Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Spirit at Work
January 20th was a special day. Not because it was my birthday or because it was the inauguration of our 44th President. But because it was a day where the worlds of work, government and faith came together. It was a day where school children, office workers, government employees and millions of people joined in prayer for the President of the United States, his family and the future of our nation. And then we all heard our new President speak about the faith and spirit needed to overcome these challenging times. It was a breath of fresh air and left me wondering a few questions:
Why does this happen so infrequently? Why have we become so scared to mention faith and work in the same sentence? In a world where 92% of people believe in a higher power and our dollar bill has “In God we Trust" on it and the President takes an oath of office with his hand on a bible and ends every speech with God Bless America, why has political correctness become the norm and how has it given way to spiritual death and misery at work?
Think about it. We celebrate national holidays and honor people like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Mother Teresa who changed the world because of their faith and yet we are supposed to ignore the faith that moved them to do great things. That would be like studying the act of breathing but ignoring the oxygen that it requires.
Please know, I'm not talking about religion. I'm talking about faith, spirit and a relationship. 2000 years ago there was no separation between someone's work life and their spiritual life. Yet now people come to work and leave their spirit at home. They go to church on Sundays and discard the lessons they learned on Mondays. We complain that there's no spirit in the workplace and perhaps it's because we've done such a good job keeping it out. Perhaps that's why greed has severely hurt our economy and why so many are burned out and feel like their souls are being crushed at work. Spirit and work were never meant to be separated. Our faith was always meant to guide us in our work and actions.
Everyone wants to talk about employee morale and engagement but that doesn't happen without tapping into a bigger purpose. Companies and organizations want their people to be happy, motivated and productive but when you remove the key ingredient of spirit and purpose you’re left with a hole that can't be filled. The research is clear. People are most energized when they are using their talents for a purpose beyond themselves.
We complain to God about the economy and say why did you allow this to happen but in reality God didn't cause this. We did. The signs were there but we ignored them. Perhaps this is a great time to learn from our mistakes. Perhaps more God and less Greed is not such a bad idea. Perhaps more faith and less fear would be a good thing. Maybe starting your day with a silent prayer at your desk would give you strength. Maybe getting together and praying as a company in your own way would give a much needed energy boost. Amazing things happen when people come together in prayer.
This is what 100,000 businessmen did at Tokyo's Kanda Myojin shrine at the start of the New Year (news article here). Its also what the city of Atlanta did when Lake Lanier and the water supply ran dangerously low.
Also consider other ways to infuse spirit into the workplace. Southwest Airlines places employees through spirit boot camp when they join Southwest. The Westin Hotel employees now have name tags that also list their passion. I saw one employee with a tag that said "My passion is creating social change." And Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager, whose title is the Chief Spiritual Officer of his company hosts a daily call for all his employees where he shares a positive and inspirational message.
You don't have to evangelize in the work place and try to convince someone to believe what you believe. But you can be a living, breathing example of your faith. As St. Francis of Assisi said, "people would rather see a sermon than hear one” anyway. You can invite God to work. I know what you’re thinking. If you were God you'd stay out of your work place too. :) But God wants to come into your work place. After all, the workplace is part of the Universe. Universe means "one song" and the creator of the one song wants to bring all of creation into harmony. With so many miserable people at work who feel hopeless and purposeless, I believe God wants to do redeem the workplace. But God needs each one of us to play our note.
So bring your spirit to work. Let your spiritual life power your work life. Let it move you to be your best and bring out the best in others. Let it guide you to make the right decisions. Let it inspire you to serve, lead and empower others. See your work not as a burden but as an opportunity to make a positive impact. In the process transform your work place from a dead zone to a place of spirit, energy and life.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
IBM's Palmisano: Government Investment Could Lead to 900,000 IT JobsBy Darryl K. Taft
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano has told members of the Barack Obama transition team that a $30 billion government investment in the IT industry could lead to the creation of more than 900,000 jobs in areas such as broadband access, health care IT and upgrading the electrical grid.
The Wall Street Journal reported that IBM CEO Sam Palmisano has advised the Obama team that a government investment of $30 billion could create more than 900,000 jobs for U.S. workers.
Palmisano addressed Barack Obama's transition team in December in response to a request from the president-elect's advisers on the job-creating capabilities of the IT industry. In response, IBM's Palmisano delivered a presentation to the transition team stating that a $30 billion investment in expanding broadband access, computerizing health care records and improving the electrical grid could create more than 900,000 U.S. jobs, the Journal report said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that IBM worked with a Washington think tank known as the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation to evaluate potential job development possibilities in three areas: broadband, health care IT and "smart grid" technologies.
According to the Journal, the IBM/Information Technology and Innovation Foundation research said that investing $10 billion in broadband networks to provide high-speed Internet access to areas that lack it would create 498,000 new jobs in a year, while a $10 billion investment in health care IT could create 212,000 jobs. In addition, IBM said a $10 billion investment in upgrading the electrical grid would lead to the creation of 239,000 additional jobs.
Moreover, IBM officials said Palmisano recommended the use of green data centers by the government, including converting existing data centers to green ones.
Monday, January 12, 2009
NYC judge allows Madoff to remain free
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
— A judge has allowed Bernard Madoff to remain free on bail, rejecting a bid by prosecutors to send the disgraced money manager to jail.
Madoff mailed more than $1 million in jewelry and heirlooms to family and friends over the holidays. Prosecutors said the gifts were grounds to have his bail revoked because what's left of Madoff's assets will have to be returned to burned investors.
Madoff's lawyers said the gifts were an innocent mistake and said he is neither a danger to the community nor a threat to flee.
The fact that Madoff (MAY'-dawf) has been able to spend his days in his luxury apartment — and not jail — has stirred up outrage among investors who lost billions in his alleged fraud that he reportedly describes as a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Protecting your job in this economic climate is a job in itself, but the effort can pay off. John McKee offers practical strategies for getting through tough times with your career intact.
With unemployment rates climbing into the stratosphere and job prospects becoming increasingly tenuous, IT pros need to think strategically and act effectively to keep their heads above water. Here are some recommendations to help you safeguard your career during the months to come.
#1: Make a specific plan
I’m not talking about making a wish list which, like New Year’s resolutions, will be forgotten by the third week of January. You want a plan that has specific goals for your job (what’s the best role for you next?) and your income (exactly how much would you like to be making by the end of 2009?). Writing down your plans makes them concrete, and it’s more likely you will attain them.
#2: SWOT yourself
Be honest with yourself. Review your strengths — like what you’ve got that can move you ahead; weaknesses — like those things you have or do that are holding you back; opportunities — things you can pursue at the company or in the industry; and threats — things that can derail you or sabotage your career advancement.
#3: Update your resume
Smart careerists are always ready for the next opportunity. Taking time to review and modify your resume before you want to send it to someone makes it a better product. This is often your first introduction to a new employer or boss — so make sure it’s topnotch.
#4: Invest in your career
Most people forget they really have two jobs. The first is to do what you get paid for and do it better than others. The second is to do what’s required to ensure that your career isn’t left to someone’s wrong opinions that were made in your absence. Be in the office when your boss is. It gives you additional opportunity to let him or her get to know you for things other then the job you’re currently filling.
#5: Get financially smart
Get involved with managing your financial affairs. Paying attention to money matters is one of the smartest and easiest ways to improve your personal balance sheet. There are many books and online courses on the subject of money management basics. Looking after your financial health doesn’t take a lot of time; but it could save your life.
#6: Develop a sense of urgency
Many people think that working hard, being busy, and burning a lot of energy is equal to managing their career and life. It’s not. Developing a sense of urgency means knowing how to pick through all those “to-do’s” and focusing your time and energy on just the ones that count.
#7: Look up, not down
When downsizing is the operative word, developing your team is no longer the smartest way to ensure success. Spend less time with your staff members and more time looking after your boss’ needs. When you show that you’re working hard to make him or her look good, you’ll stand out from the crowd. And your boss will be more likely to provide you with the resources that you and your team need to do the job better. (This may seem a bit cut throat but the current company culture has forced this upon employees.)
#8: Update your skill set
It pays to demonstrate that you are interested in “upgrading” yourself — and in 2009, your ability to grow may be more important than ever. With unemployment now at record highs, demand for jobs greatly exceeds supply. Not staying on par with colleagues and those vying for your job will be a death knell. Take seminars, do coursework, or leverage other vehicles to get on the leading edge and thus, maximize your personal value to the organization.
#9: Self promote
Face it: Often, decisions are made affecting who gets moved upward and who gets downsized without your involvement. It’s important that the decision makers know you and what you are doing. Have regular meetings with your boss or send regular e-mails to update those in charge about your contributions.
#10: Look after your loved ones
One way or another, when 2009 is done and over, you’ll still be here and you’re going to want those you care about to still be with you. While it’s important to look after your job and career, don’t neglect those who make life most worthwhile. Tell them you care and spend time with them “just for fun.”
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
It has been 9 years since I volunteered for the position of Director of Technology and Automation and I have come to a decision. As of January 5, 2009 I am stepping down as the Director of TAC. I have put in a lot of thought into this and it is time for me to participate as a regular member. I will stay limited involved with BDPA Detroit but I need to redirect my energies and focus on my goals for a while. I will complete a few unfinished TAC tasks over the week but I will not attend the planning session meeting this weekend.
I will maintain this Blog since it is not an official chapter function(see disclaimer at top of blog) Thank you for a wonderful experience and I will return
to a more active role in a future date.
Monday, January 05, 2009
9 Web sites IT pros should master in 2009
Here's a time-saver for IT executives swamped by last-minute budget cuts and end-of-the-year performance reviews: We've written your 2009 goals for you, with our list of nine Web sites you need to study during the next 12 months.
This list is not for geeks. It’s for IT professionals of a certain age, who don’t spend every waking hour online but need to keep up with the latest innovations on the Internet.
Master these Web sites, and you’ll prove you can innovate during the most trying economic times. And you’ll do it more efficiently than your 20-something employees, who waste too much time chasing the new, new thing on the Internet that may not survive the downturn.
1. Linked In
Forget Facebook. In the last six months, LinkedIn has become the de rigueur Web 2.0 site for IT professionals. LinkedIn has 30 million members, almost double what it had a year ago. And it raised more than $75 million in venture capital during 2008, so it has staying power. It has a host of new features that make it the most productive networking site on the Web. Spend some time updating your LinkedIn profile and reaching out to current and former colleagues. You can show your boss that you’re well connected, and you’ll be ready in case you’re on the next layoff list. In 2008, LinkedIn made our list of the 20 most useful social networking sites on the Web.
Also check out this posting on how to use LinkedIn http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/01/ten_ways_to_use.html
Call it what you like - software-as-a-service or cloud computing - but it’s the future of enterprise IT departments, and you need to get on board with it. You’ll be under more pressure than ever in 2009 to find cheaper ways to deliver IT services. One way to do that is to pilot a Google Apps project, such as document sharing via GoogleDocs or video sharing via Google Video. Your staff can build one of these collaboration projects in a jiffy, and the information will be available to employees from any location on any computer. Among Google Apps proponents: The District of Columbia government.
Chances are you’ve already embarked on a server virtualization project, and continued consolidation of your servers is a key money-saving goal for 2009. Most of you are using VMware for your server virtualization projects, and our product reviewers recommend you stick with VMware over Microsoft’s Hyper-V for the foreseeable future. To get the best real-world feedback on how best to deploy VMware, keep your eyes on the VMware Communities Web site. It’s got user groups in your community and lots of tips from other VMware developers that can help you solve problems faster.
Security will continue to be a top priority for 2009, but you’ll need to figure out how to do it on the cheap. That’s where Secunia.com comes in. This site aggregates security vulnerability information from leading vendors, providing you with one-stop shopping for the latest news about security bugs and the software patches available to fix them. The site has an active community of IT security folks who can help you fix operating systems and applications before you get attacked. Secunia made our list of 20 useful IT security Web sites in 2008.
5. Green Grid
With the economy in shambles and energy prices plummeting, you’re likely to hear a lot less about global climate change and carbon neutral business operations than you did six months ago. Nonetheless, green IT can still be a huge advantage for IT departments because it will save you money. Plain and simple: green IT saves greenbacks. So get to know the Green Grid’s Web site and make sure that whatever you buy in 2009 for your data centers is in line with their advice and metrics. Here’s more information about the Green Grid along with three other organizations that offer advice about lowering data center power consumption.
At first glance, Twitter seems like a colossal waste of time. But the fact is this real-time messaging service is taking off in IT circles. And if you don’t jump on the bandwagon soon, you might be too late. Twitter provides an easy way to keep your staff and co-workers informed about where you are and what you’re doing. You can also sign up for the latest technology headlines from Wired, Slashdot and others. It doesn’t take long to sign up for Twitter, so give it a whirl so you’ll know what your Generation Y employees are talking about. See 20 must-follow Twitter feeds here.
If Twitter seems too frivolous to you, try Yammer. It’s essentially Twitter for the office. The benefit of Yammer is that it’s a private communications channel for coworkers to share quick messages about what they’re working on, get questions answered or blast out news. Xerox and Cisco are among the 200-plus companies enjoying improved collaboration thanks to Yammer. One benefit of Yammer over Twitter: it seems to have a sustainable business model.
Ruby on Rails is one of the best open source tools to appear in recent years. This Web development framework lets you create working applications in a matter of hours. Advocates of this development platform include the New York Times, Yellowpages.com, Twitter and Hulu. See 15 amazing Web applications built with Ruby on Rails here. Version 2.2 of Ruby on Rails came out in November, so you don’t have to worry about being on the bleeding edge.
Like it or not, the latest smartphones – the BlackBerry Storms and Apple 3G iPhones (Slideshow: Smartphone showdown: iPhone vs. BlackBerry Storm) – are headed toward your corporate network. So you better get ready to protect sensitive corporate information from the risks that these consumer devices open up. If you don’t want to encrypt them, make sure you have centralized control over them so you can wipe data from lost or stolen cell phones. We like the Enterprise Mobility Matters Web site from market research firm Strategy Analytics because it offers a comprehensive look at enterprise mobility issues.
20 Tips for a Positive New Year
1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can know that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.
2. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement: My purpose is_______________________.
3. Take a morning walk of gratitude. It will create a fertile mind ready for success.
4. Instead of being disappointed about where you are think optimistically about where you are going.
5. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
6. Transform adversity into success by deciding that change is not your enemy but your friend. In the challenge discover the opportunity.
7. Make a difference in the lives of others.
8. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.
9. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
10. Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.
11. Live with the 3 E's. Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.
12. Remember there’s no substitute for hard work.
13. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.
14. Instead of complaining focus on solutions. It’s the key to innovation.
15. Read more books than you did in 2008.
16. Learn from mistakes and let them teach you to make positive changes.
17. Focus on “Get to” vs “Have to.” Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.
18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________.
Today I accomplished____________.
19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.
20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.
Created by Jon Gordon
~Christian D. Larson