Friday, November 27, 2009

Topical Twittering: My Alternate, & More Valuable, Approach to Twitter

As many of you know, I have been a productive user and advocate of Twitter for quite a while now. I find Twitter invaluable as a teaching, research and networking tool. I have always used it more for professional, than for personal uses.


Initially, I approached Twitter by following individuals I knew or who were followed by people I followed. I have to say, though, that over time I have evolved towards following topics using twitter keyword search and hashtags. This approach allows me to avoid the clutter of irrelevant tweets of those I follow and to isolate those relevant tweets related to my personal and professional interests. For instance, I have saved searches for storytelling, taoism, knowledge management (#km), mindfulness (#mindful), etc., and whenever anyone on Twitter (whether I follow them or not) tweets using these words or hastags, I pick it up. I further follow hashtags of conferences and educational events of interest, i.e., #fdasm, #health2con, etc., as these allow me to gain perspectives & ask questions of conference attendees & interesteds before, during and after the event.


This topical approach has allowed me to get more out of every minute I invest in Twitter, as well as to build a more relevant network of tweeters with common interests. I would not have met these relevant tweeters just by following those who follow who I follow. (Say that 10 times.) I find that I rarely look at my general timeline anymore as I focus my Twitter time on my search & hashtag feeds.


Yes, I know I am missing the serendipitous aspects of Twitter which occurs when I read random Tweets by those I follow. The fact is that this is still available to me, as I have not unfollowed those I follow. My follows and my searched feeds, allow me to have the best of both worlds when I choose to have either or both. Ah, I love Twitter! The world's "stream of consciousness" at my fingertips!


PS - Additionally, I recommend Tweetdeck for laptop and iPhone, as the best way to organize and track your relevant Twitter feeds. I also recommend you use relevant hashtags in your tweets to assure they get picked up by those who care the most about the topic you are tweeting about.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beware of doing what makes for success even when it no longer does.

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Questions We Ask: Keys to our Greater Contribution & Relevance

We live in such an answer-oriented culture that we forget the value of our questions and how they can contribute to our contribution and our relevance, not to mention our development and the success of our endeavors. I learned once from a mentor that the chief indicator of the quality of consultants is often the quality of the questions they ask. The questions reveal the level of experience and wisdom of the one who poses the question. It elevates the potential and quality of the project. It expands the scope and bounds of our, and the team's, thinking and action.

I have learned, over time, that in situations where innovation is critical, where new unprecedented paths are being created, new questions are more critical to success than old answers, and that new questions yield better and more relevant answers and results.

Often we find in our work that we have stakeholders who do not, or no longer, value our contribution. Rather than fretting or being resentful, we should take time to examine the relevance of the questions we are bringing to the party in the interest of that stakeholder.

Sometimes we do not know new questions to ask, suggesting we have become stagnant and have stopped developing ourselves, and are then unable to develop those around us. We are trapped in a box we need to take time to break out of. Here is where the practice of Covey's 7th Habit of "Sharpening the Saw" is in order. If you find yourself in this state, I encourage you to
cultivate new relevant questions via:

1.
Broader and different exposures to new ways of thinking and perceiving. Social media is a huge opportunity aiding this exposure, for its potential to facilitate talking with/reading/watching/listening to diverse and relevant collaborators and colleagues. Being active in relevant professional associations also assists this exposure.

2.
Gaining deeper insight into your stakeholders interest. Story listening and ongoing direct questioning aids this. People love to talk about and tell stories about their interests and problems. Be available to actively listen with an ear to uncovering needs you have the resources to meet.

3.
Correlate your exposures to your stakeholder's interests to pose questions that add value, even when sometimes, you do not have the answers.

4.
Persistent in co-creating answers to new questions with stakeholders. The newer and more radical the question, the more initial resistance and opposition you should expect. It is only a test to be passed. Pass it.

As you practice these steps you will find that you grow, as well as your stakeholders, as well as your value proposition.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How Death Impacts My Work

So I just learned yesterday that my grandmother, Grace Brown (1925-2009) passed away. Rest her soul. Such news sends me into reflection about death, and the legacy of the deceased as well as the one I am creating. It occurs to me that the preponderance of the legacy we leave when we pass is rooted in the work we do while we are here. In this I mean not only "what" work we do, but also "how" we work, where the "how" far outweighs the "what" in importance.


I know that as I have crossed into my 40s I think more than ever about death and legacy and "how" I work is becoming relatively more important to me than "what" work I do. It's occurred to me that after 25 years of adult work, the basic tasks of work will not differ much for the rest of my life, but more largely the context and the character of my work.

Because I will not be able to work or, for that matter, live forever, I pay more attention to both. While death is a tragic thing, at least for those of us left to witness it, its sober and courageous contemplation can enrich and lend much purpose to life (and work) as few things are valued that are taken for granted as permanent, whether that is a job or a life.


Having witnessed the passing of another dear life, whose work, by the way, will be sorely missed, I take away the following insights:


1. I should work everyday as though it is were my last and bring every appropriate and relevant energy, grace, skill and authenticity to every task and interaction I encounter.

2. I should keep a perspective of "passionate detachment", especially when work becomes difficult and frustrating, knowing that everything I am accomplishing, or not, is temporary in occurrence. None of it will last forever either way, and thus I should not be too proud when successful, or too distraught when unsuccessful.

3. I should work for outcomes I truly care about in the world, that go beyond paying my bills, as work, paid or non-paid, is the primary tool we are given for making our mark on the world. Let's assure that mark is the one we intend to make.

4. I should work (and I mentioned this earlier in my posts, Honoring my (Working) Mothers on Mother's Day and What Africa Has Done For My Work.) to honor those who have taught me, through instruction and modeling, to work from my earliest youth to now.


Certainly Grace Brown, my grandmother, left her mark on me in this way. From toddlerhood, when I first detected her loving existence, to last Spring, when I last saw her, I recall her as a diligent woman, always applying her energy to some task related to the care and comfort of our family. It is to this recollection that I dedicate this post and my life of work. I am so glad that she got to see the results of her hard work in my own work and life and that I got to express my appreciation for her love and example to me.


So as we sit today preparing to reenter our work worlds on tomorrow, or maybe you did not even get to escape this weekend (I know I did not), take time to courageously reflect on death and let that reflection enrich how you go about your work as it is truly the stuff of our legacy. :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Importance of How We Show Up!

In our last post we talked about the importance of showing up and how such is 90% of life. This post I want to carry that logic forward with the idea that while showing up is important, how we show up is critical to the success of showing up itself.

Sometimes we are discouraged by the results we get when we show up not considering that how we showed up damaged our result, or kept us from benefiting from the result we got. (Is that proper grammar?)

I know that I struggle with this and as I have paid more attention to how I show up, I find I consistently have to commit to these "hows":

1. patiently persistent knowing that things take time, especially with people, and that any showing up is just the latest in a series, not the last, and so I chip away at barriers and put another arch in the bridge with every showing up

2. ready to add unique value from my "value toolbox", not battling to add value that someone else already is, but to be non-redundant in what I offer thus saving myself the angst of defensiveness and turf battles

3. enthusiastic (spirited & engaged), knowing that in that state of being, I dance with God, my allies, my competitors and the emerging situation to pull off the best possible performance

4. mindful of my own biases and tendencies, productive and not, regarding people and situations, so that I can apply the best, and discipline the worst, thus maximizing my contribution to progress

I am sure I can name more but I have places and people I have to show up for here shortly. :-)

Be well and by all means, add to this list by commenting at www.wiseworking.com.

PS - Also, please subscribe to WiseWorking's Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/l78hoz) or Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/wiseworking) if you use these social media services.

Thanks!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Importance of Showing Up!

Woody Allen, the famous movie director, is most often attributed with the quote, "90% of life is showing up", and of course we know that the other 10% is followup. I have been thinking lately about those areas of my life where I am not showing up, and I am not even talking about how I show up. That is a topic for another post.

So often we take ourselves out of the game before we even start playing. We allow the risk of failure, or being embarrassed, or laziness, perfectionism, etc., to get in the way of our showing up when typically the worst thing that will happen is that we will learning something valuable.


Showing up takes many forms. It does not even always take alot of time and energy but it does take courage.

Its initiating that conversation about an opportunity you are only dreaming about but which you want to come to fruition.

Its making time to do research and then sharing your findings, verbally and in writing, to benefit others interested in the same type of opportunities.

Its volunteering your present expertise in a different project context in order to gain first hand experience with a potential opportunity.

Its offering your inquiries & insights in a social community, analog and digital, focused on the type of opportunities you are interested in.

Its rethinking and reengaging with that relationship or project that you failed with the last time you showed up.

In the interest of balance, we need to consider that being finite humans, we cannot show up for everything and everybody, thus it is important to be wise and selective about where we show up. Show up for those people and engagements that truly align to your deepest, critical values and priorities.

Take time today to consider where you have not shown up but need to for this is truly 90% of life. In some future post, we will ponder the topic of how we ought to show up.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Price is Not Too High, the Value is Too Low

In a world of "Everyday Low Prices" when the goal is to assure that every transaction is a bargain, like with anything, we can take this to an extreme where we transact for bargains that ultimately deliver shallow and inadequate value. In our work, we are all required to convince someone to purchase something of value from us (time, knowledge, contacts, outcome) at some price (salary/wages, fees, attention, membership). These are the elements of transaction. As you know, much haggling occurs in the transactional process as we weigh and negotiate to assure the lowest price for the highest corresponding value. We err when we allow these negotiations to focus too much on price (the more tangible and quantifiable element) rather than value.

The utterance, "that price is too high" is frequent but the fact is that people pay whatever price is asked for what they value and sometimes they will pay extra and brag that they did so; just look at military, legal services and luxury goods transactions. This "price too high" utterance is sweet in the mouth but bitter in the ear. When encountered, our opportunity is to detect and devise value propositions that warrant the price. Note that often the price does not have to change as much as the perception of the value being offered for that price. Unfortunately, we do not instinctively go for the "value build" because of its greater difficulty versus price lowering. We miss the point that the difficult has the advantage of not being easily imitated and by getting good at value building, we gain a significant competitive advantage in all we do.

When faced with the response, "the price is too high", whether we are talking about money, time or the risk of being trusted to get a job done, it behooves us to think first about what value justified the price, and if we have articulated this value thoroughly and compellingly enough. Such thinking better connects us with the valuable outcomes of our work taking us beyond a task to a valuable outcomes orientation. This is critical in an age where employers are more readily hiring for outcomes than for the completion of tasks. When developing your "value build" story, think not only in terms of what value is gained if your price is paid but also what is lost if the price is not paid. When articulating value, also remember there is more to it than money made or saved. There is time saved, service levels guaranteed, knowledge and experience levels leveraged, relationships gained, repaired and sustained, processes made more efficient, downtime reduced, projects well managed, etc.. Build value on as many dimensions as possible in order to warrant as high a price as possible.

So, let's begin to practice this different approach of looking for the "value build" when asking for others' investment in our work.

Thanks in advance for comments and further insights on this topic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Translating Fear of Wrong Decisions to Learning From Wrong Decisions

Yesterday during my morning walk, I was reading, yes on my iPhone, a Daily Om newsletter on Self-Determination. In reading, I came across a sentence that alluded to how we are stopped by the fear of wrong decisions. I know this is a common barrier for me, having been raised on the sanctity of right decisions, and the utter sinfulness of wrong ones. This is also a habit I witness overwhelmingly in my coachees. This fear of wrong decisions is a problem when taken too far, and especially when it robs us of learning and the opportunities that learning takes advantage of.

With adequate time to reflect, I think you would agree that there has been a rare decisions made which did not have a risk of being wrong, yet, we generally have made the decision, reaped the benefits of its rightness, and the learnings of its wrongness without the world or our lives coming to an end. In situations where we procrastinated endlessly, we neither benefited or learned from our procrastination. I acknowledge here that sometimes the best decision is to sit tight but even in those cases, we should decide deliberately, and without fear, thus reserving our energy to better adapt to and learn from whatever happens, right or wrong.

As I have more and more decisions behind me in life, I have have developed confidence in this method of investing my energy more in learning from, and adapting to, wrong decisions than in fearing them, as they are inevitable. I am not perfect at it but I improve with every mindful decision. I encourage this perspective in you also.

Remember, every decision has a risk of right and wrong in it. Celebrate the right and learn from the wrong, but do not be paralyzed by fear of the latter.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watching our Work!

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich


"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do It Anyway!

I have been thinking alot this week about the Ten Paradoxical Commandments by Keith Kent. These commandments are encapsulated in a poem, Anyway which I have pasted below. I also dig the musical adaptation of this poem by the Roches from their album Zero Church. Take a read.

Anyway by Keith Kent
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self centered
Forgive them anyway

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
Be kind anyway

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies
Succeed anyway

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you
Be honest and frank anyway

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight
Build anyway

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous
Be happy anyway

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow
Do good anyway

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough
Give the world the best you've got anyway

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God
It was never between you and them anyway


This poem moved me because it speaks to many of the paradoxical elements of work, indeed of life. It encourages us to do right and well for Purpose's sake regardless of others' action, inaction, support or opposition. So often we allow our motivation to be tied to others. We renege on obligations to pursue our purpose because others react in neutral or negative ways.

This poem reminds us that in our work we should expect opposition, jealousy, destruction, selfishness, betrayal, unreasonableness, illogic, ulterior motives & enemies. This being as it is, we should not allow any of these barriers & violations to distract us from our purpose. Weshould do what we are here to do ANYWAY! That's rich! It reminds me of a favorite Biblical reference, Colossians 3:23-24: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. A more liberal, secular translation might say, work as though I am working for the Purpose at hand knowing that such achievement is its own reward.

Take stock of purposes you have given up on because of barriers, violations or opposition. Recommit & get back in action on these purposes ANYWAY!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Don't Call The Game Before Its Over

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 




What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moonlighting: Unidle Hands in the Evening (and on the Weekends)

One of my favorite Bible scriptures is Eccl. 11.7, "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."

I like scripture's admonition to avoid idle hands in the evening as you never know if evening and weekend activities will become as successful as what you do during the day. This lack of idle hands during the evening (and weekends) is what we call "moonlighting". I am often dismayed by the amount of spare time people invest with life activities that neglect the development and contribution of their gifts. Days, then weeks, then months, then years, then decades, go by sometimes and they cultivate the easy habits of acquisitiveness and consuming rather than the more challenging and rewarding habits of developing and contributing. We then wonder why we are poor in talent, achievement, pocket, relations and impact.

We are all gifted but like with faith, gifts are dead without works (practice). Having witnessed such lost opportunity, I often urge my coachees to spend more of their evenings, weekends and and days, if they are unemployed, working on projects that use and cultivate their talents of delight. I encourage them to to do this on a volunteer or paid basis, and to put this experience immediately on their resumes as it helps them qualify for better opportunities in their present and next jobs. Such investment also plants the seeds of possible businesses that generate alternate streams of income.

I stress the importance of starting immediately and committing to practicing consistently over time in order to develop a level of mastery and a good reputation among the customers of their gifts. I relate how I started teaching when I was 27, and career coaching about the age of 35, on a moonlighting basis. In the 16 and 8 years I have been practicing these in the evenings on weekends, (and even within my day jobs), I have gained a degree of mastery, a reputation and an alternate stream of income. This moonlighting has allowed me to contribute my talents of delight, teaching and coaching, and provided me with more pleasure (and income for that matter) than the easier tasks of acquisition and consumption of entertainment, sports, shopping, etc. that too many of us are too prone to using our evenings and weekends for.

Let's all heed the admonition of Eccl.11.7 and consider how moonlighting can enhance your career and life. And as always, please do share examples of how you have used moonlighting in this way if you have.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Being Confidently Unsure

We all profess that we do not know everything. For sure, there will always be instances where we are asked a question that stumps us. That said, I think its important to remember that there is a difference between "not knowing" and acting as though we are "incompetent because we do not know". The former is reasonable and proper, the latter is unnecessary and potentially damaging.

A mentor once taught me that "you do not need to know everything as long as you know who knows, or where the answer can be found." Consideration of this axiom is critical if you want to develop the ability to be "confidently unsure". Often I encounter people who don't know something, which is one thing, but then they are viscerally ashamed and unnerved by the fact that they do not know as though they additionally lack confidence in the fact that they are resourceful enough to find the answer. This always tempts me to doubt their competence. I wish that this person were more skillful in: 1) simply expressing that they do not know, 2) expressing why they do not, 3) assuring me they will find the answer, and how, and 5) engaging me in a collaborative discussion about my suggestions for how they might find the answer.

Understand that as say this, I have compassion as this is hard-developed skill on my part. I internalized from my upbringing that I should always know the answer to every question, and that not knowing was a sign of stupidity or laziness revealed as a lack of preparation. I have matured to understand that this is not the case, though I still struggle with this at an emotional level at times. I have learned to reframe to understand that "no one has every answer but everyone has almost all the answers" and that it is better to maintain the posture of the "curious student" who can learn more than the "incompetent" who should have known it all.

Additionally, I now accept that those who think I am stupid are going to think that no matter how many answers I can produce. They will even make my correct, answers out to be wrong because they are not into giving benefit of any doubt. That is more about them than me. These types will always be with me. It is part of being in the world. It is just a test that can be passed, so its good to let this go.

So all that said, let's study to be more "confidently unsure". If you do not know, own up to it. That is a part of your humanity. Assure people you can find the answer and even collaborate with them to get suggestions on how you might. This is a mark of resourcefulness, a key success skill. Be accountable to find the answer in the timeframe and format you committed to. Do not vaccillate, dissemble, give shaky body language, be overly apologetic, or self condemning. Doing this inspires others to worry about whether you can find the answer. Even if you really cannot find the answer after all your searching, you can confidently own up to that by being ready with an explanation of all the methods, contacts and resources you used in trying. This shows the effort you put in and will often trigger some memory in the person you are engaging which then helps you do get closer to an answer.

Be confident even when you are unsure!

Friday, June 26, 2009

We Can Make It, But Not Alone!

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich


"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Delaying Gratification: Key To Success & Antidote for Procrastination

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, June 07, 2009

You Can't Sell What you Don't Have. Sell What You Have, Not What You Don't!

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Planning Your Life Mission: The 1 Hour Workshop

Yesterday I spent an hour with a group of single young people aged, 18-24, talking about the importance of their understanding, planning and following through on their Life's Mission. I also offered a process for how they might to this planning and follow through. I am including the discussion guide I used in the link below.




I recorded the session and you can download it at: files.me.com/cadelarge/nvqphr.mp3.



The point made in this session, and some came up serendipitously, were:



1. Ride the horse (opportunity & situation) you are on rather than wanting/praying for another,

2. Show up for the course that God has signed you up for. Don't sleep in,


3. Because life is full of breakdowns and broken commitments (in ourselves and others), cultivate a habit of "recommitting" to service,


4. That emotional intelligence and maturity, and especially courage (the ability to act in the face of fear), are critical projects in achieving one's life mission,


5. That careers are prepared for, as much as they are planned
,

6. That feelings are not facts, so we must watch against feelings as a sabotaging factor in pursuing our mission,


7. That the care and feeding, not killing, of enemies is a key skillset in pursuing mission
,

8. That it is as critical to love oneself, as to love your neighbor, as you cannot care for others best if you are not caring for yourself well,


9. That you can achieve your mission, but you cannot achieve it by yourself. Missions succeed in communities,


10. About the importance of going for breadth and variety of experience early in your career to create foundation and choice later in your career, and

11. That it takes 20 years to create and overnight success and that this day's discussion was only first of a running discussion I hoped to have with these young people, individually and collectively over the next 20 years as they plan and execute their life's mission.

It was a good and blessed time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Its Not "Either/Or" but "Both/And"!


This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Honoring my (Working) Mothers on Mother's Day.

In honor of Mother's Day, I have been thinking about the influence of my mothers in shaping me as a worker. I have several mothers, my natural mom, my godmom, and 3 grandmothers, 2 of which survive to this day.

My earliest memories of my grandmothers is seeing them working, one worked outside the home, as a visiting nurse, and the other in the home as a housewife. Both always diligent, good at their respective crafts, make a contribution, not griping but committed to doing what they did well. I'm always inspired by them when I consider the decades of work they have put in to build our family, and in an age of racial and gender discrimination. Over the years of my career I have had many talks with them about their work and my career and witnessed their pride and amazement at opportunities I've gotten. I have always been struck by how it never occurred to them, in their time, to go to college, or to work in a company or industry with a well plotted career track, or to expect promotions every few years, all things I, too often ungratefully, take for granted. After these discussions I am always 1) humbled by the thought of how they have done so much in their lives with so much less than I have, 2) motivated to honor their work in my own work, 3) proud of the progress we have made as a society in allowing more opportunity for more of our members today than we used to, 4) grateful for their example which has helped me to get to where I am in life, and 5) challenged (if not shamed into) being ever more grateful for all the blessings of my work and career.

Now my other mothers, natural and god, were the mothers who made me work in addition to being good models of work. I can barely remember a time in my life when I have not worked. My mother always had work for me to do and while I have not always been happy about it, I see now that this has been one of the influences that has most contributed to my success. Her regimen provided discipline for me, tied up time which if idle might have ended me up in irreversible trouble, developed my skills, cultivated my work ethic, attention to details and project management skills, instilled confidence in my ability to learn and to overcome adversity, and put me in a habit that has made all the difference in my life and that of my family. I still often reflect on my first day of work (outside the house) when my mother stopping me at the door and reminded me to, "make sure you double check all your work and that you do a good job.". I also recall the day when I thought I was visiting my god mother to relax away from my parents only to find that I, along with my god siblings, were being enlisted to do Spring Cleaning. Painful, at the time. :-)

So on this Mother's Day weekend, I take time to reflect on the best "work" learnings I have gleaned from my mothers:

1. Plan your work well. Think about what you need to do before doing it. Plan ahead and do not wait until the last minute.

2. Double check your work. Pay attention to details. Your work reflects you and its your reputation. When you do your work, do it right!

3. Keep your word, period. (By the way, you were not given a choice of giving your word or not and you were expected to keep it whether you cared to or not.)

4. Take advantage of every opportunity. Collectively, they made me to understand that I come from a family of "survivors" who know how to make "something out of nothing", how to overcome any adversity with God's help, how to see opportunity that all around me where others may only see problems.

5. Remember your work builds on the hard(er) work of those who have come before. Everytime I reflect on my mothers of crueler past generations, I am grateful to them for bearing the hard(er) work that makes my work today relatively easier.

6. Enjoy your work today because you will not always be able to. In my recent visit with my octogenarian grandmothers, I note that they both bemoan the fact that age has robbed them of their ability to work as easily and as much as when they were younger. This reminded me that everything I have I will lose one day and that I must enjoy what I have today all the more because of that.

These insights and experiences of my mothers have made me the professional I am and I am eternally grateful to them for that. I write this because I want my children, extended family, bosses, reports, and organizations to understand how my mothers have benefited them also. :-)

So on this Mother's Day, reflect on the influence your mothers have had in shaping you into the worker you are and be grateful while expressing such gratefulness to them, whether they are still with you or not.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Maintaining Your "Sweet Spot" in the Midst of "The Restructuring"

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich


"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Knowing & Telling Your Value Story

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Unintended Social Media Education Strategy?

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich


"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Storytelling: A Critical Success Factor in wise working?

While in my Design Management MBA graduate program, I cultivated an interest in storytelling and how it works in personal and organizational relations. I subsequently completed my master's thesis in this area, exploring the question of whether storytelling is a critical success factor in (client/consultant) relationships. Recently, I has the occasion to present this research at the Drexel University i-School, I thought you might enjoy seeing the video of my lecture as well as the slides which I used.

The video can be found at: http://www.ischool.drexel.edu/video#56

The slides are below:



A few important takeaways from this talk are:

1. We use stories to make sense of experience, indeed the world revolves around stories and we underestimate this to our disadvantage.

2. Stories are an important tool in educating (transferring knowledge), influencing the culture of our relationships & organizations, managing conflict, communicating vision, demonstrating leadership and establishing brands (especially your personal brand).

3. Storytelling is an art form we should all study and strengthen as anyone can learn its use and its ill-use damages us and our relationships with ourselves and others.

4. "Story listening" is at least as important as storytelling as it offers a window into the world of others and improves our ability to empathize with and serve others be that at work, home or otherwhere.

5. Stories can be used as an "evidence of service". Often our lack of knowing/telling good stories about our contribution keeps us from achieving many of our goals at work and in our careers.

6. Storytelling can be risky requiring sincerity, empathy, thought, planning and an understanding of the audience. Study storytelling and your audience so that it does not backfire on you.

There are many good books on this topic but the most broadly comprehensive I have seen is Denning's, "The Leader's Guide to Storytelling".

As always, I would love to hear examples of where you have used storytelling to advantage in your wise working.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cultivating Customers versus Employers

This blog post has relocated to a book, The WiseWorking Handbook. Please visit it there.  

Please purchase a copy at Balboa Press (http://bit.ly/1wfqwBU). 

For signed copies, reach me at craig@wiseworking.com

Thanks in advance for reading the book and spreading the word about it.

Finally, please rate it at Amazon.comBN.comGoodReads.com, and other websites where books are sold and reviewed. 



What readers are saying:

"The WiseWorking Handbook is written in a down to earth, engaging style.” - Bud Bulanich

"Get this book. Read it. Keep it handy for when you need a little inspiration or some solid advice on how to work wisely and increase your value at work.” - Bud Bulanich

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Finding Your Natural Gifts: The 1 Day Workshop

Twice a year I teach a one day seminar at my church, Christian Stronghold Church, in Philadelphia, PA. It is an abridged version of a 12 week course I teach in our Church Bible Institute. It is called "Finding Your Natural Gifts: Becoming A Maximum Income Earner".


This workshop examines how we are all gifted but largely ignorant about, and in denial of those gifts. It addresses the importance of connecting our gifts to some need in the world as a means of earning a maximum income both in financial, social and spiritual terms.

It calls the student to engage in a series of personal and social explorations from Kise, Jones & other sources, to search out, identify and act on their life mission which is tied to Bolles "3 Pillars of Mission", namely, 1) talents of delight, 2) places & settings of appeal and 3) purposes that resonate.

The explorations are related to one's interests, personality, values, natural aptitudes, learning style, life narrative, passions, priorities and barriers. With every exploration, one gains a richer picture of who they are, how they are gifted and what they have to offer in exchange for income.

This workshop is always a tremendous blessing to deliver and has never ceased to teach me something new about my own giftedness in the close to 8 years I have been teaching it.

Below are the slides from this workshop. Enjoy and please reach to me if you want to discuss further: