Author Archive

Aug
13

Path To CIO

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For many years I was an officer for the Oklahoma City chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.  Facts about hiring in Oklahoma caused me to be bothered by the lack of leadership development in IT in Oklahoma.  With the help of Bobby Rockers and Rod Irshad, that inspiration gave birth to a list of skills and a training program for the next generation of IT leaders.  Below are the slides of the introduction to the program I presented in January 2012.

Categories : Inform, Life
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Aug
13

How NOT Doing What You Love Hurts People

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Back in December 2011 the Expert Message Group posted an article by Colleen McCarty.  The words really hit home (“gasps of a suffocating man”) plus the picture is haunting.  I printed it out and had it hanging on my mirror for the next 8 months (until the humidity had so curled the paper I could no longer see it).  I hope they don’t mind but I had to copy it here to save it for my future self to continue to feel its challenge.

I was checking out this recent post by Ryan Holiday (who, coincidentally, just landed a $500,000 book deal – did that perk your ears, authors?). He discusses the importance of doing what you love and being a good person. I whole-heartedly agree with his post, especially this passage:

“Work on the things that make you stare out car windows or not even hear someone say your name repeatedly. The things that make you forget what time it is. Be certain that what you do for hobbies and vacations are not the gasps of a suffocating man but your common breath.”

Yeah, but I still hear so many people give excuses as to why they can’t do the things they love. These excuses generally revolve around fear and money. I want to extrapolate Ryan’s idea and give you a full and complete argument as to why and how NOT doing what you love is actually hurting people.

Many of us continue in the same routines because we fear change. And at the end of the day, one of the lies we tell ourselves is “well, I’m not hurting anyone.” You are, actually, but in the slow,numbing kind of way – the kind of hurting that you don’t notice until fifty years have gone by and you have but a few good memories to look back on. I would suggest that kind of hurting is worse than fast, crazy, mind-bending pain. It’s worse because we can get used to it, and it can become a part of our lives.

So, let’s break it down. Who are you hurting?

Those Who Can Benefit from Your Passion
Your audience. Your story, your expertise, your dream or your off-the-wall idea could change someone’s life. If your dream is to speak to teens about suicide prevention, then you would actually be saving lives by pursuing your dreams. That is an extreme example, but you get the point. If Jim Rohn had continued to collect his $57 weekly paycheck as a Sears clerk, he would never have become a millionaire by age 31, or gone on to give personal development seminars to millions of people over a 40 year span. He influenced Tony Robbins, Mark Victor Hansen and Brian Tracy to achieve their dreams too. Among all of them, they have changed and improved countless lives. How many people’s lives could you change?

Your Friends and Family
If you don’t pursue your dreams, your friends and family have to see up close how this will affect you. When your children grow up and have dreams of their own, they will look back and remember that you always wanted to do something, but that you never did. It’s likely that they will use that as an example to frame their own lives. Not to mention your family has to hear about how much you hate your job, hate your boss, hate your co-workers etc. every day. That kind of negativity can really wear on a family’s attitude and ability to overcome adversity.

You
Most importantly, not pursuing your dreams will have an irreversible affect on you. Your self worth, your confidence and your youthful optimism will falter. Soon you will become like those cranky old guys that sit in the balcony during The Muppets (Statler and Waldorf, for you connoisseurs). One of my favorite sayings, which applies to business and to parenthood, is “you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can put it on those who depend on you.” If you are not healthy and happy and taking care of yourself then those around you will fail to get the best of you. Even though you go through the motions and you pay the bills, you won’t be completely fulfilled until you pursue doing what you love.

Of course there are financial implications and responsibilities involved with following your passions, especially if those passions involve starting a business, writing a book or becoming a speaker. However, most successful people who have struck out on their own will tell you that once they set the intention to do it, the stars aligned somehow. It doesn’t always mean quitting your day job right away and it doesn’t always mean a full time commitment. Even tweaking your life a little bit in the direction of something that excites you will make a world of difference.

What have been some of your struggles and/or victories of pursuing what you love?

Categories : Inspire, Life
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Jul
13

Finding Your Strengths

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As someone who is always trying to learn and improve the book Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath was one that I had intentionally passed over.  I didn’t understand the concept since I had always seen learning as a way to improve a weak area.  I assumed that it would be a feel good book.  After reading the life changing book “Wellbeing” I decided to give this book a second look.   Early on they had me understanding their brilliant concept.  “…people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

Dustin’s Top 5 Themes from Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Finder Assessment:

  • Strategic – People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed.  Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  • Responsibility – People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
  • Analytical – People who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes.  They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.
  • Belief – People who are especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.
  • Intellection – People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

 

Categories : Lead, Life
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Jul
13

Life’s 5 Essential Elements

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Who would take a book for their first trip without their wife to Vegas?  As I prepared to leave on the trip, I knew that I wasn’t mentally in a good place.  I wanted my life to change.  Vegas offers lots of life changing opportunities, but I really did want a positive change.  Cory Brown of iThemes had recommended I read the book Wellbeing by Tom Rath and Jim Harter of Gallup.  Over the course of the week I was drawn into seeing the world (even Vegas) from a new perspective.

This book wasn’t just one man’s opinion.  This book wasn’t even based on the American experience.  This book was based on 50 years of research in over 150 countries.  It is based on the finding of the universal human experience summarized as five essential elements.

  • Career Wellbeing
  • Social Wellbeing
  • Financial Wellbeing
  • Physical Wellbeing
  • Community Wellbeing

This concept completely destroys the idea of work-life balance.  It takes fulfilling your needs in all of these areas that makes a complete and balanced life.  I was only at two and a half.  That left me feeling unfulfilled and angry at those two areas as I poured more and more energy into those areas thinking that in that I would find satisfaction.  Now I have put those elements into proper perspective as I now work on the other elements of life.

Categories : Inspire, Life
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Jul
13

Action Forms

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The book Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky illustrates a method of organizing projects.  This method takes the various piles of information and list of things needing done and separates them into 3 groups:

  1. Action Items – Actual list of work to be done
  2. Reference Materials – Separate batch of notes and information that we need but kept separate so they are easy to find while not getting in the way of our actual work
  3. Backburner Items  – Good ideas that we don’t want to forget about but perhaps too difficult or big in scope that could jeopardize our successful completion of our project.  This is a key part of “agile” methods which says to first do the work that gets you 80% of your desired results.  That last 20% is typically what will eat up your time.  It is better to get most of your success then return to the backburner items as their own project again applying the 80% rule.  (This one also helps the perfectionist in me accept the new definition of the project as I know that I can always come back to these items in the future to make my project “perfect”.)

In early 2012 I started using these methods in a small two section folder with metal binder clips to organize my projects (search “classification folders” with 1 divider at an office supply web site). Beyond keeping my desk very organized, another great effect of this is when I have to pick back up a project that I was pulled off of I can quickly get back to speed on where I left off.  You can download the forms that I made here:  Action Steps Forms  These forms are just tools to support this very effective work method.  I recommend that you read the book to get a great lesson in how to take actions on your ideas.

Categories : Learn, Mind
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Jul
13

Job Undone

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Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard.  Proverbs 21:13

Job Undone by Olasubomi Bashorun www.olasubomi.com

Categories : Causes, Heart
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Jul
13

Finding the Spark in Downtown LA

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(Written for the ETI company newsletter at my 20th anniversary.)

Despite the recession of the early 90s, I had turned down other jobs as I searched for a job in manufacturing.  All of my idealism told me that manufacturing was important.  Manufacturing is one of the core foundations of both our economy and our society in being where people of different classes, races, education, and backgrounds come together to build something bigger than they could do by themselves.  A yearlong job search would be required, but I knew that is where I wanted to be.  20 years ago I joined the ETI team with all of that excitement and idealism as my motivation and my spark.  The problem is that sometimes the daily hum of normal manufacturing issues (materials, efficiencies, specs) can overwhelm all of that idealism and quench the spark.  After 20 years all I could hear was that hum.

It was early November of 2011.  I was on my third day of wandering through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  Despite having torn both of my calves at surf lessons a few days earlier, I limped along perhaps to stay ahead of my age which I could feel catching up with me.  Downtown LA is odd in that the city drastically changed around each corner.  I would go from safe to afraid; from crowded to alone; from disrepair to exquisite; from English to Spanish to Japanese.  I would dodge movie cameras, Ferraris, and human feces.  I would see everyone from the extremely rich to the struggling poor.  While my heart was heavy with the disturbing scenes I had witnessed, my mind was a buzz just soaking everything in.

I made my way to the Disney Theater to see the curved shapes of stainless steel sheet metal glistening in the sun.  Oddly I had to walk through a police barricade, but the police didn’t seem to care.  I looked into a tunnel they had blocked off to see a homeless man walking down the middle of the road enjoying a rare moment to walk where others would never dare.  As I topped the hill I began to see people carrying signs.  Then I saw that this was the gathering place for a protest march.  We were just a few blocks away from the Occupy LA campsite.  It was November 5th which was a day to protest the big banks which littered the area we were in.  My first thought was to be glad they were making their voices heard.    As I read more signs and listened to the guy on the megaphone, I became aware that their premise was all wrong.  This was a protest about jobs.  I support them for wanting work, but my thoughts were suddenly filled with the hard working faces I know at ETI who had the solution they were searching for.  I wished I had a megaphone to share with them about the amazing people I work with who just worked through the coldest winter followed by the hottest summer in Oklahoma history.  The protestors needed to know that through that hard work, not marches or slogans, they not only made their jobs more secure but they created 80 more jobs.  These “Okies” I proudly call coworkers had the answer.

Later as I sat in the shade of a tree in the courtyard of the Cathedral of LA, I took a break from an hour of reading to reflect on what I had seen.  Suddenly the hum was gone as I could feel the reason why I’ve always been drawn to manufacturing (why I even loved driving a fork lift in a toilet paper factory).  I respect the hard work that is done at ETI.  I respect that our team of nearly 300 is trying to do the right things the right way even when it is hard.  After 20 years I found that beyond the daily hum I still have that spark that motivates me to do the best I can to help my team do this important work.  Thank you all for letting me spend half of my life so far as a part of this amazing team.

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Categories : Inspire, Life
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Feb
14

Learn

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Categories : Learn, Mind
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Feb
14

Invent

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Categories : Invent, Mind
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Feb
14

Create

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Categories : Create, Mind
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