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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Team Tips – 18 {A little cheese with that WHINE?}

Got a phone call from “me Mum” the other day. She was sad. The reality of having to finally put the family home up for sale had just hit her.

After telling me how she felt, she apologized to me for “whining”.

I was struck that at her 95 years of age, having dealt with WW2 in England, emigrating to Canada with a newborn (me), having no friends or family in this part of her world, etc., etc. that this was the first time I could recall her “whining” (as she put it).

It made me think of all the stuff I see in Twitter, and on Fussbook, and in the news where folks are continually, relentlessly, indiscriminately moaning and complaining and fussing and wailing about the latest pin prick in their lives. That's what I call WHINING!

And my reaction to all that stuff is: Ya want a little cheese with that whine?

Sure, there's lots one can complain about, and no shortage of bad news. The talking heads are paid to provide it, lay on the drama, get the audience worked up, introduce a little anxiety, move us to DefCon 3.

But seriously folks. How about a little perspective? A little dose of proportion? See - now I'm whining!!

We live in a world of abundance. In spite of all humanities mistakes we're still here on this amazing space ship. The sun appearing every day is cause for celebration.

And there are tools in the Core Protocols to recognize the problems and see what can be done with them (like Perfection Game.) Of course it's a lot easier to point out the concerns than to figure out a remedy or solution, and many times we would just rather complain.

That's also where the Core Commitments help too. For example:
 1. I commit to engage when present .... (b) To always seek effective help.
 3. I will use teams, especially when undertaking difficult tasks.
 4. I will speak always and only when I believe it will improve the general results/effort ratio.
 5. I will offer and accept only rational, results-oriented behavior and communication.
 8. I will seek to move forward toward a particular goal, by biasing my behavior toward action.

So - surprise, surprise - we CAN make choices. We can choose to complain, AND choose to do whatever we can about it.

And I figure if me Mum can get on with it, then I'd better too!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog History {Who'd a thunk?}

Since I just released a new version of my website, I was poking around making sure all the links worked which led me to my Blog - this one - and a shock.
I've made 60 posts since the first one in 2008!

Some I think aren't too bad and some are just horrible. Either way it was fun to scan through them, and that made me wonder if there was an easy way to compile a summary list.

I haven't found an easy way to do that, but I did find that Google can report the ones that were most popular - at least the top ten. They are in order below.

The astute observer will note that interest in 2011 is no guarantee of readership in 2012 and 2013. As for the desert from 2008 on - the less said the better.

The blog layout options don't make it easy to pick out interesting titles either because you actually have to select the month in the Archive list on the right to see them - not so user friendly.

That's why I've added the opening paragraphs in the list so you at least get that.
If you have some improvement thoughts, or any requests, let me know. The good news from my passion for improvement and reading is that it is great fun to post ideas in the big cyberspace library in the sky.

Here's the top ten:

Effort vs. Results on a Great Team from April, 2011

There's another interesting and important exchange underway in the Core Protocols Group forum ( This one is about the relative merits of effort versus results. [Note: this forum is now the Facebook Group "The Booted"]
Agile vs. ITIL from March, 2011
A little while ago an associate in the Agile Coaching community, Yves Hanoulle, asked me about the contention often raised that Agile software development practices don't mesh with the ITIL Framework.
Team Tips – 12 {Lean, mean, machine} from January, 2013
One part of my consulting and training life deals with IT Service Management. Those are the principles and practices associated with the view that an IT department is a provider of services to its business counterparts which improve the value and potential of business outcomes. Usually good IT Service Management is achieved by adopting best practices from a framework such as CobiT or the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
Team Tips – 16 {An abundance ofAngels} from April, 2013
When I was a District Manager of Customer Service at Xerox Canada one of my managers told me she had seen an Angel. The spiritual kind, the God's Helper kind.
Team Tips – 10 {A word with you ...} from October, 2012
There's a wonderful push across the world to translate the Core Protocols, from McCarthy Technologies, into a variety of languages by people who want to use this information locally with teams for whom English is not their first language.
Team Tips – 13 {What's in a name?} from February, 2013
On April 21st. Vickie Gray and I will conduct another Great Teams BootCamp. The details are here.
You'll notice right away we are calling this one a “Creating Time BootCamp”. Over the years since 2003 that we've attended, helped at, or held a Camp ourselves we've always debated with ourselves what we should call each session.
Team Tips - 7 {I, Robot} from March, 2012
Here's a challenge from some who have heard about, but not fully experienced, the Core Protocols in action: Using protocols of behaviour turns us into robots.
Software for Your Head #4 from March, 2011
Finishing the project team kickoff meeting story from Software for Your Head by Jim & Michele McCarthy.
Team Tips - 4 {Is this for me?} from November, 2011
Another challenge for teams comes from Jose R.:
“Can everybody work in teams?”
Team Tips - 5 {Trust me!} from November, 2011
We're having a snow day; first of the season.
So it's a good time to tackle this challenge for teams from Jose R.:
"How can you recover trust inside a team that has lost it?"

Monday, January 6, 2014

Team Tips - 17 {A word with you}

At first I didn't see this post as a "Team Tip". But of course learning is important for any team, and that's what I'm getting at here.

Here's my Best Business Books list.

  • “Best” because I learned something important, and thought the author(s) explained it well.
  • “Business” because I recommend these books to business associates for help with concerns in the workplace; however, they really apply to humans doing anything, anywhere.
  • “Books” because most of them are books (they are all “learnings” but “learnings” doesn't have alliteration with “best” and “business”).
I was tempted to list them in some order of importance. But that is clearly in the eye of the beholder, so what you find useful isn't necessarily what I enjoyed.

Nonetheless, the critical few are “The Art of Possibility”, “Closing the Me-You Gap”, “7 Habits”, and “Software for Your Head”. And that's a reasonable order for increasing degree of difficulty, and volume and richness of concepts.

What is fun to do is to look for the similarities in fundamentals expressed in each - our essential stardust.

If you don't expect to read them all, I've added some of the concepts that were important to me from each to help you choose.

Please let me know of any you would add to this list.

Abrashoff - It's Your Ship

  • how do you promote individual initiative and responsibility on a US Navy ship that is capable of starting World War 3?
Ackoff - Systems Thinking (YouTube)
  • look for any of the lectures by Dr. Russel Ackoff on YouTube to understand the fundamentals of looking at entities as systems to avoid attempting to sub-optimize the various parts, and missing the interactions as the critical element
Collins - Good to Great
  • insights from comparing very successful companies to their mediocre counterparts, determining the leadership, thought, and action that made a difference
Covey - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • what does it mean to truly be effective; i.e. work on the right things at the right time, and understand all of the roles in our lives and what is important for each?
Goldsmith - What got you here won't get you there
  • from one of the foremost business coaches the insight that all the things that have made us successful so far aren't enough to guarantee our rise to the next level, and in fact might get in our way
Gray* - Creating Time
  • how to use the Core Protocols from McCarthy Technologies to find more time than we thought we had for any endeavour
Gray* - Closing the Me-You Gap
  • how to use the Core Protocols from McCarthy Technologies to build trust with others
Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • explains the two systems of how we think - system 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional, system 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical; however, both can lead us astray due to evolutionary forces, and poor understanding of their operation
McCarthy & McCarthy - Software for Your Head
  • starting from the typical human faults we encounter in the software industry, this book reveals the anti-patterns and provides the positive alternative patterns (Core Protocols) that let us interact optimally with others in any endeavour to fully realize our potential
Ries - The Lean Startup
  • applying the total quality management principles from the Toyota Production System (and similar sources) to any business startup, we are shown in solid detail how to proceed systematically with any venture in any situation where high uncertainty exists
Stone, Patton, Heen - Difficult Conversations
  • how to frame the conversation with someone about a very difficult topic in order to reach a successful conclusion (at least to the conversation)
Zander & Zander - The Art of Possibility
  • “It's all invented” - in other words, the systems we deal with every day aren't the final or necessarily the best answer, allowing us to find new possibilities at every turn in all we do
Again: please let me know of any you would add to this list.

[* Vickie Gray is my sweetheart and partner in all things]