nazi murderers.

In the holocaust, the Nazis treated all their victims as Zero's by tattooing numbers on their arms to dehumanize them.

This is part of a long historical plot of the strong and the weak, the haves and the have nots--the high numbers and the zeros in this world.

When as a 10-year old, we moved to Riverdale, New York, a very affluent neighborhood in the Bronx bordering Westchester, most of my classmates lived in million-dollar mansions, while we lived on "the other side of town."  

I grew up understanding that I had to be determined, work hard, and pray hard to try and climb up the ladder and it's numbered stairs--in fact, like "Rocky," I used to run the stairs--hundreds of times!

But to me, determination and hard work seem to come natural--thank G-d--but even more important to me was not monetary success but decency, integrity, speaking truth, and working for the advancement of all on as level a playing field as we can get. 

I will not bow to "infinity" as the others in the movie and in real life have done, but I will try and help make infinity a place that we all can aspire to.

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May 20, 2012

The Reason We Are Given Is To Give

There is a famous slogan about "the gift that keeps on giving" that has been used for promoting various products from appliances to flowers.  

But to me, it is more appropriately used to inspire people to make a donation or give of themselves, because of how fulfilling it can be and how it makes us better people.

There is no more beautiful story about the act of giving then the one by O'Henry called The Gift of The Magi

In the story, a husband and wife, Jim and Della, want to give each other holiday gifts, but they are poor. 

Della has beautiful long hair, but no combs for it, and Jim has a gold watch passed down from his father and grandfather, but no chain for it. 

Each sacrifices for the other and in a tragic irony--Della sells her long, flowing hair to buy a gold chain for Jim, and Jim sells the prized gold watch to purchase a set of special combs for Della. 

They could've been selfishly focused on what each individually was lacking, but instead they rose above it and were superbly generous--giving away their own prized possessions to try and make the other whole. 

They found the wisdom of the ages in terms of loving, giving, and sharing being of the greatest joys one can have. 

I love this story for it's simplicity in teaching about giving and sacrifice and channeling whatever our challenges in life are into opportunities for betterment. 

Maybe as individuals, we can't change the whole world in one fell swoop, but with each positive contribution and act of giving, we can leave it a little better than the way we found it. 

I was so proud earlier today when I heard one of my teenage daughters say: "the reason we are given things is in order to give to others."

I don't think my daughter ever heard of this O'Henry story, but I see how she is learning and living it, and what more can any parent want from their children. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to OpenSourceWay)


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April 9, 2012

Changing Regrets Into Fulfillment

The Guardian (1 February 2012) published an important article called "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying."

The items mentioned were compiled by a palliative nurse caring for patients at end of life. 

The list is a wake up call for many of us who work hard, but in the process perhaps forget the most important aspects of life are the people we love and the pursuit of opportunities to really be ourselves and achieve our purpose.  

Here is the list of top 5 things you can do different in your life before it passes you by:

1. Be your true self--"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." 

- Ask yourself what are your dreams and how can you make them happen!

2. Work less--"I wish I hadn't worked so hard." 

- Ask yourself are you living to work or working to live? 

3. Express yourself--"I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

- Ask yourself if you've told significant others how you really feel and genuinely worked things out with them.

4. Maintain relationships--"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends"

- Ask yourself have you been generous with your time, emotions, and material things with family, friends, and others important to you?

5. Seek out opportunities for happiness--"I wish that I had let myself be happier."

- Ask yourself what does happiness even really mean to you and how can you find it amidst the daily grind.

Life is always too short and everyone makes mistakes and has regrets--that's part of being human, learning, and growing. 

But if we can get our priorities straights and set clear goals, perhaps we can leave the world with less bitterness and more fulfillment in lives granted and well spent. 

(Source Photo: here with Attribution to Raspberries1)

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March 21, 2012

Candy Dish, Come and Get Some


I saw this brilliant piece in the Wall Street Journal (20 March 2012) about building relationships with sibling "rivals", but in my opinion the advice has much broader implications for growing our relationships for how we deal with others in life.

The article describes about how one man sends his brother, with whom he has been fighting with for years, the following story in an email:

"Two men had a stream dividing their properties. One man hired a carpenter to build a fence along the stream, but the carpenter built a bridge by mistake." The brother then wrote, "I'd like to walk over the bridge."

Wow! This is a very powerful story.

We can choose to build walls to separate us or build bridges to close the divide.

This can be applied to so many situations, where building relationships has a genuine chance or can be a lost and forgone opportunity.

In the office, for example, some people choose to put up proverbial walls between themselves and others. They do this by closing their doors, scowling at others, putting up signs that they are having a bad day, or perhaps by literally surrounding themselves with the accoutrements of their office (desks, chairs, appliances, mementos) and sending a message of a clear distance between them and others--almost like they are circling the wagons and no one will get in without getting shot.

While others take a different approach and are busy building bridges between themselves and others. For example, they regularly say good morning and how are you, they have a true open door policy, they may even have a candy dish or other enticements for others to stop by and just talk. They are open to others to share, collaborate and to build relationships.

Thus, just like with the two brothers, the conflict between them can turn into a hard and deeply anchored wall that closes all venues or the opposite, a bridge that connects us.

Think about it as building or burning bridges. When dealing with people who are really not deserving of trust, sometimes there is no choice but to separate and "live and let live," but when dealing with those with whom a real relationship is possible and even desirable, then start building those bridges today or at least take a first step and put out that candy dish. ;-)

(Source Photo: Blumenthal)

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August 30, 2010

Keeping It All In Perspective

Here are some amazing photographs from Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

This is someone who can truly see the bigger picture and help us to see it as well.

If we can all see beyond the minutia every day, I think we could appreciate the opportunities and challenges before us so much more, and be able to address them more effectively--in perspective.

To me, this is the clarity of vision that I aspire to and I hope you do too.

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August 29, 2010

Why EA and CPIC?

Note: This is not an endorsement of any vendor or product, but I thought this short video on enterprise architecture planning and capital planning and investment control/portfolio management was pretty good.


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January 24, 2009

Vision and The Total CIO

Vision is often the telltale demarcation between a leader and a manager. A manager knows how to climb a ladder, but a leader knows where the ladder needs to go—leaders have the vision to point the organization in the right direction!
Harvard Business Review, January 2009, asks “what does it mean to have vision?”
First of all, HBR states that vision is the “central component in charismatic leadership.” They offer three components of vision, and here are my thoughts on these:
  1. Sensing opportunities and threats in the environment”—(recognizing future impacts) this entails “foreseeing events” and technologies that will affect the organization and one’s stakeholders. This means not only constantly scanning the environment for potential impacts, but also making the mental connections between, internal and external factors, the risks and opportunities they pose, and the probabilities that they will occur.
  2. Setting strategic direction”—(determining plans to respond) this means identifying the best strategies to get out ahead of emerging threats and opportunities and determining how to mitigate risks or leverage opportunities (for example, to increase mission effectiveness, revenue, profitability, market share, and customer satisfaction).
  3. Inspiring constituents”—(executing on a way ahead) this involves assessing change readiness, “challenging the status quo” (being a change agent), articulating the need and “new ways of doing things”, and motivating constituent to take necessary actions.
The CIO/CTO is in a unique position to provide the vision and lead in the organization, since they can bring alignment between the business needs and the technologies that can transform it.
The IT leader cannot afford to get bogged down in firefighting the day-to-day operations to the exclusion of planning for the future of the enterprise. Firefighting is mandatory when there is a fire, but he fire must eventually be extinguished and the true IT leader must provide a vision that goes beyond tomorrow’s network availability and application up-time. Sure the computers and phones need to keep working, but the real value of the IT leader is in providing a vision of the future and not just more status quo.
The challenge for the CIO/CTO is to master the business and the technical, the present and the future—to truly understand the mission and the stakeholders as they are today as well as the various technologies and management best practices available and emerging to modernize and reengineer. Armed with business and technical intelligence and a talent to convert the as-is to the to-be, the IT leader can increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness, help the enterprise better compete in the marketplace and more fully satisfy customers now and in the future.

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