Year In Review – Explore …Dream…Discover

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I’m starting my post by reflecting on Mark Twain quotes, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.”     Just like most folks, at times I do feel the comfort of the current state and am hesitant to test the water.   Why risk it?  Why make a move and end up at the bottom of the pool?  Why change things at work?  Too many questions, but I don’t have any answers, as I have not put much thought into it.

To summarize my year, it has been a great year for me because of the following reasons:

  • Participated in the St. Elizabeth Men’s Cornerstone program – for years, I hesitated attending this retreat, but in the end I’m glad I did because I have a profound sense of appreciation for what I have and gained 18 good friends along the way.
  • Promotion at work – after years of waiting for my turn, I never waver and continue to work hard. I evolved by learning new skills and doing my very best at all times.  I never give up and believe in chasing my dream and making it happen.  It helps that I stayed positive during the numerous years of not getting my promotions.  All throughout this journey, I continued to put my people ahead of my personal agenda and make sure that I show my appreciation for their commitment and contributions.   It is my belief that people are the most important assets.
  • Participated as an assistant coach for my daughter’s recreational soccer team – soccer is not my best sport, but I figured that I’m a quick learner.  I enjoyed being there for my daughter and helping out the coach.  I truly enjoyed this experience and bonded with my daughter.
  • Caddied for my daughter’s golf lesson and tournaments – I value the time I spent with my daughter and the test of my patience.   We’ve spent a lot of hours playing together that made me look forward to next season with much enthusiasm.    The highlight was when she played at the Twin Willow shootout and placed second.  I’m so proud of her.  I’ll forever remember this experience.
  • The-Character-Based-LeaderBook launch of the Lead Change Book project on Character-Based Leader – writing a book has been on my checklist for many years.  I’m honored to work with 20 other authors that I never met until the book was launched.  This is pure collaboration using social media to its full extent.  We met through Twitter and collaborated until we completed this book.   The icing on the cake was when I met Tara at the Danbury book signing.   What an experience!  A true test of pushing the limit and working outside of my comfort zone.
  • Presenting the Recipe to the 2012 Year Up at UBS – I prepared this material in the middle of the year and was excited to share it with folks who are starting their careers and learning the ropes.  The goal of the presentation was to impart knowledge on what it takes to be successful.
  • Hosted a picnic for my group – I believe that, as a leader of my group, I’m serving my people first and making sure that I show them my appreciation for their hard work and commitment.   I took over a new group in June and was given the challenging tasks of building out a new platform while continuing to roll out the existing application. By helping the team to focus on our goals, we were able to complete our initial deliverables and then build out the new platform.  It is an amazing accomplishment considering we were behind the eight ball by 5 months.  The picnic was the highlight that people on my team still talk about to this date.
  • Learning a lot about myself – Hurricane Sandy tested my ability to help the firm recover its critical infrastructure.  I worked through adversity and led the team through our recovery and restoration efforts.    With 9 days of no electricity and working through almost 30 hours and, all in all, two weeks of continued work,  I learned that I’m capable to lead in tough situations when called upon.
  • Coaching my daughter’s basketball team – being an assistant coach is one thing, but coaching is taking the challenge to the next level.    I look at this opportunity to teach the girls leadership and teamwork.  At the same time, I’m there for my daughter and making the most of my opportunity to be part of her activities.   Like anything that I get myself involved in, I do it 100% as I spend time planning, reviewing and organizing sessions.  So far we have a great season and the girls are having fun learning how to play basketball.
  • Celebrated three years of blogging – this is an important milestone in my aspiration to spread the word and share my knowledge and experiences.   This is one of the most important missions I have—to help raise awareness on issues or challenges that people are encountering.

By all standards, this is one of the best years I ever had.   As I look back to the year that went by so fast, I feel blessed that I created a plan and tracked my progress throughout the year.   The lesson that I want to impart to everyone is that you need to create a plan.  Because without a plan, you’ll be working on other people’s plans.   Without a plan, it is like walking blindfolded as you go down the stairs.  Please start your year by creating a plan, then track your progress.   I urge you to dream, explore and discover new things and challenge yourself.

As I look forward to next year, I challenge myself to think about Mark Twain’s quote as I start updating my plan.   I want to make sure I challenge myself and avoid playing the what-if scenario.   In the next two weeks, I’ll be reviewing my plan and plotting my next steps.   Mark Twain’s quote will be a constant reminder not to play it safe.    As your take away, I hope you’ll prepare your plan and track your progress throughout the year.    I encourage you to share your story and let me know how I can be of help.  Best wishes to you on the coming year.

Embracing Change

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

Humans in many ways are creatures of habit.  After doing something for a while, we become comfortable and are set in our ways.    Status quo becomes the norm and we would rather go through the motions. The notion of things being changed is something we dread happening to us.

As much as we want to stay the same, everything will change around us, like weather, seasons, and aging to name a few.  The fact of the matter is that there are three things in life that are guaranteed, namely:  death, taxes and change.    At some point we will age and die, hence death is guaranteed to happen at some point in our lifetime.  If we work, we have to pay taxes.  Of course we can choose not to pay taxes, but the consequence means being jailed for failure to pay taxes, hence not an appealing scenario.  Lastly, change will happen whether you like it or not.  Either you initiate change, embrace change, or it will happen to you with or without your approval.

When it comes to change, some people are up in arms as soon as they find out that change is happening around them.   They believe it is a waste of time.  As some people would say, “It is working, why change?”    Others would say, “Don’t fix it if it is not broken.”    However the fact of the matter is, you cannot use the technology of the past and do business today.   It would work, but it is rather inefficient.   As time goes on, there are new ways of doing things.  New tools or methods that can make things better by being effective and efficient.

 

So, how do we react to change?

  • First, learn what the change is all about – the reason for change and genesis of effecting a change.   Everything happens for a reason, whether we agree or not.   But change often is not initiated just for the sake of changing.  There is always a purpose and reason for it.
  • Secondly, ask yourself the following questions: What does it meant to you? What does it mean to your organization?  This question is important because you need to know the value of the proposition and how it affects you and the organization.   In essence it is the understanding of what is in it for you (WIIFY).   Will you be learning something new?  Will it help you enhance your skills?  What value does it bring?
  • Lastly, decide if you agree with the change and its reason.   If you agree with the change, you need to learn what is it you can do to help facilitate the change.   If you don’t agree with the change, you need to decide on your next step.  It could mean moving on or looking for other opportunities.

 

From my personal perspective, I’d rather help facilitate the change or be part of the group that initiates change.    Otherwise, change will be imposed on us, and at that point we would have little or no influence in the way it is implemented.  One of my favorite quotes by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”     Adapting to change is the key to our success.    If we don’t change, it will happen to us and we will not like the outcome.   It is best to understand and learn how we can help effect the change.    Some people believe that they can outlast a change.    Meaning all they need to do is hang in there and eventually it will blow over like a wind.  By doing so, you will not learn anything.

As Dennis O’Grady in “Bottom Line” used to say, “Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad — not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life — to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested . … Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull.”    The fact of life is we cannot do nothing and expect things to get better.  We need to change and evolve and improve.   Progress is only possible if we change.

The next time change is happening around you, follow the three steps of how to react to change and please share the outcome.  I would like to learn from your experience.