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.

A journey that created the Character-Based Leader book

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

In 2009 I was exploring the social media out of curiosity.   It is also the same time I decided to embark on blogging.    I joined Twitter to share my knowledge and experiences as a way of giving back or paying forward.    But I was not sure what to expect.    I wondered what the power of a 140 characters message was and how this thing called Twitter could aid in spreading my message.   As I tweeted messages each day, I would see other messages that I liked and I would find myself following those people that share the same passion for leadership, coaching, mentoring and customer service.  Also, I gained followers and connected with people.

Mike Henry Sr. is a person that opened the door for me.  I connected with him and before you know it we were talking about a possible meeting of the group of people that form lead change.  The focus of the team is authentic leadership.   We all shared a common belief that we need to instigate a leadership revolution that focuses on values, honesty and integrity.    It is evident that we need this as evidenced by the leadership of various companies that failed to lead their companies and caused the economy to unravel.

 

The book was a byproduct of 21 people who came together with a common goal of writing a book and sharing our experience, knowledge and expertise to instigating a leadership revolution.    The group consists of people from three countries, namely: Canada, Mexico and the U.S.    Ten of the members met at a conference in 2010; the rest communicated via conference call and started to collaborate on how to proceed with this project.   On the week of September 24th, the Character-Based Leader book launches.  For more information about the launch, please visit Lead Change or buy the book from Amazon.

The above map shows the locations of all the co-authors who participated in writing the book.   What is amazing about this journey is we did all of the work with few face-to-face interactions.    It goes to show that if a group of people wants to share the world and help change the way we lead as leaders, we can overcome any obstacle and get the job done.  Help us shape the future by instigating a leadership revolution.

 

Book Review: Get It On by Keni Thomas

By Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

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Keni  served as a Ranger in the 75th Ranger Regiment.  He was a member of Task Force Ranger as part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.  He was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu and is now the author of Get It On.   Through Get It On, he shares his experiences in Somalia as a Ranger.

While I was reading Keni’s book, it felt like I was in virtual reality, seeing things unfold as it happens. That is how vivid the description is of each scene.    The play-by-play account kept me engaged.   Because of my busy schedule, I was able to read the book at night.    As I ended each night of reading, I was looking forward to the next opportunity to continue reading the book.    Each chapter contains nuggets of information on leadership, teamwork and the Ranger creed.

Why the title Get it On?  It means being able to do what you went to mission for.  It is a chance to use what they were trained on and apply the skills that enable them be  Rangers.    As a civilian, I have enormous respect for people who sign up to be soldiers.   Without them, no one will fight for our country and what is right and the world will be ruled by wicked people.

“Don’t forget nothing” by Captain Robert Rogers is a saying that reminds us that even when something becomes a routine, we shouldn’t take things for granted.   We need to always do our best and put 100% percent effort in everything we do.   If the mechanic of the plane ignored one of the standard operating procedures in the airplane maintenance, such action could cause a catastrophic result.  That is why it is imperative that we don’t lose track of what’s going on and focus on giving our 100% effort.

This book is great in that it is packed with lessons on leadership and teamwork.   Here are a few that I would like to share:

1)      When you heed a lesson it is a good thing. When you find yourself relearning a lesson that’s not a good thing.  You need to learn from your past mistakes and make sure not to repeat them.

2)      A team is only as good as its weakest link. In order for a team to succeed everyone must pull their weight.  It is like a jigsaw puzzle, when one member of the team fails to pull in their share of work, the team will fail.

3)      Lead by example. To gain people’s respect you need to be there with them in getting things done.  Leading by example has been a very important lesson in developing leaders.

4)      Do the hard work in advance. If you want to be the best, you’ll do the hard work needed to be successful.  As a Ranger, your teammates expect you to be your best at all times.  Therefore you need to be prepared at all times – be prepared.

5)      Customer service – the Black Hawk pilot guarantees to put their customer on target, on time, plus or minus 30 seconds.      That is amazing that they could guarantee delivery.     That’s customer service at its best.

6)      Doing the right thing – as a leader you do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  As leader, you have a burden to make difficult decisions, but you do it because people depend on you.

7)      Encouraging and building each other up – the Rangers are there to carry each other’s burden and lift each other’s spirit and support one another.

Keni’s started the book by telling the story that he was writing to his mom.    That initial attempt was interrupted by a call to mission, which resulted in some of his comrades being killed.    Get It On highlights the story and experience of young soldiers who fought for our freedom and what’s right.  

Reading this book affected me in two ways. First, it reminded me that no matter how hard things are around me, it is little sacrifice compared to the people who fight for our country everyday around the world.  Secondly, there are many ways to learn leadership and teamwork, but the military is still one of the best sources of knowledge in this area.    I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn about history and pickup nuggets on leadership and teamwork along the way.  

As always, I’ll be tweeting about this book review.  Three (3) lucky winners will be selected from the retweets.  If you wish to purchase the book, use this link  http://bit.ly/kenithomas