What makes a great year

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When I think about the year that has passed (its review time so I spent the weekend building out my year in review) it is interesting. I started thinking about the events that make a year above average.

  • My marriage to Barbara
  • The birth of Jacqueline
  • The birth of the boys
  • Deciding to move to Cincinnati Ohio
  • Deciding to move to Indianapolis Indiana
  • High school graduation
  • Jacqueline’s high school graduation (this past year)
  • graduation from college
  • Wife’s graduation from college (2 times – 20 years apart) and frankly going back to school later in life takes incredible guts

I suspect there are a number of critical events that made life amazing (like the year I joined my current company, but that is also the year my grandfather died so it is a wash I suspect).

What are the events that shape your life positively? There are many positive things that don’t make a list of top things, simply because they happen in the same year with bigger events. I suspect there were many good things the year Barb and I got married, but I only remember the events leading up to the wedding (20 years ago this month).

Its not a revisionist version of history its simply the way our memories work!

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Where oh where does my information live?

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Where does information hide?

It is a question that I have asked people for years. Information is often on the hard drives in the room, or worse in the heads in the room and not even typed into an electronic document.

How does an information management system handle that issue?

Beyond the extremely complex issues of search and information relevance is the issue of getting the information into the system.

  • Who can contribute to the system?
  • What can they contribute?
  • How do we share that information?

This goes to the great myth that information is information. The reality is information isn’t information. The importance of the submission is as much the three points above as it is the information itself.

Your neighbor Tim, who is a professional building architect is probably not the best source of information about the process of transplanting a kidney. He may have experienced it personally in some way, but doesn’t have the expertise required to actually do the transplant. However if, as a survivor, he wants to submit an article coping with a transplant he would in fact be the perfect source for that.

Information is both a tool and a function. Missing the function piece can be very dangerous.

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Human Dynamics as the topic of the day

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What do we mean by human dynamics? I have presented on the topic a number of times and started thinking about it again last night. it is a topic that I find very intriguing.

How do we interact with people?

The Greeks used Pathos, Logos and Ethos as the descriptions of the different types of interactions we have. Stephen “Doc” List uses communication patterns and anti-patterns to describe the impact of communication.

I’ve blogged a few fringe patterns and anti-patterns on this blog as well, my favorite is the Dancing Bear with rainbow pens. A description of someone who grabs the marker and the board and never listens again. Dancing Bears are very entertaining, but they in the end signify no great value add for the meeting.

Its all about how we interact with others.

Interesting Communication Patterns:

Meeting helper: The person who comes 5 minutes early and is there to help you succeed. Regardless of what you are presenting they are a valuable ally and will help you during the meeting. They will even volunteer to take notes, which removes them from the conversation completely – which you may not want to do as they will always have nice things to say.

Meeting leader: the person who is not in “charge” but who is running the meeting. Sometimes this is the manager (as an anti-pattern) but sometimes there is another person who actually runs the meeting – watch for this person as it can become an anti-pattern quickly.

 

more to come

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The great gift of writing!

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The long and winding road. It is a great line, and of course great lines deserve repeating (“Look upon my works ye mighty and despair” remains my personal tag line.). The ability to create something that other people say or repeat is an amazing gift.

If you think about it, and most of us don’t, creative writing, painting and other creative arts comes from a part of us we don’t always understand. The artists as a tortured soul comes to mind.

Creativity is a part of us as children, but we learn to suppress it. As parents we wonder at the ability of our children to generate works of art. Secretly we envy that ability to freely create.

As a child my mother encouraged me to write poetry. She read my poems and actually had a book of them published for me on my 16th birthday. I loved and continue to love writing poems about the world around me. It helps me feel like I am part of the solution not part of the problem.

Creativity is such a component piece of my childhood as well – I visited the Louvre when I was very young, as well as a number of art galleries in other European and American cities. Art and visual artists amaze me. I feel at times like the Italian composer in Amadeus (paraphrased) why lord have you gifted me the ears to hear your voice but not the fingers to create the sounds.

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Finding the Tao of balance

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The Tao of balance

Meta, a word used to describe live and kindness also applies to architects (a meta-architecture is something an Enterprise Architect might work on – more than simply an architecture of technology it can encompass the business, processes and even people architecture components.)

Meta also drives balance.

It seems funny to use a fuzzy soft word like love in a technical profession like architecture but the word truly applies. But it is that fuzzy word that drives the passion behind the architecture that can easily topple the balance.

I have known many architects who were incredibly intelligent and gifted people. But they don’t allow for others to have opinions and thoughts so their solutions are out of balance. They build great towers but in the end others take over the management and long term stability of the tower, as they cannot. Negative energy can’t sustain a tower, it might build it so that it touches the sky, but it can’t keep it stable over time.

The yin and yang of positive vs. negative energy is the balance that the person must achieve before moving forward on the architectural plan.

There is a time to be negative and a time to be positive. Picking those times is critical. Like many people over the years I have listened to the negative voices more than the positive voices. It is why I struggle with balance in my personal and professional life. I seek balance but like most people I get trapped by the Alabama problem (from the Neil Young song, Alabama…”you’ve got one wheel on the road and one wheel in the ditch.”)

Finding the the yin/yang of how you deal with the people around you is critical.

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The quiet man’s path

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To be, Irrational.

If, given that two decisions can be made, which is the decision that best fits the situation?

Is it the decision creates the long term benefit for a short term cost? Or the decision that costs nothing but in the end provides no benefit.

Does that make me less of a person, that I think about direction of the decision? The quiet man in the room is the one to ask.

Given that all decisions have some impact, but that not all impacts are bad how do you decide?

I would like to propose a couple of “group” decision models that don’t work, yet are prevalent in our society.

  • I am the loudest therefore I am right. Or in any given situation I always know the right answer. People in this category mean well, but don’t think about their impact on others. They are motivated by their needs, focused on what they want to say. You see them they are poised at the table or phone, waiting for their chance to weigh in and solve the problem.
  • I am the leader therefore I am right. Consensus is such a hard word, really something that people need to consider more. The I am a leader principle can be effective (when things need to get done) but can be misused very quickly. How do you truly balance the concept of leadership and leading, against the harder concept of corrupting the decision by leading in the wrong direction?

These are two initial models that I have been considering around the broader concept of balance with life. Do you fit into one of these? (By the way, leaders who practice both of these are very dangerous people. They tend to staff their teams with people who follow both of these. Those unbalanced teams can derail anyone trying to affect change.)

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The halycon days gone by

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856 posts on this blog so far.
180 comments.
over 5500 readers.
3 years.
4 handwritten blogs
7 from a windows mobile connection
205 from the web interface
650 from Windows Live Writer (what a great tool that is)

Amazing stats when you think about it.

I started this blog as a place to complain publically about various organizations and their helpdesk’s and customer services organizations.
I morphed this blog into an architecture vechile to talk about concepts and processes in architecture.

What’s next? What does blog 2.0 look like?

Stay tuned, the change is coming soon!