Select Page

Empowering Leadership and Music Articles

Each article uses our empower framework that we also use for our leadership coaching services.

engaging The Fall…

engaging The Fall…

I rarely run across a song and a group that I have never heard. And not bragging… just when you make it your business to notice and know music, it is a shock. Recently people have given me the tagline “… and his encyclopedic knowledge of music” It is why I love listening to Sirius XM Deep tracks… and Wikipedia 😉 Between them, I can still occasionally reward my brain with something that it has to process for the first time… and, wonder is something that only gets better when you use it… often…

renewing Powerfully

renewing Powerfully

As we were standing in the small conference room off of the Vice-Chairman’s office, we were surveying some of the memorabilia that he had collected over his Powerful career. One of the few engineers to actually ascend to this stratospheric level, he had been my idol when I started. If he could make it as an engineer, I had a chance also. Our President was playing with a ball-bearing race, with the silver rolling balls exposed that he was gently nudging around the circle. He turned to my boss and said, “… at least one of these is mine”

Power execution

Power execution

Our dinner out that night in Manhattan was lovely and relaxed. Mostly because we were killing time… until an overnight flight would deliver a replacement card for a demo scheduled the next morning. In setting up our demo at THE seat of Power of IBM at that point, 590 Madison Avenue, in the boardroom no less, I had discovered the hardware was dead. And, there was something called DeltaDash that at that point was slightly more common than FedEx, and would bring us a new one at 3 am. No problem, we would drive back and have a few hours before our 10 am demo.

The wonder of Power

The wonder of Power

As we deplaned in Atlanta, we were looking for directions to the private jets section of the Airport. Catching a taxi across the tarmac, we arrived where the Powerful people fly, and waited for our Division President to arrive. We were due for an important update on the project he was the Executive Sponsor for, and the only time we could find was to fly back with him from Atlanta to DC… So if you are wondering, we flew down from DC to fly back with him … to DC.

observe the Power of Power

observe the Power of Power

“Who the ___ are you anyway?” was the exasperated shout from the senior Engineer and IBM Fellow from our Austin facility. With the precision of my national debating days, I had just reduced his arguments against what our small (but growing team) was doing into shreds and now I had him calling me names. Perfect. Victory. The facility manager who had brought all of his Power to this meeting had to step in and calm the waters. “I will take your ideas back for consideration and we will be back in touch.” And with that, we observed his team gather their things and leave…

Power partners

Power partners

As I finished talking about our project, there was a pause in the conversation while the Senior VPs were considering what I had shared. My boss, now my partner, was leaning back as he always did, even though he knew most of these very Powerful men well. By now he had confidence in my ability to communicate difficult concepts quickly and convincingly, which freed him up to study and read what was really happening and not being said…

managing Power

managing Power

With the prospect of working for a person I did not respect, it also became clear to me that people who win proposals are often not the right people to perform the work. In fact, the Power had quickly shifted from those who were Clever to those who were… well… more predictable to manage. The combination had resulted in my friend, the AA, setting me up with a new opportunity to work on another important division project that “needed some help”…

Power engagement

Power engagement

A warm handshake and “Thank You” from my exec was worth the long hours it took to win the Space Station contract. What he said next, was not “… and I would like you to work for ____ now to help integrate the teams.” A few of my peers had had the “opportunity” to work for him already, and we had heard about his use of Power in not complimentary terms over weekend beers. Luckily, my own network had offered me a path forward that would give me a front-row seat to what Power really is … and isn’t…

renewing Clever

renewing Clever

Having poured a good portion of my life into the “Circus” project over the last 6 years, I was not going to simply sit back. It may or may not have been renewing, but I stayed up all night polishing our “appeal” of the Division edict demanding the use of older hardware, and turned it into a Clever and compelling approach. The net was that we had a very cost-competitive bid because of the savings on ground systems, the easy access to commercial off-the-shelf tools, and the general market appeal of the PC. I walked our exec through it, but I couldn’t go with him. Imagine what that must have felt like to him – once again taking a Clever and risky approach into a President’s office…

Share This