Before You Pitch Your Proposal, Take a Ride on Your Nearest Elevator

Image: MS Office Imagebank


Stop whatever you are doing and find your nearest elevator.

If you are reading this at work, this shouldn't be difficult.

If you work out of your home, you may have a bit more challenge.

Did you find your elevator?


Now take a ride, and time it.

How long did it take?

45 seconds?

57 seconds?

90 seconds?

For all of the engineering and Sheldon-type people out there... you don't have to be exact.  72.592 seconds is not the right answer.  In fact, whatever time you measured (or guessed if you are not good at following instructions) doesn't really matter.

While not highly scientific, nobody seems to argue with me when I offer that the average elevator ride is one minute in length.

Get this figure in your mind.  Get to know what 60 seconds feels like.

What does that have to do with anything?


Getting ready for your next presentation (Re-titled, edited, repost)

Image: Garr Reynolds

It has been said (thanks Jerry Seinfeld) that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. That would mean that the average person would rather be the one in the coffin, than the one delivering the eulogy.

There comes a time, ok, several times in the CIO's career where he or she will be called to present. This may be to the President, the board, peer groups, employees, users, media, etc. The list is endless. Since the role of the CIO is changing so dramatically to one of an influencer or catalyst, and less about being a technology expert, the skill to effectively communicate is essential.

This is not only about your career. How many of you have experienced Death by PowerPoint, or suffered through bad presentations? This is a skill that benefits everyone.

Here are a couple of resources I have found very useful:


What would you do for free?

In his book Drive, Daniel Pink discusses the things that motivate us.

There is lots of good pondering material in this book on things such as why giving more money to your team won't necessarily motivate them, and the three elements of true motivation- autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

I won't be talking about the book today.

But I do want to talk about an observation Mr Pink made about how highly paid, highly educated people in significant positions in their career would often have an alternate life - that consumed great time and effort without any financial compensation.

This ranged from learning an instrument and performing in a garage band, to donating time to charities, to helping build a crowd-sourced, open source online encyclopedia (Wikipedia).

The Rock Bottom Remainders featuring Dave Barry ‧ Amy Tan ‧ Mitch Albom ‧ Scott Turow ‧ Greg Iles ‧ Ridley Pearson ‧ James McBride ‧ Roy Blount, Jr. ‧ Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Stephen King. The Rock Bottom Remainders is a band that includes some of today’s most shining literary lights. Between them, they’ve published more than 150 titles, sold more than 150 million books, and been translated into more than 25 languages. Image from http://www.clubzone.com/events/186714/washington-dc/9:30-nightclub/the-rock-bottom-remainders

Great energy was invested here.



Change your job, or change your job?

In their book "First, Break All the Rules" - Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (formerly of Gallop Research) outline the results of a significant study on why employees leave their organization.
Their conclusion? People don't quit their company, they primarily quit their boss. Buckingham picks up on this theme further in his book "The One Thing You Need to Know" and discusses Management, Leadership, and personal development as a leader.
From my years in organizational development and building high performing teams, I am convinced that if people are in a situation where they feel they have no way to influence the situation for the better, they will likely look other places.

It's not usually the hard work or challenges of the job that cause the exit.

If you are not willing to risk, you are not willing to win

Image: NarniaWeb.com
In C.S. Lewis' classic tale - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Before Disney got hold of it), there is a classic line where Lucy asks Mr. Beaver about the most powerful creature for good - Aslan the Lion.

She asks (my paraphrase) "Is he safe?"

To which the Mr. Beaver replied "Of course he's NOT safe!  But he's good!"

The children had a choice between seeking the help of Aslan, which had risk, and staying in their predicament - which the White Witch meant for their untimely demise.   The Disney movie sneaks this great line in at the end of the movie - a point for which I may someday forgive them.  It really belongs where the author put it - before the children faced their challenges.


Watch Your Language!

... and I'm not just talking about swearing.

This blog has been a cathartic exercise for me, a way to put down the thoughts and musings that constantly tumble about in my mind.  The fact that people read them and comment about these writings is pure bonus.

It also feeds the analytical side of my personality. (For a great analysis of the analytical mind, see Allan Norton's article in Tech Republic - 10 curses of the analytical thinker).

I love to check the stats page of the blog and see which postings get activity, and the sites (and countries) from which my postings are accessed.

Which leads me to today's post.


Google+ Hits 10 Million Users - Time to consider a move?

Picture: via http://bit.ly/qXbAoK 
My name is Kevin Pashuk, and I'm a move-aholic.

Over the years of our marriage, we have moved an average of once every two years. Sometimes it was down the street. Other times, across town. But there have also been moves to another province thousands of kilometres away, or even to a different country.

Let me state emphatically that I am not on the run from the law. We have followed my work and my career in technology. More realistically, I am one move away from a divorce, but that's another story.


Three Envelopes - A Short Leadership Fable

This is my version of a leadership fable that I've used in presentations over the years to describe what is unfortunately the reality in many organizations.

For me, it summarizes the approach many new leaders take in bringing change into an organization.



This "Tablet" was formerly a tree. (Repost)

With so much recent press focusing on tablets and mobile computing, I thought I'd throw a curve ball.  I attend a number of meetings where it is not really appropriate to have a computer in front of me, yet I am able to take electronic notes, simultaneously record the conversation (with participant's permission of course), then upload the notes and recording and have the participants access these meeting notes from the web - all without a computer at the meeting.

The "tablet" I'm talking about about is a pad of paper (hence the tree reference), but the real magic is what is in my hand.  It's the pen that contains the computer.  The Livescribe Echo pen is a remarkable tool that fills the gap between your moleskin journal and your computer.  Designed by Jim Marggraff , (who also invented the Leapfrog pen) it was conceived in his time at MIT where he sat through lectures equivalent to drinking from a firehose. Wouldn't it be great if he could easily record the lecture, then have the recording tracked to the notes he takes so he can instantly go directly to the point in the lecture where the instructor talked about a specific topic?  And what if you could upload an electronic version to your computer, then search for any specific word in your hand written notes, then start the recording there?

Sound too good to be true?

Yet another string of promises from a vendor's web site?

(Repost) Gartner vs. Google's Cloud: One of them didn't float with IT Leaders

I had the privilege of attending Midsize Enterprise Summit in Orlando in May.  While the weather was delightful, the long days of the conference made sure we didn't really get time to enjoy it.

The theme of the week was cloud computing, and several notable experts from Gartner Research, as well as industry representative from such organizations as Microsoft, HP, and Google have shared their organization's vision of what cloud computing is all about.


Google+ - First Impressions

I've previously written about my Facebook use, or lack thereof, so let me open by saying I'm probably not the best reviewer to analyze Google's latest foray into world domination social media - Google+.

Being a trend watcher however, made it very important to me to see how the software giant could differentiate themselves in this space against Facebook and Microsoft's Live.com.

When Google+ was announced, I was mildly disappointed to see Google limit the number of participants in Google+ when seemingly everything else they launch is in Beta for a long while.  Perhaps Google Wave's lack of buzz on launch made them change their tactics.  There certainly has been a fair amount of buzz around Google+, particularly around how people couldn't get it.


Hubris belongs in the news, not your organization.

It is so easy to blog these days. One just has to read the news.

In a performance driven environment, CIOs and IT leaders are continually challenged with delivering exceptional value, to foster and enable change, and to be innovative in finding solutions that will differentiate their organization  in their marketplace.  I've covered some of this in a previous post - The Most Important Post on Strategy You'll Ever Read

Often this means being first to market with a product or service, and then maintaining that position.

Along the way, don't fall victim to the same problems that RIM and News of the World are facing.

Here's my advice drawn from the recent headlines.


Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll: Why we don't block the Internet at our school

Image: MS Office Imagebank
Can  we "protect" our kids from the sharp edges of the Internet in our schools?

Should we?

This is a contentious topic and has avid proponents on both sides of the issue from the ultra-conservatives to the ultra-libertarians.  You are probably on that continuum somewhere.


A (not so) subtle message

This is Isabel. Our dog. Or should I say my son's dog that somehow has become our responsibility. You may remember her from a previous post (Free as in Puppy?... or Free as in Beer?)

Isabel was my muse for today's post.

While "pretty" is not a word you would use to describe her (Why do you put a collar on a pug?  So you know which end is which.), she is affectionate and loves being around people.

The problem was, we were short a couple of people yesterday around our house, leaving just me, and a list of things I needed to get done.  We moved recently, (highlighted in another post here) and the new house doesn't have a fenced yard like the last one, so Isabel cannot roam freely.  Added to the mix was an extremely hot day (over 30 degrees C) which doesn't go well with a black dog.  So I put her in my son's room (where she normally spends her days) while I went about my task list.


Avoiding Glassy Eye Syndrome

We had a very productive meeting yesterday.  (Don't you wish you could say that?)

My development team met with the people responsible for curriculum and pedagogy at our school.  I know what you are thinking... "Sounds like a snoozer to me".

But it wasn't, and let me explain.  (Warning: Longish Post)


What do you, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Bono have in common?

It's easy to tell you what you likely DON'T have in common with them - fame, fortune, and good looks, ok, Fame and fortune... but here's what you DO have in common with Bill, Warren, and Bono.

24 hours in a day, and a sphere of influence.  The same thing every human on the planet gets.

It's what you do with those 24 hours, and that sphere of influence that matters.