Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good to Great

If you haven't read Good to Great then you need to. Jim Collins studies 11 companies who had 15 years of lower profits followed by 15 years of 15 years of better than the market results.  They also had 11 comparison companies who didn't make the transition from average to above average.

I really enjoyed this book. Jim has a very down to earth style of writing and his findings make a lot of sense.

The core results are that there are three things your company must do to be great:
1.  Disciplined people
2.  Disciplined thought
3.  Disciplined action

This seems so simple to write, but nothing is more difficult. Discipline seems to be a rarer and rarer quality. I see and am guilty of a wildly undisciplined mind. I and those around me can’t help checking their mail every few minutes. This distraction prevents the structured thought that is required in becoming great.

My new motto, which I break, but am really focusing on is, do one thing at a time.

The second thing that I found from his book is that almost all of these companies had servant leaders he calls "level 5." These are leaders who care more about the company than their personal reputations or gain. They don't need credit for things. I know several of these types, and Collins says that there are plenty. But these folks are quiet so they don't get recognized.

The third thing I liked was the hedge hog concept. A hedge hog just knows that they need to roll up in a ball when they are getting attacked. The same way, a great company really focuses on what they can be great at, and ignores the other things. This is convicting to me. The idea that I need to focus on what I can be great at is challenging.
Are you focusing on what you can be great at? Are you being disciplined? Are you a level 5 leader? I think we all have a lot of work to-do! So let’s get to it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My productive year

If you recall I said at the beginning of the year that this world be the most productive year of my life, and boy 
was I right. 

I've done six improv shows in front of audiences. On Saturday my fourth play was performed.


I've finished taking a software architecture class from Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. 
I've finished 18 books. I've written two chapters in my book on architecture.

 I got a new job which is really cool. I've been nominated to be division governor in Toastmasters for July 2011 thru June 2012, which is a great honor.
 I've taught two soft skill classes at my office. I started a club for architects at my work. I've helped run a leadership program at my work. 

So far I've worked out three times a week this year. 
I've been eating pretty healthy by making sure I am consuming foods that are anti-inflamatories. I've spent a lot of quality time with my husband.

Why am I boring you with all this? Well it's an experiment to see how much a person can do and how the subject performs.

I've learned that as far as lifestyle choices I must work out to keep up my energy, I need to get at least 7.5 hrs of sleep, I must avoid caffeine.
For tools I've got my google calendar, todo lists, and I recently got an iPhone so I can check my schedule quickly. I've watched less movies or DVDs. Probably less than one a week.

I feel better than ever and I'll let you all know how things are going again in a few months.