Saturday, June 28, 2008

Going on Vacation!

Originally uploaded by Andy961

Hey Pollhein family! It's June 28th and shutdown week at work...what're you gonna do now?

We're going to Disneyworld!

My posts will be a little sparse for a week, friends, as we depart, all 7 of us, for Florida aboard the Auto Train. We've heard a lot about it and now we'll be able to give first-hand accounts of our experience with this mode of travel to Florida.

More later...we're off! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Look 'em In The Eye

The deep Iris
Originally uploaded by Lauren Elizabeth07

As I walk around the plant, I am always curious about the lack of eye contact. Many people walk with their heads down, almost as if they are intentionally trying not to make eye contact....trying not to interact with others.

This phenomenon, to me, is a reflection on the individual and how they view life, other people, and themselves. Knowing some of the practitioners of this quirky behavior, they are mostly more interested in themselves than others...self-absorbed and insecure.

As a leader, you must always walk with your head up and look people in the eye. Meet the world head on and without fear, interested in greeting everyone you meet, even if it's just with a nod. This bespeaks your confidence, your concern for others, and your worthiness to lead.

Straighten up and look 'em in the eye.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

White Collar Man - Blue Collar Heart, Part 2

Originally uploaded by mackers3

The more I work as a leader of others, the more I realize I am more like the folks who report to me than any of the other managers in the facility.

I relate more easily to the frank, raw, direct conversation with my charges than to the guarded conversations of those in similar positions to mine. Too often, the conversations with my peers is less genuine and less effective. Let's not even get into the conversations with the "higher ups." The filters applied to those conversations are not to be believed.

When I have a conversation with one of my employees, I find I understand them on their level. This is mostly because my father, a steelworker of 47 years, told me to remember that no matter how "big" I got, that I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like any other man. He taught me to respect hard work and the people that chose to do it. He taught me that my roots were critically important to my success and the success of those I am responsible for.

If you have responsibility for others, be sure you know how to be a real person. Remember that respect is earned by giving it to others, unconditionally. Take the time to listen and to try to do your best by them.

They deserve it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We Reap What We Sow

DILO June 21, 2008: Is the Corn Ready for Picking?
Originally uploaded by Old Shoe Woman


Leadership and the development of leadership skill is a natural process. Stephen Covey framed it best for me with his example of the natural process. He teaches that many things are natural processes. You can no more develop leadership skills overnight than you can plant a seed of corn today and harvest the corn tomorrow. It's a natural process governed by the laws of nature. Your developing leadership, like the planted seed, must be nourished with food and water (time and patience and diligence) and given time to grow and mature before the harvest....before the fruits of your study and work in leadership will yield true, valuable results.

Patience is important. So is diligence and passion for what you are doing. There are many leaders who have learned these lessons and many more who will.

Do you have the desire and the passion to truly be a leader? Can you share with our readers here your passion?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime Downtime

summertime, when the living is easy ...
Originally uploaded by Desideria


In Buffalo, heck in all of western New York, Summer is a celebration. This is mostly because it can often only last a month! Yes, as you may have heard, it is very cold here most of the time...

I find that I enjoy my limited downtime tremendously with my wife and family. Who wouldn't, right? Well, if we are to believe the corrupt media in this country, most of the nation is more self-absorbed than living for their families. Fortunately, the liberal media is wrong.

You see, normal doesn't sell newspapers and magazines. Most everyone knows that, but still the National Enquirer flies off the shelf and we gawk at "Celebrity Butts" on the cover of Us magazine. Silly really.

If you are a leader of your family, you know the sweet sound of your children playing. You love waking up with your wife and snuggling just a little closer. You feel love as you see the dad with four little boys playing peek-a-boo with his smallest one four pews ahead of you in church. You relish conversation with your oldest boy as he struggles to cope with breaking up with his girlfriend. You know how to relax within what outsiders see as chaos.

Lead your family. Kiss your children and tell them how proud of them you are. Hold them tight and tell them you love them. Find the time to put them first. Let them be who they are and keep them safe.

Keep them in your heart and let them know how important they are. Set an example that you would follow, given the choice.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Executing the Plan

Developing the plan for achieving your goal is not difficult. Executing the plan can be very difficult.

It shouldn't be, but often is. You see, before you even begin, you have to believe in a few things:
  1. Yourself
  2. The value of what you are trying to achieve
  3. Your ability to succeed

We often get caught up in the teachings of the media that would have us believe that we are not worthy of success...that we are not special enough...pretty enough...deserving enough.

To this I say....That's just stupid!

You can do whatever you put your mind to if you work hard enough and make the right choices. Seeing your plans through can be challenging, but if you believe, nothing is impossible.

How bad do you want it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goals or Just Daydreams?

Originally uploaded by rachywhoo

When someone asks you about your goals do you:

1. Tell them you have some but you prefer to live minute to minute and take life as it comes.

2. Tell them you have lots of goals, but, when pressed, can't remember the top 5.

3. Tell them you have lots of goals and offer to show them your list and your plans.

If you answered 1 or 2, you do not have goals. You have dreams. An like dreams, they may or may not come true because you're leaving them to chance.

The first step in the myriad of goal setting programs offering advice you can probably figure out for yourself, is to make your goals solid by writing them down. Writing, the kinesthetic act of writing, adds power to what you want to achieve. To set your goals before you is to establish a destination. Much like driving to somewhere you've never been before, it is very difficult to visualize the end of the trip. You need a destination and, most importantly, a road map...a plan.

It really doesn't matter who you listen to about goals. Brian Tracy's "Goals," or Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," or any of the others. Write down your goals and then develop a plan for achieving them. A goal without a plan is also just a dream.

"But how do I develop this plan of which you speak, oh sage Joe?" Easy, really. Imagine what it would be like to achieve your goal. I mean close your eyes and visualize your life at the point you complete your goal. sounds a little flaky...but go someplace quiet and give it a try. Once you have a good picture of your life at that point, think about the step just preceding the accomplishment of the goal. Was it sending that last mortgage check? Was it seeing the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon?

Then go to the step before that....the second to last check....last 3 miles of the marathon...etc. Work backwards all the way until today. Write it all down. When you finish, there's your map!

You don't have to work on all of your goals at the same time. Pick the ones that are most important and work on those. Visualize achieving your goal and work backwards from there, one goal at a plan at a time.

The next post will be about the challenges in execution of the plan.

You have probably heard someone ask "How do you eat an elephant?"

Answer: "One bite at a time."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lead, Follow, Or Get out of the Way!

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do!
-Theodore Roosevelt

Great thoughts about leadership. Again, a great leader, admired by many even today. He made his mark on history by his unwavering dedication to whatever he put his mind to. His childhood struggles with Asthma and frailty were his primary motivation to be fiercely committed to overcoming his physical limitations. As a young man, he committed himself to the "strenuous life" and worked daily, forcing himself to achieve harder and harder physical challenges.

Once, in his early twenties, he was told he had a bad heart and should not climb stairs. so he climbed the Matterhorn instead! An exemplary life. A leader to his core. His life is full of examples of what leadership truly is. He knew how to motivate others through the personal example he set. Leaders do that. Leaders also know how to trust others and earn their trust as a result.

He showed the world what can be done if we put our minds to the task at hand and continue to stay the course. We can achieve incredible things.

Think about that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Leader's General

General George Smith Patton Jr.
Originally uploaded by akingslife

Ever since my days at West Point, I have admired this man.

Not the most politically correct fella, mind you, but a man's man. A leader of the finest caliber. As a leader, I have often tried to learn vicariously from the great leaders of the past. One of my favorite quotes from General Patton is:

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

This speaks to not managing methods. Leaders manage results. Results are communicated and expectations are established for outcomes, not methods. Many people, left to their own devices, will often surprise you with their ability to "get the job done."

Today, too many managers think they know how lead because they can "brow beat" and belittle. Be a true leader. Allow people to use their wits and energy to get the job done. Don't tell them how, just tell them what you expect and ask if there is anything you can help with.

Then get the hell out of the way!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Communication Skills...from an Interesting Source

Mark Twain - Author
Originally uploaded by Butterflies-R-Free

Sorry for the brief hiatus, friends.

Mark Twain once said:

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."

An interesting thought. It gives a glimpse of the importance of listening.

Communication is often at the root of misunderstandings, missteps, and miscues. We often get emotionally wrapped around the difficulties of people understanding our instructions, our words, our stated objectives. As a leader, some climates are more conducive to communication than others. Effective communications are much easier in a "high trust" environment. If you trust someone, it is easier to communicate with them, even forgive your own misunderstanding of what they have said.

In a "low-trust" environment, there is so much suspicion and "mind-reading" going on the it is often very difficult, sometimes impossible, to communicate effectively.

In both environments, that "rightly timed pause" will give the other person a chance to be understood, validated, and respected.

Think about that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He Who Loses His Cool First....Loses!

Angry Dan
Originally uploaded by dan culberson

And it doesn't matter what he loses his cool about!

In this day and age of constant stresses, angry drivers (it's the gas!), 60 hour work weeks, war in foreign lands, the prolonged democratic's easy to get a little worked up over stuff! I don't really think today is different from times past in that regard. The current stresses are different because they're ours!

Confrontation can take many forms....from a good old punch in the nose to name calling and back stabbing. It doesn't matter what your justification is....when you lose your cool, you lose.

If you think in terms on The Golden Rule when you find yourself getting worked up, you might just come out much better off.

Take a breath. Take a walk. Take some time to get it together and approach anger with a clear head. The satisfaction of being the loudest and the meanest doesn't last too long....

...there will always be someone louder and meaner.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Passion and Purpose

Bow practice
Originally uploaded by OhBoyd

Tonight I gave a speech at my Toastmaster's meeting ( entitled "Bowhunting: A Passion with Purpose." It was well received as I used props, dressed in my ScentLock 3-D camo suit with Bow and boots, and set the scene by having everyone close their eyes as I set the stage verbally of a Bowhunter on stand on a frosty fall morning. I spoke with the intent of educating (as much as one can in a 5-7 minute speech) the audience on Bowhunters, Bowhunter's equipment, and Bowhunter's passion and purpose.

As I said, it was well received. A little rough around the edges, but, hey, that's why I am a Toastmaster make my speeches better by trying and learning how to be better.

What are you passionate about? Too often we think others will not be interested in our passion unless they are already involved in the same pursuits. This is not always true.

Drop a line here about your passion. I'd love to learn more!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's a Crisis! A Crisis!

Total Crisis Panic Button
Originally uploaded by jasoneppink

Oh my God! You're life is in crisis! Too much to do! Things are broken! Things aren't going the way you planned! Not enough money! Not enough time! Not enough...!!!

Stop... Breathe...engage your brain....Think.

Every day every one of us is faced with many challenges that test our mettle. Sometimes the challenges are small ("I don't want to get out of this bed") and sometimes they are huge ("Where did all the money go!"). Regardless, if we give in to panic, despair, anger, and worse, we will head down the path becoming more entangled in the problems we have instead of moving in the direction of a solution.

The pundits of self-improvement preach and teach that to be in control, we must take action that moves us towards solutions to the problems we encounter. Taken a step further, we need to put some thought into what created the problems we have so we can prevent them in the future, if possible.

"I'm so tired I can't get out of bed!" How about eating better, getting to sleep earlier, exercising....

"My finances are a mess!" Write it all down and figure out where it's going and how to eliminate unnecessary expenses and pay yourself first.

"My love life sucks!" What do you want in a relationship? Why did the last one fall apart? Your actions? Their actions? What will you do different next time?

Almost every problem we have can be solved, or at least greatly minimized, by taking action. Continue to work on what's important to you and you'll get there.

Don't give up and don't sit on your butt. Get up and take action!

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's getting very warm!

Tyres at a Tyre factory #4
Originally uploaded by nyct0ph0bia

As the weather heats up, don't forget to take care of those who do the hard work.

Leaders make sure they look out for the welfare of their charges by ensuring they have what they need to stay cool and safe when the weather gets way too hot! Sometimes, this is made even worse by the working environment your charges are required to work in. If you can't change the environment, make sure everyone has enough water, Gatorade, and personal cooling equipment.

Heat stroke and Heat exhaustion are very real possibilities in hot and humid weather. These heat injuries can kill. They are nothing to ignore. Educate those who work with you on the signs and symptoms of heat injuries and make sure everyone knows what to do to treat them.

Don't leave things to chance. Personally make sure your charges have what they need to beat the heat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Medal of Honor - Paul R. Smith

Medal of Honor - Paul R. Smith
Originally uploaded by shosady

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." -John 8:13

This man received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the initial attack to secure the Baghdad Airport in April 2003.

Here is the link to the whole story and why the American media should be ashamed of itself for giving more attention to Britney Spears screwed up life than to the ultimate sacrifice of this patriot.

Remember these men and women who are in harm's way. They are there for our children and our way of life. When you complain about the weather, think of 135 degrees in the shade and thank God for men and women of Honor like SFC Paul Smith. Our country was built on the sacrifice of these honored heroes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In Memoriam

Today, I attended a joyous celebration of life.

Once again, for the second time in a few weeks, another of my work associates said goodbye to his wife much too soon. Suzanne Thompson was only 38 when she passed away over a week ago.

But today's celebration was unlike any funeral I have ever been to. There was joyous music and loud praising to God for taking Suzanne home to be with her Lord. Everyone was singing, and smiling and clapping amidst their tears of joy and sadness. The music was indeed heaven sent and praised God and uplifted all of us present.

We are all here on God's time. He will call us home.

May God bless your family, Ray. And may His love and Suzanne's shine down upon you and yours the rest of your days.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Little League...gotta love it!

Little League Pledge
Originally uploaded by Trpster*

This weekend I was reminded that people are most passionate about the things they spend time on to help their children.

Little League is still one of the greatest traditions in America. Made even more so by the scores of parents who devote hundreds of hours to help make it a fun and rewarding experience for their children.

I recently had a bit of a disagreement, via e-mail, with some board members of our local league. Their passion and concern was very heartening. Even though some of the responses to my concerns were a little clumsy and passionate, it was clear that everyone cared deeply about the league, and, more importantly, about the kids.

At the end of the day, everyone is okay and the league will continue to do right by the kids. One thing will never change: volunteers are always needed and welcome. You may have to go out of your way to get involved, but in the end, it's for the kids to have fun and learn some life lessons in a safe and supportive environment.

Get involved. Lead by example and let your children know it's the right way to behave.