Me! Me! Me!

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Firms are fighting for the same customer thereby giving the customer the upper hand.  Each company focuses on catering to the needs of their customers to a point that they provide customized services around the needs of their customers.   Take for example, McDonald’s has it your way, in which you can choose what you want, including super sizing it.  Isn’t it great that the company wants to meet my needs and customize their services to match them?  That’s awesome!   It creates a society focusing too much on individual needs, which results in people thinking that is it is all about me.

The ME-focused society has created a challenge in which people tend to want to do things for the sake of getting the credit.   The need to be rewarded every single time is not realistic, because it creates a shift in focus from team to individual.   Who has not worked with someone who wants to be front and center and take call the credit?   They might have worked alongside everyone, but when it is time to get the credit they are in front of everyone.   Right, wrong, or indifferent, most projects are a team sport.  You need a group of people to work together to get the job done. Therefore when providing recognition, you focus on the team first.

How do we make sure the team gets the credit?

  • Highlight the delivery and what value it brings either to the organization or clients.
  • List all the names of all people who participated in the project.
  • Specify any special process or innovation that we put in place to make the solution better
  • Last but not least, unless someone has done a special job, stay focused on the team effort and commitment

At work, celebrate your people’s uniqueness, but focus on the over-arching goal and how the team accomplished such goal.   State the collective wisdom that helped accomplish the goal.   Highlight innovation and game-changing decisions that help differentiate your company.  Individuality is great, but in a team sport of having many people working on your project, you need to make sure the team feels recognized and appreciated.

You Reap What You Sow

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reap what you sowThe girls are back in school. The next few weeks will be a transition period and then things will be back to normal.

This is often the time of the year in which I focus on market trends and observe things that transpire as another year comes to a close. “What?” you ask.   I often take this time to seek to understand what I need to learn, engage in, or stop doing.

As I assess what I need to learn, it is a future focus exercise. I want to plan for the future and be ready for a situation that’s coming up. I always remember that my dad used to say that you’re doing this for your future. While you cannot see or picture what your future looks like, have faith that it will be what you’ve working hard for.   In essence, you can only reap what you sow.   In my mind, this is the most important exercise and I see to it that I spend adequate time on this exercise.

The second one is what am I not doing that I need to be engaged in. This is a bit interesting, because this is one of those: go out, participate, and network.   After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is network and talk to other people.   But I force myself to participate. In fact, I have two events that I need to attend to in the coming weeks.   This goes back to the saying that you can only reap what you sow.   Networking is a process not an event. It is something you do throughout time and not a one-time thing. It often amazes me when I meet people at an event and they will only ping me sometime later to ask for a job.   But between the time I met the people until the time they ask me for a job, they never both to drop a note to say hi.

Finally, check my do not do list.   This is really important because what are on this list are things that I’m still doing that are preventing me from achieving my dream.   If I don’t stop doing these, I will be stuck forever.   By taking stock as to what these are, I am aware of what I need to work on and how to improve myself.

Remember that you can only reap what you sow. If you desire something to happen in your life, you need to do something today and continue to do something tomorrow and the day after in order to achieve that dream.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like what I wrote, please share it. If you don’t agree, share me your thought.

Big Rocks!

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free-bible-studies-online-the-big-rocksEach day we wake up in the morning to go about our life.   The decisions we make invariably will contribute to the outcome of the day.   We go through the day and do things we thought were important to get done for that day.   Hopefully as the day progresses, you’re making progress and able to check things off.

The reality of life is that things are bound to change.   An urgent incoming call can alter your day—unexpected calls from school to name a few. Before you know it you’re doing things that were not on your list when you started your day.   A mad rush to get things done that are not on your list and lo and behold the day is over. The list that you started the day with is what you have at the end of the day. Does that sound familiar? Yes, I felt that way in the recent past.

Many people demand our time.   Unless we know our priorities, we can get sucked into other people’s demand of our time. The more we offer, the more people take more of our time. In this world, there are givers that give all the time and takers that do nothing but take from everyone around them.   I’ve fallen victim to people demanding my time and I end up working on things that do not add any value or help me achieve my goal.

Until one day, I decided enough is enough.   I need to do things that contribute to my big rocks. The big rocks are things that matter to me the most, like my family, my dream, my aspiration and passion.   The day I put my foot down is the day I felt I’ve made progress with my life. By no means have I turned the corner and become fully independent, but I do say “NO” when I have to.

So, how did I do it? I start my day by imagining my dream.   As my mentor Paul Martinelli says, “Hold your image.”  I hold the image of my dream and let that set for a moment. Let it inspire me to be more aware of what I do and the decisions I make. Understand that each decision made either brings me closer to my dream or pushes me back a step or two. Bring my big rocks front end center, this way I am conscious about it.   Believe me it did not happen overnight. It took days, weeks, and months, until I mustered the courage to say “NO” to people. At times, no is not the answer, but rather disrupting you now, when later can I do the work for others.

It took a lot of time to get to where I need to be, but I feel that the progress made has made me more conscious of the choices I made and how I can influence my progress to get to where I need to be.

Big rocks…remember your big rocks. Hold that image each day and make it stick.   Be conscious of your decisions and make sure that you are working toward achieving your dream.   If you are aware of your priorities, it makes making decision easier.

Are you ready to focus on your big rocks? What would you do differently tomorrow? How can I challenge you to take your first step?

Someday is today

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Someday

When I was a little, I often said, “I wish I were older”, “I wish I could do this and do that”, “ I wish I could be someone who could achieve a certain level of success” and my favorite, “I wish I would wake up tomorrow and things around me would change so I would be appreciated by people around me.”   I spent a lot time daydreaming and wishing things would happen.

So, what’s my point? My point is that sometimes we can’t take what is going on around us, but we just wish it would go away.   You wish it would change, but you’re not doing anything to change your situation.  We can’t keep on wishing; sometimes we need to do something to change our situation.

As I reminiscence on the past, I realized that what we do today will be the foundation of our future. In a way Someday is today; what you do today will help you achieve your goal. Just like doctors, they were not born doctors.   They were babies that grew up and went to school like everyone else. They were once a kindergarten student like everyone else. They graduated middle school, high school, went to college, and eventually the journey led them to medical school. In the end, with all their hard work they became doctors.   The same is true for many professions in life.

To achieve something we need to do something. To gain something we need to earn it.   As a basketball coach, I always tell my players that to get better as players we need to work on the fundamentals and practice.   Practice does not make perfect, but rather we improve.     In life, it is not worth striving for perfection. Our goal is to be better than we were a year ago.   Each year we should learn something new. The day we stop learning is the day we will decay and be left behind.

If you wish for a better tomorrow, you must do something to change your situation. In my junior year in high school, I made that decision that helped me to get to where I am today.   So, the next time you wish for something, I suggest you to do the following:

  • Write down your wish. By writing down your wish, it becomes a physical thing that you can see.
  • List the things you need to do to achieve your dream.
  • For each item, prepare an action plan
  • For each action plan, set a target date to accomplish it
  • Let your inner circle know of your plan. This will up the game as everyone knows about it.
  • Track your progress
  • Be consistent and commit to getting it done

Remember that someday is today, the actions or decisions you made today will help shape tomorrow. If you want to achieve something someday, you must act today.   Good luck!

2013 Year in Review

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Year In Review

Change is the big word for 2013.   It is about the only thing that was constant throughout the year.   As I reflect on what transpired during the year, I break it down in three areas:  Work, Personal and Personal interest.

At work, 2013 was a year of changes that challenged my ability to cope and keep abreast of the changes.   From team composition changes to new partnership ventures to changes in technology then moving on to another technology when the prior adoption has not been completed.   On the flip side, I welcome the opportunity to be a part of Human Capital Group committee, which aimed to deal with tough issues like employee engagement and improving communications between management and its constituents.   I learned a lot by staying put and dealing with the challenges.  It stretched and helped me grow and develop.   The growth and development came with a huge price in terms of stress, but I was able to lead by example and be there for my team.  I ensure that I recognize them and let senior management know their accomplishments.   I continue to mentor my mentees and led the Stevens campus recruiting as Team Captain for UBS.  This is the third year in a row in which we hired at least 9 GTPs from said school.  I take pride in the work and process we put in place to enable us to recruit the best talent to join our firm.

From a personal perspective, I cherish the memories created of the great run we had as St. Elizabeth 4th Grade basketball team and eventually winning the championship.     I had the opportunity to bond with my daughter and work with a great group of players.   I instilled principles of teamwork, sportsmanship and respecting others.  At the same time, I taught them never to give up.   We had numerous come-from-behind wins by staying in the moment and chipping at the lead that our opponents had.     During the golf season, Faith participated in US Kids Golf.  She participated in three tournaments and I caddied for her.  Each tournament she improved and showed patience and poise in handling pressure.  I truly enjoy being out there with her.    Maddy’s soccer season was also great to watch the team finished in the middle of pack.   Maddy had her great moments, especially her winning goal at the Columbus Day weekend tournament.  In November, Faith made the TGA B team and played three other clubs to win first place overall.    Take a step back for a moment, winner of a basketball championship and then a golf team champion, that is an awesome year that will be hard to replicate.    In March, both Maddy and Faith received their piano excellence trophies.   Maddy had three years of superior rating, while Faith had six years of superior rating, her second trophy.   Faith also had her trophy for her duet.   Outside of sports and other activities, we spent a lot of time together playing card games, goofing and horsing around and getting to know one another.  It has been an awesome year in this area.

With regards to my pursuit of my personal interest, I found my passion for teaching leadership to others.   Since joining the John Maxwell Team to secure my certification, I led three mastermind groups and I enjoyed each of them.  The highlight of the year was attending the John Maxwell Live event.  Being taught by John Maxwell, Nick Vujicic and Les Brown is the most amazing experience.   Learning from the best and being in the same room, you can feel the energy and their passion.   I also met some great people that I belong to as an international accountability partner.    I made some great progress and then I fell off the horse as work took up more of my time.    In 2014, I commit to get back in the saddle and pursue my dream of being part of the John Maxwell Team by focusing on learning the lessons that will enable me to be effective as an instructor.

In spite of all the challenges and adversity, I learned a lot about myself and my ability to cope and handle stress.   I believe that Will of 2013 is better than Will of 2012. With that said, I’m really glad with my progress.    But more importantly I’m proud of playing an active role in my daughters’ lives, which in my mind is the most important thing in life.   In life, we only pass through this road once. I’m making sure I do my best and be in the moment and make it happen.    I look forward to 2014 with much enthusiasm and excitement that it will be better than 2013.

A mentor is valuable to your growth and development

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

In this competitive marketplace, every opportunity is contested by numerous people.  Sometimes it feels like American Idol, because you’ll be going through numerous job interviews before you’ll receive an offer and are later hired.   The current market setting is a buyer’s market—the buyers are the employers.  They can be selective because they know that there are many candidates.    Aside from being selective, they often look for an exact match or a very close match.

Once you’ve made it through and received an offer and accepted the job, the fun begins.   You’ll be put to task to demonstrate that you can learn and adapt quickly.   Learning the business will be key to your success.

Here are a few ways of accomplishing the aspect of learning.

  • Learn as you go, but that will take a long time.
  • Read materials or published articles related to the industry to help get you up to speed.   This is valuable and can help you stay current.
  • Join a forum or user group to exchange knowledge and experiences
  • Attend conferences – this is another way of keeping abreast and networking with others in the field.
  • Work on attaining your certification where applicable.   This will be a great way of enhancing your value.
  • Lastly, find a mentor—this means finding someone whom you respect who is knowledgeable in the area in which you’re interested.

There are no rules as to how many mentors you can have.  You need to make sure you can honor the commitment and are not just wasting people’s time.    It is important that you come up with a reason why you’ll benefit from having that person mentor you and what you expect to get out of the relationship.

Finally, you can seek mentors for multiple aspects of things you’re working on.  It is important to take things in perspective and make sure you can spend the time to continue the relationship.    As you gain more experience working with a mentor, do the same and mentor other people.  Please pay it forward.

Box “ME” Not

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we go through life and come up with things that we think we could do and things that we should not do.   It could be a byproduct of our experiences, upbringing or relationships we had through the various stages of our life.

Each situation provides us with experience that creates filters that become the way we see the world around us.   Over time we create our own belief system that becomes our guide on how we conduct ourselves.

Here are some examples

  • You work in a company and one of your managers told you that you cannot approach a certain person or speak to them because you’re not the same level.    If you take one person’s opinion as truth, then you’ll avoid interacting with any managers because you’re not at their level.
  • You’re told that you’re not allowed to make certain decisions because it is not your pay grade to do so. It could be true depending on the issue on hand,  but by taking such a response at face value, from your perspective it becomes your reality.
  • When we were young, we were told not to talk to strangers.  While it was true when we were young, that stays as fact and it becomes a filter that prevents us from networking or approaching people when we are adults.   It is not because we are afraid something will happen to us, but rather we are not used to approaching and introducing ourselves.

What’s my point?  When you’re not in a box, don’t create a virtual box and box yourself in.  Sometimes all our preconceived notions create this virtual boundary that limits our ability to do things effectively.  There are times that we are paralyzed by over thinking, thereby failing to make the necessary progress needed, then eventually we are marked down as ineffective on our performance review.   As one of my managers used to say, “Don’t take the pill before you have a headache.”     I would say, “Don’t box yourself in when there is no box.  You’ll stifle your progress by doing so.”

Here is some simple advice:

  • Perception could be your reality, but it does not have to be.  Asking clarifying questions allows you to assess the situation and make an objective decision.
  • Past experience is a good reference point, but does not have to be a matter of fact, unless it is a mistake made and lesson learned from it must be retained forever.    As time goes by things change; what does not work before might work now—like being comfortable in introducing yourself when networking.  When you’re a child, it is right not to speak to strangers, but when you’re an adult and are attending a networking event, you need to introduce yourself and connect with other people in the same field.
  • Ask questions; the worst people could say is no and it does not cost you anything to know the answer.

Next time, don’t put yourself in a box.  Start fresh and step back and find out the answer before you decide your next step.  A box is only good for putting things in it, but definitely not good for a human being.