Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gung-Ho: The Way of the Beaver


In Control of Achieving the Goal

  1. A playing field with clearly marked territory.

    • Goals and values define the playing field and rules of the game..

    • Leaders decide what position team members play.

    • Freedom to take charge comes from knowing exactly what territory is yours.

  2. Thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams are respected, listened to, and acted upon.

    • You can't be in control unless the rest of the organization supports you and doesn't rip you, or your work, apart.

    • Golden Rule of Management: Value Individuals as persons.

    • Information is the gatekeeper to power. Everybody needs full open access to information. Managers must be willing to give up the levers of control they've worked a lifetime to get hold of. It's tough to be boss without being bossy.

  3. Able but challenged.

    • Production expectations should be within capacity and skills, but if you undershoot you'll insult.

    • Nothing drains self-esteem faster than knowing you're ripping off the system, not contributing. If people can't do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, you demean them..

    • Gung Ho requires a stretch: work that demands people's best and allows them to learn and move ahead into uncharted territory..

Gung-Ho: The Spirit of the Squirrel


Worthwhile Work

  1. Knowing we make the world a better place.

    • It's the understanding, not the work.

    • It's how the work helps others, not units dealt with.

    • Result: self-esteem--an emotion whose power ranks right up there with love and hate.

  2. Everyone works toward a shared goal.

    • Goal sharing means buy-in, not announcing. Trust and putting team members first lead to support for goals.

    • The manager sets critical goals. The team can set the rest. (People support best that which they help create.)

    • Goals are marker posts you drive into the future landscape between where you are and where you want to be. They focus attention productively.

  3. Values guide all plans, decisions and actions.

    • Goals are for the future. Values are now. Goals are set. Values are lived. Goals change. Values are rocks you can count on. Goals get people going. Values sustain the effort.

    • Values become real only when you demonstrate them in the way you act and the way you insist others behave.

    • In a Gung Ho organization, values are the real boss.

Friday, May 19, 2006

20 Secrets of Decision Success

"Every time you make a real decision, you own more of yourself."

  1. Knowing Your Priorities.
    Know yourself, be integrated.

  2. Establishing Realistic Goals and Expectations.
    Goals that are based unrealistically on poor information, self-inflation, pride, poor research, very limited experience, or no expertise are designed for failure.

    To break the habit, choose simple goals that are easily attainable.

  3. Knowing There Is Always a Price to Pay.
    This applies to both action and inaction. Unwillingness to pay a price destroys the possibility of decision, responsible

  4. Self-Confidence I: Recognizing Major Personal Assets.
    We must believe in ourself, or else we will be uncommitted to our decision.

    Know that you have assets or take a personal self-inventory.

  5. Knowing and Exploring Your Proclivities.
    Your personal and inner urges.

    Your hidden talents should be brought out.

  6. Self-Confidence II: Getting Over Fear of Rejection and Failure.
    The obsessive need for "Love" can hand over all decision-making to others. (Personal Note: Making a decision ourselves can actually be more loving than letting others make a decision. Especially when you're the one in charge or know the right thing to do.)

    Fear of rejection kills spontaneity and adventure of any kind.
    We simply must take chances and realize that while our pride may be hurt, our real selves remain unscathed.

    Allowing ourselves to be rejected is actually liberating. We are actually free! We are then able to make decisions, not out of fear, but of real desire.

  7. Knowing That It Is Easier to Leave a Person, Place, Situation, Job, Activity or Anything Else than to Find One to Go To.
    Leaving doesn't solve problems. We sometimes have an imaginary place somewhere that always makes our present one far inferior.

    Decisions without destinations are usually suspect.

    Decisions involving destinations are usually the real thing.

  8. Knowing That Conditions Are Always Imperfect.
    Decisions and moves be predicated on our needs, desires, assets and priorities.

    It is imperative that we know that success through decision power is the result of commitment to our choice.

  9. Recognizing That Moods Make A Difference.
    Sometimes we may have to wait for the right mood. (But do not use this as an excuse for a pseudodecision).

    If it is not a command decision. The timing may not be right. The death of a bereaved one, or the overenthusiastic euphoria over a certain option through perhaps a vacation.

  10. Accepting Ambivalence.
    Mixed feelings can be there and sometimes almost always there, it is part of human nature.

    Consult your hierarchy of priorities.

  11. Self-Confidence III: Handling Insecurity and Anxiety.
    Don't get anxious about being anxious.
    The initial anxiety is actually preparation psychological for a shift of a center of gravity. It heightens and alerts our minds of the coming change.
    As long as we accept fear and anxiety they won't snowball.

  12. Acquiring Commitment, Investment, Involvement.

    'nuff said.

  13. The Value of Integrated Concentration.
    Bring our total selves into it. Align our thoughts and efforts into the action, just like the molecules in a Samurai sword have been aligned through thousands of folds to create the finest cutting edge.

  14. Profiting from Other People's Experience, Expertise and Help.
    Do not let pride stop you from asking others for their experience.
    This takes self-esteem and humility.

    The more secure you are about yourself, the less fear you have of being thought of as "stupid" and "dumb."

    The irony is that those who have strong opinions are least afraid to ask others of their opinions. They are also less vulnerable to manipulation and coercion.

  15. Delegating Responsibility.
    This involves humility to say, "I can't do it all myself."

  16. The Effective Use of Time.

  17. Insight, Motivation, Discpline.

  18. The Postponement of Gratification.

  19. The Value of Struggle.

  20. Self-Confidence IV: Knowing and Accepting What It Means to Be a Person.
    Separate yourself from your image. Sometimes we are trapped by an image that is imposed by others. Or our pride and temptation steps in, e.g. "You will be the youngest person ever to have done this.", etc.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Overcoming Indecisiveness - 8 Stages of Effective Decision-Making

"Every time you make a real decision, you own more of yourself."

This book was written by a medical psychologist who writes about decision making from the psychological point of view.

The book is well written and easy to follow in point form. His illustration and examples flesh out the simple points that he is trying to expouse.

He divides his book into 7 Sections.

First, he describes what real decisions are versus "psuedo-decisions", decisions that are not really decisions at all.

Things like procrastination, ambivalence (waiting for things to turn up), letting someone else decide, going against the tide (just to be different, a subtle for of dependency), one-foot-in and one-foot-out (trying to have all options without making a decision), looking back/foot-dragging and wondering what might have been (an infantile desire and belief that we can have everything we want.)

Secondly, he goes on to describe the various decision blockers, priorities, the stages of decision making, deadlocks, twenty secrets of decision success and finally overcoming indecisiveness.

I recommend this book for those wishing a introduction to making decisions and those wishing to understand the psychology of making a decision and improving your self-esteem.

1.Listing and Observing All The Possibilities, Options Or Choices Involved In the Issue.

This stage involves getting as many options as possible and researching the options. Lateral thinking is an asset here.

Let the unconscious freely come up with ideas. Be even illogical.

Time traps or falling into perceived time traps.

Impounding ourselves with other peoples options and neglecting our own set of options.

Difficulties involve feeling boxed in.

2.Sustaining A Free Flow of Feelings And Thoughts About Each Of The Possible Choices.Let yourself feel about each option. 
3.Observing Thoughts And Feelings About Each Of The Options And Applying those Feelings.Taking a good, hard look at the feelings and thoughts we have about each choice offered, giving them a chance to really register. Apply logical rationale to each choice and to our feelings and thoughts about them.

Rushing to conclusions before feelings reach full fruition, resulting in impulse decisions. Therefore learn to be patient and to take one's own feelings seriously is crucial.

Lack of self-esteem, hopelessness is evidenced when options are not paid attention to. Self-erasing themselves by ignoring themselves.

Having thoughts and feelings are useless if we discard them or trivialize them. They will only come back with a vengeance later.

4.Relating Choices To Established PrioritiesRating your options against your priorities. List your personal priorities against the options, perhaps from 1 to 10. What are the most important factors in your decision? 
5.Designation! Coming To A Conclusion By Designating One Choice and Initiating Discarding Those Not Chosen.

This crossover from stage 4 to 5 is almost imperceptible. However, there is a sense of things falling together. A sense of "solidness".

At this stage, we start to discard unused options so as to clear the way for the designated choice.

6.Registering The Decision.This stage is just letting the decision sink. To feel the decision take effect.

This is not a "see how it feels" stage in order to backtrack.

People who cannot make decisions of obsessive ruminating usually have their major difficulty at this point. They will prolong this stage way beyond practical need or value. They will sit and sit until their apathy converts the process into a frozen stalemate so that choice never becomes real decision. Characteristically, obsessive ruminators will at this point return repeatedly to Stage 3--observing their thoughts and feelings, reopening this step again and again--and applying "more logic" ad nauseam.

7.Investing The Decision With Committed Feelings, Thoughts, Time And Energy And Completing The Elimination Of The Unused Options.

This is the stage of commitment in the decision making process.

Choice is not decision, unless implementation takes place. Choice must be translated into action or inaction--whatever status quo is needed within a suitable period of time.

This consists of finally and completely eliminating the nonchosen options. "Let them go!".

This is where growing up is all about, "letting rejected choices go and thus establishing priorities and demonstrating a willingness to pay a price--the price of discarded options--and to take responsibility through our decisions for who we are and what we want.

This allows us to withdraw energy from unused options and fully concentrate on our chosen option.

This is crossing the Rubicon.

People who make choices for all the wrong reasons--coercion, to be liked by others, because "it's the right thing to do," or for purely conventional reasons--will often demonstrate difficulty at this point. This is corrosive to morale and establishes a pessimistic mood antithetical to good decision-making
8.Translating The Decision Into Optimistic Action.

This is the loyalty and optimism stage.

Not to say that appropriate change is not desirable but it must not hamper or dilute our continuing loyalty to decisions made.

This needs self-esteem and maturity, and a decision made begets growth and maturity.

People suffering from self-hate have a great deal of difficulty sustaining either loyalty or optimism in decision-making

They tend to abandon decisions at any sign of difficulty and quickly become pessimistic about the wisdom and outcome of their choices. When the inevitable bump in the road presents itself, they fail here.

Ultimately, making decisions means taking control of your life.

Remember the Big Fact: No decision is really better than the other, but the commitment to it makes the difference.

The book of James was right in saying (about asking for wisdom): "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:6-7)

Your decisions affects YOU! Making a decision means taking control of your life and gaining more self-esteem. The feedback result is that you feel good that you have taken control of your life.

"Any choice you make will be a constructive one, as long as it springs from real desires, values and priorities, and has your full commitment."

Decision making is a lot like commanding a ship. You can go left or right. But you cannot have both. Some people have problems, because they want both.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The View where I'm Staying

The view from my hotel room in PJ.

The Feynman Problem Solving Algorithm

Richard Feynman, the youngest scientist on the Manhattan Project (i.e. he helped build the Atomic Bomb) has the following problem solving algorithm:

  1. Write down your problem.

  2. Think very hard.

  3. Write down the answer.

Why Leadership is Important for Software

From this article on the COCOMO Estimation model:

"One of the most important observations in the model is that personnel motivation overwhelms all other paramters. This would suggest that leadership and teamsmanship are the most important skills of all, but this point was largely ignored. Researchers would rather create tools."

Therefore including this the most important thing they should teach in Software School or even Computer Science isn't just algorithms or problem solving techniques but leadership!

I would therefore propose that in light of this the following be taught in computer science curriculum:

1. Leadership & Motivation.
2. Software Complexity and simplifying complex problems, estimating and planning.
3. Learning skills.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

21 Laws of Leadership (continued)

  1. The Law of Solid Ground. This law means that when you make action and decisions, you must get the support of the leaders behind you. Just because a decision is right, isn't just enough, you must have their trust before you do so. The 3 C's: Competence, Connection, and Character are important. Be honest, don't hide facts. Cast your vision, answer their questions and guide them through decisions. Live your values everyday, not just when you feel like it.

  2. The Law of Respect. The stronger your leadership, the more they will respect you, the more they will follow you. Strength is commitment to your values. Your decision to hold on to principles.

  3. The Law of Intuition. Leaders see everything in terms of using their resources to achieve goals. They read their situation, the trends, the resources, people, and themselves. It is an art that is developed.

  4. The Law of Magnetism: A leader attracts people who are like minded. Your attitude attracts people of the same attitude, age, background, values, ability and life experience. If you want to attract people better, you have to improve yourself, get the experience of people you want in your team.

  5. The Law of the Connection: First win the heart, then the only their head. Connect with them, have meals with them, joke with them, know their names, their wives, kids. Be a friend with them.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Only Bible People Read

The only Bible that people only read are Christians. We must let the Living Word live in our lives.

It's easy enough to say "God loves you." Heck, you may as well say, "Allah loves you or Buddha loves you or Krishna loves you." But rarely have I heard Christians say "I love you."

What's the reason for that? Because by saying "I love you" you're committing yourself to a certain lifestyle, a certain way of life that involves courage and sacrifice.

Not many people want to commit themselves to the Christian way. It's alright to let God take away some of our bad habits, but to be totally committed... that's something else.

But when He does take ALL of our lives... something wonderful happens.