Archive for July, 2009

474514_post-it_notesI had a great deal of fun this week in the midst of working, networking, and learning.  Yes, all four can be accomplished in a synergetic manner.  I’m part of a great group on Linked In, Organization Change Practitioners.  While I belong to multiple groups, this is the one I really like.  To me it epitomizes the best of Social Networking.  I have great dialogs with this group and have made new friends through it.  I’ve also found people I want to work with.  Why you ask, is the group so great?  Because they openly discuss ideas, share experiences, offers insights, and are not afraid to debate.  Individual personalities frequently shine through the discussions as they do in real life.

For a recent question posted by one member, 50+ people from all over the world had responded with their thoughts.  We heard from some individuals once, others multiple times.  The question was only 16 words long, but was a powerful one for the group.  “What is the single most important trait of a successful Organizational Change Consultant in today’s economy?”  If you are interested, Jim Markowsky, who put forth the question, created a summary for the group.  You can see it on his blog.

I just met Jim – through this dialog.  Based on my comments and questions to him off-line, he asked that I provide a summary of my thoughts and observations.  My commentary took a decidedly different spin from his.  It included some insight into how my brain works (if you were paying attention) as well as having some fun.  While the you might think the discussion was done, several of us proceeded to comment back and forth with humor and poked fun at each other.  After all was said and done I thought “what a great on-line experience”. 

What made is so – it was real.  It was like the conversations after work at the bar or at the 19th hole.  It had observations, analysis, and humor.  Too often I think we are afraid to put ourselves out there, to make fun of ourselves, and be a little quirky.  You hear about the “rules” for networking but part of real networking is to be the real you.  To let others get an insight into who you are and better understand you.  You want to work with people you are comfortable with don’t you?  Are you comfortable with people who are always careful of every word they say?

So I’m taking a leap-of-faith so to speak.  I’m continuing my own personal revolution by sharing a little of my personality oddities.  My hope is that you laugh.  You can laugh with me or at me, maybe about me.  Maybe you will shake your head.  In the end my objective is to add a little humor and life into what can otherwise be a “flat” communication media.   So here it is, my Ode to a Post-it Note. 

No, I have no idea why my brain started writing stanzas of rhymes about post-its this week, really I don’t.  I woke up today and it started up again.  So, I decided to write them down.  If I had to guess, it’s because I do so much musical rhyming for my kids and that I had been thinking about how handy post-its are.  Here it is.

Ode to a Post-it Note (c)   

A little pack of paper, it costs about a dime.
It sits upon my desk, it looks at me – patiently waiting for its time.
It leaps and jumps into my hand, its long waiting now is done.
My time of use is here it shouts, my turn it says has come.

What will she use me for it wonders, an idea great or small.
Will I be placed upon some paper or there upon her wall.
Ideas and tasks she collects you see, and leaves them all about.
The post-its know they’re important to her and gives a great big shout.

I’m ready, I’m ready, it says with joy, I’ll lend you my space to write.
Ideas, insights, reminders, and tasks – I’ll help you keep them right.
The post-it knows her brain gets full, that she can’t remember all.
The thoughts, ideas, and things to-do that wind upon her wall. 

I’ve found my place, I have my use, I’m happy to oblige.
I know she’s thankful for my help, I’m happy to provide.
Glad she is for that small pad, for which she has such use.
She sometimes wonders what would life be like if all her notes were loose.

Imagine the mess, the great big pile, if there was not a sticky back.
She might have had to use a board with a million different tacks.
So much easier with post-its you see, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes she’ll find them lost about, they give her some surprises.

Like the one that says “I love you mom” her daughter chose to leave.
Upon her desk, now on her wall, her eyes it does now please.
She thinks, I’m glad that someone thought to commercialize their use.
There were first created, not for production, but for a team to use. 

It makes her wonder what we would learn, what might we find, if post-it notes could but talk.
Messages, ideas, and thoughts they’ve gathered and never did they balk.
They’re happy to find their place with us, in each of our little worlds.
If you say you haven’t tried them yet, then take them for a whirl.

To be used as each person sees fit, to be of some great use.
Post-its are here to help us out, with them you cannot lose.

A shout out of THANKS to my new friend Jim for reviewing the start of my rhyme and letting me know it did make him laugh.  I’m following his advice to copyright this so no stealing this original, quirky, creative, and a little bit off-beat poem.  However, do feel free to share and laugh amongst yourselves.  Live a little, laugh a lot.  May you have some fun today and every day from here on out.

Categories : Humor
The road less traveled?  My destination.

The road less traveled? A simplier life.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter these days.  Discussions in an ExecuNet forum regarding how companies could use it to gather information about employee viewpoints have been particularly interesting.  At the same time I’ve been following another discussion regarding the up-take of technology (aka how quickly tech is implemented).  One individual in particular has been very vociferous as to their view that companies need to move to new technology faster.  While I did not publicly respond, my internal mental response was 1) that is not always a benefit to be a first mover and 2) you want to integrate technology when it makes strategic sense, not just because it is available.  All the fervor over Twitter and the speed of technological up-take made me stop and think about one word.  Why.

  • Why would I want to be on Twitter?  Hum…  It is a communication mechanism.  I’ve heard others talk about using it to develop business relationships so that made me think maybe. 
  • Why wouldn’t I want to be on Twitter?  Hum…  Because it seems like it uses a lot of push technology.  I get enough e-mails. 
  • Why do I need to see “tweets”? 
  • Why would people send tweets to me, i.e. what is their motivation? 

Decisions regarding whether to use Technology should be made strategically.  This applies to personal life as well as professional life. 

  • How might I use it?  If I’m meeting someone for dinner and I’m late or need the address, I suppose we could “tweet” back and forth.  But we could also just call each other on the cell phones.  Wouldn’t that be faster and more efficient?   
  • Would I want to get pinged constantly with updates?  It is an interruption to my work. 
  • What’s the impact of the interruption?  Does the impact outweight the cost? 
  • Do I need to know what people are doing every 20 minutes? 
  • Is this a good use of my time? 

While I understand the mechanics of Twitter, I’m not sure I “get” the value.  From what I’ve heard (granted, second hand) people are being pinged constantly and that would not bode well for me getting my work done.  So with my limited understanding, second hand knowledge, and thoughts about what was important to me in hand I concluded “not right now”.  As with other strategic technology decisions it is something I’ll revisit again but I’ve put aside “worrying” about it for now.

I then moved on to the myriad of other things swirling around in my head…

  • How much time do we really spend thinking about the communication tool we are using: 1) whether it is the right one for what we are doing and 2) if we should change our tools/methods? 
  • Why don’t people change tools/methods?  Typically they respond to emails or tweets.  Wouldn’t picking up a phone be faster in many cases?  Why don’t they make that change?  What drives this behavior? 
  • Is there a generational difference in who uses Twitter?  Or, rather who developed the program and launched it.  If you think about Facebook, it’s my understanding/memory that it was started as a way to keep in touch with friends.  I remember hearing about it for years before I joined in (just a few months ago). 
  • The latest gen seems to be text message addicts.  Why?  What’s the impact on their social skills?  How does this impact their focus on the job (if they have one)?
  • How does the interpersonal communication style of each generation affect them in their business and work life? 

One pool I was recently at had lifeguards texting while on duty.  I don’t know about what you think, but I’d rather have them watch out for the safety of the kids in the pool.

  • Twitter today, texting before that, and email before texting is suppose to create “faster/more efficient” ways for us to communicate.  Do they really?
  • While it may be more efficient in some cases, are these new communication tools possibly doing more harm than good?
  • How much of our feelings of being overwhelmed is something that we are unconsciously doing to ourselves?
  • How much of the massive on-line exchanges currently occurring is being driven by those individuals currently out of work?  Would the traffic be significantly impacted if they were to find jobs? 
  • Do habits develop while being unemployed carry into employment time?  How much does this contribute to some of the massive amounts of work related stress being reported?

You personally will need to answer the question of how you want to be connected, how you want to spend your time, and what is valuable for you to participate in.  I’ve decided that I need to find ways to simplify my own life – to get back some desperately needed family time.  To go the road less traveled these days.  I want to have F2F conversations with my spouse, not just talk over email.  Not only have I felt this, but one daughter has commented multiple times this past week that I am always working.  It’s time that I start my own behavioral revolution.  That I take action in order to have more time with my family.  So I’ve decided I’ll:

  • Change my LI and FB settings to get less “pushed” to me. 
  • Access LI and FB to interact when I have the time, rather than allowing them to regularly interrupt my day.
  • Think more about what I put on FB.  Do my friends really need to read that?
  • Get on FB for 5-10 mins in the morning to connect with friends and start with a smile.  Again at the end of the day for another. 
  • Use LI with my business associates and sync my Contacts and Connections. 
  • Skip using MS in lieu of my home space. 
  • Bonk noses with, hug, and play games with my kids rather than Tweet – at least for now (i’m not sure they will still enjoy nose bonks when they hit puberty).
  • Look at the RSS feeds and reduce autofeeds.  Including those that came pre-installed on this PC.
  • Get my email accounts and phone email accounts cleared out. 
  • Create a “To-do When Time” folder in my email and move things that don’t attention within the next 48 hours to there.  I’m tired of looking at my very full email and reading the same subject lines over and over.
  • Ask myself more frequently if a phone call wouldn’t be better.
  • Respond, delete, move, or file emails as much as possible when I first look at them.  If I leave it in the in-box. I’m giving myself 48 hours or less to respond or address it.

So tonight we’ll go back in time to a simplier lifestyle.  I’ll power down the PC and cell phones, I’ll cook dinner (maybe), we’ll sit together at the table, we’ll play a board game afterwards.  I’ll make time for us, not the millions of others out there.  One step at a time, one day at a time, I’m taking back my life.

For those of you who wondered – yes, the title is a spin on the Shakespeare quote “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  If you are interested in Hamlet’s speech and have some time to ponder other things, you can go here to see the quote.

A Shout Out of Thanks to Scott for his reaction to my draft of this blog.  I eagerly await his response to this post as well as the possibility of dragging him in to be a guest blogger.  Another tactic to take back my life…

SN Intentions 09 17 09 - 1177581_39368842I have recently been participating in what is essentially the same discussion across multiple LinkedIn Groups.  It’s interesting to observe (and appreciate) the frustrations felt by many when the sales, marketing, and “connect with me” messages overtake the discussions.  There are many of us on-line who value the discussions – the ability to connect and to learn.  In many ways, the social networking tools have replaced the old “water cooler” discussions.  That, and the periodic after work stop at a local “watering hole”. 

To me what underlies the frustration is the intention.  The intention of the person posting is to get something from the interaction rather than giving something or learning something.  Yes, building relationships is important – both personally and professionally. However, there are multiple ways to build the relationship and the intentions often shine through whether you realize it or not.  Good, lasting relationships are most frequently the result of interactions where the intention was focused on giving or learning, solving a problem, or delivering a project together.

Intentions underlie everything in life.  Have you stopped to think about your intentions?  How those intentions might be perceived by others?  How your underlying intentions might actually be getting in the way of what you really need? 

What are my intentions in this blog?  Simply to share thoughts, provoke thinking, foster introspection, and improve business operations through influencing one person at a time.  If you refer back to the first post, I do believe that together can build a revolution for a better business environment.

For those of you frustrated by what you see occurring in your Social Network (SN), don’t just vent, take action.  Here are a few ideas:

  • First, check your own behaviors.  Ensure you are consistent.
  • Suggest a function change to the SN tool if appropriate.  Are people using a specific feature incorrectly because there is no alternative?
  • Contact the individual privately.  Send a note to the person who posted the discussion point.  Open a dialog directly with them to understand their intentions and provide feedback on how you perceived them.  When doing this, I have found individuals did not realize how they were coming across.
  • Respond publicly.  Put your thoughts out there.  But, be polite, not confrontational.
  • Remove yourself from groups.  We add, but do we stop and remove ourselves if the group adds no value to our online interactions.
  • Change your settings.  Reduce which items are pushed to you and which you visit when you want.

Happy Networking!  May you build valuable personal and professional relationships over time.  I have.   A Shout Out to one of my new SN friends and Jana, who reviewed this posting for me.


The Revolution of One

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Wikipedia defines revolution as follows:

A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.

Amidst the corporate chaos and on-going organizational changes there lies a source of power, power for change. There are the People.

People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and viewpoints. There are many, many viewpoints. Sometimes it seems like too many. Have you heard the joke that if you ask 4 recruiters their opinion on a resume you will get 5 answers? If you’ve been looking for a job lately you know that this is not just a joke, often a reality.

Often the different viewpoints seem opposed and are a source of chaos, but if you seek to understand not just respond, they can be a great source of information and power. How often do you stop to try and truly understand another’s viewpoint and how they reached their own personal conclusions? What attitude do you bring to the interaction? Are you focused on listening to a different viewpoint or are you focused on winning an argument?

Each and every day we make a series of decisions regarding how we interact with each other. How actively do we listen? How thoughtful are our responses? Are we working together? Is it a “we” or a “me” moment? Are we focused on our part of the organization or the effectiveness of the organization as a whole? Are we trying to understand how the decisions we make today impact other areas of the business or organization? Are we focused on the past or on the future? Are we playing the “blame game” or are we expending our energy working to resolve a situation the best way possible?

When you interact with others today are you going to be a 0 (Off) or a 1 (On)?

Attitude truly does make a difference. The Beatles sang of One being the loneliest number yet in the Matrix we saw how significant the impact of “The One” could truly be. We can all be Agents of Change. The revolution starts with yourself and your attitude, not with others and theirs. We can influence others but we can only truly change ourselves.

Binary language focuses on Zero and One, Off and On. There are studies showing that when collaboration is involved, the sum can be greater than the individual parts. Where One + One + One = Four not Three. Where there is the addition of understanding and alignment of objectives vs. the subtraction of position and personal power plays.

When you interact with others today and make decisions related to your job, your department, your organization and programs, are you going to be a 0 (Off) or a 1 (On)?

Faith Fuqua-Purvis is the founder of Synergetic Solutions LLC, a consulting firm specializing in Strategic Change. She is a strategic thinker, a proactive leader and an experienced coach, helping business implement transformational changes by aligning people, organizational structures, and operational activities with business strategies. You can find her complete profile at LinkedIn.

Photo credit: clix    This article first appeared on The CIO Assistant’s Blog on July 1st.

Guiding Principles

- Think Holistically
- Seek the Root Causes
- Respect the Individual
- Demonstrate Accountability
- Collaborate with Clients
- Work with Integrity, Always
- Relate to the Business Strategy
- Ensure Alignment
- Demonstrate Responsibility
- Transfer Skills

Thoughts and Quotes