Apr 03 2009

Compliments

Published by at 8:30 am
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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I don’t take compliments well.

Especially when I get compliments on something like what I did last week. Getting that architecture document and presentation done, in my opinion, had to be frackin’ done. I busted my hide for the better of the team, company, and frankly for my stress level. I wanted to get that out because I had talked about it, and talked about it, and talked about it, and even though I wanted it to be more collaborative than it ended up being, frankly I got to the point where I didn’t goddamn care anymore. I got it done and asked for feedback afterward.

So when I got compliments from Tim, Andrew, and other people in the office, I guess I could only respond with “I did what I felt like had to be done” or “I just wanted to get shit done”. I dunno. Maybe I need to take compliments more. Maybe it says something about my own insecurities. Hell I don’t even feel the document / diagram is really all that amazing, although people have said as such.  I mean I’m proud of the work I did on it. I’m am glad that people are complementing on the work I did. I guess the best compliment that anyone could give me is ACTION. I want to see something happen now. I guess it’s an action speaks louder than words concept. 

You know… to think of it. I’m feeling the same way with my guild. Skies, one of my officers, complimented me last night on all the hard work I’ve been doing recruiting last Friday through Monday. I was happy to be recognized for my hard work, but what pisses me off is that she says that, but do I see her doing her job in the guild? Do I see her creating and organizing PQ and other Tome Event activities? No. Actions speak louder than words. If you are really excited and happy about all the hard work I’ve been doing, then show me you care by helping keep those recruits by organizing events and helping evaluate them for membership.

Going back to the work related thoughts, I really think that action will take place here. That’s when I’ll get really excited and feel that the actions match the feedback I’ve gotten. If they feel the vision is “really really cool”, then they need to act upon it.

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Feb 27 2009

Feedback from a friend

Published by at 12:10 am
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From one of my readers who sent me a PM:

I was reading your cybervic blog earlier about “You think a lot” and I wanted to comment on it. Considering there’s an issue with me being able to post the comment on your blog (why, I have no idea), I figured I’d write it here.
Thinking a lot can be interpreted in many difference ways and you can see example of it by observing other people.

(Perceptive) For instance, someone with a lot of time on their hands might start thinking about random stuff. If their work is mostly physical, their minds have lots of time to think and, for a lot of people, it seems to be a get-away drug for their monotonous lives. Half the time, it’s philosophical and the rest is normally about how things work.

The key thing here is understanding that thinking a lot, in their case, does not make them wiser but more perceptive.

(Analyst) Some people have the tendency to consider every possible outcome before executing a task. They plan things out and will often go in denial if something unexpected happens. This is what most people refer to when they talk about thinking.

(Elaborator) There are those who over-analyze things and they are often found being annoying to those around him/her. They are either slow to respond or are extremely vague in their answers. Nonetheless, they understand that answers are never as black/white as others believe and they’ve taken the time to think and analyze in detail to give the most accurate answer. They’re often incapable of giving a “yes” or a “no”.

(Worrywart) Thinking a lot can also mean that someone worries a lot. It’s a form of paranoia, I suppose. “If I put a glass of water at the edge of the table, chances are it won’t fall but the possibility still exists therefore the glass of water should be moved elsewhere.” A mother hen is also a good example.

There are great thinkers all around the globe. From philosophical, to analytical, to all the way to a mother reminding her kids of their dental appointments while she finds the time to pack their lunch-boxes for school.

You DO think a lot, but what KIND of thinker are you? I am merely a graphic artist, but I’d say you’re a [A-W-E-P].

Anyways, my 2 cent.

P-S. I’d say I’m about [E-P-W-A]

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Feb 26 2009

Polishing Style

Published by at 11:33 pm
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Let’s face it. I’m opinionated guy. Although I’m opinionated, I’m not a stick in the mud and am MORE than willing to understand the view point of the other side and like to have honest discussions and come to equal understandings of the problem so that everyone involved comes to logical conclusions. So one can say that I do my share of persuading, asking of ideas, brainstorming in discussions, and in general always do so in a very enthusiastic way. My communication style is very unique and take an entire project management team and every single manager in the local office I work in and I’m the only person with my unique communication style. If you are at all familiar with DiSC, I was the only one at our office for example who was a high “i”. Because of my unique and generally unfamiliar communication style to others, I’m often perceived incorrectly by most until people get to know me and then they “get where I’m coming from”.

I’m also a very open and strait forward person. I don’t hide my opinions, right or wrong and love to share them, but am willing and welcoming to opposition to my opinions. The way I see it, how do I know that my opinions are wrong if I don’t share them and give someone else the opportunity to correct me? Equally so, if someone has something to gain like overall understanding of the problem thanks to my opinion, I like to share that information.

Unfortunately my unique form of communication style doesn’t mesh well with the fact that I’m younger than all of my peers and most of my colleagues in general. This last fact is something that sucks, but I’ve slowly come to accept over time and realize that while it sucks I do need to recognize that there is a certain level of age discrimination that exists and egos get in the way. I can’t fight it, so I need to just learn how to deal with it.

Fact is I’ve been described as overwhelmingly enthusiastic, intimidating, overly opinionated, cocky, pontificating, and a myriad of other terms. Am I truly this way or is honestly true that I’m being perceived incorrectly? Maybe I am… maybe I’m just being perceived as such. Maybe it’s as simple as some words I use on the phone that without simple gestures and body language leave others to fill in the blanks. Regardless, there is an opportunity for improvement and something I need to adjust. The problem is identifying the exact item that is incorrect. I can’t identify the problem myself and am getting vague examples at best.

So here are some recommended reading for myself to get my mind on the right track and help me figure out what I’m doing wrong. It’s a big concern and something I really need to focus on improving.

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Feb 25 2009

A new regular reader

Published by at 5:32 pm
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So I found out today during a meeting with some of my peers that apprently my boss reads my blog. I didn’t tell him I had a blog… maybe I mentioned it in passing, I can’t remember. Who knows, maybe he was just curious and found me while searching for topics that I’ve blogged about, or maybe he knew I was a blogger, or someone slipped my URL to him. Either way it seems like Andrew is reading my blog now which is kinda good and kinda bad. I will continue to blog as I always have, not caring about who’s reading which might be bad sometimes, but in general I think that if he does read my blog he’ll have a better understanding of how I think and might be able to help coach me.

So Andrew… welcome to my brain. As I’m sure you’ve already noticed I’ve been blogging for a very long time, over 4 years now. Here is where I collect my thoughts and take things out of my mental reserves. Here is where I put my stresses to paper and let them sit and collect. Here is where I explore my deepest ideas about myself and work through my shortcomings, strengths, and weaknesses.

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Feb 12 2009

Power of Positive Thought

Published by at 4:51 pm
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So after being really stressed out the the point of almost acomplete and total mental breakdown, Andrew gave me a good ass kicking on the phone the other day and I sucked up my stress, threw it in a bottle, and decided to get hyper focused and ignore my stresses. Of course the one thing that makes me more relaxed in a situation where I feel out of control is… yes CRAZY ORGANIZATION. Yes, the zen feeling I get from being hyper organzied at times of stressed is quite releaving. So I’ve been working on the last couple of days on getting all of our work items in TFS. Even more so not just getting them into TFS, but also getting MS Project 2007 properly integrated with TFS 2008. Appretnly previously it had been tried, but there were all kinds of bugs between Project 2003 and TFS 2005. So far things are going rather well and now apprenlty I’m the pseudo guinnie pig for this level of integration. I’m sure glad that I took that class on MS Project a term or two ago because I’m feeling more and more comfortable with it. In fact, I have no idea how I would be able to give accurate forcasts for delivery if I didn’t use MS Project.

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Feb 10 2009

Criticism

Published by at 4:48 am
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It’s came to my attention recently that I suck at taking criticism.

 

Sometimes people will do an excellent jobs at presenting me with good honest criticism. Sometimes my boss especially gives me honest “learning experience” criticism, stuff that’s just for future reference / learning purposes and I am taking it too hard and being hard on myself about things. I don’t want to disappoint and taking the criticism too heavily. I don’t want to sound cliché, but I guess it’s part of being a high “I” that I care about what others think about me.

 

Today was an excellent example when I was given some feedback about an email thread and when to and not to CC certain people. When I was presented the feedback, I wanted to say “Oh yeah, well observation in hindsight is awesome!”. It was good honest feedback on something I amd still working on, but I guess… I dunno I took it wrong. 

 

I apprently get spun out when I’m struggling with something and people over simplify the situation by making statements such as “it’s simple” or “don’t worry”. I think statements such as “for future reference do this instead” might come across to me easier and not freak my brain out. I need advice on how to be a better manager and especially on how to play better corporate politics, but right now politics especially is really confusing and complex to me. There’s a lot of variables that I don’t see very easily and don’t know how to compute. When people say “it’s simple” I feel like I’m a dumb ass and should know better. Things are not simple if you don’t understand how to navigate some of these frankly challenging situations. Playing the Saxophone is simple for me but insanely complex for other people.

 

I’m a new manager on a restructured team that has been disorganized in the past, I’m trying to fix the root causes of a lot of problems, I don’t have (right now) a full time product manager, and I feel like I have the world on my shoulder and as much as my boss things I can take it off my shoulders, I still need to carry it until someone else takes a continent or two off of it. It’s a constant struggle and I hope things get better soon.

 

I think I’m going to take Friday off. A four day weekend will be healthy for me.

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Dec 19 2008

2009 goals

Published by at 11:14 am
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1.    Retain and enhance my domain knowledge, putting customers first and finding the best ways to address their needs by working top priority items into the product roadmap and anticipating the future needs of the customers.

 

2.    Using leadership techniques and reflective listening, inspire and energize our team to help create a best-in-class work environment that provides growth opportunities and colleague success while facilitating efficient top-down and down-up communication.

 

3.    Collaborate with others across the environmental domain to help develop and implement a next generation architecture that extends the SCF common platform and supports future content integrations across other domains while supporting any potential off-shore initiatives as necessary.

 

4.    Facilitate the TFS implementations across the domain in a consistent way to help improve our correctness, completeness, and currency of how we deliver product updates to our customers.

 

5.    Work on coming across as confident, excited, while not being perceived incorrectly by people, especially not let my enthusiasm become off putting to people.

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Dec 18 2008

“You think a lot”

Published by at 6:48 pm
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Someone recently told me “You think a lot” and it got me a bit spun out. But in the end it was emotionally productive.

 

Yes I think a lot.

 

I’ll think about a comment like “you think a lot” for days.

 

I haven’t gotten the “you come across as cocky” out of my head since someone brought it up the first time. In fact it keeps coming up and back into the front of my mind even more. I’ve talked to so many people I know about this because I’m concerned about it.

 

Wanna talk to a guy about how much I THINK about things and think through them? Talk to Victor Hermenze, lol.

 

That’s why sometimes I’ll laugh or get spun out about a comment somone might make in giving me feedback because immediately I’ll start to think and internalize. Sometimes being self critical, but not because I take people’s comments ill received, but because I take them seriously.

 

And you know… I’d like to clarify the difference between me taking something said seriously and my feelings getting hurt. I really don’t get my feelings hurt very easily. In fact the only way to really hurt my feelings is if I feel I’ve been disrespected. FYI, there are very few people who have ever in my opinion disresected me, and I generally make them know. So if know me and you feel you’ve ever hurt my feelings, that’s not the case, I just might take feedback and immediately start thinking about it deeply which might come across as me having my feelings hurt.

 

I guess, I’ve always been a social, emotional animal. It’s why I was beat up in school. It’s why I think I was shunned as a kid. Wanna talk about Spock complex, well my calculus didn’t hurt me, so I found comfort in logic. It’s why I got into programming because in my teens I hated working with people and just wanted to work with computers. I always cared about people’s perceptions of me and in doing so I go the extra mile to make sure people perceive me correctly. For a long time I tried to just say “don’t care about what others think” and then tried to shut down those feelings and become all logical. But I’ve at some point, maybe when I started taking up leadership tasks in my personal life, that my social and emotional side has come out and I’m captain enthusiasm as you see me today. As a result, yeah you know I do care about what others think of me and how others perceive me and that’s ok. Heck the DiSC training helped me realize and accept that about myself which is why I was so spun out about it. By the way, I was classified as an iDCS, way off from what I classified myself as.

 

I’d like to clarify that the Victor of today is not the Victor of 3 years ago. After my divorce, I went through a long and very crazy re-inventing of myself. I gained a lot of confidence in myself, was less of a pushover, and took control of my life, direction, and really that’s when some of my leadership skills were blossoming at the same time. So really a lot of the self analysis I do of myself is because I still don’t know how I tick right now. I’ve changed a lot over the last 3 years and I’m still getting used to some things and how I act and how I’m perceived. Hell I’m told that sometimes my eyebrows come across as intimidating and I am not aware of the perception give off by my facial expressions and body language. Noodle on that one for about 2 months when your girlfriend tells you that.

 

Some people who don’t know me too well ask what I do in my spare time? I think.

 

Or I do activities which allow me to SHUT OFF my thinking. For me whether it’s thinking about myself, thinking about the project that I’m focused on, thinking about the vision of where things are going, thinking thinking thinking. It doesn’t stop. Generally it doesn’t even stop in my sleep. I’ve many times woken up in the middle of the night thinking about a problem I’m trying to solve. So yeah I think a lot because I’m highly self critical, self analytical, and comments about my communication style which translate to my leadership style inevitably translate to not only work, but the leadership I do in my personal life.

 

So yeah… I  think. A lot. And that’s an understatement.

 

Many times I think on something because I want to do it the best I ever can. I want to do something in a way no one else ever has. To be the best and… ok now I’m just rambling. Really. Get it off your chest yet? Yeah ok, that’s way too much sharing at this point. Ok done now.

 

Well… back to taking finals!

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Oct 22 2008

Effective Communication and Leading Change

Published by at 3:23 pm
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I was on TheSource and saw a picture of people taking the “Effective Communication and Leading Change” training on the slideshow images on the right.

 

Well of course as a fan of John Kotter’s work I was like “Oooh I wonder if they’re teaching his leading change methods”. So I did a search on the source and found the presentation in question. After skimming through it I decided to do a little comparison between this suggested leading change method and the full “Leading Change” method by John Kotter.

 

I briefly paged through it quickly and saw the DISC breakdown (which I had previously talked with Andrew about) and what seemed to be an abridged version of the “Leading Change” method by John Kotter. I think sometime soon I’ll go through the corporate official training to get some better understanding of the official corporate approach and how it differs from Kotter’s full change process methodology. On a high level though I think there are important pieces that are missing out of the corporate approach that seem key. Particularly, I noticed that the concept of establishing a sense of urgency was missing. Regardless, a little more exposure to things like DISC never hurts. Maybe it’ll help me communicate better and handle situations involving people who’s communication style don’t mess as well with mine.

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Oct 20 2008

DISC self assessment

Published by at 9:30 am
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One thing I do regularly is do what I call “reality checks” into how I do things. It’s one thing I do regularly with my group of people I lead online with my officers. Basically it’s a process of analyzing internal and get external feedback of my leadership and management style and what I can do to improve things. It helps me learn how I work and how best I can work with others. In fact the #1 word people have used to describe my thought process over and over (enough that I personally had to look it up on Wikipedia) is “Pragmatic”. In general this is probably a good explanation on how I work from a 3rd party.

 

From my perspective, you seem like a combination of a reasonably good natured leader with a sensible dose of ambition to complete objectives and a pragmatic overall view things. You’ve taken many shots from people and handled them gracefully. You’ve continued to soldier on, improving and progressing. I’ve enjoyed yourself depreciating style and openness. Your desire to improve your organization is commendable.

 

I was recently asked about DISC profiling and I thought it would be interesting to assess myself (based on this http://www.excitivatedeagles.com/newconsultants/DISCGENERIC.pdf).  I would say the majority of the time I am a D/C. Although not all attributes of D because I definitely try to keep what I feel are the “negative” sides of D in check. This is why I try to look at things with at least a C or I viewpoint as well, although I do have a bit of S in me as well. I don’t know I’ve never looked at myself with this particular angle before. It’s definitely an interesting exercise…

 

I guess I would lay it out more like this. MOSTLY D and C, but a bit of the traits of I and S:

 

Goals = Accuracy (C), results (D), and order (C)

Fears = Criticism of performance (C), lack of standards (C), losing control of his/her environment (D) and being taken advantage of (D)

Under pressure = Withdraws (C) and becomes impatient (D)

Decision style = Gut feeling (I), Analytical (C), but moves fast (D)

Weaknesses =Argumentative attitude* (D). Hold grudges** (S). Sensitive to criticism (S). Dislikes daily routine (D). Attempts too much at once (D).

Value to team = Bottom line organizer (D). Values time (D). Challenges status quo (D). Innovative (D). Creative problem solver (I), good sense of humor (I), motivates others (I), reliable and dependable (S), loyal to team (S), even-tempered (C), thorough (C). Gathers (C), criticizes (C) and tests info (C).

Loves = Processes (C), procedures (C), priorities (S), do it quick (D), do it big (D).

 

* I try not to be argumentative, but it’s the way I work as a pragmatic thinker. I many times will argue a point to challenge a point of view to learn more about it. Not because I’m being a stick in the mud and being argumentative for the sake of being augmentative, but because I’m playing devil’s advocate (mostly customer’s advocate) to understand WHY things are being done one way or a decision is being made one way or another. I’m never argumentative for the sake of being argumentative or apposing someone else’s authority. I also make it a point to respect other’s authority, sometimes too much.

 

** Oh yes, I hold grudges. Particularly grudges that pertain to lying or backstabbing. It’s a trait I have, recognize, and share openly.

 

Also on the side note of “negotiates conflict”, this is one weakness I recognize I have. Generally I like to “cut through the crap” and push aside drama, politics, and work with people in a fair, respectable, but direct approach. While I recognize this is my style I also recognize that the majority of the time this isn’t received well by all people. Particularly S’s who might be more sensitive to my criticisms. Again I’m not good at this and probably the #1 thing I need to work on as a manager / leader.

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