Highly Effective Managers – Why Are People Surprised?
Jun 26 2017

“Beaker” from The Muppet Show by Tim Rogerson on display at Art on 5th Gallery in Austin, Texas

Sometimes it surprises me what surprises others about what great management is all about! I’m glad the google data supports what most top managers and employees with good bosses already know.

Google Employees Weighed In on What Makes a Highly Effective Manager. Technical Expertise Came in Dead Last – Is it possible to engineer the perfect boss? Google was up to the task and found data that will forever change the keys to getting promoted.

Key takeaways from the article:

Although technical skills made the list, it came in dead last. The first? Be a good coach!

What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses.

Manager’s who helped people puzzle through problems were more effective.

Top-performing managers took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.

So as much emphasis as we seem to place on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills these days, it is still the soft skills that make a top-notch leader and manager. Go figure.  Isn’t it nice when the data supports common sense (i.e, what I thought most of us knew already). 😀

Author: | Filed under: diversity, environment, success | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Letting Go Of Perfection And Checklists
May 17 2012

It’s hard to say if letting go of perfection and checklists are related or not, unless of course you put “be your silly self even if someone looks disapprovingly your way or feels threatened by your authenticity” on your checklist. 🙂

A friend posted a 2010 article on facebook recently called Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.  It’s so true.  I don’t know where we get that intense fear to be perfect and do it all correctly based on some model someone or a group of people or some stupid TV show put in our mind.  I think part of the reason reality TV shows have done so well is because those who have time to watch them inevitably feel better about themselves when they see they aren’t as screwed up as some other people out there!  You must watch the author’s video about the topic and her years of research: TEDxHouston – Brené Brown (youtube).  She delivers her message in a very authentic/real way and that’s what we are all striving to be: authentic and accepted for who we are.  I like the slide where she equates a breakdown to an awakening.  I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  I hope I can help guide others through their awakening process because it’s painful.  I’ll be attempting to do a little of that this weekend by being on the support team for the Search Within program that I participated in over 2 years ago.  The founders of the program will be holding their last events this year after 15+ years of organizing them.

Another interesting read I found via Marc Andreeseen’s blog is called The CEO’s Weekly Checklist by Scott Weiss.  He says you should “Push the Team. Sell the Vision.  Arbitrate Disagreements. Manage by Walking Around.  Talk to Customers.”  It made sense to me since I’ve worn those first time CEO shoes before.  I might change the order, but other than that these are good guidelines.  In my opinion, the number one job of a top notch CEO/President is to find the right people and orchestrate them towards success.  It is much easier said than done.  You have to get your ego out of the way and not be threatened by the authenticity you see in those people.  If you hire them and don’t listen to them, then you might as well dig your early grave from a business as well as your employees personal health perspective.


Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, environment, FYI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Trees Are Planted – Hope They Grow
Dec 24 2010

Baby Oak Tree

Thanks to the generous help of my neighbor, the trees I mentioned in my Planting Trees post have now been planted this Christmas Eve morning.  It took almost a couple of hours to plant both.  It was the first time my kids and I had ever really planted trees and it was a fun experience.  And as if to say the timing was right, it rained for about an hour a couple of hours after we finished to give those tries a nice drink.

I think it’s a good skill to have to learn how to work with the earth.  I used to mow our lawn when I was a kid and lived in Lubbock, Texas when I say about 11-13 years old until I accidentally ran over the power cord a couple of times.  I think my mom decided it was safer to hire someone to mow the lawn then.  Although, I drove her crazy as a teenager, I think she still wanted me to live. 🙂  I like to have plants around the house…even though they are in the background. It’s nice to have green living things (with no pollen) in the house.

I told my kids that when they were older they could drive by the house in the neighborhood and tell their kids that they helped plant those big Oak and Elm trees because my guess is we probably won’t be living in this house by the time the trees we planted are as big as the other trees in our neighborhood.  The process got me wanting to plant another tree where the one we had rotted/fell down a few years ago. There are deer in our neighborhood so it will have to be a tree (maybe a flowering one like a crepe myrtle) that they don’t like to eat.

Merry Christmas everyone.  Here’s to planting of new things and growing of new businesses in the New Year!  (Yeah, I know that was an entrepreneurial stretch!)

Author: | Filed under: environment, holiday, Just For Fun, national holiday | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Disneynature’s OCEANS To Premiere Earth Day 2010
Apr 19 2010

One of the perks about blogging about parenting and business is that I sometimes get stuff and am asked to blog about really cool things.  Disneynature’s PR folks reached out to me asking if I would be willing to blog about their new movie OCEANS coming out on April 22, 2010 (Earth Day).  I said of course!  I have seen some of the previews in the movie theater and it looks amazing!  Plus my ears will enjoy listening to Pierce Brosnan narrate. 🙂 I plan to take the kids to see it as soon as I can!

Start by checking out the OCEANS trailer (Click the link to see the trailer in High Definition).  I included just some of the great pictures they offer to bloggers, and here’s the info:

Disneynature, the studio that presented the record-breaking film “Earth,” brings OCEANS to the big screen on Earth Day, 2010.  Nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and OCEANS boldly chronicles the mysteries that lie beneath.  Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud dive deep into the very waters that sustain all of mankind—exploring the harsh reality and the amazing creatures that live within.  Narrated by Pierce Brosnan and featuring spectacular never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies, OCEANS offers an unprecedented look beneath the sea in a powerful motion picture that unfolds on April 22, 2010.

“See OCEANS, Save Oceans” Initiative: Disneynature will make a donation to the The Nature Conservancy in honor of every guest who sees OCEANS its opening week (April 22-28, 2010). These funds will help save coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea. The details of “See OCEANS, Save Oceans” can be found on The Nature Conservancy’s website: http://adopt.nature.org/coralreef/saving-a-coral-kingdom.html 400,000 advanced tickets for OCEANS have already been sold, meaning that Disneynature’s pledge to make a contribution in honor of everyone who sees the motion picture between April 22-28 has already translated to more than 790 acres of marine protected area in The Bahamas—and that number is still growing with advance ticket sales on the rise for opening week.  More information about this can be found here: http://bit.ly/biTym3

Actor Pierce Brosnan To Narrate: Pierce Brosnan, an outspoken environmentalist active in promoting ocean conservation efforts, will narrate Disneynature’s OCEANS. Pierce has lent his support to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s “Save the Whales Again!” campaign, as well as worked with environmental organizations including Sea Shepherd, California Coastal Protection Network, Ocean Futures Society, Oceana and Waterkeeper Alliance, among others.

Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1949 and 1960, including “Seal Island” (1949), “Beaver Valley” (1950), “The Living Desert” (1953) and “Jungle Cat” (1958).  The films earned eight Academy Awards®.

To help spread the word about the importance of furthering education about the oceans, Disney has created informational trading cards as well as a Facebook quiz application that families can experience together.  There are 15 trading cards in total, and they will be updating the site with new cards each Monday.  You can download the trading cards.

The quiz application can be found on the official Disneynature Facebook Fan Page.  Once you’ve completed the quiz, you can post your score to your Wall, allowing your friends to see how blue you are, and encourage them to take the quiz.

Additionally, several educators’ and activity guides can be downloaded via the official website by clicking on the “For Educators” Tab.

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Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty
Aug 27 2008

If you haven’t heard, they are already signing up people for Blog Action Day 2008 and the topic this year will be on Poverty.  If you are a blogger and have thoughts to share on the topic of poverty, go sign up now!  The only requirement is that you do a post on October 15, 2008 on the topic of poverty.  I posted last year for Blog Action Day and the topic was the environment.

My post last year was called Rock. Paper. Scissors. How Do We All Win?  I wrote about ways we could reduce the amount of paper we use by cutting down the paper we receive.  Since last year, I called up and cancelled several of the catalogues that we randomly received, made sure we were getting e-statements instead of paper statements, etc.  We have drastically reduced the amount of unnecessary mail we get, but we still get things that I haven’t figured out how to stop getting!  But I’ll keep on trying.

Check it out, sign up, and share your entrepreneurial and parent related thoughts about poverty!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, environment, FYI | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

California Wildfires Burn
Oct 24 2007

My thoughts are with the people living through the worst wildfires in the history of California.   I have family in the area and they have been fortunate enough to at least temporarily escape the smoke and debris.  I can’t imagine what the other families are going through.  Many have lost their homes.  Hundreds of thousands of acres of land have been burned.  Remarkably, only a few people have been injured.

The LA Times has created a map of the fires here.   Someone on YouTube posted a NASA video of the view of the smoke from space here.  You can see a YouTube video of the fires from the San Diego coast line here and here.

As an outsider looking in what I find interesting is how often the News compares this disaster to Hurricane Katrina.  Last night on 20/20 the reference came up numerous times.  They mentioned how much smoother the FEMA response to this wildfire disaster has been compared to the hurricane Katrina disaster.  How much more organized temporary shelters in places like Qualcomm stadium has been.  They also kept mentioning all the celebrities who have lost homes in the area (who I’m assuming all have property insurance).

As I understand it, the wildfires were caused by a power line that sparked as it fell and that spark was fanned by the extreme Santa Ana winds.  What devastation a spark can bring!  In Louisiana (where they just elected a new governor) the devastation and chaos was brought on by water.

There are so many mixed thoughts and emotions that come up when comparing these two disasters one hardly knows where to begin.  Two different elements (fire and water) in two different US cultures (West and South) having two dramatically different results.  Since I can’t begin to analyze with sophistication the two happenings in time, here is a little poem (simple I know) I just came up with that I thought I’d share:

Wildfires rage through the night
Filling people, animals, and trees with fright
The ocean water is nearby
But useless in the current fight

When water spurns up in a rage
All we are left with is a wet history page
Of life searching for the light
But the bright red fire is useless in our watery cage

— (c) Aruni Gunasegaram, October 24, 2007 4:30 p.m. CST

Author: | Filed under: environment, random stuff | 3 Comments »

Rock. Paper. Scissors. How Do We All Win?
Oct 15 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the amount of paper we use and come in contact with from newspapers, magazines, bank/credit card/mutual fund statements, printed paper, kids crafts, etc.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time but either didn’t have the time or wasn’t sure how to approach the topic but after writing a first draft down on October 5, 2007, I happened upon a post called What Have You Done Lately? by Lorelle on WordPress the very next day!  Her post led me to Blog Action Day, and I though ‘Holy Trees Batman,’ this is why I am supposed to write this post despite my Bloggo Fears that people will think I’m nuts or possibly a Tree Hugger!  And now because of Blog Action Day I have found the reason to do this post today, October 15, 2007.

I was motivated to write this post because I have been attempting to clean up my home office and the paper shuffling has been at an all time maximum.  I like to make space and get a sense of openness before embarking on a strategic thinking endeavor…which I am in the process of doing regarding the future direction of Babble Soft.  Boy do I wish we lived near a beach…because something about sitting under a huge umbrella, staring at the ocean, and listening to the waves with a margarita in my hand would really help get my thinking juices flowing!  🙂

I have seen some things written about reducing the amount of paper used in office environments such as:

But I haven’t seen much written about how each of us as individuals can help reduce the amount of paper products we come in contact with on a daily basis.  I did see a post made by Tim Sanders called Redesign your reading life where he discusses ideas on how to reduce the amount of paper by changing how you read.

But what I’m proposing is slightly different.  I have been looking at the things we don’t necessarily read and/or need to have a hard copy of.  So here’s what I’ve decided to do, and I took action on the day I wrote the first draft of this post back on October 5. 

I finally called Pottery Barn and told them to take me OFF their catalogue mailing list for their pottery barn baby and PB teen catalogues.  I think I ordered one thing from them a few years ago and then somehow got on their catalogue mailing list.  Every time I would get them I thought to myself I really ought to tell them to quit sending these to me, but I was always in the middle of something or I said to myself ‘oh, I’ll do it later’ and immediately put them into our recycle bin.

Now it’s great to recycle but what if I hadn’t even gotten those catalogues to begin with for the last few years?  Would some trees have been allowed to continue growing?  Would the additional oxygen they breathed into the environment have had an affect on our heated discussions on global warming?  Would we have Cooler Heads?

Since I’m not a scientist and don’t play one on TV, I really have no proof indicating that this tree saving would happen but my gut tells me that reducing the amount of paper we receive can’t hurt.  Also common sense tells me that record amounts of rain and 100 degree temperatures being more common than not here in Texas this past year are probably an indicator of something.

It took me literally less than 2 minutes to call Pottery Barn, give them the codes on the catalogues and they removed me.  And you know what? She actually THANKED me for calling them to let her know!  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because I was half expecting her to ask me why I wanted to be removed, try to convince me to continue receiving them, and/or convince me to order something.   Isn’t it funny how our assumptions of how we think something will happen might actually subconsciously dissuade us from taking immediate action?

So I’d like to challenge all of you to do something to reduce the amount of paper in your lives.   If you share in the comments what you did that might give others more reason to examine their paper-filled life.  If you are a blogger, I encourage you to post about this on your blog (please don’t feel like you have to link back to this post – I’m not writing about this for links) and let’s see if each of us making one small step to reduce the paper in our home lives can make a difference over time.

Canceling the catalogues to Pottery Barn was just the beginning, I still have a long way to go, and I’ll either update this blog or post about my progress in future posts.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Change statements (financial, bank, etc.) to e-statements if possible
  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines you no longer read
  • Encourage places like pre-schools and private schools to send you receipts by email if they can
  • Ask people who want to fax you something to scan and email it to you instead and then save it instead of printing it if possible
  • Ask the post office if they can quit sending those coupon pages, fliers, etc. that you never use.  I have no idea if it’s possible to have them quit sending bulk mail, but I guess it can’t hurt to ask.

If anyone has any other ideas, please share them!  If any of you have already posted on this topic, please let me know and I’ll update this post to refer to it.

One small action could quite possibly lead to a phenomenal reaction!  How will we ever know if we don’t try….

Author: | Filed under: environment, random stuff, success | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Blog Action Day Is Coming. Are You Ready?
Oct 11 2007

I, along with thousands of bloggers around the world, will be writing a post related to the environment on October 15, 2007. Check out the Blog Action Day site and see how you can get involved. They have even created a nice video about it on YouTube:

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