Monday Thirst Quenchers – Post 01.01

What I have gleaned in my learnings

Why Recognition Matters

This is a great interview on the importance of recognition in the workplace.  What I was impressed with is the smallest of details that are important, such as numbered recognition awards and photographs plastering every wall in Mr. Novak’s office, including the ceiling!  What is your rubber chicken award?

5 Leadership Questions – Russell Moore

The things I’m the most worried about when it comes to ethical and moral issues are ones most people are not thinking about

This podcast has really made me ponder about some of the morality and ethics in the technology field I am in.

Design Matters – Anil Dash

This podcast has real meat to it, from racial discussions, political commentary, technology, and much more.





Being Mindful In Everything You Do

Take a moment before you react

The apostle Paul couldn’t have said it better:


Php 2:3-5  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  (4)  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (5)  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

I am convinced that my interactions every day could use some TLC when it comes to thinking about others.  Try as I might, I struggle to place others in front of me.  When I do achieve that feat great things happen, relationships are built, and trust is gained.   When I catch myself being more self-centered instead of others focused I do the following:

Mindful Breaks

Many times, work becomes overwhelming.  The computer is no longer my friend and staring at the screen at the inflammatory email I am about to send is way overboard.  I get up from my desk and take a walk around the halls.  I may just close my eyes for five minutes.  I may focus on a task that is totally unrelated to the one I am engrossed in. All of these help me to refocus and realign my thinking.

Being Present With Others

I am in a lot of meetings.  It is hard for me to be present each and every time I am around people where I “feel” there may be a lack of competency or disengagement to the process.  One of the core questions I have started asking myself when someone speaks is “What can I learn from them?”.  This helps me grow, stay focused, and even engage fully.  I don’t bring my laptop to the meeting and try to only take notes when the meeting is virtual.  It is so easy to tune out otherwise.  Lastly, but most importantly, I am becoming more aware of how much I speak versus others.  I am starting to eliminate my speaking in exchange for others.  Awkward silence has become ok for me in meetings as I know everyone processes differently.

Asking Myself The Smart Questions

Andy Stanley has identified amazing questions we should ask ourselves before we make decisions.

  • What is the wise thing to do?
  • What would a great leader (replace leader with the person relevant) do?

If I truly take the time to be mindful on these questions before making decisions, I am blessed by the outcome.



Stop making labels

Unless you are an owner, manufacturer, or purchaser

How we create labels every day:

  • That marketer will never understand software development
  • That developer doesn’t do strategy
  • He doesn’t talk in meetings.  It is just his introvert nature.
  • Her skills assessment shows she has a temper.

I was very convicted when I was listening to this podcast yesterday.  I realize that I label people all the time, not intentionally, but I do it just the same.   The key that I got out of the message was that every time we place a label on someone, we restrict their ability to contribute and maximize their potential.  My exercise today is to figure out what labels I am applying.  Consciously I am going to write these down and see where I could change my communication style to open up and contribute to potential maximization.

Where labels come from

I also took the opportunity to figure out the labels others have given me.  This inventory is helping me to see where I am stifling opportunity because of the label. Here are some of the places I reflected on:

  • My family and children give me labels
    • One of those is a hard worker.  I need to be careful that label is not the primary way I am viewed.  I have used this label as a crutch in the past.
    • Sacrificial – Again while this can be good for most of the time, I shouldn’t use it as a badge of honor
  • My coworkers have provided me labels, some good, some not so good.
    • Competency minded – Several times I have had colleagues evaluate my interactions and this was a recurring theme.  I will need to be aware that competency is only one trait
    • Single Point of Failure – This is such an unnerving label.  I constantly strive to share because of this.
  • Labels I give myself
    • Unorganized – I am always trying to increase my productivity and make sure that I have all the answers beforehand.  Sometimes I spend too much energy
    • Servant Leadership – I need to make sure that I don’t mask unhealthy behaviors such as pride behind this.

How labels restrict opportunity

  • Labels provide specificity that may be unwarranted.  If someone labels you as a marketer for instance, they may only consult you when it is a marketing question.  However, your experiential skills may provide unique insights.
  • Labels are defined by the person labeling you.  People utilize labels as just a quick way to categorize according to their needs.  Again, be aware that you can label yourself and just fall into the categories.
  • Labels create bias.  For instance, we see this in politics.  Most people are not just Democrat or Republican, however, they restrict their thinking by making compromises they fundamentally don’t believe in just because of choosing a “label” party platform.

What labels do you use or see.

Additional Resources



Are You a Participant or a Volunteer at Your Workplace

There is a 5 part podcast series on building your leadership pipeline that I was listening to this morning on the treadmill.  The part I was listening to was about the role people fit into the pipeline. It made me think of where I work and I started bucketing traits of participants in the workplace vs. volunteers.


  • Are just there to do the job at hand.  No extra work required.
  • The paycheck drives the decision making for them.
  • Participants can also be seen as voyeurs in that outside of the work they are doing, they just watch.  Whether what they see happening is good or bad, they don’t care and are not going to jump in to right the ship.
  • Have a what have you done for me lately attitude.  Participants expect to gain something, usually self-serving.
  • Participants only grow when they are fed by others and are picky on the nourishment that they are given.
  • They are passengers.


  • Step out of their comfort zone and take on something that doesn’t necessarily benefit themselves.
  • See a bigger picture and are willing to risk being part of it.
  • Care deeply about doing work that may only be to server others as it is part of a passion or grander plan.
  • Volunteering shows leadership.
  • Volunteers grow by feeding themselves.  They search out the nourishment that enriches their career.
  • They are in the driver’s seat.

I want to be a volunteer wherever I can.  As a leader, I appreciate volunteers, because they are stepping out for a greater purpose.




The Purpose Of Feedback

Think of the purpose that this chandelier was made with.  Alexandrinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, Russia 
This was a poem I created a couple of years back around how we shape purpose in our lives.  Feedback becomes an essential component.  In the last few months, I really have been focused on getting clarity of purpose and have shared a lot of my thoughts to garner feedback.  It has been a very healthy and productive exercise.  Now when I read the words below, I am really encouraged that feedback is making me into a better person and one of purpose, leading a life that is of significance.  Let me know after reading your thoughts on feedback and purpose and how they fit together.

How do we need to change our view point?  Are we thinking telescopic vs. microscopic?  Critical thinking to expand the scope of the problem may indeed change the solution.

Short talks like this that display basic truths help us to realize we can be more thoughtful.  I am again reminded that soft speech is very powerful and is a great tool to refine.  Always speak in Love and listen in the silence.