They will tell you…{2/3}

Where the issue starts. aka taking initiative

I am a firm believer that consistent encouragement can help drive great results in people, however my interpretation of what and when to encourage has changed over the past few years. Somewhere the idea of taking the initiative was altered to be restricted as if it has been worn down overtime and is a shadow of it’s former self. I have always thought of it as “doing something before you were asked”. Simple right? At the face of it yes, but what really gets done prior to being asked in a fast paced, need everything yesterday environment, not a whole lot. So to me there are two flavors of initiative taking.

1. Taking the next step:
Simply adding a bit more insight to an analysis or trying to answer what the customers’ next question will be. This seems like it should be commonplace but I see it rarely accomplished. I would consider this, although rare, to be a part of one’s daily existence and not ground breaking work. This is where I think most people think initiative ends.

2. Taking the first step:
This is the something. This is laying it on the line, dangerous and fun! This something can be simple;
“hey I think it would be awesome to see X compared with Y broken down by Z across T” or more complex like quantifying geographic share of wallet or the importance and influence of grass roots marketing campaigns or even building an app / feature / product to do all of those. No matter the size of the effort, it is the uniqueness that counts! I would even say it is not always the uniqueness of the idea (others have probably thought of it), but maybe the process you go about it that counts. (I did it for x vs a third party that would cost $$$)

There is another part of this process in terms of gaining acknowledgment for your deeds. This quality is represented in every facet of successful life but is rarely talked about. It is mentioned in undertones by Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly when explaining the 10k hour rule. It shows up when we admire the athletes competing at any professional level, writers that continue to produce amazing prose as well as the successful entrepreneur that seems to continually defeat the odds.

I am talking about consistency. Good old fashioned, roll up your sleeves, grind through the difficulties consistency that is lacking in many of us today.

How does this relate to taking the initiative? Showing some initiative once will get you noticed but in my reality that attention fades quickly. It is your ability to consistently (there’s that word again) show up and perform that will create value, not only for your organization but for yourself as well.

Last part coming soon…

They will tell you… {1/3}

“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.”

Walter Payton

How to get told?

Have you ever really worked for something?  I mean put your heart and soul into every part of the process from initial inkling to final design and execution.  It is an exhausting, exhilarating, emotional journey that can (and has) dropped many to their knees.  The something is almost irrelevant.  My somethings have ranged from in-depth analysis and models, web apps, visualizations, my fitness / health, my family and so on.  In each of these cases I have (an continue) to put my everything into them.  So… (coming back to the point here) you can imagine that when I “finish” one of my somethings I would love some sort of recognition of the work, time, genius that went into the something, everyone would.  Sometimes simple “pat on the back” or “good game” is enough to suffice, other times it takes a bit more, but in any case it is a welcomed acknowledgment of usefulness.

more coming soon…

Starting is easy…(re-post from first site)

starting is easy it’s the staying that’s hard.

I cannot even begin to describe the excitement I feel at the dawning of 2014. New challenges, new opportunities in family, work, fitness and faith. I have hopes to conquer them all! But I know this is the easy part, the real work starts in February as the newness wears off and the work required to meet our goals sets in.

3:45AM – January 2nd 2014:

In my garage, staring at the dirty floor covered in leaves that blew in over the past week, having yet another internal battle about getting down and getting to work or crawling into the ever so tempting warm covers of my bed and crashing until it’s time to head to the office. This was at least the 4th mental battle I faced today and so far I had been winning, but this was the last step. I know if I can just get on the floor I will finish my warm up, the subsequent workout will have the prescribed intensity and that morning shower will feel just right, my drive in will be less exhausting, my day at the office much more productive and my food choices will be that much better. I stood shivering for another 30 seconds and got to it. Today I won. Tomorrow is yet to be fought. I wish I could write this as someone who has always accomplished my goals, finished my lists and saw every project to completion. But that would be a lie. I am a (by my own admission) a starting junkie. I have great ideas and tons of initial passion but at some point a change occurs. An external force summons me in another direction. In some cases this is a blessing (the opportunity to move closer to family) in others a disappointment (fell of the diet again…) but in almost all cases these changes are my reaction to an external party. (Sorry Stephen Covey, the book was great, but had not sunk in) So why write about this now? What new external force is driving me to put myself out there, to be more active and truthful in my approach… hopefully just me.

I am NOT going to write about the new fitness craze (although I will speak at length of my love for the physical)

I am NOT going to write about how Big Data (*cringe*) is changing my existence (but I will talk about my experiences in analytics)

I am NOT going to talk about how to fix your personal lives (but I will bring up my family often!)

I will NOT talk about my spirituality and church community (but I swear I will always work to be a better Christian and ask as many questions as people will answer and that will happen here.)

So with that I say HAPPY NEW YEAR and 2014 is looking great! I am excited to keep this outlet going and look forward to the freezing garage floor, the long drive to the office, the politics I cannot change, the frustrating up and down of work and life balance but most of all I look forward to creating my own path and only allowing the external forces that I choose to affect my life.