Tuesday, February 23, 2010

wishing your way to lean

Do you wish your business was more lean?

Do you wish you were making more money?

Less mistakes?

Less waste?

More product out the door?

Quicker development cycles?

How are you turning your wishes into reality?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When does the season of joy end?

Christmas time is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons a part from the celebration of my faith. I enjoy the beauty and calm of the first snow fall, of twinkling lights from houses, how stop lights even appear to be hung for the season, all along with a change in attitude of complete strangers smiling more to each other and extending gracious (and common) social courtesy.

In the first two weeks of January, most households dismantle their holiday cheer often spurned on by city deadlines for tree pick-up services and in the northern parts of the country whether brought on by frustration at the difficulty of driving in icy conditions or simply forgetting how good it felt to be courteous to one another, motorists drive selfishly once again.

When does the season of joy end?

What is the acceptable date to take down Christmas decorations? What makes this date acceptable?

When does it become acceptable to dismiss extensions of grace?

A ‘season of joy’ exists outside of the Christmas celebration however, as I would say we experience a season of joy in our relationships as well, both personal and professional.

Think of the new hire’s first two weeks in the office; how he’s treated and how he acts. Think how you behave in the first few months of a new relationship.

Initially everyone is on their best behavior and providing the benefit of the doubt for actions misunderstood. We even go above and beyond expectations to delight our new partner, boss, colleague, or friend.

In this season, everyone is mostly happy, contributing, and collaborating.

Then what?

It changes.

You know what I’m talking about: suspicion, jealousy, pride, mistrust, ambition.. it all comes rushing in.

The season of joy ends.

Unlike holy days marking a calendar, within our relationships we have no excuse to let our diligence falter. We have no excuse to take advantage of others, to stop providing the benefit of the doubt or to desist in giving our personal best.

Let the season of joy continue with collaboration, adoration, trust, and extensions of grace.

For me – in regard to the season of celebration to Jesus’ birth, I’ve decided that perhaps Ash Wednesday is a good date to desist and remove the frolic of Christmas decorations; somber holy days clashing wildly with colorful paper ornaments and twinkling lights.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

good ol' days PART II

I once worked in a company that was very fast paced. Everyday we were pushed to hurry, pushed to do more, and pushed for results.

It was tiring in hindsight, my youth absorbing the 80 hour work weeks and high intensity. Luckily we were led by an amazing group of people and moral was high. Small incentives were plentiful as was recognition and project autonomy.
How hard would you work at something you loved?

Is it necessary to love your work?

As I reflect on my professional life, it is the projects I found most meaningful where I had the most input and where bonds with colleagues forged deeper as we worked diligently together each contributing as we knew how.

Each day and every project we take on will become a part of our past life. These are the best days.

These are my best days.

These are your best days.

These are the good old days.

How does this knowledge change how or what you're working on?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The good ol' days

I thought I’d go a little off topic this week.

Our lives are filled.

Filled with work, family, commit- ments of one sort or another.

Everyone carries stress though we each bear varying loads. The recession has hit everyone in the world though I’m sure you could make of list of all the things you were equally stressed about ten years ago.

I’ve reached an age now where I easily tell stories about moments occurring 20 years or more ago. What I like most about distant memories is how much more humorous those times were than when I was in the thick of it. Thinking back, if I knew how funny those times were to become, perhaps I would have enjoyed them even more and worried even less.

Grandparents talk about the good old days. Their whole life is but a great memory of precious and adventurous moments. Our lives we are living today are equally precious and will be reflected on as ‘good’. Today, this week, this month, and this year will be regarded as special.. eventually.

Is today a good day for you?

If you were to live more for this moment and to be with your friends and family in this moment, to be there for your coworkers in this moment without worry about tomorrow, how would it change your behavior?

I’ve been thinking about this tonight in preparation of writing this post. It was 9:30pm and I was catching up on some work when my partner asked if I wanted to join him to get a milkshake.

Here was my list for reasons not to go that ran through my head:

  • I’d get some personal time alone if he went alone
  • It was late and I wanted to finish my work
  • I didn’t want a milkshake

Reasons for going:

  • Car trips no matter their duration always offer great conversation
  • It’s always an adventure when we go anywhere
  • I should be listening to my own reflection and enjoying the here and now

I went.

Sure enough, I heard some good stories in the car I may never have heard, I ended up getting a tasty banana milkshake, and the trip also turned into an errand to get more brine water to keep the shrimp bait alive and happy from the park where we often put in our boat for fishing.

Quiet, dark, and deserted with a partial bright moon shining through clouds illuminating the empty boats moored there; we walked through the manicured park to the water’s edge where the water lapped quietly on the shore.

Carly Simon sings a song considering living for the future or in the moment. It’s one of my favorites still. Listen here.