Tag Archives: advice

Back to the Future!

backtothefuture.jpgAround 2002 I was selected as part of an experimental group to create an internal consulting group.  Something like the “Big Four”, but without the constant loss of institutional knowledge.

This past Monday I re-joined the company as the head of that group!

Honestly, I’m very excited about it.  

The team has such incredibly deep knowledge that it’s somewhat daunting as I’m probably the least intelligent person in the room 99% of the time.  That said I have something most of them don’t.  No, it’s not my amazing good looks, it is my age!

All of the group are younger than me, several by a couple of decades.  I had to explain to one of the team members on Friday what backup tapes were!  (sic)

But I remember being their age too.  I remember wondering why we needed all these “old people”.  My technical expertise was top notch and people wanted me.  Why did I need to be nice to people?

image_cbff354b-879a-4001-beab-9e4e1ad4f78e20170214_110055.jpgOver the years, I have learned many lessons the hard way.  

I learned that emotional intelligence is worth more than technical expertise.

I learned that keeping a secret is worth more than blabbing to show you are in the loop.

I learned that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. And that asking for help is a gift to the helper and the helped.

I learned to give first without expecting something in return.

I learned to say “thank you”, and mean it.

I learned that my word is, and must always be, my bond.

I learned to give credit often and publicly.

I learned that mistakes happen and the only people not making mistakes are the ones not doing anything new, hard or innovative.

I learned that opportunities are often enshrouded with hassle, perceived risk and the need to overcome inertia.

I learned to accept that I don’t have all the answers and that should accept assistance when it is offered.

And so we embark on a new journey together.

The group is in an interesting place today.  It is really a collection of individual contributors rather than a team.  Smart, talented, and energetic individuals for sure.  But I think we can build something truly amazing if we can learn to support each other more.

Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.  If we can recognize that, learn to trust and lean on each other, and learn to ask for help when we need it then the group is destined to be something truly amazing.  I hope I’m up to the task of helping them on that journey.


Filed under Career, Life - or something like it

Management F-Laws

Anyone that sees my Goodreads feed will see that I regularly post updates of books that I am reading / have read.

This year I’ve read 20 books so far, and yet one book has been on my “currently reading” list for several years.  This is all the more surprising when you consider that the book in question is only 162 pages of relatively large print.  

Am I that slow a reader?

Well…yes is the answer to that question.  But there’s more to it than that.

mflThe book is called Management F-Laws by Russell Ackoff and is described as “A full collection of more than 80 of Russell Ackoff’s management f-laws: the uncomfortable truths about how organizations really work, what’s wrong with the way we design and manage businesses, what makes managers tick… and how we can make things work better.” and therein lies the problem.

Every time I pick up this book I read just two pages and ideas pop into my head sending me off writing a new blog post, updating some piece of work or just discussing the idea with anyone who happens wander nearby…often my long suffering children.

So, after several years, I’m about half way through the book which, in a very strange way, is the about the best recommendation I can give for it!

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Filed under Career

Is It Just About Sex?

Shortly after the number of children in our house exceeded the number of adults Joanne and I started going out on “date nights” – a few hours every couple of weeks to reconnect and remember why we married.  This has been a huge help in maintaining the health of our relationship – and a lot of fun too.

There’s no set format. Usually it’s just dinner and a couple of drinks – occasionally a movie if there is something we are both interest in.

Once settled in at the bar / theater we start looking for other couples, and that is when the fun starts. By watching their body language we try to figure out how long they have been together and how things are going.  Occasionally we see a couple that are obviously into each other but neither one is making the move.  One of these days I will walk over and say “For God’s sake kiss each other and get it over with!

It’s a lot of fun to observe as things either progress or head rapidly downhill, and this often acts as a great source of conversation about our own lives.

During a recent date I commented about one couple saying “It doesn’t look as though he will be getting any action tonight.”  Joanne looked at me and said “Is that all it is for men – is dating just about sex?

Like any sensible man confronted with a question that starts “It that all it is…” I immediately said “Nooo….”  – I’m no fool.  Answering that one incorrectly would have left me in the same boat as the person I was commenting on.

But then I thought about it and, honestly, there is much more to our dates than that.

I put it this way.

There are plenty of studies proving that money is not the #1 motivator for employees.  Despite that, giving someone a big raise or bonus is still the main way that companies reward employees for a job well done.

The money is handy but, in my opinion,  it is the fact that it provides recognition of a persons efforts that is truly meaningful.

The same thing exists in relationships.  If you put in some effort (wear some nice clothes, pick a good restaurant and keep the conversation flowing) then the date is fun, but sex is the bonus that acknowledges that you did a good job.  Not to mention – that’s a lot of fun too!

And it doesn’t have to be sex either.  Remember when you first started dating? A kiss on the stoop would leave you with a bounce in your stride, and an ear–to-ear grin that had people wondering what you had been up to.

So it’s really not just about sex.  It’s much more about showing appreciation for the other person.  And, when you think about it, isn’t that why we were out on a date anyway?


Filed under Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

A New Blog is Born – Aspergers : A Mom’s Eye View

Under normal circumstances I would be sitting here bashing out my latest crazy idea.  But this week is different.  This week I celebrate the first step in something that, I believe, will become a valuable resource for parents of children on the Autism spectrum.

Some people reading this blog will be aware that, about 2-years ago, my middle child was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome – a high-functioning form of autism.  Since finding this out, my wife, that wonderfully intelligent and sensitive woman with bad-taste in men, has dedicated herself to finding out all she can about this disorder, and working with our son to help him overcome the difficulties, and maximize his strengths.

The results have been, frankly, magical. In just 2 years Gregory has changed from a tense ball of frustration and anger, rejecting all forms of social interaction, to an incredibly loving and relaxed little boy.  I can’t tell you what a difference this has made to the entire family.

Seeing the incredible transformation that Joanne has managed to achieve with Gregory, I have encouraged her to help other people who find themselves with similar issues.  My latest suggestion was that she start a blog to document her struggle, and the techniques she has discovered, so that other people can benefit from her experiences.

This has been a constant up-hill battle.  Not because she doesn’t want to help, but because she is incredibly modest and finds the idea of self-promotion distasteful.  The most common answer to my urgings have been “But I’m not an expert” and “There are so many great resources out there, why would people be interested in what I have to say?”

Finally, probably to shut me up, she agreed to check with some other friends on whether they thought it was a good idea and…no surprise…they were 100% behind her, and Aspergers  :  A Mom’s Eye View has been born.

Fortunately, I have no such qualms about promoting Joanne and what she can achieve when she puts her mind to something.

Joanne is, without a doubt, the most intelligent person I have ever met – and I have met many intelligent people.  She has an ability to absorb information at a frightening rate, and then simplify it, such that even I can understand it.  Since our diagnosis, Joanne has read a vast number of books on the subject of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), taken classes, worked with our local schools, and attended conferences.

But, most importantly, Joanne is a mom with a child in need.  And it is this combination of a mom’s story, combined with the knowledge that she has gained, that I believe will be a powerful aid to parents who find themselves in the same situation.

So, I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog post to introducing Aspergers : A Mom’s Eye View.  I hope you will enjoy reading it, and will pass this along to anyone who is in need of support and advice.


Filed under Children, Life - or something like it, The Human Condition