Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CH,CH,CH,CH, Changes......

I recently made an observation in my daily work life, 9 times out of 10 I am the only female in the meetings at work. I am a project manager for an enterprise system implementation. I have a 21 person team and only 3 women are on the team (including myself). So I started to wonder if this was just my experience or if this is a wider norm. I polled a few trusted (male) pals and they shared experiences that contradicted mine. In fact, my polling prompted a discussion on the following topics:
  • the seemingly male dominated IT world - perception or reality?
  • the dynamics of a the working relationship between males and females vs. same sex workplace interactions
  • and the future of application development (and IT in general) with the looming certainty of total offshore development.

Each of these topics really peaks my interest and I plan to devote several blogs to exploring each. I would love to hear any initial thoughts to get my creative juices flowing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Always Know "Why"

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with the CIO of a leading fortune 500 company at a recent LEGG event. I was immediately struck by his attitude and philosphy toward leading his organization. When I asked him what his biggest challange is he said "getting business engagement and the expectation from the business that IT can fix their problems". He told me that he coaches his team to "always know why". It's the responsibility of the business to determine the best solution to their problem, it's the resposibility of IT to design technology that automates and facilitates executing that solution. He teaches his team to keep asking questions of the business until they have the solution. IT should feel comfortable drawing the line in the sand between the business's role and IT's role on a project.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are you a CALM person?

Change is difficult. What makes it difficult is often the change to a normal routine that follows. At the root of this is how we deal with change as individuals.

Whether it's a job change, situation at work, or an unexpected life even the question to ask yourself is -"how can I get in control of the change?". Once the change happens and the impact is felt, think about how you can get in control. When we are in control we take ownership for results - both positive and negative. Ownership means that things aren't happening to us anymore, we are making them happen. The key is to stay CALM:

C - Get in Control

A - Adapt to the environment

L - Learn something from the situation

M - Maintain yourself

Those that look at a forced change as a catalyst for opportunity know how to stay CALM. They quickly adapt to the situation and take control by getting into the driver's seat of their own destiny. The change is an opportunity to learn and not a catastrophe to weather. A person in control maintains a certain status quo and isn't on an emotional roller-coaster often associated with the uncertainty of change.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Find your "back edge"

I learned to snowboard 3 years ago. At first it was by choice but succeeding at it was purely based on survival. A colleague who ended up turning into my best friend first introduced the sport to me. Watching from the bottom of the mountain it looked so simple. Much less complex than skiing. Skiers have all those moving parts - 2 skis, 2 poles. Boarders strap on and glide down the mountain. Pretty straightforward stuff. Not to mention the selection of cool gear. So to the bunny hill I went for my lesson. And what a slap in the face, literally, I encountered. I couldn't stay up. Once I got some speed I was too afraid to keep going. I fell backwards, forwards, sideways, and walked uphill for many weeks during my first snowboard season. All the while my friends were having a blast and not breaking a sweat. I was so tired, sore, and frustrated. I convinced myself I just wasn't cut out for this. But I kept going. Why did I keep trying? Because I didn't want to get left behind on the mountain all by myself! I didn't want to miss out on the good times my friends were having on the mountain. So I tagged along that first season, usually the last one down the mountain, the one everyone waited for, the one my friends took turns looking out for. And I took it one step at a time. When you are in the back of the pack you get to see what other's are doing. I mimicked what everyone else was doing. Once I was comfortable staying vertical on the board I had to tackle my fear of speed. I learned to love the back edge of my board. I could ride down any trail on the back edge to control my speed. There I was on a double black diamond full of moguls plowing down hill on my back edge. I wasn't snowboarding, I was surviving. Long story short, I did learn to really ride. By the end of the season I was carving and comfortable with speed. Since then I have tackled some of the finest mountains in Utah and Vermont. And I now have a hobby that I can say with confidence I am good at and I truly love. No more back of the pack rider. I don't worry about the terrain ahead anymore because I know I can handle anything as long as I use my back edge. In life, work, and love I have learned to bring this same philosophy to many situations. Who knows what lies ahead, but if you find the back edge to help you manage through it you'd be amazed what you can accomplish.