Delegation is not the answer–but consider the impact of cooperation…

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I wonder sometimes as I sit in my office thinking. I suspect that is a bad thing overall. But I can’t help it. I wonder about the things that impact me. I sometimes find myself reviewing situations in hopes of figuring out what I could have done differently. Often I realize that I could have been a little more open or a little nicer.

Then I realize just how many people I know that fit into that category. That they could have been a little nicer or they could have been a little more open. Oh well.

Interesting thought this morning has to do with leadership. If you ask someone to do something you will not do, is that good leadership?

The concept has to do with delegation. If you delegate something to me, will you or could you do it yourself? If you can do it yourself but it is more expedient for me to do it that is one thing. I am all for spreading the load when it is possible. If you are trying to pass ownership that is another thing.

  1. I have to want to own it.
  2. There has to be value for me.
  3. What is the relationship prior to this delegation

Delegation changes things, it says I am in charge. It says that what I am doing is more important than what you are doing (sometimes). I know a lot of people that when they delegate something to you it feels like they are passing the buck rather than actually considering the value of what needs to be done.

When it is a partnership you never feel like it is delegation. The myth behind the concept “do more by helping others succeed” is that delegation is the way to help others succeed. People want and have to believe that in fact you will do the things you are asking them to do. If they don’t feel that then they won’t engage with you.

I think the real concept is increase your impact by creating a cooperative environment where everyone is heard.


Da Boys are 13!!!

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I cannot believe the day and the change. My children are the world to me – I love them for all their quirks. But on this day, 13 years ago I was standing in an operating room convinced I was losing both my son’s (as they were being born) and my beloved wife. I can’t believe they are 13 years old.

They came home (about two weeks after they were born) the most amazing creatures. Like my daughter I was fascinated by these new creatures. Now they have personalities and ideas and they are amazing human beings. Its fun to talk to them about what they believe and hear their thoughts and ideas.

Children are a gift and a curse. A curse in that they are only children for a short time. A gift in that every day you spend with a child is a day you can smile in wonder at the amazing minds they have. As they get older they get to be more and more fun. They listen, talk and eventually come to share concepts with you about the world around them.

I love my children. On this special rite of passage day I wish to send the best out into the world for my sons.

In some cultures 13 is the rite of manhood. In our culture it has become the passage from child to pre-teen and then teenager. I am excited by the prospect of getting to walk with my sons (as I walked with my daughter) during this journey to adulthood.

Boys – dad loves you no matter what!


An interesting question (or a conversation starter)

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First a disclaimer – the conversation that was started, actually happened in my head post the question which was actually posed in email rather than in person so the sarcasm and other “alterations” are wholly and completely mine.

What is the difference between an objective and a goal.

Depending upon where you are in the process they can be the same thing, or they can be completely different. I’ve heard people say and objective is what is taught to in a classroom, with the goal being passing the state test. I’ve heard people say goals comprise the building blocks of an objective.

The reality is one is larger than the other or they are exactly the same. One is part of the other or they mean the same thing.

English is a very difficult language for people because of that very question. We list objectives to achieve our goals. There are five goals to achieve in reaching our objective. Sadly they are interchangeable regardless of what the dictionary says. Our language (English) is the oxy-moron of languages. The department of redundancy department language. It is spoken properly (or so they say) in England. But more people speak it in America than in England. So how is it possible that just because they spoke it first they speak it right?

Find a person with a Cockney accent and a person from the southern US with a chaw of tobacco in their mouth and ask them to say the following:

“Her erudition resulted in his infatuation.”

Neither one will say it any clearer than the other. In fact most likely it will come out sounding like a completely different thing.

So sadly the answer to the question “what is the difference between an objective and a goal?” becomes simply “it depends.” It depends on the profession, time of day, expectations, project involvement and of course who says it and why.

The objective of the soccer team was to score a goal. The goal of the soccer team was to win the game. The objective of winning the game was to move up in the overall world wide rankings. The goal of the move in the rankings was to have a better seeding in the world cup resulting in their final objective winning the world cup.

See, clear as mud.


This is the year

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Well if my bracket was shot yesterday – today is is dead. Doornail. Finished. None of my final four or final two teams remain. The best I can hope for is failure.

But it was fun to play.

The amazing this is that Cinderella really did come to the dance this year. With an 8 and 11 seed making it to the final 4. I find that simply amazing!

Its still cold in the mid-west. Not sure who left the freezer open at home, but please shut it if you would!

Now its time to get ready for my annual predictions for the Chicago Cubs.

  1. This is the year.
  2. Last year really wasn’t the year it was always this year, last year’s prediction was a feint so you would be ready for this year.
  3. This is the year the Cubs win it all.
  4. World Series Champions

That prediction (next year will be better) starts usually in July and then heads into the winter changing to (this year).

This year is the year. At some point even a blind squirrel finds a nut. It’s time for the Cubs loving blind squirrel to be right.



The smartest guy I know and a leadership question…

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There are a couple of people I know that I have to say are way smarter than I will ever be. For some reason (and don’t ask me why, I do not know) they think I am in their intellectual class.

I guess I am honored they think I am smart.

Something rattling around in my head right now is the concept of fair. Fair is an interesting term, and lately I’ve been thinking about this from a broad perspective of how it is applied within social situations.

There are a number of great leadership books that talk about the concept of leadership and the concept of never ask your “disciples” to do something you yourself wouldn’t do. Now this conflicts with the leadership principle (do more with others) but if you think about it, it really doesn’t. Ulysses S. Grant once ordered his men to dig a trench during the Mexican American war. When the men weren’t moving along fast enough Ulysses jumped in and started helping them. That is the fair that leaders need to accomplish – a knowledge that they can and will help when the time comes. I work with a lot of people that just don’t get that principle.

If you aren’t willing to do the work – don’t ask to be treated fairly. Anyway – it rattles around and comes out every once in awhile.


I am moving to the ASUS Slate

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So I’ve finally decided. It took me awhile and the Ipod v2 almost pulled me in. But in the end I am going for the flexibility, expandability and functionality of a windows slate. There is only one out there right now – the ASUS ED121 that fits the bill.

It took me a long time and the long tendrils of the apple world kept pulling me back. I was a Mac guy 20 years ago and the metaphor there is familiar. But I realized that while the longer battery life of the iPod was nice, the flexibility of adding storage, having the same functionality as a laptop and the external keyboard were more ultimately than I could turn down. My life is on my PC now – and this gives me ample options for storing additional items going forward.

One decision down – 10 to go. Like what to have for dinner tonight?



Is reading a lost art?

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So I am sitting (on my lunch break) doing a lunch break blog.

  • I hear blogs are dying? Why is that?
  • What’s next then, if blogs are dying? Tweets?

I blog because as a young man I wanted to be a writer. I keep blogging because it unclogs my brain and lets some of the crap run away from me. Its also the reasons I keep walking. Emotionally I miss running, but you have to do something – so walking is the next best thing.

Writing does the same thing and blogging of course let’s me get this stuff out of my head. So why are blogs dying?

Well first of all its not something everyone wants to do. Blogging isn’t a guilty pleasure like singing with the radio in the shower or the car.

Blogging isn’t a make the world a better place or save people from a fate worse than death situation.

So why is it dying?

I read between 25-30 blogs a week. Every week. I get inspiration, frustration and even perspiration from some of them.

Or is it that blogs, like many other things that require reading are dying because reading is dying?


To my sons t-minus 6 days and counting

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My sons turn 13 is 6 days. Where have all the years gone? When they were little I could hold them both in a single hand. They were such tiny little things. They had little bodies (with huge voices) for many years.

Now they are becoming awkward teenagers. My age permeates the world around me now as I look at them. They are nearly as tall as their sister (who is 5 full years older than they are). They look like and are beginning to act like men.

Their voices are changing.

But I have to say, I still love them maybe actually loving them more now then when the were small and helpless. They have thoughts, opinions and ideas that they take out into the world and bring back into our home. It is amazing to me how much they have grown.

Boys, I love you and I am proud of you.



To connect, to be connected, connecting, I am connected

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The clarity of connectivity is something that we think about less often now than we did even 10 years ago. I remember getting a packet radio modem many years ago that would allow you to connect wirelessly and work on the network. You couldn’t do a lot of things but for me, I could connect to a Novell remote (console) console and run the mail system I was managing.

Flash forward to today and of course the bedeviling quality of the connectivity around me is that I need to be connected more now than before. There are things (my blog) that I need to connect to now, every day. Ok I miss a couple of days a year but not many days are blog free. The connectivity issue becomes larger when you think about that concept of blogging, every day. There are no “no connectivity” days in everyday.

But there are many other things that I am connected to. With the new features in Windows 2008 I no longer have to VPN to my company to use internal resources. I can use Direct Access to connect without the VPN tunnel which means I can connect to corporate resources more quickly and effectively

All of that means I connect more often. I have the means and the ability to connect so I connect more than I was connecting before. Hence the title of this blog trying to conjugate the verb connect and fit it into the modern world. I am connected now more than ever before. I just wonder if that is the right thing.

As things change around you…



My personal journey of growth

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I am on a personal path of enlightenment. I have been on this path for awhile and it’s a scary thing. The first step on this path is to focus your energies outward and help others.

It would be easier if this were a twelve step process that allowed you to move forward and progress to the next step. The old Buddhist adage, the journey of a 1000 steps begins with the first step would seem to almost imply that this is possible.

Instead it is a journey that begins within and pushes outward.

The next step in reaching out is empathy for those around you. First you reach outward and focus your energies on others. The second step is to demonstrate empathy for the feelings of others.

A lot of people struggle with this. When you are in a position of leadership you can’t make snide or joking comments about people. The reason for this is two fold, first it is nearly an HR violation (treatment of others) and second it isn’t solid or quality leadership. Sarcasm isn’t a leadership skill its actually a skill leverage by people who aren’t leaders but want to be.

So I am working on the second step right now. Caring about where other people are in their lives. It means you have to ask questions you wouldn’t have asked before.

It’s a long journey.