Tag Archives: Leadership

But what do you “Want” to Do?

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It seemed like a simple question at first, but as I answered, it became clear that the answer is complicated if we have not spent the time to think about it.

So I spent some time thinking about it recently.

Assume for this exercise that the question is aimed higher than just answering that you want a job or title, like “I want to be a CIO.”  Think about it more in the spirit of answering what you are all about—the package an employer receives when they hire you.  Not the titles they are filling or a comparison between size of budgets and number of employees they have, and your experience levels within each of those those specific things.

Not so easy, is it?

In my case, many themes circled around my head as I contemplated the answer.  Here are some of them:

  • I want to lead in a collaborative, engaging, and inspiring way where everyone is proud of the work of the team
  • I want to make a meaningful difference in the lives (work and outside) of the people I work with
  • I want the impact my teams deliver to be significant, measurable, and not just “talk”
  • I want to help people and organizations change the way they work and lead to stay relevant
  • I want the team to win, and to know when we win, or what we need to do to win
  • I want my team and organization to have my back, and I to have theirs

The challenge becomes how to succinctly summarize what you want.  Forcing yourself to speak and write about it simply is never easy.  And because of that, we take the easy way out and just talk about the jobs and titles we want.

So here it goes…

I want the opportunity to make a difference by leading, engaging, and inspiring others to be proud of their work, feel valued and trusted, and deliver meaningful and measureable outcomes of value for the organization, the team, and themselves.

With pride and trust come outcomes, yet both are developed over time through challenging conversations, debates, and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones to listen to unique perspectives.  This can only come if we have the same shared and simplified goals.  I want those too.

That’s what I want to do.

So, what do you want to do?

Betting a Lunch–The Power of a Burrito

Many of us are competitive. People that know me well have always said that if you want me to do something, tell me that I can’t do it.

“You’ll never be able to get that tennis ball out of the gutter hole on the 2nd story of the house…”

Oh yeah, I can do that no problem, I say to myself and then almost kill myself doing it.

If you are an Omar blog follower, you’ve read some of my thoughts around speculation. People speculate all the time why we can or cannot do something. So I’ve been kicking around strategies to deal with speculative people’s ideas and have resorted to a tried and true method of speculation standoff.

I’ve started making bets with people. Betting lunches.

You’d be surprised at how much interest you get when a burrito is on the line.

Recently, one of our team members was speculating about a new process that was going to deliver this and that to us. So I said, “great, the first time what you’re telling me will happen actually happens, I’ll buy you lunch.” Sure enough, he later came back with a big smile and said, “where are you taking me to lunch?” He was proud that he did it and made it happen.

I think this gave him some focus to “put his money where his mouth is” and try even harder at executing what he was saying because this gave him some motivation, as something tangible—even if it were just a burrito—was on the line. He had to walk the walk, and it gave us a fun forum to do good work, which in the end is the most important point. I, like someone did with me and the clogged gutter, used his competitiveness to drive execution. And, it was fun!

Honestly I hope most of the time that I lose the bets like this.

Try it sometime–I bet you a burrito it will work! Really.

(This blog, and the content within, is not endorsed by any Burrito company who may or may not have a long line at lunch time

50 Excuses

My mom used to say, “Presence is a virtue”. What she meant by that is that sometimes you go to things because it is the right thing to do. We went to all the reunions. We went to all the First Communions. We went to all the Baptisms. We went to all the Birthday parties. We were at everything. I have a recent example to share.

My great uncle, “Skinny” Martin, died. My mom’s Uncle, Skinny was a great guy who seemingly outlived everyone else. He was the oldest living fireman in Omaha when he died at the age of 95. Skinny’s sister Mary was my grandma, and she died nearly 30 years ago. Both my mom and her brother are also deceased. So Skinny was literally the last living relative on that side of the family. I know my Dad was close to Skinny and his death was significant for my Dad because it closed that chapter of my Dad’s life as well.

So the funeral was in Omaha, on a Tuesday. It was my 40th birthday. I have 4 children in school. 2 of my children were in after school sports that day. I had to work. I had meetings and statuses. Omaha is 400 miles away. We couldn’t leave until after work the day before. What about birthday cake and presents? My kids had tests and homework. It would be expensive. I was tired. My wife was tired.

I thought, “There are 50 excuses not to go and we’re going anyway.”

We went for my Dad. We went to show that side of the family that they were important. We went because going was the right thing to do. We went despite 50 excuses to not go.

How did it feel? It felt really good to see everyone, make my Dad proud, have older relatives meet and interact with my young children wearing their little boy suits, and just being there.

Sometimes being present means more to other people than to us. Do you ever decide to be present “just because” someone else will get satisfaction and fulfillment from you showing up? Maybe the next time you should. Continue reading