“This is a big price tag,” Rhonda said as she looked through Tom’s proposal.
Tom didn’t expect the resistance he was getting from Rhonda, his organization’s vice president. Tom had just been promoted to manager of a small team and was in it to make a splash in the organization. He unveiled a bold proposal to implement new enterprise software that would replace an existing system that had been in place for several years.
“Yes, it’s a high price, but this is leading-edge technology that will help propel us into the future. Our current system uses old technology that will be obsolete. Now is the time to act.”
“But what we have is working and stable,” Rhonda said.
Tom’s frustration grew with Rhonda’s resistance. “Yes, today it’s working, but what about tomorrow?” Tom asked.
Rhonda looked at her watch. “Tom, we’re just about at time. Let me give you a bit of coaching.” Rhonda was big on cultivating her staff and used situations like this as teachable moments.
“Um, OK,” Tom said.
“I love your passion and creativity. Those attributes will serve you well as you progress in your career. Do you want to know where you missed the mark on this proposal?”
Recently I received two LinkedIn requests to connect, one from a rep at a well-known insurance company and the other from a financial planner at a well-known financial services company. In the first request the rep told me that the insurance company notified him that my construction company is eligible for a special program that grants an immediate discount.
Sounds great; the problem is I don't own a construction company.
Twice I asked him to tell me who at the insurance company notified him. He finally responded with a “nobody notified us,” even though in his original message he was “notified by <insurance company> that my construction business qualifies for the discount.”
“I should have spoken up,” Gil said as he took another bite of his burger. He and his wife, Pat, loved going out to their favorite burger joint on Wednesday nights for their two-for-one hamburger specials. Gil told Pat how he had sat through a three-hour meeting where his work team wrestled through a nasty problem. Gil had come up with an idea an hour into the meeting but never spoke up. Someone else came up with the same idea two hours later, which was supported not only by Gil’s boss but the other team members.
“This isn’t the first time,” Pat said. She and Gil had been married for ten years and she knew him inside and out. She not only knew his strengths, but also his weaknesses.
“I know, I just don’t like to monopolize a meeting,” Gil said.
“I think you’ve got a long way to go before that happens,” Pat said as she popped a French fry in her mouth.
“What do you mean?”
This is part two of How an Autistic Child has Changed a Career…For the Better
In 2006 I wrote of Patty’s and my decision to homeschool our son Trevor to help provide a learning environment more conducive with his autism. It’s now twelve years later and time to write about how things worked out.
Trevor started seventh grade with a customized schooling plan. Patty focused on arts and language and I focused on math and science. He also attended a homeschool-assisted school which provided English and math classes and attended a science class at the middle school he would have normally attended. The curriculum plan was designed by Patty and me along with Trevor’s school counselor. It was a hybrid of homeschooling and traditional schooling which we felt gave Trevor the best likelihood of success. Trevor’s counselor was completely awesome in working with us and putting Trevor’s well-being first. The blended teaching worked very well in seventh grade, but we also noticed that Trevor wasn’t getting enough peer socialization. In eighth grade we decided to start the process of mainstreaming him back into the public-school system. Patty continued focus on arts and language and math and science topics were now being provided by Trevor’s middle school. I like to joke that I was fired as a homeschool teacher and that my wife and son did the firing. In reality the mainstreaming was the right answer because it allowed him to get needed socialization through spending more time at school while also giving him some additional 1:1 focus through homeschooling. In ninth grade we felt Trevor was ready to be fully mainstreamed into the public-school system. While we packed up our homeschool materials, our involvement with Trevor’s schooling and socialization growth was still strong.
Hal was a new leader over a team of six followers. He committed to his manager that he would be a “learning leader,” and read leadership books to improve his skills. Almost every month in team meetings Hal included a book report on his latest book and the leadership techniques he wanted to put into practice. At first the team was receptive, but after the first few books a pattern emerged. Hal would talk about what he learned and implement the new methods . . . until he read the newest book on his list, making the previous book’s approach yesterday’s news—pushed aside. The team grew exasperated with Hal’s technique du jour only to have it replaced with a newer model. Even worse, the theory stayed just that, theory. Hal evaluated himself based on his knowledge; the team evaluated him based on his actions. Hal ultimately lost his team leader role; all that theory never making its way to reality.
Recently I wrote an article about creating a sustained lifestyle. In the article I introduced a concept which contrasts achievement (doing something meaningful that accomplishes a desired result which gives you joy) and stress (the degree of mental, physical, or emotional strain undertaken to achieve a desired result). In the model I define four different lifestyles driven by achievements and stress, as follows:
This one is a bit of a departure from my typical article topics.
Recently I wrote a book about what I call “good-enough contentment.” It’s an allegory about a forty-something man who is unhappy with his life. After a magical train ride, he learns to define what contentment means in nine areas of his life: career, family, health, friendships, finances, leisure, spirituality, giving, and legacy. Writing the story caused me to look back at my own life--the things I did well and the many mistakes I made. It inspired me to write about nine nuggets that I wish I could go back in time to tell my younger self. Some I would have done the same all over again, others radically different. All, however, are worth putting down in writing to spur your thinking about things you need to start, stop, or continue.
Here they are:
Ahh, social media. Where from the comfort of your living room you can make your point known to millions of people. People and businesses have grown from being virtual unknowns to worldwide phenoms (think “Gangnam Style”) thanks to social media. Then there are those who fell from grace like a lead balloon (think Roseanne Barr, Anthony Weiner, or Paula Deen) because of social media. Both the rises and falls can happen swiftly and without advance warning. Sadly, it doesn’t even have to be true. Fake news travels just as fast as the truth. It just has to be tantalizing. It also doesn’t even have to go viral; a handful of viewers can see something that will alter their opinions of the person posting.
That viewer could be your current or future boss, customer, or business partner.
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