November 23, 2009

Avert Your Eyes

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:49 pm by lindaslongview

At what point is stuff on the net (public domain) none of our business?  When should we avert our eyes and not read a little more?  What is the threshold from curious to stalking?

Recently, I met an interesting fellow at an alumni-networking event.  After an engaging conversation of shared interests, we exchanged email addresses. Later, I wanted to suggest an appropriate meeting place but could not recall where he had said that he lived, so I turned to the Internet to do a quick address search.

In about 10 minutes of searching, I did not find his address, but I learned more than I expected.  I found his age, his faith, his cousin’s family tree, and his wife’s blog.

Intrigued by my new friend’s wife’s blog, I read on.  It turns out, the stories (blog posts) were every bit as interesting and engaging as his conversation had been.  However, immediately following this confirmation, I felt unsettled.  Just how would I let on what I knew and how I knew it?  Had I usurped his privilege of introducing me to his wife’s blog?  Had I devalued the connection by barging in myself? Is this part and parcel of 21st century networking that I am not yet used to?

My experience was confirmed in Wired Magazine’s headline article this month, Vanish: “…ordinary people – really can gather an incredible dossier of facts about you.”  It is because of the combination of powerful search engines and extensive amounts of publicly available information.  It behooves us be aware of what information is defining us and to be thoughtful about what is defining others.

In old cultures where privacy was hard to come by, people learned to avert their eyes to allow for privacy and were admonished to mind their own business.  In addition, we were encouraged to live an honorable life because of public scrutiny.  Those old (long view) rules are evolving to deal with the connectivity and information richness of our lives today, yet still apply:

  • Live your life impeccably.  Doing so, will mean never having to be ashamed, embarrassed, or held accountable for wrongdoing.
  • Out of respect and kindness, engage the positive and disregard the negative.

Embracing the new:

  • Take what you learn on the Internet with a grain of salt.
  • Be judicious in how you apply Internet “knowledge.”
  • Follow your instincts, yet pay attention to the evolution – norms are changing.

Bloggers expect that others will be informed, transformed, and educated through connection to our blogs.  Participating constructively is welcome and my new friend was fine with it. 🙂

Are you living life impeccably and engaging the positive?

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May 27, 2009

Off-the-Scale Futurist

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:16 pm by lindaslongview

DaliPersistenceOfMemoryI just finished reading, “The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time that Will Change Your Life” by Zimardo and Boyd.  It hasn’t changed my life, but it definitely gave me insight.  Irrespective, it is a worthy read.

Before I began reading, I took the online Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and discovered that I am an off-the-scale futurist scoring a whopping 4.92 in the future perspective. On all other time perspectives, I am at or below average.

The description of the “Future-Oriented Person” closely describes me (dominant in concern about long-term consequences, able to sustain the unpleasant for future benefit, health conscious, goal-oriented…) – how scary is that?!  Perhaps that explains WHY I have a blog titled the LONG VIEW!

The basic point of the book is to get Futurists to be more Present and Past/Presents to be more Futurist – we all need balance.   Indeed!

The good news for me is that Futurists tend to be very successful in business because they are well equipped to deal with the complexities of the modern world. The bad news is that Futurists tend to have less joy because we undervalue pleasure – work first, then play (if there is time).

The best news is that I didn’t need the book to get me going to achieve balance! Over the past many years, I have been actively working to Be Present much more – to enjoy the process, the road, the flowers along the road, and my traveling companions. The authors reinforce that great leaders are engrossed in the Present.

Some of the most interesting threads in the book revolve around the clash of time perspectives and how differences give rise to conflict. For example, Presents tend to be “in the moment” proceeding with what is interesting to them, viewing punctuality, specificity, and conformance as limitations. Futures on the other hand, value punctuality, specificity, and conformance. Understanding these differences and cultivating balance can lead to less conflict. ☺

Are you working to achieve balance?  Is joy on your priority list?

March 16, 2009

Credibility

Posted in Business, Technology tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:44 am by lindaslongview

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This weekend, a friend of mine pointed out to me that my technology management advice does not have the credibility of Jack Welch.  He’s right – I’m no Jack Welch. Nevertheless, I thanked him profusely, because it made me realize that I need to communicate my superpower (what value I provide).

I work at the “action level” building processes and products deeper in the technology organization than Jack typically works (at least these days).  That’s not to say that I don’t respect his insights and wisdom, I do.  However, it is the “action level” niche for which I am passionate and for which my insights are most relevant.  In a sense, I have simply made the world smaller – I am not competing with Jack Welch.

In the process development marketplace, what I sell is confidence:  confidence to staff that management makes good decisions, confidence to management that goals are being met, and confidence to investors & media that the organization can do what it says it will do. That is my superpower.  To that end, it is my sincere goal to own the word-pair “process confidence” in my niche. (Thank you Scott, I crystallized my word-pair using your worksheet: 24 Questions to Discover Which Word You Own).

Have I achieved the elite (10,000+ hour) level (in process confidence) that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book Outliers:  The Story of Success (pg. 39, “….the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works.  That’s it.  And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t just work harder or even much harder than everyone else.  They work much, much harder.”)?   I have certainly invested in learning, practiced extensively, and made changes in my environment to ensure that I continue to ratchet up my game.  This blog is part of that process.  I hope that you find value here.  Let me know what you think.

March 1, 2009

Identity Matters

Posted in Business, Technology tagged , , , , , at 6:44 am by lindaslongview

As our social and professional networks grow larger with time, our human need for identity is ever more paramount.  I learned this lesson from my many colleagues in the technology workplace.

Even though technologists have been stereotyped as robotic (logical, rational, and devoid of emotion), the reality is that having a sense-of-purpose, a unique identity, and an ability to know how we are being measured is critical for our professional success.  These key attributes are summarized (albeit in the negative form) by Patrick Lencioni in his book, “Three Signs of a Miserable Job” as irrelevance, anonymity, and immeasurement.  Just like the employees in Lencioni’s tale, without a clear role in the organization, technologists are challenged to understand their future (the long view) and can readily become hyper-sensitive, wary, and less-productive.

Step #1 for success as a technology manager is creating the long view on behalf of staff and colleagues – providing and nurturing a sense-of-purpose, a unique identity for each technologist, and a measurement system that provides effective performance feedback.  It might seem too time consuming for busy professionals, but it is the single best predictor of managerial performance.