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Leadership topic - renew

and motivate teams to continually reflect on successes. Focus on team and personal renewal and reflection.  Collects systemic feedback, refines project processes and most important, rewards excellence among employees and teams; works on compensating for weakness and limits; Maintains a conscious work/life balance. 

Roadblock – Is closed to learning new personal, interpersonal, managerial and leadership skills, doesn’t share/celebrate successes with team members. Burns out teammates and self.

renewing and ReLaunching leadingWithMusic

renewing and ReLaunching leadingWithMusic

The days of summer are waning, and I hope you have had a chance to renew a bit. We have had the great fortune to gather with our extended family a number of times, which helped me reflect a bit on what the last few years have taught us. 

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”

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…

Effecting Right renewal

Effecting Right renewal

We were wrapping up one of our last tests at Berkeley, up the hill further, into the Bevatron – a device that is a football field in diameter – such that it can generate Billions of electron Volts per particle. As such, you don’t need a vacuum, and simply set up your target in an open room. Surrounded by thick concrete, we were just taking down our computer when an ambulance arrived. A young 14-year-old was wheeled into the same spot, and a large metal mask put over most of his head – a small hole where the beam would go into his brain…

renewing Diversely

renewing Diversely

My real job for this season was to design a memory card for the Display System of the Space Shuttle. Our funding was to prototype what a newer computer and color display could do to help automate the very manual ways the Space Shuttle actually worked. If you have ever used an HP calculator, their Reverse Polish Notation approach to math was very similar to what the astronauts did to command the vehicle to fly. It was very labor-intensive, and our mission was to renew that technology from a mid 60’s torpedo computer into the 80’s…

Knowing how and who to renew

Knowing how and who to renew

As we were cleaning out the apartment, moving apart for our first “real jobs”, my best friend and roommate came into the living room with a handful of ties. “Can you tie these for me?” He was one of the smartest people I have ever known, and yet, had no Knowledge of some of the simpler things that are important. I understood – as I had been through this exact experience when I was 13 and someone showed me how to tie a tie before a big event in Junior High. Now I was able to repay and renew that favor…

Vision that renews

Vision that renews

Standing in the middle of the SMU Basketball court at barely 17, I was surrounded by tables labeled “Dedman College”, “Fondren”, and “Cox” which at least had “School of Business” in the name. It was the last day for “Registration” and I had a deck of computer cards, which at least I was very familiar with – what to DO with them, I was not. I had the college catalog that showed what a “Freshman Engineer” should take… but how did I get that to happen?

Time to renew your perfecT Team?

Time to renew your perfecT Team?

Screaming from the back of our Team was the most passionate member of the team. The bad news is that he was from Peru, spoke very little English, so we rarely understood what he was saying. HOW he was saying it was CRYSTAL clear. His energy was contagious as he lectured us on the sideline at halftime, which I delegated that Time to him, and simply observed how he renewed the Team, words not really being needed…

renewing Goals

renewing Goals

“Ok. Now you know all of the people I know that can help us achieve what we need to do. And it is now up to you:  to Keep them as your contacts, to grow them, renew them, and to understand how to leverage them appropriately.” It was a Simple statement that happened within the first 3 months of my professional career. Add Smiley and we have the KISS Goal that is now my brand… which renews me consistently…

Cleaning Up renewal

Cleaning Up renewal

One problem I have with Cleaning Up is there is always more to do. This week is no exception – I planned to “finish” U2 off with this week, and realized by Tuesday that I was going to need many more weeks to really do the band justice. It was renewing this week to let the music do the talking and less Cleaning Up my own stories.  And it was very renewing to hear again these amazing songs and albums full of the barely hidden Gospel…

renewing Belief

renewing Belief

My early church experience includes another basic Belief that many find somewhat hard to believe: Fun. For example, on New Year Eve we would always have a party – at the Church. We would have dinner together late as Church family, watch a cheesy family movie (16 mm projected…), and then at Midnight, an old man would walk through the door one way, and another man+ would come back – dressed up as a baby 😉 A bad visual, but characteristic of that group of people that formed my Belief that Fun is needed to renew us…

renewing Together

renewing Together

Faith, fundamentally, is belief in something you can’t see, but you know is there. As the results of Project One spiraled out over the last year I was there, I knew that it was time to take a leap of faith into something that I had never really contemplated. The dream of owning my own business was never a thing, and yet, that was what was on the horizon. If I really believed in what I was seeing both as a need and my talent, I had to act. On Faith, or In Faith but either way, how?

renewing Courage

renewing Courage

A well-orchestrated job search, as 100’s of leaders I have worked with over many years say, ends with 2 outside offers, and one inside offer. It then takes Courage to choose between them, and also a lot of faith that you have done the best you can, and look forward with that same Courage. It all sounds very clean and tidy, which might lead you to wonder why I was in the building on a Saturday morning early, loading up most of my “stuff” with my wife … and slinking out of the garage…

renewing Continuously for a Change…

renewing Continuously for a Change…

“If your employees need their weekends to rest and renew, you might have a burnout culture.” I saw that headline … and the only edit I would suggest is to remove the word “might”. There are articles almost every day about it, and many leaders I work with are moving between roles to get away from it, believing that is caused by their situation. Sadly, it travels with them, and the dirty secret is the person who is most responsible for burnout is… you. I know – because it was (and is) me…

renewing The Middle

renewing The Middle

In the span of a little over 24 hours we were with friends who have celebrated over 50 years together, and then other friends that were celebrating the marriage of their daughter. The latter was filled with other young people who met at a Christian Camp set in the mountains of Virginia near Roanoke. The outdoor celebration was perfect for any occasion… but particularly perfect in this very strange year.

Joy renewal

Joy renewal

As I stepped into rediscovering Joy, it is not a surprise it is related to creating things.  Raised in a family of tinkerers, I was always in the process of either building something or helping someone build something.  The wonder of imagining something that hadn’t existed before was something that was second nature with my Dad, having built things even in his youth out of scraps around his house.

renewing your Faith..

renewing your Faith..

Easter ends 40 days of preparation this morning, and in many churches, it will begin with early Sunrise services, or as they are often titled, Son-Rise services.  After Friday, and making it through the Day of Decision, we are now to the morning of what was predicted.  What you had Faith in would be renewed: is it the world of men that had killed, dominated, and crushed a rebellion, leaving fear and trembling by all those who had seen it.  Or could your Faith be in something else, something unseen, requiring deep belief in something that seems impossible…

Faith execution

Faith execution

One of the most difficult things to execute as a leader is called a “Declaration”.  In the field of speech, that is defined as “a public communication that moves us toward a future possibility.”  It must have Authority, a clear definition of the future state, inspire others to join in, be within their grasp… and slightly out of their reach.  It is that last part – getting people to step up and join in the journey that is often complex… as without execution, it is just words.  Faith is what causes you to actually move forward…

wondering about Faith

wondering about Faith

The wonder of Good Friday is back upon us.  The Faithful focus on 3 major events in the year, and you can get a good argument going on which is the “most” important.  It would mirror the conversation in the Upper Room last night – who is the most important Disciple?  Who is the favorite, who has the most important role in the team?  The bickering and fighting, jockeying for position…it is really a wonder that like many leaders, he would have thought twice about going through with the plan.  After all, were they really worth the price that was to be paid?

Faith observations

Faith observations

Happy April Fools Day!  If there was a holiday that I revere, it would be this one.  As a natural cut-up and jokester, I often circle this day on the calendar for something fun.  This year, it corresponds on the Faith calendar to a day called Maundy Thursday – one that I wasn’t really in tune with, the night of The Last Supper that you probably do know about.  It is now observed as a fairly somber service where the church is stripped of all elements and hung with the darkness that would come with “Good” Friday… 

partners in Faith

partners in Faith

March Madness is all around us again, and I am really happy to have it back.  So many memories of my life are tied to these months, and the early decisions that were made then are still playing out.  Yesterday we talked about the bumper sticker about Faith and I realize that some of you don’t like me bouncing around my timeline, but at least the U2 storyline will be consistent.  For there is really no way to talk about them without weaving in one of the most important partners in the band… and therefore a bit about my own story that is very similar.

management Faith

management Faith

“Faith isn’t Faith until it is all you are holding onto”... read the bumper sticker that was on...

The Faith to engage

The Faith to engage

How do you know that your team will actually deliver something for you?  Frankly, how do they know you will do the same for them?  It is well known that the number 1 reason someone stays in a job is their relationship with their Boss… and the number one reason they leave is…  It is a constant conversation with leaders at all levels, and comes in all flavors but mostly centers on a word that once spoken, freezes a conversation:  Trust.  I want to engage this week and explore a word that I believe is both easier to use, and one that can also bring some complexity worth the hassle – Faith. 

Happiness renewed

Happiness renewed

One of the arguments I enjoyed using in Debate was “Causality”. It is something that is often muddy – did this particular thing CAUSE this other thing.  We see it all the time now in our reporting, and often is something that is simply correlated.  A famous one is the Number of People who Drown in Swimming Pools and the Number of films Nicholas Cage stars in – have the same shaped graph. You could imply that one caused the other, but I doubt that would stick.  But do you believe that Happiness causes renewal, or vice versa, or are they even causal?

renewing your Values

renewing your Values

Of all of the Values that most teams and leaders list, renewal is rarely on the list.  Particularly the leaders who really “care” and talk about “servant leadership” and are those people you want to follow. They find it very hard to carve out time for the most important resource – themselves.  As I start working with leaders, I realize that most of my real value is forcing them to spend an hour or so on… themselves.  Sure I can bring some Value with my clever questions, listening, some observations, even some much-requested “advice”… but realistically… just getting them to focus on themselves is what I am paid to do now…

Celebrating renewal

Celebrating renewal

After the encouragement of my roommate, and after trying other ways of renewal that were less fulfilling, I found the group at our local church to be the major hub for activities and renewal. We would gather for meals occasionally during each week, and particularly on Sunday, with literally 12 guitar players, leading singing for maybe another 20-ish.  Friday nights were often go-kart racing or other fun activities, including one Halloween party that we are all glad there were no cell phone cameras for – no real bad activities, but some that, seen 45 years later, might be judged differently…

Celebration execution

Celebration execution

Politics, or trying to not write about it, had a hand in starting these columns years ago.  After being active in High School, begrudgingly, I tried to stay out of it in college, but to no avail.  I was spotted by a junior in my sophomore year, and he wanted to groom a successor.  There was a Student Senate, and the Engineering School needed someone to be on it, and he suggested I ran – which I did and served for 3 of my 4 years.  He also wanted me to take over the Student Engineers Joint Council (SEJC), the student leadership group for the School, which I also did.  This was one reason I was standing in the middle of the road on a Friday night, missing a shoe, waiting for my girlfriend to pick me up… and likely be executed…