Ever since becoming a Racker (woot!), my thoughts on a “successful organization” have changed dramatically.
I saw the below image on LinkedIn the other day and it peaked my interest. At first glance, I was thinking that it was spot-on. Exactly what I would want in a manager/executive and, someday, hope to be myself.
Perhaps this initial acknowledgement stemmed from my experiences as a cog within organizations (big and small) that had their defined “bosses” and appointed “leaders.” Or maybe I just
don’t didn’t know any better…
Since joining the very happy (and quite large) family at Rackspace this year, and especially since becoming a father in 2009, the prestige of the “boss” and of the “leader” have taken a very distant 2nd to a “father figure.”
Like all things, it’s give-and-take.
This picture tells me that a boss sits on-high, points fingers and instructs his subordinates where a leader does just that, leads.
My vision of a father figure is someone who carries the best of both worlds and sprinkles in a bit of love, appreciation, pride and soulful emotion to help drive his/her workers.
Leading by example, guiding, providing empowerment and allowing their workers to experience the natural consequences of their actions (within reason) builds better workers to consciously (perhaps even sub-consciously) pass this greatness on. All-in-all, whether as a member of a family or a part of an organization, we’re all in this together.
As I’ve said before, “Leadership is functional. Not a label, class or position.”
It’s clear to me, and most fellow Rackers, our executives embrace this mentality – solidified by one of our core values being “Treat Rackers like Friends and Family” – which makes Rackspace such a ridiculously amazing place to work, learn, grow, achieve and, ultimately, be happy and succeed.
We’ll always have people we call the boss, no doubt. I’m simply advocating a change in the status quo definition.
Who’s with me?!
Signature Strengths Personalized (and defined)
I was recently asked to complete an online “strengths” assessment for a future endeavour (more on that in about a week) and I wanted to share the results as well as some insight into why this assessment was spot-on.
“The success of the people you lead – and your entire organization – depends on the development of their strengths.” — Gallup Strengths Center
While I won’t go into the details of the questions nor will I share with you some of my answers, I will say that my experience and the results, without any doubt, prove that people (not just employers) should begin to seriously consider this assessment as it opened my eyes and mind without forcing me to dust off an old College Psychology textbook to make sense of it.
Definitions that Stick
The online survey took less than 30 minutes and immediately upon completion, presented a set of reports – one of which, the Top 5 (aka Signature Themes), I will share with you below.
The below are my Signature Themes as defined by the Gallup Strengths Assessment with excerpts from the report that carry the most weight for me. In order of strength…
- Achiever: “You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself.”
- Learner: “You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence…”
- Relator: “For you, a relationship has value only if it is genuine.”
- Responsibility: “You take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion.”
- Focus: “Your Focus reminds everyone that if something is not helping you move toward your destination, then it is not important. And if it is not important, then it is not worth your time.”
Not Just for Employers
Earlier, I had mentioned that this should not be limited to only employers but should be a primary tool to help individuals understand themselves and, especially used for individuals to understand themselves AND their significant others.
53 lbs Kettlebell
I recently responded to a reader on my preference whether to keep a gym membership or cut the cord and begin working out at home. I dropped my gym membership and my 53 lbs kettlebell had a lot to do with the easy transition to being gym-membership-free.
With this kettlebell, I am able to work nearly every muscle in my body (sans chest) in only a couple of minutes. The bonus is that it especially targets my lower back, upper shoulders and, because I opted for the thick-handle kettle bell, it destroys my forearms.
Get one of your own, use it and you will not be disappointed with the cardio workout or the bulk-building, posture-improving results.
My kettlebell workout: 1 set of 115+ double-arm swings, once per week.
Note: I started at 75 reps and have increased 1 rep per week (with no end in site…)
Anyone working for an organization that either has employees or customers across international borders (and those of us that have both), likely, have spent our time kicking the tires of many screenshot/screen capture utilities to combat the language barrier.
I’d standardized on TechSmith’s SnagIt for many years until I crossed paths with Evernote’s Skitch. I’m a big fan of Evernote’s note taking/recording/syncing tool and have nothing but good things to say about Skitch as well. I have no doubt you’ll feel the same.
Just give it a try (especially before you consider renewing that SnagIt license).
At Home and Work
Solid State Drives aren’t just for us techies anymore. We’ve all wanted a faster computer at home and at work and, up until these past 24 months, our primary options were to 1) buy a new computer, 2) upgrade our existing workstation’s CPU or 3) upgrade our existing workstation’s RAM. Unless the new computer comes with an internal SSD, all three options still left one wishing for something faster.
Fortunately, any computer with a SATA (very likely) or SAS (less likely) interface is capable of supporting an SSD which comes with DRAMATICALLY better performance.
Case in point, imagine having to reboot your workstation, having it reboot and waiting for you with a login prompt in less time than it takes to sing the alphabet song. (Yes, it’s true!) Now how’s that for productivity?