Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gotta Go Fishin'

Last night somewhere before the staff meeting, we found ourselves entangled in a rousing game of Go Fish. Rousing, you ask yourself and brush your hand against your chin, wondering how that can be, resembling Sherlock Holmes on a case. Well you see this is not just any game of Go Fish, but in fact it's called Value Go Fish. Just imagine asking someone the question - Can I have your integrity? Or can I steal your passion? Yes, we are innovative, we just haven't quite figured out if that's a good or bad thing. But if my smile gives anything away - it's good. Once in awhile we have to remember how to play.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Testing, 1, 2

Video conferencing, and I helped.

Running or Not.

I've been bad about keeping to my running schedule this past week - literally I think the last time I ran was last Tuesday. It's true. I've determined, along with those close to me, that I need to make sure to get my 30 minutes of high intensity workout in at least 3 -4x times a week. It's either that or read Harry Potter...which according to a close source of mine is "so you!" (but it's long and they wave wands around and use toads as pets). But without the run it seems like my brain goes for mental runs and yeah it likes to do like 20 milers

But honestly these past few days I've felt particularly tired and just drained, and just out of my groove. It's not fun for me or anyone else, so bon voyage groove monster. I could feel it coming on, and was able to spot the signs and managed it by getting some extra sleep and getting a more intense walk in. But I need to do more - I haven't had a whole lot of energy to do my run, but by golly I'm going to get it in tomorrow even if it is 100 degrees outside or call me a rappscallion. In addition, I haven't been able to attend church cause of work, but try to render this by journaling and of course daily communes with God.

But life is really good, and I cannot complain. I have health and good teeth :), exciting things in the works, great relationships (mmm hmm), and my faith (amen sister). And I know I'm blessed. This being said I'm back on the boat and steering the wheel due north.

So it's time to refocus.
Goals for the rest of the week include:
- sticking to running / workout schedule (sweat sweat in the humidity woot!)
- making time for at least 30 minutes to read / journal during day
- eating healthy = less caffeine (tea ok)
- fun, fun, fun enjoying last week of LA

You can hold me to them or call me ....old. Which cannot happen b/c let's face it, I have way too cute of a face to ever be called...old.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sarah Bareilles

This is a new artist I'm listening to - Sara Bareilles. She's just starting to pop up. Her newest album, "Little Voice" is the #1 album on iTunes. Check out her song "Love Song" below. I like her b/c she's an alto (aka I can sing her voice part) and she plays the piano, and has some soul in her voice. Check out some of her other music at http://www.sarabmusic.com/.

Live Feed at LeadAmerica

Today at the Global Business & Entreprenuership conference that I coordinate for LeadAmerica, we tested out some new waters and brought in a guest speaker via Live Feed. I was super impressed by the MacBook technology and pretty much sold on purchasing one myself.

Below you'll find a quick recap of our speaker's presentation. Check out Acumen's Wanderings for more and a YouTube clip. Pretty neat stuff!

Business Mythbusters (aka 5 Misconceptions of Professional Life)
1. Entrepreneurs don't have bosses.
2. I've got a full social calendar, so I'm out the door at 5pm everyday.
3. Right out of college I'll make 100k, drive a new car, purchase a house and vacation in Europe.
4. If I only had an iPhone/Blackberry/laptop/venture capital/etc I'd be happy and succesful!
5. Life is fair.

Man v. Market (aka How to Separate Yourself from the Pack)
1. Learn to lead
through following.
2. There are more important things than salary.
3. Your reputation is your most valuable asset.
4. Think differently.
5. Always put the team first.

It's always engaging and fun to test out new channels for communication. I think this was the first time a conference has ever gone Live Feed! Very cool!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The 5 "I's" of Change

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner, Toni Addison, points out the 5 "I's" that can create or hinder the possibility for and the momentum of large-scale change.

Ignite - It's necessary to have someone to jump-start the process. There has to be an individual spark to create a larger flame. (This is the who - who will make the waves)

Involvement - If you don't have involvement from the senior leadership team and at the grassroots level, you are not going to see change gain momentum. (Get support, get buy in)

Inertia - If you don't reveal and change the context for the existing organization's assumptions around the way things aer done, you're not going to get anyplace. People are unlikely to challenge the status quo and will revert to past assumptions as a way to deal w/ the future. (Explain and provide logic for change. The why)

Integrate - Organizational systems must complement the change you are making. If you make large-scale change around diversity, for instance, you need to align the change with and include it in training, compensation, performance, management systems, coaching, and business objectives. (Get everything on the same page. Build consistency!)

Incentive - Individuals must understand what's in it for them. They need to feel they will benefit from the change. (How does it specifically relate to them)

Note from CGGI * I think this is a good model for approaching change on a large scale. It identifies necessary steps and things that need to happen in order for the change to take root.
In leadership, it's no longer doctrine that creates a following; it is dialogue.

And it's more valuable to engage, than to influence.

This is how meaning is created for each member of the team.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Authenticity: undisputed credibility.

Real leadership, powerful leadership, leadership in 30 days. Leadership can be packaged in many different ways, but when it comes down to it leadership needs to be authentic. The word authenticity hails from an existential philosophy of knowing and understanding thyself. Today, authenticity for leaders is the first step towards effective leadership.

When broken down, the concept of authenticity has two parts according to Dr. Naddaff, president of the Management Research Group.
Authenticity is
1) know thyself
2) express thyself.

Knowing thyself is the seeking to understand who you are - your beliefs, values, needs, wants, emotions, character. It's learning what makes you tick, what makes you work, and what makes your heart sing. It's basically a lifelong walk. (Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically)

The second part, expressing thyself is the set of behaviors that we use to fully express who we are, to show our true selves to the people around us. (Expressing all of the above)

So the question that beckons today's leaders are - do you know yourself? And if so, do your behaviors genuinely reflect what you value, believe, and love?
Everyday I try to cultivate and know myself better. Sometimes it resembles digging in the garden, pulling out the weeds and making sure there's room for growth. Other times it simply means practicing and making time in my life for the things that make me feel healthy, and enjoy.

The act of actually writing in my journal, or running a few miles are the ways in which I can express myself, and who I am. That's why learning and educating myself are two of the things at the top of my priority list, because they foster a) knowing myself and b) providing me with different approaches and ways for me to express myself.

The bottom line is that when those we lead see that our knowing and expressing align, then and only then are we truly practicing authentic leadership. It's when we truly come alive. The whole energy that we are made of is channeled. And when this energy is channeled, that's when we engage others, and spark the fire.

Again, this is a lifelong journey. But to begin we have to do the work. And it starts with lighting the match, adding another log, and moving the embers. Only then can we watch the flames grow.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Enlightened Power

In the book I'm currently reading, Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, there's a chapter specifically called "Influencing for Impact." It looks at the term power and what it means - but more so how influence is directly synonymous with the term power.

The author points out that one important step in developing your influence skills is to identify where your own power resides. She points out that acknowledging and analyzing the bases of power that we possess does not always come easily to women. Women can tend to downplay their strengths and have a hard time with the word power.

Power comes from many sources - knowledge and expertise, financial resources, position/title, and certainly relationships you have. The different types of power are outlined below:

The 5 Bases of Power

* Resource Power - having control or access to needed resources or rewards. Resources could be funding, materials, critical information, or assistance. Tricky part with this power is that it can easily shift or change, resources can be taken away (ex: budget cut).

* Position Power - this is your title or rank within the organization. This represents where you are on the totem poll. While people may have to comply with you, it doesn't mean they are committed to you.

* Coercive Power - based on threats and manipulation. This power rests on positional power. Threats may get you what you want, but you will most likely also inspire resistance and hostility at the same time.

* Expert Power - information, knowledge, and subject matter expertise. This can sometimes be where women sell themselves short. Research shows they may downplay their expertise to avoid looking like they are egotistical. Often attributing their success to "luck" rather than hard work. (Important point. Recognize the power of decisions you've made, and the hard work you've put in. Don't pass it off as luck).

* Relational Power - basis in who you know and the quality of those relationships both internal and external to the organization. This base of power is built upon trust and length of history with the relationship. This tends to be the key to most leaders' success. (Key: if you can't build trust w/ folks, you cannot have much influence over them).

Of course communicating our ideas, expertise, or needs is the next biggest determinant of whether or not we have the ability to influence others. But that's a subject we'll save for next time.

Until then, learn and lead.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Google Maps Goes MappyHour

Happy hour food and drinks on Google Maps MappyHour shows you a Google Map with bars that offer happy hour food and drink specials. It's easy to rate bars and add new ones to the database. Roger says:
MappyHour lets you scope out and plan your pub crawl before you leave the house or office. It includes happy hours (if available), drink specials, and even food to pour your beer on top of. It has many American cities and a couple of international ones (Sydney, Melbourne).
The biggest cities are the best developed, but users can add pubs, as well as ratings and reviews for any location. If there are no reviews for a bar, the site links to Yelp reviews. It also looks like the bars themselves can buy space on the site to list their drink special and hours.
Limitations: The review system’s a little wonky. I lost a review I wrote by trying to pinpoint the bars location better. Also, it only shows the nearest 50 bars to your location. If an excellent bar is the 51st closest, it won’t show up.
There are some competitors (Unthirsty, Stumbling Donkey), but MappyHour rules the roost. Link
(care of Boing Boing Blog)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Everything Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright...

I've turned on some Bob Marley. He's playing in the background as I put a little lipgloss on (cherry flavor) and get ready to head out of the house. Everything little thing is going to be alright. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that, or at least have good buds around to do that...and by buds I mean best friends from London and funny or a funny/smart boy from Knoxville. Moreso someone with experience is even better, and I have that, keep that secret weapon close on hand for times like these.

Fiscally conservative. It's the devil of me sometimes. Managing to sneak free from debt thus far into my life that the thing known as a loan is like meeting a new friend to me. I don't quite trust the person yet, and am still figuring out how they will effect me and what they a) can help me learn and b) affect my quality of life.

But I make pros and cons lists, and charts and scratch doodles when things start to get crowded in my brain. And now that I've done that and a fair amount of talking I know that no matter what I decide, it'll be good. My track record supports this prediction, and the hard part is over. I already know where I'm going to school and where I'm going to live - and I like that. It's just a matter of setting it into motion now. And I've been training up for this marathon for about 2 years now. It's time to tie up my shoes, throw my hair in a ponytail and enter the race.

Setting my mark...

PS. I'm the fast girl your mother warned you about. Running style'

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sink or Swim Organization?

Harvard Business Online just published an article that points out some very useful and typical characteristics that organizations use to find out how employees will transition into leadership roles if promoted, and how they foster these tranisitions.

Sink or Swim?
  • While the company may do a reasonable job of deciding who to recruit and promote, little or nothing is done to help leaders make successful transitions. Regardless of the magnitude of the challenges transitioning leaders face, they are left to figure out their new roles by themselves.

This really is not the best way to help your organization remain successful or foster a nourishing learning environment for the personel. In addition, if the roles aren't defined, how can they begin to do the right job?

  • Senior leadership believes that it’s best to test leaders by fire in order to separate the good from the bad. Respected executives perceive efforts to support leaders making transitions as “coddling” or worry that it will blunt the company’s edge in some way.

Testing by fire is a way to burn someone out. I've been there. If the organization wants to establish any culture of leadership, testing by fire is not the route to go.

  • The organization makes little effort to help leaders hired from the outside understand the culture of the company or to make the right connections with key stakeholders. Most of the emphasis in the recruiting process is placed on evaluating people for raw capability, and relatively little attention is given to cultural fit or adaptability.

Hire for attitude. For example, person A seems to have the picture perfect resume, 4.0 and a last name of a former politician. They get hired. But then on the job, they don't fit in at all, aren't open to learning, etc. Case in point. Hire people who are sponges.

  • External hires often are placed in situations where they are set up to fail. Newly hired executives are told, for example, that they are being brought in for their ability to bring new ideas to the company, encouraged to try to make change happen, but not adequately supported or protected.

We like your new ideas and your flair. You're hired. But once you start we don't have the time to listen to them, or resources to make them work. This is sometimes what happens - definite sinking factor.

  • Executive coaching is viewed as remedial rather than developmental. The only people who get coaching, if anyone gets it, are the ones already in serious trouble.

Think about the last time you received footlocker or executive coaching. Was it for a positive or negative behavior? Imagine if you got caught doing something right.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Let's just call this the "Good Points" post.

Good Points:

* It's always made sense to me for people who work hard to be given the opportunity to play hard. I've read different case studies now, and looked at different profiles of companies to see the differences in environments and cultures. While I admit I've only really held one official/real job so far in my life (I'm still young) you can see gianormous differences in the way companies value creativity based on their policies.

- If you want employees to be creative, they need to be rested and alive. So time off should be given as an incentive for folks who can bring creativity to the table. Guy Kawasaki makes a Good Point in saying that people are also much less prone to make mistakes if they are rested. It's better to avoid making mistakes, then fixing them.

* Sitting at the local pub last night with two of my girlfriends, I heard an interesting opinion. Both of they thought that our CEO should sit down with them at the conclusion of our yearly cycle and be given the opportunity to give their top 3 pluses and deltas for the year. They didn't understand why he couldn't give a half an hour to each of the folks in this position and why he wouldn't want to.

- CEO's should be the visionaries not the details hounds. While it would be great to get to sit down with the CEO and give him the down and dirty, it's not necessary and really not a good idea. If CEO's are given a chance to get into the details, I just know his head would get wrapped around the axle and suddenly we'd have a huge mess on our hands. Instead, employees need to make sure they are being listened to. This is huge. I tried to help my friends understand this, and see how to go about making sure their knowledge was noted and valued through a different channel other then the CEO.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Discovery: Soapstone Valley Park

So I finally got up to gumption and energy to go for a run. Initially I was just going to hop on the treadmill, but that came to a haulting screetch b/c some dude who pretended to be a runner was using it. Those are the type of people that need to use treadmills I suppose.

So I grabbed my ipod and hit the pavement. Before I knew it though I had wandered onto a dirt path in the middle of the woods. I came to discover that there's a park called Soapstone Valley Park that actually has trails that connect all the way to Rock Creek that's just around the corner from where I live.

It honestly is like a little piece of heaven out there. The landscaping is just like back home, lots of green, dirt, and great trees. I like when things can appeal to my sensual side, it's so often during the day that we get swept away into tapping into our intellectual appeal and logical sense that being able to revel in the green of a tree or the smell of fresh air is taken in with open arms. There are also homes hidden deep into the woods that are pretty neat. I think I'm going to be able to handle living out here for the next year and a half to two years. It's these little things like a park in the middle of my urban neighborhood and the crickets I hear at night that make this a little less like a city, and a little more like a home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's all good until you get to the sauerkraut track.


Startup: No Place for Passive Aggressive Behavior

A great point has come out of a Musing's from Scott blog post. Corporate vs. Startup behaviors talks about the unique behaviors that must be used when approaching startup concepts. Scott does a nice job of pointing out how passive aggressive behavior may have its place in a large established corporate setting, but that in a startup setting you need to be up front and direct when communicating the bottom line. I've never really thought about communication in this environment sense, but it is true. In a corporate setting you do have to be passive aggressive in order to advance your agenda, but within a startup you better be real and clear about what you think is the best move for growing and expanding your business. If you aren't clear with your board of director's and you just nod and smile, but don't think it's the best move you may end up with your hands tied behind your back.

Monday, July 09, 2007

NYC: Avenue Q, MoMa, and Central Park

Greetings ya'll. It's been awhile, but for good reasons. I've been up in NYC for the past week taking care of business and doing a bit of sightseeing with my boy.

The boy was invited up to be a guest speaker for my business program, and let's just say that kicked off the weekend to a fantastic start. The students and staff alike loved him! (This is a plug to get him to come up to our Boston conference at the end of the month).

After the conference wrapped up and I did a little bit of firing, (yes) we started out the weekend with a visit to Broadway to see Avenue Q. Funny, off beat musical, detailing the truth of life in a comedic fashion - using puppets and lively songs to sing abou tthe facts of life. We were able to get cheap tickets from tkts that landed us in the orchestra section. Talk about a fun evening!

Following that we got up and enjoyed our Saturday morning and afternoon with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art. I got to see Van Gogh's Starry Night - which has been a dream of mine and also laughed at the delightful drawings by Dan Perjovschi. Also among the artistis displayed there were Picasso and Monet. Picteresque way to spend some time with the boy.

After that we headed to Central Park where I was given a 5 star tour of Strawberry Fields and the famous fountain. The boy had lived just across the street from the park for a bit, so he knew where he was going - good thing too. We made it back just in time to catch our flight back home and of course I fell fast asleep on the plane back.

What a fantastic weekend and wonderful memory!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I cried tonight. For different reasons, but in the end it all comes back to one thing. I need to put the bags down and leave them, place them at God's feet, put them outside so dog's can live in them. Drive over them, maybe. Whatever that needs to be done so that no one has to carry around those bags anymore.

He didn't mean to give me those 2 bags so early or even at all, but I got them and held onto them tight. My arms got bigger and my heart was enlarged, but I still carried the bags even when it was cold. It's funny how they can become part of your existence. They don't feel like weight anymore and at one point they were comfortable. But they aren't comfortable and I bear a hefty price for keeping them in tow. They've been to Florida. But they aren't going to travel anymore. They've put on enough mileage, it's been decided, they are ready to retire.

So here you go God. Take these bags. I have no use for them anymore. Take them out of my arms. I don't want to hurt anymore, and I don't want anyone else to either. You're the only one that can lift them up now. So - here they are.