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Updated: 55 min 44 sec ago

Bandita Joarder on How Presence is Something You Can Learn

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 18:22

Bandita is one of the most amazing leaders in the technology arena.

She’s not just technical, but she also has business skills, and executive presence.

But she didn’t start out that way.

She had to learn presence from the school of hard knocks.   Many people think presence is something that either you have or you don’t.

Bandita proves otherwise.

Here is a guest post by Bandita Joarder on how presence is something you can learn:

Presence is Something You Can Learn

It’s a personal story.  It’s an empowering story.  It’s a story of a challenge and a change, and how learning the power of presence, helped Bandita move forward in her career.

Enjoy.

Categories: Blogs

Habits, Dreams, and Goals

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 20:04

I’ve been talking to people in the halls about what they learned about goals from last year, and what they are going to do differently this year.   We’ve had chats about New Years Resolutions, habits, goals, and big dreams. (My theme is Dream Big for 2015.)

Here are a few of the insights that I’ve been sharing with people that really seems to create a lot clarity:

  1. Dream big first, then create your goals.  Too many people start with goals, but miss the dream that holds everything together.   The dream is the backdrop and it needs to inspire you and pull your forward.  Your dream needs to be actionable and believable, and it needs to reflect your passion and your purpose.
  2. There are three types of actions:  habits, goals, and inspired actions.   Habits can help support our goals and reach our dreams.   Goals are really the above and beyond that we set our sights on and help us funnel and focus our energy to reach meaningful milestones.   They take deliberate focus and intent.  You don’t randomly learn to play the violin with skill.  It takes goals.  Inspired actions are the flashes of insight and moments of brilliance.
  3. People mess up by focusing on goals, but not having any habits that support them.  For example, if I have an extreme fitness goal, but I have the ice-cream habit, I might not reach my goals.  Or, if I want to be an early bird, but I have the party-all-night long, or a I’m a late-night reader, that might not work out so well.  
  4. People mess up on their habits when they have no goals.  They might inch their way forward, but they can easily spend an entire year, and not actually have anything significant or meaningful for themselves, because they never took the chance to dream big, or set a goal they cared about.   So while they’ve made progress, they didn’t make any real pop.   Their life was slow and steady.  In some cases, this is great, if all they wanted.  But I also know people that feel like they wasted the year, because they didn’t do what they knew they were capable of, or wanted to achieve.
  5. People can build habits that help them reach new goals.   Some people I knew have built fantastic habits.  They put a strong foundation in place that helps them reach for more.  They grow better, faster, stronger, and more powerful.   In my own experience, I had some extreme fitness goals, but I started with a few healthy habits.  My best one is wake up, work out.  I just do it.  I do a 30 minute workout.   I don’t have to think about it, it’s just part of my day like brushing my teeth.  Since it’s a habit, I keep doing it, so I get better over time.  When I first started the workout, I sucked.  I repeated the same workout three times, but by the third time, I was on fire.   And, since it’s a habit, it’s there for me, as a staple in my day, and, in reality, the most empowering part of my day.  It boosts me and gives me energy that makes everything else in my day, way easier, much easier to deal with, and I can do things in half the time, or in some cases 10X.

Maybe the most important insight is that while you don’t need goals to make your habits effective, it’s really easy to spend a year, and then wonder where the year went, without the meaningful milestones to look back on.   That said, I’ve had a few years, where I simply focused on habits without specific goals, but I always had a vision for a better me, or a better future in mind (more like a direction than a destination.)

As I’ve taken friends and colleagues through some of my learnings over the holidays, regarding habits, dreams, and goals, I’ve had a few people say that I should put it all together and share it, since it might help more people add some clarity to setting and achieving their goals.

Here it is:

How Dreams, Goals, and Habits Fit Together

Enjoy, and Dream Big for 2015.

Categories: Blogs

Use 30 Days of Getting Results to Help You Reach Your Goals for 2015

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 19:48

imageSeveral Summers back, I used a 30 Day Improvement Sprint to share my best insights and best lessons learned on getting results.  I called it 30 Days of Getting Results:

30 Days of Getting Results

It’s timeless advice to help you be YOUR best.

The overall goal of the site was to help you master productivity, master time management, and achieve work life balance.   The idea was that by spending a little time each day, you would get back lots of time and energy and produce better results.  And we all need an edge in work and life.

Rise Above Productivity, Time Management, and Work-Life Balance Challenges

Here are the key things that I tried to help you with:

  • How to set yourself up for success on a daily basis
  • How to create a simple system your can use for getting great results in work and life
  • How to use proven practices to master time management, motivation, and personal productivity
  • How to embrace change and get better results in any situation
  • How to triple your personal productivity
  • How to focus and direct your attention with skill
  • How to use your strengths to create a powerful edge for getting results
  • How to change a habit and make it stick
  • How to achieve better work-life balance and spend more time doing the things you love

So if you’re struggling with any of the above, you might find just the piece of advice or the one or two ideas that help you find your breakthrough.

The Making of 30 Days of Getting Results

Behind the scenes, when I wrote each of the 30 days, I gave myself a 20-minute time limit (a 20-minute timebox for you in the know.)  I would then write as if writing to somebody where I only had a small window of time to help them as best I could to achieve better results, in any situation.

It might seem like the first few days start slow, but things pick up from there pretty fast.  Also, it’s self-paced so you can hop around to any particular day that you think you need the most.

I’ve had many people tell me that it was the course that they needed that helped them set and achieve better goals, while also helping them make new habits and break bad habits.   It’s also helped them find more energy as well as enjoy more of the things that they do.   It’s also helped them find ways to spend more time in their strengths and do what makes them come alive.

I will say that the user experience isn’t that great.   The site was a test and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the site design.    That said, it’s pretty straightforward.   When you go to the home page at 30 Days of Getting Results, you’ll see a brief intro and overview, and then you can dive in from there, by either starting with Day 1: Take a Tour of Agile Results, or  by clicking through the 30 Days on the left-hand side of the menu.

30 Days of Getting Results at a Glance

Here are all the days at a glance for your convenience:

  • Overview
  • 30 Days at a Glance
  • Day 1 – Take a Tour
  • Day 2 – Monday Vision
  • Day 3 – Daily Outcomes
  • Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
  • Day 5 – Hot Spots
  • Day 6 – Friday Reflection
  • Day 7 – Setup Boundaries
  • Day 8 – Dump Your Brain
  • Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day
  • Day 10 – Feel Strong
  • Day 11 – Reduce Friction
  • Day 12 – Productivity Personas
  • Day 13 – Triage
  • Day 14 – Carve Out Time
  • Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm
  • Day 16 – Use Metaphors
  • Day 17 – Add Power Hours
  • Day 18 – Add Creative Hours
  • Day 19 – Who are You Doing it For?
  • Day 20 – Ask Better Questions
  • Day 21 — Carry the Good Forward
  • Day 22 – Design Your Day
  • Day 23 – Design Your Week
  • Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
  • Day 25 – Fix Time, Flex Scope
  • Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
  • Day 27 – Do Something Great
  • Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
  • Day 29 – Find Your Arena
  • Day 30 – Take It to the Next Level
  • The course is free.  Hopefully that doesn’t de-value it.   It has a lot of the lessons you would learn in some of the most advanced productivity and time management training.  

    The Structure of the Daily Lessons

    The structure of each day is the same.  It includes an outcome, a lesson, and an assignment.  And right up front, I include a relevant quote and picture.   Here is an example of Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill:

    Quote: “Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” – Anonymous Your Outcome: Your Outcome: Bounce back with skill and roll with the punches.  Learn to draw from multiple sources of strength and energy, including your mind, body, emotions, and spirit. Lesson Welcome to day 24 of 30 Days of Getting Results, based on my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.  In day 23, you learned how to design your week with skill to get a fresh start, establish routines that support and renew you, and spend more time on the things that count for you.   Today, we learn how to bounce back with skill.  Bouncing back with skill helps us roll with the punches, refuel our bodies, and keep our spark alive.  It’s how we keep our engine going when the rest of us says “we can’t” and it’s how we “shut down” or “turn it off” so we can bounce back stronger.
    (For the rest of the lesson, see Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill … ) Assignment

    Today’s Assignment

    1. Find one of your past victories in life and add that to your mental flip book of scenes to draw from when you need it most.
    2. Find one metaphor to help you to represent how you bounce back in life.
    3. Find one song or one saying to have in your mind that you can use as a one-liner reminder to take the right actions when it counts.  For example, one that some people like is “Stand strong when tested.”
    Get Started with 30 Days of Getting Results

    If you want to start off well for 2015, and you have big dreams and big goals in mind, then give 30 Days of Getting Results a try:

    30 Days of Getting Results

    If you want to take it slow and steady, then just try one lesson each day.  If you’re feeling gung-ho, then see how quickly you can make it through all 30 at your own pace.

    To help you stay on track, if you take the slow and steady route, build the habit by adding a simple reminder to your calendar in the morning to go and take the next lesson.    Do it Monday through Friday and take the weekends off.

    Enjoy and best wishes for your best year ever.

    Dream Big for 2015 (my personal theme for 2015)

     

     

     

  • Categories: Blogs

    Lessons Learned from John Maxwell Revisited

    Sat, 01/03/2015 - 20:05

    I did a major cleanup of my post on lessons learned from John Maxwell:

    Lessons Learned from John Maxwell

    It should be much easier to read now. 

    It was worth cleaning up because John Maxwell is one of the deepest thinkers in the leadership space.  He’s published more than 50 books on leadership and he lives and breathes leadership in business and in life.

    When I first started studying leadership long ago, John Maxwell’s definition of leadership was the most precise I found:

    “Leadership is influence.”

    As I began to dig through his work, I was amazed at the nuggets and gems and words of wisdom that he shared in so many books.  I started with Your Road Map for Success.   I think my next book was The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.   Ironically, I didn’t realize it was the same author until I started to notice on my shelf that I had a growing collection of leadership books, all by John Maxwell.

    It was like finding the leadership Sherpa.

    Sure enough, over the years, he continued to fill the shelves at Barnes & Nobles, with book after book on all the various nooks and crannies of leadership. 

    This was about the same time that I noticed how Edward de Bono had filled the shelves with books on thinking.  I realized that some people really share there life’s work as a rich library that is a timeless gift for the world.   I also realized that it really helps people stand out in their field or discipline when they contribute so many guides and guidance to the art and science of whatever their specific focus is.

    What I like about John Maxwell’s work is that it’s plain English and down to Earth.  He writes in a very conversational way, and you can actually see his own progress throughout his books.  In Your Road Map for Success, it’s a great example of how he doesn’t treat leadership as something that comes naturally.  He works hard at it, to build his own knowledge base of patterns, practices, ideas, concepts, and inspirational stories.

    While he’s created a wealth of wisdom to help advance the practice of leadership, I think perhaps his greatest contribution is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  It’s truly a work of art, and he does an amazing job of distilling down the principles that serve as the backbone of effective leadership.

    Categories: Blogs

    My Story of Personal Transformation

    Fri, 01/02/2015 - 19:15

    Everybody has a story.   I thought I would share mine at Sources of Insight:

    My Story of Personal Transformation

    It’s the story of how I figured out how to do more of what makes me come alive, and how to share my unique value with the world.

    It’s a journey, but this story is a look backwards, and how it helped me shape my path forward.

    I included some of the key questions I asked, as well as some of the key resources I used to get a new lens on work and life. 

    Life can really be a game of chutes and ladders, depending on the questions you ask, the choices you make, and the actions you take.

    I think one of the biggest challenges we have in life, is a very personal one.  It’s the challenge of finding our voice.   It’s the challenge of finding our passion, our purpose, and our talents.  It’s the challenge of becoming all that we’re capable of.  And, it’s the challenge of how to make the most of what we’ve got, while helping others in our unique way.

    The other big challenge is avoiding regret, learning to live with regret, or learning how to live without regret.  What we regret the most, are the things we have a chance to change.  It’s our opportunities lost.  Or, to put it another way, we regret the things we didn’t do.   That can include things like not being true to ourselves, not expressing our feelings, not staying in touch with friends, or not letting ourselves be happier.

    The top regrets in life based on research are: education, career, romance, parenting, self-improvement, leisure, finance, health, friends, spirituality, and community.  Education is the top regret because it impacts so many areas of our life, and it’s within our control.

    The way I learned to write my story forward is to combine a combination of answering the following questions on an on-gong basis:

    1. Who do I want to be and what experiences do I want to create?
    2. Am I giving my best where you have my best to give?
    3. Am I  living my values?
    4. Am I saying “Yes” to opportunities?
    5. Am I sharing what I think and feel to the people in my life?

    Transformation is a journey of challenges and changes.  And that’s where our greatest growth comes from.

    Best wishes for your best year, ever.

    Categories: Blogs

    Get Your Goals On

    Fri, 01/02/2015 - 01:52

    “Another year over, And a new one just begun.” – John Lennon

    Ready to get your game on?

    January is a great time to focus on what you want out of this year.  As you close out last year, you can reflect on what went well and what things you could improve.   Focus on the growth.

    January is also a great time to build some momentum.  January and December are the bookends for your year.  It’s interesting how they are both a month apart and a year apart. 

    What you fill that year with, is your opportunity.

    If you’re having a hard time remembering what it means to dream big, I put together a collection of dream big quotes to rekindle your imagination.

    I’ve also put together a set of posts to help you create goals with skill:

    • 10 Reasons that Stop You from Reaching Your Goals - I see so many people who achieve their goals, and so many people who don’t.  I thought it would be helpful to nail down why so many people don’t achieve their goals, even when they have such good intentions.
    • Are You Living Your Dreams? - Here is a blurb I found from Dr. Lisa Christiansen that helps remind us to dream big, dream often, and live our dreams.
    • Change Your Strategy, Change Your Story, Change Your State - If you want to change your life, you have to change your strategy, you have to change your story, and you have to change your state.
    • Goal-Setting vs. Goal-Planning - Most people don’t step into what achieving their goal would actually take, so they get frustrated or disheartened when they bump into the first obstacles.   Worse, they usually don’t align their schedule and their habits or environment to help them.  They want their goals, they think about their goals, but they don’t put enough structure in place to support them when they need it most, especially if it’s a big habit change.  Don’t let this be you.
    • How Brian Tracy Sets Goals - Brian Tracy has an twelve-step goal-setting methodology that he’s taught to more than a million people. If you follow his approach … You will amaze yourself.  With his goal-setting methodology, he’s seen people transform.  They are astounded by what they start to accomplish.  They become a more powerful, positive, and effective person.  They feel like a winner every hour of the day.  They have a tremendous sense of personal control and direction.  They have more energy and enthusiasm.
    • How John Maxwell Sets Goals - John Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author.  And, one of his specialties is turning dreams into reality through a simple process of setting goals.
    • How Tony Robbins Sets Goals - This goal-setting approach is one of the most effective ways to motivate you from the inside out and move you to action, so if you have a case of the blahs, or if you want big changes in your life this might just be your answer.
    • How Tony Robbins Transformed His Life with Goals - Tony Robbins wanted to change his life with a passion.  He had hit rock bottom.  He was frustrated and feeling like a failure.  He was physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially “broke.”  He was alone and almost 40 pounds over-weight.  He was living in a small, studio apartment where he had to wash his dishes in the bathtub, because there was no kitchen.  He wanted out.
    • The Power of Dreams - John Maxwell shares what he’s learned about the power of dreams to shape our goals, to shape our work, and to shape our lives.
    • The Real Price of Your Dreams - Tony Robbins walks through helping a young entrepreneur translate their dream of living like a billionaire into what their lifestyle might actually cost.

    One of the most helpful things I’ve found with goal setting, is to start with 3 dreams or 3 wins for the year.  I learned this while I was putting together Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life.  As my story goes, I got frustrated and bogged down by a heavy goal process and lost in creating SMART goals.  I finally stepped back and just asked myself, what are Three Wins or Three Outcomes that I want out of this year?  The first things that came to mind were 1) ship my book, 2) get to my fighting weight, and 3) take an epic adventure.

    It wasn’t scientific, but it was significant, and it was simple.  But most of all, it was empowering.

    In retrospect, it seems so obvious now, but what I was missing in my goals was the part that always needs to happen first:  Dream big.  We need to first put our dreams on the table because that’s where meaningful goals are born from.  It’s the dreams that make our goals a force to be reckoned with.  Really, goals are just a way to break our dreams down into chunks of change we can deal with, and to help guide us on our journey towards the end in mind.   That’s why we have to keep pushing our dreams beyond our limits.  That way we don’t try to push ourselves with our goals.  Instead, we pull ourselves with our dreams.

    If you want to know how to get started with Agile Results, before you get the book, you can use the Agile Results QuickStart guide.  You can use it to create your personal results system.   It’s a simple system, but a powerful one.  Individuals, teams, and leaders use it to bring out their best and to make the mot of what they’ve got.

    To give you a quick example, if you want to rise above the noise of your day, just take a quick pause, and write down Three Wins that you want out of today.   If you’re day is pretty tough, you might say, “great breakfast, great lunch, great dinner.”  We have those days.  Or, if you’re feeling pretty good, you might say, “ship feature X” or “clear my backlog” or “finish my presentation” or “win a raving fan”, etc. 

    It sounds simple but by having Three Wins to hold onto for today, it helps you focus.  It helps you prioritize.  And it helps you get back on track, when you get off track.  It also gives you a quick way to feel good about your achievements at the end of the day, because you can actually name them.  They are your private victories.

    So, if you want to practice Agile Results, just remember to think in threes: Three Wins for the Day, Three Wins for the Week, Three Wins for the Month, Three Wins for the Year.    It will help you funnel and focus your time and energy on meaningful results that matter.   And, you’ll build momentum a moment at a time, as you respond to challenges, exercises your choices, and drive your changes in work and in life.

    Categories: Blogs

    There’s Magic in the Air

    Sun, 12/28/2014 - 19:44

    This is a follow up to Santa Lands on a Virgin Atlantic Plane with 4D Technology.  It turns out that you can measure the magic in the air.

    Here is the page that’s tracking the festive magic:

    There’s Magic in the Air

    Here is a snapshot of the page:

    image

     

    How are we measuring the festive magic?  Using cloud-based Dynamics social analytics software.

    Via the There’s Magic in the Air site:

    ”At Virgin Atlantic we love the festive season and so do lots of our customers.

    So this year, we wanted to see how much ‘festive magic’ our customers and employees are creating around the world.

    Partnering with our friends at Microsoft, we're using cloud based Dynamics social analytics software to calculate the volume and sentiment of social posts on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. We’re analyzing the posts for positive mentions of keywords like ‘Christmas,’ ‘magic’ and ‘reindeer.’ So we can understand how much of that festive magic is being generated every day until 7January, 2015.

    We're doing this in a totally anonymous way, and we're not storing any personal information. We just want to understand how much magic we're collectively creating during this period.”

    What a fun and festive way to show software in action, and use technology to light up the holiday season.

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    Categories: Blogs

    Productivity Books to Help You Know More, Be More, and Achieve More

    Fri, 12/26/2014 - 19:20

    I’ve put together a roundup of the best productivity books that have helped me get better results in work and life.  It contains many of the same books that I recommend to people and teams that I mentor.  Here is the list:

    Productivity Books

    It has a lot of books.  To be productive, it takes a lot of skills, and a lot of self-mastery.  And, you never know which book is going to do it for you.

    I organize the productivity books in a scenario-based way:

    • Top 10 Best Productivity Books
    • Getting Started
    • Advanced Productivity
    • Action
    • Delegation
    • Drive, Energy, and Motivation
    • Focus
    • Goals
    • Learning and School
    • Procrastination
    • Teams and Organizations
    • To-Do Lists
    • Work-Life Balance

    At the end of the list, I included all the books in a simple, flat A-Z list so you can quickly check against your own productivity book collection to see if I have mentioned books that you don’t have or don’t know about.

    I’ve put this list of productivity books together to give you an unfair advantage.   Competition can be fierce.  Remember that the best person to always compete against is you—find ways to be better, faster, or cheaper, when it comes to making things happen.  It’s how you stay in the game, and it’s how you change your game.

    In fact, productivity is a backbone for surviving and thriving.  Yeah, it’s a big deal.

    Also, bear in mind that the big idea behind extreme productivity, or effective productivity is to focus on learning and growth.   If you have a growth mindset, you’ll win in the long-run, because you’ll get better over time, and you can compound your effort.  Also, learn to embrace the effort, and to love the work you do, or love the way you do it.  

    Your work is the ultimate self-expression, and the legacy you leave behind, can be an inspiration for yourself, as well as for others.

    My Productivity Books page will be a living catalog of the books I draw from, and it’s part of my bigger Great Books collection, where I share the world’s best books for insight and action on business, career, leadership, personal development, and more.

    I know there are a lot of productivity books on my list.   If I can only recommend one, I start people off with Getting Results the Agile Way.   I wrote it specifically to help people get better results in work and life with a simple system I developed over time in extreme scenarios.   It integrates proven practices for personal productivity, as well as positive psychology, project management, sports science, and more in terms of achieving high-performance with flow.  And, it’s easy to get started (Here is the Agile Results QuickStart.)

    I believe in the power of books to change lives.   Productivity is just one area, but it’s an area that impacts all the other major areas of our life.

    If you can master productivity, you can know more, be more, and achieve more.

    And, if you balance that with living your values, making an impact, and enjoying the journey, that is the key to living la vida buena.

    Categories: Blogs

    Santa Lands on a Virgin Atlantic Plane with 4D Technology

    Wed, 12/24/2014 - 06:05

    Microsoft and Virgin help land Santa on top of a plane at 30,000 feet.  If you’ve been wondering where Santa’s been, he landed on top of a Virgin Atlantic plane and did a photo shoot with the passengers.

    Microsoft teamed up with Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic to bring the magic of Christmas to life.  In the world’s first 4D experience in flight, Santa Claus appears to land on top of a Virgin Atlantic plane at 30,000 feet. 

    How’s that for some fancy flying with modern technology?!

    Each passenger was also given a Windows tablet so they could track Father Christmas and chat with him during the flight.

    Here’s the video of Santa landing on top of the plane and visiting with the passengers:

    Video: Santa Lands on Top of a Virgin Atlantic Plane at 30,000 Feet

    Here are a few scenes that show Santa in action …

    Here’s one of Santa’s reindeer peering down into the cabin from on top of the plane:

    image

    Here’s Santa peering down into the cabin from above the plane before he goes inside:

    image

    Santa sees somebody he recognizes:

    image

    Santa boards the plane and walks the cabin:

    image

    The kids are excited to see Santa:

    image

    image

     

    Adults are happy, too:

    image

    image

    Santa has time for some photo shoots:

    image

    image

    Santa leaves to get back to his sleigh on top of the plane:

    image

    Virgin Atlantic and Microsoft wish everybody a very, merry Christmas:

    image

    Here’s Richard Branson’s post on the story:

    Santa Lands on Virgin Atlantic Plane at 30,000 Feet

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

    JD

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    Categories: Blogs

    The Best Books I Read in 2014

    Mon, 12/22/2014 - 19:15

    I wrote a roundup of the best books I read in 2014.  

    I read a lot of books, and not all of them are worth sharing.  I’m a believer that leaders are readers, and as Bill Gates says, “reading is how I learn best.”

    Here are a few of the books that made my list:

    • All in Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything is On the Line, by Diana Kander
    • Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want, by Patricia Walsh
    • Eat for Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
    • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, by Scott Adams
    • Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee
    • The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, by Alex Lickerman
    • Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Secrets to Look, Feel, and Think Younger Every Day, by Daniel G. Amen, M.D

    For the full list and some quick perspective on each book, you can read my post on the best books I read in 2014.

    Categories: Blogs

    10 Big Ideas from A Christmas Carol

    Sun, 12/21/2014 - 22:54

    Sometimes with all the hustle and bustle, it can be tough to find the holiday spirit.

    It’s easy to say “Bah!—Humbug!”, but that’s a spiral down.

    The key is to find the people and ideas that lift you up and remind you what you’re capable of.  

    I’ve put together 10 Big Ideas from A Christmas Carol at Sources of Insight.com to help you get your holiday groove on. 

    Here are the10 big ideas at a glance:

    1. Your Right to Be Merry is a Choice, Whether You’re Rich or Poor
    2. We Wear the Chains We Forge in Life
    3. Deep Within Us We’re Full of Life
    4. The Good Times Didn’t Cost a Fortune
    5. Choose the Girl, Not the Gold
    6. Don’t Lose the Spirit of Christmas Because of Those Who Taint It
    7. Beware of Ignorance and Want
    8. Live With the Past, the Present, and the Future in Mind
    9. You Can Change in an Instant
    10. Live in a Way Your Heart Can Laugh

    For elaboration, and supporting snippets from A Christmas Carol, check out my full post on 10 Big Ideas from A Christmas Carol.  There’s a little smile in there for everyone.

    If you take a quick time out in your day, and really step into it, I bet you'll find at least one nugget that helps you feel a little lighter, laugh a little louder, or love a little more.

    Either way, remember that the choice is always yours – humbugs and all.

    Happy holidays to you and yours.

    Categories: Blogs

    The Sweet Spot of Customer Demand Meets Microsoft Supply

    Thu, 12/18/2014 - 19:10

    Here’s a simple visual that I whiteboard when I lead workshops for business transformation.

    image

    The Sweet Spot is where customer “demand” meets Microsoft “supply.”

    I’m not a fan of product pushers or product pushing.  I’m a fan of creating “pull.”

    In order for customers to pull-through any product, platform, or service, you need to know the customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.  Without customer empathy, you’re not relevant.

    This is a simple visual, but a powerful one.  

    When you have good representation of the voice of the customer, you can really identity problems worth solving.   It always comes down to pains, needs, opportunities, and desired outcomes.  In short, I always just say pains, needs, and desired outcomes so that people can remember it easily.

    To make it real, we use scenarios to tell a simple story of a customer’s pain, needs, and desired outcomes.   We use our friends in the field working with customers to give us real stories of real pain.  

    Here is an example Scenario Narrative where a company is struggling in creating products that its customers care about …

    image

    As you can see, the Current State is a pretty good story of pain, that a lot of business leaders and product owners can identify with.  For some, it’s all too real, because it is their story and they can see themselves in it.

    In the Desired Future State, it’s a pretty good story of what success would look like.   It paints a pretty simple picture of what would be an ideal scenario …. a future possibility.

    Here is an example of a Solution Storyboard, where we paint a simple picture of that Desired Future State, or more precisely, a Future Capability Vision.     It’s this Future Capability Vision that shows how, with the right capabilities, the customer can address their pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

    image

    The beauty of this approach is that it’s product and technology agnostic.   It’s all about building capabilities.

    From there, with a  good understanding of the pains, needs, and desired outcomes, it’s super easy to overlay relevant products, technologies, consulting services, etc.

    And then, rather than trying to do a product “push”, it becomes a product “pull” because it connects with customers in a very deep, very real, very relevant way.

    Think “pull” not “push.”

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    Categories: Blogs

    Former Softie Patricia Walsh Sets a World Record for Blind Triathletes

    Mon, 12/08/2014 - 18:20

    I’m always of fan of hearing about how Softies change the world, inside and outside of Microsoft.

    I was reading Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want by Patricia Walsh.  It’s an inspirational story, as well as an insightful read if you are looking for ways to up your game or get the edge in work and life.

    I wrote a 10 Big Ideas from Blind Ambition to share some of the highlights from the book.

    Walsh is a former Softie.  More than that, she has raced in marathons, ultra-marathons and IRONMAN triathlons.  In 2011, Walsh set a new world record for blind triathletes, shattering the previous male and female records by over 50 minutes.

    Pretty impressive.

    She left Microsoft to start her own business, pursuit her speaking career, and train as a world-class athlete.

    She set a high-bar.

    But she also set a great example.  Walsh wanted to help light the way for others to show them that they can be limitless if they set goals, put in the work, and don’t let fear or failures hold them back. 

    And most importantly, don’t put limits on yourself, and don’t fall into the trap of the limits that others put on you.

    Categories: Blogs

    If You Want to Thrive at Microsoft

    Tue, 12/02/2014 - 17:01

    I was reading back through Satya Nadella’s email on Bold Ambition and Our Core, and a few things caught my eye.

    One of them was the idea that if you want to thrive at Microsoft, you need to drive change.

    Satya writes:

    “And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.

    Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on this core strategy. Organizations will change. Mergers and acquisitions will occur. Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned. Our priorities will be adjusted. New skills will be built. New ideas will be heard. New hires will be made. Processes will be simplified. And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.”

    Change is in the air, and Satya has given everyone a license to thrive by re-imagining how to change the world, or at least their part of it.

    For me, I’m focused on how to accelerate business transformation with Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

    Together, these technology trends are enabling new end-to-end customer experiences, workforce transformation, and operations transformation.

    It’s all about unleashing what individuals and businesses are capable of.

    Categories: Blogs