Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Answer Shopping

Answer shopping is when we continue to ask a question, hoping for a different answer.  Children do it all the time, playing one parent against another.  We do it when we escalate a customer service issue to a higher level in an organization.  Our court system is designed with a defined appeals process.  And it's common to challenge a medical diagnosis that isn't what we expect.  Answer shopping is a good way to explore our options. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Heaven is for Real

Todd Burpo shares his almost 4 year-old son's amazing trip to heaven and back in New York Times Bestseller, Heaven is for Real.  This child's remarkable description of Jesus, God, angels and long-departed family members (who he had never met) provides reassurance to Christians and a beautiful invitation to others.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Exceptional Unexpected Impact

I recently had the opportunity to hear and meet New York Times best-selling author Harvey Mackay.  His first wildly successful book is Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten AliveAs a sponsor for the Houston event he was keynoting, I had the chance to meet him before his presentation and notice and positively comment on his shark tie.  After the event, I waited, not only to have one of his books signed, but to give him what I perceive to be a perfect marketing tool - shark mints (in which I have no financial or other interest).  As my small world connections would have it, his friend (that he was visiting with after our event) and I have known one another for some time, serve together on a community board, and shared a common graduation ceremony later in that week (his grandson and my son).

Yesterday, I was like a kid at Christmas, when I received a personal note from Harvey Mackay with a collection of his special books (yes, I love business books!).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Unstuck

Early this morning I was stuck in completing a very difficult Sudoku.  I knew that it was solvable, but there was no evident next answer. When I reexamined all of my options and cleaned the clutter from eliminated possibilities, the solution suddenly fell into place. 

This experience reminded me that taking a fresh look at available options for business and personal opportunities helps us get unstuck.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Losing a Friend

One of my Chi Omega pledge sisters lost her battle with cancer.  This bright, vibrant, witty, compassionate friend indelibly left her positive mark on many lives.  We never know how many days we are given.  Like Mary, we need to pack abundant love, life and laughter into each day. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Superior Impact

My Junior League involvement predates my motherhood.  My reason for mentioning this is that motherhood is the way to timestamp many of my Junior League experiences.  I love the incredible friends I've made, the amazing organizations we've benefited, the leaders we've trained, inspired and launched, and the legacy we imprint upon the Houston community.  Our impact is multiplied through our time, volunteer hours and monetary contributions. 

My volunteer roles are all important to me and the community.  I benchmark many of my involvements against the superior impact of the Junior League of Houston.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Biting Your Tongue or Biding Your Time

I asked a friend who is in transition if she was "biting her tongue" during transition discussions.  What she heard was "biding her time".  I'm glad we clarified the misunderstanding.  The basis of my question was that she has a lot of experience with mergers and much wisdom to share.  The question she thought I'd asked would imply that she was a lame duck with little to add to the process. 

When we hear something unexpected, clarifying the message, can prevent unfortunate misunderstandings.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Proud Mama

I've taken the longest break from blogging since I began two years ago - three days.  This has been a milestone weekend for our family with Julia's graduation from Georgetown and Gar's from Kinkaid.  Apparently, each year, one Kinkaid family has dual graduations the same weekend, and this year it was us.

Every parent should be so lucky to have children who they love, admire, respect and enjoy spending time with. We have always been thankful that Julia and Gar are great friends. And their great friends continue to enrich our lives.  I am so very blessed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Difference Does a Title Make?

Titles matter most in royal families, athletic and beauty competitions, introductions and salary negotiations.  In other situations, it is most important to communicate what we do, rather than the title included on our business cards.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Best and Worst Decisions

Sometimes our best and worst decisions are the same.  In a  recent conversation with a business executive, it was obvious that he encountered monumental problems in his new organization.  Yet he has been able to achieve remarkable progress.  Looking only at the problems to be addressed, this would seem to be a terrible career decision.  By adding accomplishments to the evaluation, it also was a terrific career decision. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Milestone Moments

At this time next week, we will have two newly minted graduates. The years have literally flown.  There are major celebrations to mark these passages. I now know that there have been 525,600 milestone moments in each year of my precious children's lives :  waking, sleeping, growing, playing, smiling, learning, laughing, crying, trying, competing, eating, walking, talking, testing, resting, running, swimming, cooking, hunting, fishing, travelling, driving, flying, winning, losing, reading, singing, biking, texting, phoning, dating, dancing, skating, coming, going, and always loving.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Lifetime of Priorities in 7 Days

There's no way that any of us could accomplish a lifetime of priorities in one week.  However, my last 7 days made me realize that we can get a great perspective on things that matter when we analyze an over-committed week in the second busiest month of the year (May is a close second to December).

By capturing a full week of scheduled activities in a particularly hectic week, I thought that this might potentially reveal priorities.  I found many family, career and volunteering appointments; only one faith and one friend scheduled commitment, and no time allocated independently for me.

This exercise was an eye-opener for me, and might also be for you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Power Packed L

Just add one power-packed "L" to idea and you get to ideal.  The power-packed "L" includes:
  • listening
  • linking
  • learning
  • lifting (as in heavy lifting)
  • letting go of status quo
  • leading
  • love - got to have passion
  • luck

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Idea to Ideal

Unless we actively promote and support the sharing of ideas, we will never achieve ideal outcomes. 

How to Buy

We are all inundated daily with recommendations from well-meaning experts/friends/acquaintances/opportunistic sellers.  Selectively incorporating these suggestions allows us to adapt ideas that we might have missed and choose the best options.

 For these recommendations to be helpful we must:
  • Know and trust the person recommending
  • Have an interest in the product or service
  • Be ready to buy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stages of Corporate Appreciation

We could all benefit from remembering the stages of corporate appreciation:
  • Recruiting - I got the interview!
  • Hiring - My skills matched their expectations!
  • Orientation - I am now one of them!
  • First 90 Days - What Now?
  • 91+ Days - I Can Do This!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Time Out

When life feels like one never-ending to do list, we need to pause and do something enjoyable that's not on the list. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Editor or Author

We all have our ideas about the best way to communicate certain messages.  When we are fully in control of the platform, we have the choice to script our own remarks and/or ask for input from trusted associates.  When we are the associate asked for input, we need to determine whether we are invited to be an editor, or if innovative ideas will be accepted. 

We can add value with either role.  But once we know if we are an editor or author, we know how much time, effort and creativity to invest.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What Do You Think?

Being asked for input for important decisions is incredibly motivating.  We lose the opportunity to actively engage other team members when we omit the chance to incorporate their feedback. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

What Does Somebody Look Like?

It's easy to say "somebody should do..."  Until we give somebody a name, identity, authority, support and responsibility it is unlikely that anybody will follow through.  If something is important enough to be done we need to become or identify the somebody who will do it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fish Stories

Fishermen have great tales to tell - those caught and those that got away.  The themes are similar, regardless of the angler.  It's always interesting to hear of one's greatest conquests.  What is even sweeter, is to hear someone else, unsolicited and totally unexpected,  relate your success story (fishing or other) to others.  The sharing creates two celebrants - the teller and the catcher (winner of any sort).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Moving Forward

Life is full of milestones.  May is the month of graduations and weddings.  Each of these ceremonies recognize all that has come before and celebrate the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.  We aren't always as astute in the corporate setting at acknowledging the close of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. 

Yesterday, Sterling Bank's Leadership Council met for what we expect to be the final time (our merger with Comerica is expected to close in the 2nd quarter).  It was not only a chance to thank each of these top Sterling leaders for their contributions but also for each attendee to individually and collectively reflect upon relationships, accomplishments and futures.

Part of moving forward is acknowledging what has been.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've attended so many beautiful weddings and I've always been emotionally invested. It was great fun to watch the spectacular Royal Wedding with no personal attachment to the bride or groom.  I was able to really listen objectively to the wedding vows. 

We don't always consider the emotional investment our colleagues may have in business proposals. Their emotion may challenge their objectivity in truly listening to what others are saying and fairly weighing alternatives.  The higher the stakes, the more careful we must be to include objective parties in evaluating business options.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Taming the Paper Tiger

I've discovered an easy way to eliminate several paper files and allow quick future access to the needed information.  Since all my appointments appear on my Outlook Calendar, when I return from meetings that have only a few follow-up items, I can summarize the information in the original appointment and recycle the paper handouts. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Connect the Dots

Effective networking relationships are a lot like complex connect the dots worksheets.  We don't always know what the complete picture looks like when we begin, but the more connections we make the more complete the picture becomes.