Nov 15 2013

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – Review and Self-Reflection

Published by at 3:52 pm
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When learning something new, self-reflection is a key aspect of absorbing that information and integrating lessons learned. Whenever I self-reflect I often write about it, either in my blog or other means because while self-reflection is powerful, recording it allows you to look back and remember the lessons learned. Furthermore, sharing your lessons learned with others is a way of committing to integrating that into your life. The book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell is certainly one of those books which it is almost impossible not to relate to your own life as it changes your perspectives on leadership.

The book discusses and gives many examples of the various irrefutable laws and while some of the minor points I disagree, the major points I most definitely agree. There were a few key laws which, upon reflecting on my own career, allowed me to see a different perspective on what I might be doing wrong on my leadership journey. Those laws which I found more impactful were law #2. The Law of Influence, law #6. The Law of Solid Ground, and #10 The Law of Connection. While there were plenty of other laws which I must continue to keep in mind these have the most impact on my career right now.

The “Law of Influence” states simply that leadership is influence. Oddly enough, this law makes the most sense of all of the laws outlined by Maxwell. I’m classified as an Inspirational pattern using the DiSC profile, “People with the DiSC Classic Profile Inspirational Pattern tend to influence the thoughts and actions of others.”  I lead through example and other specific tools, but in the end the purpose is to influence others. The key thing there is influence is not the same as manipulation. Manipulation has a very negative connotation and something that I want no part of. But Maxwell does break down characteristics of someone who is influential of others and one of the first characteristics is Character. Character is the difference between a manipulator and an influencer. A person who is truly influencing others is strong in character, builds relationships, has strong knowledge (because to lead in ignorance can result in failure), has a strong intuition, the wisdom that comes with experience, and proven ability. One final thought he mentions with influence is practicing leadership skills through influence when volunteering in organizations. Funny thing is my largest experiences in leadership was just that, leading a volunteer organization. I need to continue the work I do with the various volunteer organizations I’m a contributing member of and allow those to be avenues to practice my skills as an influencer.

The “Law of Solid Ground” states simply that trust is the foundation of leadership. This is a law that often I forgot. Not that I forget that trust is important, in fact I know it is crucial. My problem is that many times I expect too highly of most people and expect a certain degree of shared trust when new relationships are formed. The problem is that my baseline bar of trust is high and I assume everyones is just as high. This is not saying my baseline is better than others, it is just a simple fact that is neither good nor bad that I must accept. So it is important when I am trying to gain influence over a new group of individuals that I gain their trust and only try to really influence change when trust has been gained. Many times I try, with the best of intentions, to lead before trust is gained and end up hurting my ability to lead before that foundation is built properly.

The “Law of Connection” states that leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. This is not a new law to me, one of my favorite books is John Kotter’s the Heart of Change. While the concept is not new Maxwell does remind me of some key things I often forget. I might be good at connecting with myself, communicating with openness and sincerity, and living my message, what I am poor at is really knowing my audience and knowing where they are at. It is not that these ideas escape my mind, but I don’t focus on them nearly enough. I don’t focus on really coming to grips with where they are before jumping to figuring out how I can influence them to come to my vision. If anything this tells me I need to focus more on appreciating people’s current mindset and building on that mindset instead of trying to change it. Like Maxwell says, “believe in them”, and through that belief take their current perspective and improve upon that perspective, not necessarily replace it. If anything that perspective helps improve the vision, to think otherwise would be assuming you have all the information when in many times you need the opinions, wisdom, and experience of all to come to the proper end vision.

In the end, I see the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as a another tool that will allow me to make gut checks on how I’m leading. Many times in the past, when I have lead larger organizations, I have relied on others to help with those gut checks. When leading smaller organizations or teams, I must rely on my own influence and focus on building a strong foundation of trust while touching people’s hearts before I can influence their actions. There are many more of Maxwell’s Laws that I still have yet to fully reflect upon, but that is a subject for another day. I would recommend this book to anyone who has the soul of a leader. Parts of the book will make you want to roll your eyes, but if you stick with it the majority of what he has to say is genuinely helpful to a leader of any level of experience.

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Aug 11 2012

Thinking of Penguins

Published by at 2:06 am
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Yet another sleepless night thinking about something and needing to put it to “paper” so I can rest my brain.

Yet another super successful end of sprint for the high profile project I’ve been working on for the last 8 months and yet… something feels lacking. I’m working on THE premier project of THE leading company that’s at the forefront of developing THE premier holistic solution for Environmental Health Safety & Sustainability, which is one of THE key passions in my life and one of THE key problems of the 21st century and yet… something feels lacking. Something I had in the past, something I don’t really feel I have today in my work.

I was asked by my boss today, “Why? What was different about back then?

Thanks Phil, good way to get my brain going…


Just as I was about to fall asleep tonight it hit me:
Because I’m not managing, not leading, leading, not empowering change. None of those things.

I miss the days of leading a development team (albeit small). I miss leading SCRUM.  I miss the days of working with subject matter experts directly, talking about the applied science of what we were trying to build and co-authoring requirements with them and the product owner. I miss the day of working with sales and solution engineers, developing long term strategies for a product, establishing estimates, and committing to a road map with my team’s support. I miss the days of reporting to (for the internet name protected) A.B. and being his instrument of change. We did amazing things back then, only 3-4 years ago. I lead all kinds of internal change initiatives. To this day I’m still the owner of artifacts from those days. I authored documents and lead the charge on ideas which are only now coming to fruit in the project I’m now a development team member of. I was taking managerial and leadership training courses on a regular basis internally and externally to the company. As I was wrapping up (finally) my degree at the time, I switched my major to be focused on business administration to support my new chosen carrier path.  I went through internal talent scoping 3 times in a row. I was evaluated as a DI or “Inspirational Pattern” and told that I was one of few people in the company who matched that pattern, those being senior leadership including Jerrie. Everything was sunshine and roses. I was on the path.

A path I’m no longer on today. What do I have to show for it? Yes I’m a contributing member of that development team and I enjoy the project I’m on, but I’m not leading change. That is what I’m built for. That’s what my brain is wired to do. Change management is in my blood. On top of all of that, I’ve too drained every day doing this high profile project I don’t have the energy to lead HILYMI like I used to, it’s fallen after 6 years from a 25-man guild of 100 or so people to a lowly 10 man guild with only about 15-20 active people. Leading 15-20 people is not the same challenge and/or doesn’t seem to have the same reward for me as organizing a larger organization. Furthermore, all my brain power is going toward expanding and honing my development skills while my managerial, organizational, change management, project management, etc skills are falling by the wayside.

I feel like I’ve taken at least 1 if not 2 steps backward in my career from where I was and no one ever explained to me what even happened. Was I not ready? Did I do something to tick someone off? I’ve never been good at politics (too honest and upfront). I frankly have no idea what could have happened over the course of the last absolutely crazy 4 years of my career. All while not being told anything other than “good job” and high remarks on everything I’ve ever done and delivered. “One of the top 3 performers under <name omitted>“, I was told. I don’t know anymore. I haven’t had time to even think much about all this in the last 8-9 months, but today all these thoughts are coming to the forefront of my mind. I was initially so jazzed about this new project I’m on, I doubt I even went into much detail with my last boss about all this, probably a little, but not much. Not like the bomb I dropped on my new boss today.

Maybe I need to focus more on the things I can do within my own team to lead little bits of change within the team. Maybe I should engage with Ted to see what little things I can do with our Sharepoint which will improve something. Maybe I need to work with my P.O. more and volunteer extra time to help work out the backlog. That’s a positive change, adding clarity where the dev team has been asking for more. I want to make a difference. Not like “I build code” kind of different or even “I build code that writes code” kind of difference. Something, I don’t know. I want to do all kinds of things that are completely unrelated to development, but I’ve been to focused on the day to day task at hand on a very aggressive agile project, that I haven’t had the time other than retros to feel like I can even communicate my ideas for change. Maybe that’s why I like retros so much. Maybe I don’t have time to help lead change, but I can at least communicate and inspire others to hear thoughts on it, to rally around my ideas.

I’m rambling at this point, but what I do know is this: I’m a good developer, but I’m a great leader. I have the potential within me to be a world class leader. I know it. I feel it. I want to pursue that dream. Maybe I should listen to the Heart of Change or some other work by Kotter again. I need his inspiration.

P.S. If this plugin I installed works correctly, this should publish an update on my Facebook status.

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Sep 24 2011

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G

Published by at 7:41 pm

Well, I think I might end up blogging more often. Tonight, I finally got myself a smartphone and it’s got a really nice sliding out keyboard. I got a worpress app installed and BAM here I am blogging again in over a year. Lol.

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Jun 28 2010

Been a crazy month

Published by at 6:43 pm
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So there goes my posting 3 times a week blown right out of the water. 🙁 Missed 2 whole weeks of blogging due to my vacation.

We went on a big hiking, fishing, photo safari, camping trip for my birthday and since then we’ve been playing catch up. All the while the guild has not been doing well and I’ve been struggling to get us back on our feet. It’s been going ok, just not the sunshine and rainbows I had hoped for. Aric and Amanda ended up leaving on me which ended up being a pretty devastating blow to our raid force.

Anyhow the highlight of the month definitely was our trip and sadly so much happened including a 3 mile hike through the blue basin, catching 18 fish, and generally having an amazing time… I just am having a hard time with blogging about it all after our vacations. So one idea I had was that on future trips I would blog every night with the digital video camera and post those blog postings as video blogs when I get back. I think that approach would definitely keep things moving so that way I don’t so easily fall off the horse when I go on vacation. In general I’m going to try to include more videos in my blog. I’ve been getting a ton of high definition video in the last year since we got the video camera and I’d love to share them with everyone.

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Jun 09 2010

Sindragosa, Arthas Phase 1, 1.5

Published by at 5:17 pm
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I know I’m blogging a lot about WoW, but a lot of stuff is going on right now w/ the guild, so I feel I need to for my own sanity and record keeping. Will be blogging more in coming weeks about birthdays, vacation, more boating, and fishing.

Well, last night after 2 attempts, we downed Sindragosa. Honestly she felt… almost easy. First attempt 15%. Second attempt was flawless, smooth. Well executed on everyone’s part. Then we moved onto Lich King and again two attempts to get past phase 1. One for learning, discussion, then we got it down. Took a couple more attempts to get phase 1.5 smooth and take us into phase 2. The rest of the week the focus will be mastering phase 2.

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Jun 07 2010

I was “on a boat”

Published by at 6:30 pm
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To be filled out.

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Jun 04 2010

Gnar, Sindragosa, Boating

Published by at 5:15 pm
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Well as predicted, Wednesday we one shot Sindragosa then since then we’ve been doing attempts on Sindragosa. This includes apparently tonight. Upon Ray and I long on, ready to do ToGC, we find out that we’re A. continuing attempts on Sindragosa and next week we are extending the lock out so that way if we don’t down her tonight we will down her on Tuesday and focus all next week on Lich King.

Kinda crazy, not usual fair for the guild, but I like it. I also like that other officers took charge a bit on the decision making on all this. My hope is that Gnar performs well. He’s only been back for a week now after being gone for close to two months.

OH, also our boat arrived yesterday. Tomorrow we plan to be out on the water trying out for the first time and I have a fly fishing class I’m going to. My goal is of course to improve my casting so will focus on that. Goal of boating is just getting used to the new boat and developing systems operating and using it with Kerrie.

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Jun 02 2010

9 of 12

Published by at 6:07 pm

The guild is definitely back to performing again after last week’s cleaning of the roster. Last night we did 9 of 12 in about 3 hours. This was one shotting the first wing, one shotting the entire plague wing including Putricide, then the two shotting princes and queen in the blood wing which for about half the people was their first times. It was a great night. We had some healing learning curve on Dreamwalker, but they are going back in tonight and should down her and do attempt on Sindragosa.

My current hopes are that we should be doing Lich King next week.

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May 31 2010

Kerrie’s first fish

Published by at 6:05 pm
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So over the weekend, focused on 3 main things. Fishing, entering Geo-cache entries from our Astoria trip (57 of them plus TB’s), and spending time with Kerrie and the rest of my local family at a memorial day BBQ.

Saturday was an homage to fishing. It was Kerrie’s first fishing trip with her own licence and new 2-6 lbs micro action fishing pole. We spent the morning cleaning and then headed out to Harriet lake, picking up the Oregon / Washington National Forrest annual pass along the way. We got some stunning views and I think in a way the drive was almost as enjoyable as the fishing. Estacada lake especially looked beautiful as we wondered about how awesome it would be to have our first boating experience there.

When we got the Harriet, it was crowded and tiny, so we continued forth to Timothy Lake. I quickly got my bearings and then we settled in at the usual doc spot where Dad, Ray, and I used to fish. We got setup, tested our fish finder finally (yeah it works), and then started fishing. The day started off slow, but once they started biting we landed 6 fish in pretty short order. After we got home at almost 10:00, I cleaned and prep’ed the fish for Sunday night’s dinner. Sunday Kerrie cooked them bone / skin on, I cleaned them off the bone after cooking, and man was it good eats.

Oh and I’m never going back to Faraday. That lake sucks.

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May 28 2010

Return of Gnarsokar

Published by at 10:59 pm
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So after the massive guild kick fest on Tuesday (which I blogged about on Wednesday), one shining light on the guild was finally the return of Gnarsokar to our raids!

After a grueling month and half of dealing with a semi-serious medical issue, my brother is back in tip-top shape. We did IceCrown Citadel Deathbringer through Putricide and not only did he do good, I think he played better that night than he had before he got sick. He and everyone else had a really great time. I think it was a good morale boost for the guild. I hope that next Tuesday goes as smoothly so we can keep up the good momentum.

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