Decision-Making With Perspective, Please.

Decision-Making With Perspective, Please.

An article in Fast Company (1 April 2013) by Chip and Dan Heath tells us to use the 10/10/10 rule for making tough decisions.

That is to consider how you will feel about the decision in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years–in order to “get some distance on our decisions.”

But this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, if you are making a decision, looking at it with 3 future lenses does not provide a lot of additional insight even if they are at various points in the future.

What makes a lot more sense is to examine the decision based on past, present, and future consideration.

Past–At home, I learned from my father that when he makes a big decision, he thinks about what his father would’ve have done in a similar situation. My dad greatly respected his father, and believes that he is a guiding force in his everyday life. It is important to consider what our parents, grandparents, and other people that we respect from our past would do in similar circumstances–this is a social view. For example, would your parents and grandparents be proud of your decision and what it represents for you as a person or would you feel ashamed and guilty, if they found out. This is not to say that you can’t express your individuality, but rather that your past is one important guidepost to consider.

Present–In operational law enforcement and defense environment, I learned that you have to respect the decision-maker at the frontline. The details of what is happening or the ground in the here and now can certainly be a decisive factor in both split second decisions, but also those decisions where we have some luxury of contemplation–this is an operational view. Additionally, in making a big decision, we need to be true to ourselves and base the decision on our values and beliefs (i.e. who we are). In contrast, when we make decisions that violate our core beliefs, we usually regret it pretty quickly.

Future–In Yeshiva, I learned to strongly consider the future in all decision-making. The notion that this world is just a corridor to the future world was a frequent theme. From this religious perspective, what is important in how we live our lives today is not the immediate pleasure we can get, but rather what the future consequences will be on our spirit/soul (i.e. Neshama)–this is a strategic view. One teacher exhorted us to always look at things from the future perspective of our death bed–will you feel you lived your life as a good person and in a fulfilling way or did you just do what felt good or was selfish and fleeting? For example, he said, “No one ever looked back and wish they spent more time working. Instead, they usually regret not spending more time with the family and true friends.”

Decision-making is not trivial–you need to consider carefully what you do, with whom, when and how. To do this, looking at 3 points in the future is minimally helpful. Instead, consider your past, present, and future, and you will make better decisions that will enable you to be true to yourself, your family and community, and your very soul.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Parking Lot Crazy Car

Parking Lot Crazy Car

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure–funny, interesting, weird, how does it make you feel?

This car, aside from the missing fender, window, and masking tape and cord holding it together, has got a crown of mementos on its hood and roof (aside from the stuff piled in the side and rear seat).

A collage, mosaic–artsy self expression–this car is someone’s jewel.

Almost can’t believe that it still runs, but it got to this shopping mall parking lot somehow–and it manages to get its share of attention.

Wondering–is this a hoarder’s mentality and does the person’s home also look like this too or is this someone’s big statement about their values and beliefs?

Definitely unique, an eye catcher, and a whole different way to think of a Honda. 😉

(Source photo: me)

Walking In All Shoes

Until_you_walk_in_my_shoes

Thinking about life and death and the concept of reincarnation.

While I have heard the belief of some that reincarnation is the ultimate justice machine–if you treat others well, you come back well off, while if you treat them badly, you come back in their situation.

So the classic example, would be if you have the opportunity to give charity, and do so, genoreously, then you are rewarded in a next life with riches, but if you are miserly, then you come back poor–to learn the lessons of charitable giving.

However, I wonder if this concept goes even much further.

Does our journey ultimately takes us not just to occupy some positions if life, but rather to every role and status, illustrative of all peoples–so that we learn from the eyes of everyone.

The world  is round and the number of perspectives around it are as varied as the people, races, cultures, and nations they come from.

As the saying goes, “don’t judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes,” perhaps we are indeed given the opportunity to walk in a large representative sample of those.

When the see the world not from where we sit today in life, but from where others are perched, we can get a whole new perspective on issues and ideas–we can learn true empathy, caring, respect, and justice.

Almost like having G-d’s vantage point, we can learn to see the world from a multi-cultural perspective, where each person, tribe, and nation is infinitely valuable–where each holds the key to a perspective and lesson that we must all learn before our journey comes to a conclusion.

Live life and learn well–there is much to see, hear, and experience, and no one has all the answers or is all righteous–like a large mosaic, we all have a piece. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Fernando Stankuns)

Get This Guy Off My Back

Backpack_head

This was another odd site around Washington, D.C. today.

A guy carrying around this bust on his back–almost like a backpack.

I don’t know who this figure is, nor what the writing says, but it certainly does seem to make some sort of a statement.

To me, while we all carry a lot of burdens in our life, I don’t think we should be weighed down by anybody or any one of them.

People can get on us about all sorts of things–work, school, and personal stuff–but we are better of taking it in stride.

They have their own problems and imperfections–they also are mortal and frail–and in some cases, they are less of a person than we are.

Whoever they are, don’t drag ’em around or let them get you down–hear them out, get their input, and then make up your own mind about things.

Remember, there are a lot of false beliefs out there, as well as people pushing their own agendas.

What you think is real, could just be another phony idol to get off your back and out of your life.

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Leading the Blind

Blind

Waiting for the train this morning–on the platform, there is a blind woman.

The train pulls up, and I help the blind lady to the train door, saying “it’s just to the right.”

The blind lady gets on and staggers herself over to where the seats usually are right next to the door, but on this model of the train, it is just an empty space.

She goes across the aisle to the other side to try and sit down, and reaches out with her arm, but ends up touching this other lady’s head.

But the other lady is quite comfortable in her seat and doesn’t flinch or budge.

The funny (read sad) thing about this is that there an empty seat on the inside right next to her–but she doesn’t move over, nor does she direct the blind lady to the empty seat next to her or anyplace else either.

Actually, the lady sitting all comfy–doesn’t say a word–to the contrary, she nudges the blind lady away from her seat.

The blind lady is left standing there–groping for somewhere to go.

As the train lurches forward–beginning to moving out of the station–the blind lady make a shuffled dash heading for the other side of the train to try to feel for another seat–and she begins to stumble.

I jump up from the other side and having no time, awkwardly just grab for her hand, so she does not fall.

The lady is startled and pulls back, and I explain that I am just trying to help her get safely to a seat.

I end up giving her my seat–it was just easier than trying to guide her to another vacant one, and she sits down.

I was glad that I was able to do something to assist–it was a nice way to start out the week–even if only in a small way.

But honestly, I also felt upset at the other lady, who so blatantly just disregarded the needs of the handicapped.

I do not understand the callousness–doesn’t she realize that a person with a disability or handicap could be any one of us–even her.

My mind starting racing about what I had heard from the pulpit about sins of omission and commission, and I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help sort of staring at the lady who was all smug–wondering again and again about who she was, what was she thinking (or not), and basically is that what most people would do.

I watch other people help each other every day, and I’ve got to believe inside that most people are better than that.

(Source Photo: adapted from herewith attribution to Neils Photography)

What Arms and Legs Can’t Touch

Unbelievable video of Nick Vujicic coaching people to believe in themselves.The catch is that Nick himself is missing all four limbs.Yet he shows how he can–without arms and legs–run, boat, dive, fish, water slide, play soccer, golf, and much more.I love when he says with conviction:

– “Forget about what you don’t have. Be grateful for what you do have.”

– Don’t be angry at your life and at others.

– You are worthwhile and you are beautiful.

– You have the strength to conquer.

I am inspired–no, I am amazed–by this human being.

Sometimes, like now, when I see such courage and strength, I wonder how people do it!

Life is so challenging even when we have all our limbs and faculties…

I think that G-d must give a special gift to these people so they can inspire others and be role models for us.

So that when times are tough, we can remember them and be elevated to break our own barriers and limitations.

>Situational Success–You Will Have Yours

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New article in Public CIO Magazine by Andy Blumenthal: Aligning Your Stars: Leadership Success Often Depends on Finding the Right Situation (February 2011)

>Are Organizational Values Valuable?

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Many organizations have a value statement that identifies what traits are most important to them.

Organizational values are similar to an enterprise architecture in that the organizational values identify a type of target state for organization members to strive for and adhere to.

The purpose of value statements is to guide people’s behaviors, decisions, and interactions.

For example, one police department that I looked up has value statements around the traits of integrity, pride, service, and fairness. A city that I found had value statements for passion for community, integrity in work, and results through collaboration. A non-profit organization had values of leadership, integrity, excellence, and impact.

As you read the value statements they give you a sense of the organization in terms of who they are, or actually more like what they believe in.

But do they really—i.e. are organizational value statements something that people in the organization are aware of, understand, can locate, recite, or summarize, and moreover, are the values actually used to guide behavior?

Or are these value statements written by leadership, human resources, or some strategic planning function in the organization as an ivory tower effort, and then published in the organization’s glossy annual plan and/or on their website, but never really communicated with or adopted by the people in the rank and file?

The question is not posed in order to be cynical, but to genuinely ask: are organizational value statements “true values” or are they more marketing and branding glitz?

With few exceptions, I would challenge most to identify whether their organization even has a value statement, let alone what it is. Moreover, the last time, they thought of and considered the organizational values in making a decision or taking an action.

Then why do organizations have value statements?

Perhaps, organizations intuitively or through management best practices know that they need to have values, because they are genuinely important. Just like as individuals we have personal values (be they religious or otherwise) that “tell” us who we as human being are and guide our behaviors, so too as organizations, we need to identify the values that will be our “moral compass” and define our organizational identity.

The problem though comes when organizational values are developed as a “project”—a time bound task or “to do” for someone or some committee who researched it, developed it, and got approval on it; but not managed as a “program”—an ongoing endeavor and commitment to create awareness, educate, and even enforce the values through performance rewards and recognition.

Moreover, culture and peer pressure are vey powerful forces that drive employee behavior, whether they consciously are aware of it or not. So many values are indeed employed in day-to-day interactions, but they may not be explicit and they may not be the same values that are actually in the organization’s value statement. That is because the informal network and implicit values may actually be more prominent and powerful in driving people’s behaviors that the formal and documented one in the organization.

The key is for leaders to genuinely commit to the values and their use across the organization. The leaders need to provide for the values to be widely communicated (on wall hangings, pocket cards, employee reference guides, Intranet and so on) and they need to be referred to in periodic communications (speeches, announcements, broadcasts, meetings, etc.). They need to be living, breathing values that touch people daily (and obviate the implicit and unsanctioned ones).

Further, leaders need not only talk about the values, but also they need to exemplify them. In other words, leaders need to practice what they preach and lead by example using the values to drive decisions and actions in a way that is transparent to all.

What I learned when I developed user-centric enterprise architecture is that any ivory-tower exercises or development of organizational shelfware is by definition a failure, and therefore we need to treat all of our strategic planning and management functions as a real-world effort.

If we could do that with both EA and organizational values, it would be great to integrate them and use them to drive an explicit target state for both the performance and the business perspectives, as well as a human capital perspective of the architecture.

>Brand and The Total CIO

>David F. D’Allesandro, the CEO of John Hancock insurance group has a bunch of wonderful books on building brand and career, such as “Brand Warfare”, “Career Warfare” and “Executive Warfare”.

All the books have three things in common. One, they are about the importance of brand. Two, they are about moving ahead in the corporate world. And three, they all end in “warfare.”

Brand is critical for building value. Brand is our reputation. It’s how we are known to others. It’s what people think and say about us. It’s a representation of our values and integrity.

We all know corporate brands such as those from consumer product companies and fashion designers. Those that have a “good” brand, tend to convey a higher status and cost a premium. We trust those brands and many people wear the brand labels as a status symbol.

We all carry a brand. Like a mark of “Grade A” or “Prime Beef” seared on a side of a hide of cattle, a brand is mark of distinction for us.

At work, we are branded as honest or not, fair or not, hard working or not, team players or not and so on and so forth.

As the CIO, it is imperative to have a brand that synthesizes the best of business and technology for the organization.

On one hand, many view the CIO as the technical leader for the organization; the wang-bang guru that leads the enterprise through the often confusing and fast-changing technology landscape. In this role, the CIO can make or break the future of the organization with wise or poor technical decisions that can put the enterprise on the cutting-edge, build competitive advantage, and increase revenue/profits, market share, and customer satisfaction. Or the CIO can lead the organization down a technical sinkhole with failed IT projects that jeopardize mission, alienate customers, drive out good employees out, and waste millions of dollars.

On the other hand, many like to say that the CIO is not and should not be tech-focused, but should be about the business—understanding the business strategy, operations, and requirements and then driving an IT organization that is responsive to it. Taken to an extreme, the CIO may not be required to have a technology background, an IT degree or even a technical certificate. This person may be from the business side of the house and could almost alien to the CIO organization and therefore, may not easily garner the respect of his more technical people.

The true successful CIO melds business and technology together. Their brand is one where business drives technology and where strategy is paramount, but operations is a given! This CIO is someone who can be relied on to make wise technical decisions today that will enhance the strategic success of the organization tomorrow. The CIO is a leader who manages not only upward, but who reaches across the organization to build partnership and understanding; who inspires, motivates, trains, recognizes, and rewards his people; and who conducts outreach and brings in best practices from beyond the strict organizational boundaries. This CIO is loyal, dedicated, hard-working, smart, and has the trust and confidence to get the job done!

So what with the “warfare” part in the books?

Well, unfortunately not everyone wants us to succeed. So, we must work on our brand to build it and make it shine, but at the same time, there are others inside and outside the organization who for various reasons would like to tarnish our brand: perhaps, they are jealous, competitive, nay-sayers, change resistant, oppositional, confrontational, troubled, or just plain crooked.

What D’Allesandro says is that to be successful, what sets us apart, is our ability to build relationship with others, even when it is challenging.

To be a successful CIO, we need a terrific personal brand, but more than that we need to have courage and conviction to stand by our beliefs and the vision and the ability to articulate it to guide and influence others to advance the organization’s long-term business and technical success.