Personal Purpose Statement:
“To challenge the limitations and expand the possibilities.”
All of us are the sum our memorable experiences. Here a few of mine. (In no particular order)
A partner and I co-facilitated a team at a supplier as they worked for three months to understand their real issues, develop a vision of what was possible, and a plan to put it into practice. One of the few teams I have seen actually make it to the “Performing” stage where things were just clicking.
As a 22 year old 2nd lieutenant – having a 30-something soldier come to me for advice about a personal problem.
Designing a marketing “pick-up” brochure and simple companion web site for a Chinese friend’s language school – and watching her business increase 10x over four weeks. (The marketing focused on the customer’s experience rather than the school.)
Working with people in Korea, Scotland, Germany, France, China, England, Japan, Canada, Mexico and across the USA all trying to make things better for their companies and organizations. The cultures may be different, but the core issues are pretty much the same.
Working as a volunteer team coach in personal growth seminars. Realizing the power of just asking questions so that people can see the solutions they already have.
Teaching Boeing’s “World Class Competitiveness” course a dozen or so times to 2nd shift factory workers not only helped me truly understand the basics, I also got a good understanding of the people issues involved. I found, in most cases, “resistance” was less about what was being presented and more about whether management was credible in their commitments.
In the 82nd Airborne, having a soldier confide in me that he was scared to death when we jumped… and seeing his relief and understanding when I told him everybody on the plane was as scared as he was. There is no such thing as “fearless.” Courage is about overcoming the fear and doing it anyway. It is about trust in yourself, the people around you, and (in this case) your equipment. (Parachute accidents were very rare. But the logical statistics are not that comforting when you heading for the open door of a C-130 at 800 feet.)
Having to wake up a 20 year old soldier in the barracks at 2:30 am to tell him his father had died suddenly. Having him on a plane home from Germany by 10 am.
Creating an application on a primitive DOS based network that did things the I.T. experts said couldn’t be done.
Leading a supervisor through problem solving in about 10 minutes by only asking him questions. My experiment in pure Socratic teaching.
Taking over a tank battalion motor pool (100 soldiers) in Germany. They had just gone through a major reorganization, or actually, a dis-organization. Soldiers were working 60 hour weeks and Saturdays, privates didn’t know which sergeant they worked for, and there were other issues. Over the next 14 months we got the work down to 40 hour weeks, and gave them their weekends back (at least when we weren’t in the field.. then it is 24/7). Our operational readiness numbers improved to the point where if we had a tank “down” on Friday afternoon, as long as we could get it up and running in an hour (in case of an alert), we could take the two day “hit” on our numbers and let it go over the weekend. We did this by rigorously applying preventative maintenance; organizing a system for processing reports of problems and tracking resolution; developing a routine for routine maintenance; moving the tool truck down to the maintenance line so the mechanics didn’t have to walk 100m every time they needed something; getting the repair parts stocks under control with (what I discovered much later) was a crude kanban system.
Living in Seattle and coincidently bumping into a friend I had known in Indianapolis when we were in 6th -10th grade. Reconnecting with him after 30 years. My oldest current friendship.