Organizational Excellence

People and Process Improvement

Posts Tagged ‘personal vision

Got Vision? Tree Huggers, Unite!

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I really don’t consider myself an environmentalist nut. Yes, I am very aware of our global issues but who isn’t? Now and then my avocation (wind industry) leads me to information that is really hard to blow off, like this.

A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms

How aware are you of global warming? Think about your grandchildren-what will their world be like, if we only get 1-2 degrees warmer which is already about guaranteed? Don’t even read the projections for a more than 2 degree increase.

This is sobering to the nth degree. Read it, share it, wake up.

Now, for that engagement thing…when someone connects to a larger purpose their emotional connection therefore engagement levels ramps up dramatically. I’m lucky-I don’t even have to stretch to see my greater purpose. How about you?

Leaders and influencers-what things have you done, to help people connect to a greater purpose? How do you do it without sounding like a fringe evangelist?



Written by Craig

November 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More

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Taking time to figure out what really matters in the long run shouldn’t be such a rare luxury. But it is.

Find time to breathe.


(Within this self-talk is a testimonial to the importance of personal, values-based connecting, and the need to check in with the plan now and then. A few links below may help to make it more clear-ca)

Maybe a little air time will ensure some accountability on my part to git r done… if you’ve peeked in here before you know by now that personal vision, values, planning and alignment are a big deal in my world. So big that I’m on a mission to get something out there to help others make their connections.

There is a grander purpose behind being personally connected. Quite simply: things are a mess on a global, national, societal scale. The only way we can collectively impact things is to first tidy up our own lives one-by-one. I want to contribute at that level. It’s absolutely critical to me personally as my long-time personal vision is: make an impact, leave a legacy.

A few months back, I asked What Drives You?  preceded by What’s Your One Thing?  (remember Jack Palance as cowpoke Curly in City Slickers?)

My One Thing is to Connect. First with myself, so I can more effectively help others do the same. My strategic intent is to do my part to make others’ lives more meaningful, therefore making the world a better place, all in the interest of The Greater Good  — a group I host on the Employee Engagement Network.

It all comes down to leveraging the power of influence we each have: One Pond, One Pebble

This Connections book project has consumed me, as it targets my vision and matches up with my core values: creativity, freedom from unnecessary constraints, helping others. Even my interpretation of the value spirituality is tapped. In its essence spirituality to me means connecting…with myself, with all that is around me, (the Tao or the Force, which is it?) with others, with a greater purpose and the being who is greater than me.

I’m lucky-all this high-falootin’ stuff has been important to me for quite some time. Not everyone can claim that. And there is my Driver to help me reach my Vision! I now have to gear up to attack the “helping others” value factor in the equation, something that has been missing in my values-based action plan lately.

As I maintain throughout the Connections project, it is absolutely essential for each of us (and for society / the world / the Greater Good!) to connect with our values, to establish a values-based purpose in life. Out of the collective of individuals with strong personal values comes strong shared values, norms, healthy culture, healthy companies.

All this with a renewed sense of urgency. See Gotta Love Those Life-changing Events.

My most powerful strategic lever for propelling me toward my vision is the Values piece from Connections. Gear it up!

Ain’t Wastin Time No More!


So that’s what’s up with me lately. How are you doing? Are you connected? Taking time to figure out what really matters in the long run shouldn’t be such a rare luxury. But it is. We’re continuously reacting to our surroundings, inundated with the pressures of daily demands, juggling an abundance of urgencies thrown at us from every direction.

Find time to breathe.

Written by Craig

September 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

The Secret of Life

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A little Brain Dump is always a good way to start the work week. I feel better already.

Engagement and success are kissing cousins. Need one to have the other. To me, these few things make or break whether you are “successful” whatever success means to you. No matter if you’re talking about a relationship, being a parent, or being in any position from president / politician, from the big boss all the way to a factory worker or admin assistant to the assistant.

This is not nuclear physics. It won’t solve world hunger. I’ll take care of that this afternoon. But for now…add something to the Secret of Life short list and “Like” if you think this isn’t out of reach. If you don’t like this, I probably wouldn’t ‘like’ you!

  • Do what you know is right.
  • Do what’s expected of you. If you don’t know, ask. Ignorance is not an excuse.
  • Take time to consider the other person’s needs and feelings.
  • Find what you like to do, and were meant to do. Then, Just DO it!

Reward those people who deliver on these things. No matter whether a simple “thanks, you’re appreciated” or a little well-earned respect. Money sometimes works too, but those other things are free.

Get rid of or at least distance yourself from those who don’t deliver. They may be contagious and life’s too short. It may sound cold, but Darwin was right.

Add anything to the list?


Written by Craig

August 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

Gotta Love Those Life-changing Events

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It’s June 16, 2012. A beautiful Saturday morning except that it’s my third sunrise looking out a hospital window. I’ve had a heart attack, fairly minor but still way up there in the hierarchy of life-changing events.

The realizations creep in one-by-one. This is my third too-close brush with being finite. I’m 58 and maybe I’m not indestructible after all. Maybe I need to finish writing those songs. Maybe continuous 13-hour days are not as do-able as I thought. Maybe I do need to pay attention to what I eat. Maybe I need to pay more attention to my wife’s nagging (?) and start taking all those supplements. Maybe I don’t have forever to do all the things I really want to do.

We’re each given only so much of it…maybe I need to stop wasting time.

This book project has plodded along for well over two years, through numerous direction and design changes and spurts of progress before stalling out again. The irony: Connections makes the case for identifying, understanding and relentlessly pursuing your values-driven goals, to become fully connected with what is truly important to you, to set your direction then doggedly stay on that path. The destination: a happier, more productive, longer and healthier life.

Physician, heal thyself!

They told me this morning it would be at least two weeks before I go back to work. That’s a great chance to get things in perspective and get back on track, even though I hope to negotiate that “two weeks” down a bit (see, there I go).

One thing I’ve learned that I hope you can take to heart: the wake-up calls we get can be extremely rude and obnoxious if you don’t tune in and pay attention to the more subtle signals.

Tomorrow is my first day on the outside. It’s also Father’s Day, and I’m going to ease into this recovery business. Going fishing with my daughter.

Look, listen, connect. It’s a good place.


Post-fishing excursion update: I’m afraid I exceeded my 10lb weight restriction a couple of times. What was I supposed to do, hand the pole over to my daughter and say “you better handle this one-it’s too big for me”? Not gonna happen.

Written by Craig

June 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

One Pebble, One Pond

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 I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do…

So I’ll leave it up to you. (Ten Years After, 1971)

1971 was at the tail end of the most socially conscious decade in American history. A great many movements and world-changers. I’d Love to Change the World lamented the state of society, and a perceived helplessness to do anything about it.

The “Occupy Anything Anywhere” movement 40 years later is nothing new. We used to call them “sit-ins” back in the day…right on.

Sit-ins, demonstrations and unauthorized occupations are not the only way to effect change, and possibly not even the most effective. What happens after the tribe disbands, and the event and press coverage go away? Change is more than an event. South American social guerilla / change agent Che Guevara knew it. He maintained that the only way to achieve lasting change is through controlling the education and communications systems–what people learn and what is continuously reinforced.

For those of us who are not radical wearers of Che beanies seeking to overthrow governments, for those who can’t take months off work to camp out in a public park to make our statement, we still have a huge impact opportunity in front of us.

It starts with one pebble, one pond — with me and my circles of influence. The tiny ripples from my single pebble eventually overlap and join with others, until the smooth pond surface is in constant motion, unrecognizable compared to the mirror surface it once was.

If nothing happens over time, the pond surface will revert back to what it was.

Nothing lasts without continued effort and focus on what must be accomplished. We need more pebbles and more people dropping them. One pebble, one pond.

Circles of Influence, Meet Chain of Command

Influence is the unofficial authority a person of credibility has, and it has impacts that reach way beyond positional power. People comply to the orders of a position, they commit to follow a person of influence. Big difference!

This is not a denouncement of chain of command, it’s an endorsement of influence. A positioned person needs influence to be an effective leader of people; without influence that person is just a manager of things. Credibility feeds influence, which feeds things getting done. So if credibility is the trigger, how do you ‘do’ it?

People earn credibility, and a company or organization does as well. Both earn credibility when they consistently deliver results with integrity…

with integrity?!

Credibility and integrity are almost interchangeable. One certainly enhances the other. The difference: while credibility has to do with how well you do things, integrity comes into play with how you behave while you’re doing those things.

You can have one without the other:

John is the go-to guy for this kind of project. He can do it in half the time and get amazing results. But watch out…his “get it done whatever the cost” approach has left broken people in his wake more than once. But that’s the price you pay for tapping his expertise. Ouch.

Mary is the consummate team player. She’s great to be around, and you can always count on her to be there and do what you ask of her. But she has a hard time taking the initiative to move forward on her own without approval. It’s really tough to find something of importance that you can be sure she is able to do without guidance, and you need low maintenance self-starters to get this project done. Ouch again.

What we really need is John and Mary in one package. But if you could only have one which is more critical—credibility or integrity?

Written by Craig

April 11, 2012 at 7:55 am

What’s Your “One Thing”?

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City Slickers Dialogue: Metro Man Mitch (Billy Crystal) and Cowpoke Curly (Jack Palance)

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? This. [holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.

My personal vision, developed 15 years ago: leave a legacy, make an impact. I have a detailed strategy and ever-adapting action plan to support that vision but won’t bore you with it here, except to say that my strategic pyramid is based on personal values, a few attributes that have been my deepest drivers since at least junior high. A long time ago! I am certain these are deep, personality-anchored values, not just transitory or behavioral based on where I am at present.

I’ve given it a good deal of thought, in part through the work on this project. I am certain my “One Thing” is to connect. That is what my personal well-being and engagement is dependent upon, and connecting will allow me to become an effective enabler of engagement for those in my circle of influence….my ticket to leaving a legacy, making an impact.

There are many different connections, one being the connection among all I do in my life. It flies in the face of work-life balance, but I Am What I Do. Am I just lucky enough to be involved in something that allows me to attack the whole enchilada at once, with one focus, and not have to be overly concerned with maintaining that precious balance? Or maybe I’m deluding myself and I really am a workaholic headed for burnout?

There is a lot at stake. Those dynamics bear close watching, and I’m on it!

I teach at a local college now and then, most recently my personal favorite Total Quality Management: Performance Excellence. “Total quality” means just that: it encompasses everything we do at work, at home, in the community. Performance excellence in its broadest sense is meeting expectations first time, every time, on time–again at work, at home, in the community. So the class has a decidedly “big” flavor. Workplace-specific concepts and theories are applied to students’ private lives and vice versa.

Class exercises, discussions and projects are absolutely relevant to my day job. What applies in class applies to work, applies at home, applies socially. I research one and it applies directly to the other.

I get a lot of good out of reading and contributing to discussions on The Employee Engagement Network, a growing global social network of over 3,000 devotees of engagement (easy to find: Google it).  What I read there, what I contribute there has everything to do with what I do at work, what I share in my college class, who I am at home, my role in the community.

I am what I do, I do who I am. I am connected.

Your Challenge: connect. It’s a good place.

Written by Craig

February 16, 2011 at 6:12 am

Reinventing Myself

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People have emailed me, wondering why I haven’t posted anything lately. That’s a bit humbling, as this blog has been primarily to help me frame my thoughts. But there are people who have actually been paying attention to these musings…thank you!

Briefly, I’ve taken a break for introspection triggered by a “hard right turn” career change. A summary of that inward look follows. The result-I am starting a more focused blog, yet to be published. Some of the themes found here will carry over, some will not. I do plan on keeping this blog up and running, but with even more random thoughts and probably more fun than it has been. Stay tuned.

Besides this reinvention I’ve had an epiphany along the way too, thanks again to my career / position-on-the-ladder shift. See John Everyman.  As an immensely respected mentor inscribed in a Max Depree book he gave me in 2001, “never lose sight of yourself.”

 I did, and didn’t even realize it.

The Road to Reinvention

Over the past 20+ years I have worked for two multi-billion dollar multiple-location corporations, with projects at both the business unit and corporate levels. I’ve been both a follower and a leader. Hopefully, the experience in one has had a positive impact in my ability to be the other. I have been involved in development of people and process improvement, in business process and manufacturing environments. Most recent projects included culture change, leadership curriculum development, alignment and action planning, developing and managing systems (performance management, quality management, and communication systems), re-engineering, standard work and lean implementation.

After losing my position in February 2009, I stopped to examine my direction. Did I need professional re-engineering? Are my knowledge base and my core competencies a good fit with my values and beliefs, and career plans? More importantly, was I focusing on critical areas that businesses need to achieve excellence, and were those areas worth devoting my efforts to in this phase of my career?

In short…is my direction personally relevant (engaging) and professionally relevant (marketable)?

I’ve moved past ladder climbing; I simply want to make a meaningful contribution where that contribution is truly valued and strategically significant. I do not care to work in a large corporate environment again; I prefer being part of a smaller organization that is flexible and insightful enough to do what it needs to do.

I have always been a huge believer in “involvement”. Involvement has transformed into the loftier concept of “engagement”. But what you call it matters little. Either way, two truths stand out:

  1. If you don’t pay constant attention to the “soft” stuff (the human side of the business—working relationships, personal development, teaming, involvement etc) you will never fully achieve the maximum level of “hard” results (### and $$$) that your business is capable of. And,
  2. If the soft stuff does not have a strategic impact, what good is it? Who has time for irrelevant hugs and kisses classes with no purpose? Forget Kumbaya, show me the cash.

Over the past half year I produced a random series of essays loosely focused on what is becoming the basis of Roadmap. Thousands of surfers visited this blog without any active promotion on my part. For me this affirmed the power of cyber space, but also indicated a high level of interest in Engagement, Alignment, Communication, Systems and Involvement…my reinvented focus.

Mission: Within my sphere of influence, enable individuals and leaders to leverage the power of engagement to more fully realize flawless execution of strategy.

Vision: Improve quality of life and protect our standard of living. Serve as a catalyst who enables highly satisfied and productive people, leading to greater business and industry profitability and success.

Unlike some missions / visions, I feel confident that mine has sturdy legs: supporting objectives, strategies, and action plans. One strategy is to produce what you are reading right now, and my target market and how to reach it are both detailed in my objectives.

 The Relevance

So why all this personal disclosure, and how is it relevant here? Why should anyone but family and friends care at all about any of this?

One: I wanted to share my experience with you, so others can understand my perspective. Two: personal re-invention comes highly recommended to other individuals. Three, the introspective analysis I conducted is roughly the same process a company goes through, or should go through, on a regular basis to re-evaluate, validate and adjust its strategic direction. My reinvention was reactive, out of necessity, caused by a “crisis”…career change. I would strongly advise others to be more proactive-don’t wait for the bleeding to start. Rather, prevent the injury!

In my chosen avocation, if you’re not continuously evolving you’re falling behind. The opposite of growth is stagnation, atrophy and, eventually, death. I don’t want to look back when it’s too late and do the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” thing.

In that respect is your business, career, or life any different than mine?

Written by Craig

December 28, 2009 at 4:14 am