patience

My Soapbox: Life is an echo

Karma

When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
Harold Kushner

Life is an echo.

Christmas is often the best time to see the true character of people. You see the good and the bad. You see those who find great joy in giving to family, to friends, and to those in need. You see those that seem to take joy mostly in receiving from family and friends. You see those that love unconditionally and show that love through physical and verbal manifestations of caring. And you see those that truly don’t seem to have an ounce of caring inside. Yes, the negative of Christmas is that sometimes it brings out the very worst in people or at least makes the bad that’s already inside much clearer. It highlights the negative like the bright lights on Michigan Ave in Chicago highlight the stores or the shiny garland and ornaments highlight Christmas trees.

Today, my soapbox message is a simple one and it is a message that has been delivered through centuries and ages. From spiritual leaders and deities, to actors, comedians, and politicians; and everyone in between. It is this: Doing good feels good. Loving feels good. Giving feels good. Supporting feels good. Commiserating feels good. Forgiving feels good. And, even better, in addition to feeling good you have the additional benefit that people return all of the above right back to you. Yes, absolutely true and proven time and time again is the Golden Rule that one does unto others as he or she wants done unto him; Do good. Feel good. Receive good.

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This is the time to forgive. This is the time to perform a random act of kindness. This is the time to love. This is the time to understand and ask questions. To listen. It is not the time to hold grudges or seek revenge. It is not the time to be angry or jealous. It is not the time to fight over material things or hurt feelings.
I’m posting on #karma today on my facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram, and twitter. If you follow me on all, you will see several thought provoking images. Confucius, Jesus Christ, Buddha and several other great thinkers and spiritual leaders all seemed to believe that what goes around comes around and it is better to do good thing to do ill.

Thanks for reading another soapbox rant. Smile. What are your thoughts on karma or The Golden Rule? Have you experienced personally or through someone else the results of bad Karma? Seen someone blessed beyond imagining after doing good and giving sacrificially? Share below please. I would love to hear what you think.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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Change Ahead

Yet another blog about Change!

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Building Airplanes in the Air

EDS (now part of HP of course) ran a fantastic ad campaign years ago that highlighted how they help businesses manage through periods of major transformation. My favorite was called “Airplane” and showed a team of employees working on building a new airplane in the air. Yep, I wrote that right. In the commercial, filmed reality show style, there are several people who are discussing their pride in what they do. What do they do? Build airplanes while the planes are actually flying. Despite being a bit awkward in post September 11 times, the ad has always been such a great metaphor for what so many of us in Technology leadership roles have to do.

Transformation is never easy to begin with, and is made even harder by the mere fact that business does not stop and wait for you to finish with your initiative. While building the future, you must still keep the present up and running. Like building an airplane that is still flying!

The only way you can be successful in an environment like this is by remembering these principles:

1) Surround yourself with good people.
I can’t believe I am quoting Oprah Winfrey in one of my blogs but one must admit she clearly knows how to lead and drive change. One of her popular statements was “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” I completely agree this is essential. People who surround themselves with positive people naturally become more positive. Likewise, surrounding yourself with depressing, negative people leads to adopting their attitude.

But your team members can’t simply be positive thinkers. You need talent! I worked with a manager once who truly seemed intent on only hiring people who were not as smart as he was. Perhaps it was ego, perhaps insecurity, but it seemed that he was always needed to make decisions, solve problems, and break impasses. His people were neither empowered nor enabled to drive effective change. If you hire down, your organization dies. Period. I strive to always surround myself with people who are complimentary. I know my strengths and weaknesses, so why would I hire someone with the same strengths and weaknesses?

Find people that are intelligent but flexible, driven but not mercenary, loyal but not naive. Your change will be more successful. In the airplane example, a pilot only needs one co-pilot. The rest of the crew know more about customer service, cabin safety, in-flight entertainment and dining. They speak with clients more regularly and can get a sense of satisfaction. The team is made better because there are lots of good people doing their part to make the whole better. That should always be our goal!

2) Think like the successful automakers do. When I recently tried to explain how I think Technology shops should run with respect to relationship between Service (run) and Change components I thought of Mercedes Benz, my beloved car company. The change teams at Mercedes, those designing new cars and features, get a lot of glory when the next big thing is announced. Yet most people buy Mercedes both because of the design and styling of the car AND the fantastic service experience of owners.

  • The Design team constantly thinks of service while designing: periodic service alerts, inboard monitors, quality control, etc. They do not sit in an ivory tower in Stuutgart making stuff up! They talk to Service, Sales, and others to seek out ideas for what comes next.
  • The Service team, while striving to deliver quality service when you visit for service, also continuously feeds back to the design team things that need to be improved. And sometimes they advise the customers on how features in newer models go even further to address certain issues. Service is frequently the best source for add-on sales and upgrades!

Think about it! What if everyone in Technology worked in this mutually beneficial relationship structure? Applications would be designed for performance, infrastructures would be built to last, and customers would have a better overall experience “driving” the best solutions for their unique needs.

If we never forget the important relationship between change and run, we can effectively manage “building planes in the air”.

3) Communicate with your customers
Think about the last time you were on an airplane, or perhaps even in a taxi. Often the pilot or driver will inform passengers at the very start of the journey of pending problems. Turbulence ahead! A lot of traffic in one particular area may delay arrival! The light above your seat does not work! But on United Airlines in particular, you are also greeted at the beginning of the flight with a video from the CEO. In his intro, he highlights changes being made, explains any temporary issues that may frustrate clients, and thanks them for their loyalty and patience.

How many of our internal clients would be shocked to hear such messages?
Dear Clients: 1) We are going through a period of change that will bring enhanced stability, service, and innovation to better enable your success. 2) We know there will be some times of disruption and instability in the current environment and of course we will do all we can to minimize impact. 3) Thank you so much for your patience and support. Please know that everything we do is to add value for you.

Don’t surprise your clients with change, or downplay the risk so significantly you lose credibility. Be honest. Be open. Be consistent. And, of course, if the change is not something that adds value, rethink doing it at all!!

Let me know what you think. How do you effectively handle major changes while still managing to keeps things going? How do you build airplanes in the air?

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

This blog was originally posted Feb 2012. Reblogged Sept 2012.

Follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/alswhartonAdam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

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My soapbox: Who do you Love?

“Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you.” ― William P. Young, The Shack

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Do you have friends that seem great at tearing you down but never seem to build you up? Even worse, are you such a friend? I will admit there are a couple of people in my life that I am convinced accept me solely because of my corporate success or other temporal aspects of being. I sometimes get the sense that if I were homeless, had children out of wedlock, were exceptionally unattractive based on their criteria, or otherwise against their standards for who to love and appreciate, I would be a side thought. So, I spent the weekend thinking about who I love and who deserves to be loved. The answer is: EVERYONE AND NOONE. If we used the standard of truly deserving to be loved, perfectly living God-fearing saints, there would be ZERO people that should be loved. However, if we assume that everyone is flawed, don’t we all at least equally deserve love?

So, who do you love? Here is my list.

unresponsive, overdramatic
Predictable, blond
Grumpy,
determined
Passionate, judgmental, introverted
angry, short
restless
distracted
Hindu
Bald, chubby
complicated, idealistic, dissatisfied, anxious
Brunette, nosy, knowledgeable
trustworthy
polite, picky
cheerful, beautiful
observant
Fit
insecure, doubtful, tall
cheeky, single
grateful
Nervous, handsome
Fashionable
encouraging
simple, Buddhist
dependent, rude
awkward, Christian
naïve, divorced
Obese, plain, scruffy
self-conscious
pessimistic, Latino,
hot!
incompetent, conservative
inflexible, straight, Chinese
cowardly
Unkempt
Stupid, bitchy, liberal
Widowed, vulgar
selfish, unhappy
cynical, gay, married
needy, feminine
Kind, frumpy
Hairy, suave, healthy
Irrational
Sexy
childish, passive
calculating
Lesbian
fussy, camp
quixotic, Caucasian
Irritating, nice, sweet, helpful
understanding
sympathetic
smart, black
friendly
Vegan
indecisive, redhead
anal, diplomatic, sentimental
Addicted
Organized
Fat
dependable, long hair
Masculine, tolerant
modest, short
romantic
reflective, clean
Meat and potatoes only
confident
TOTAL ASSHOLE
Bipolar
logical
Australian, British, Kiwi
sensible
engaging
cute, aware
Self-righteous
dedicated
loving, queeny
impatient, stubborn, critical
talkative
reciprocating, meticulous, short hair
Tall, naughty
patient
loyal, compassionate
forgiving
admiring, silly, faithful, caring
considerate, skinny
apologetic
Dirty
Flawed

I’m sure I’ve missed some traits or groups but I think you get the picture. Imagine if everyone person to whom you showed love resulted in another person loving you? The person you dismiss because of their speaking style, their clothing, their job or lack thereof, their race or religion …. May just be the person that changes your life one day. And perhaps, by showing love to that one stranger, you just might change theirs.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (TNIV)

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” Mitch Albom

“Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” Erich Fromm

Love BIG. Lead on.
Best,
Adam

Adam L. Stanley

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“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill

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