The Metro Equalizer

Public transportation is the great equalizer. On a metro, bus, or subway we are all the same; humans going from one place to the next; going to work, school, a friend’s place, coming home, looking for work, or going shopping. It doesn’t matter if you have a six-figure income or are homeless, public transportation levels us all. It serves as a reminder that we are all the same… amazingly human each with our own stories.

The world is comprised of beautiful diversity. Every day I see a full spectrum of our city’s inhabitants from the rich, to the every day worker, to the homeless, to the retired, to the vibrant students, and to the very young. The full colours of the human race tossed together. Each soul alive with ideas, doubts, dreams, anxieties, fears, histories, and futures. Continue reading

Just Start!

Just StartI recall a long road trip with a friend back in university. I was at the wheel while he read a self-help or business book. At one point he looked up from the book, gazed at the horizon and said, “I really need to be nicer to people if I am going to influence them and get ahead.” I thought this was a good reflection as he was sharp with his words and critical of his friends and colleagues. Hours later we arrived at our destination to discover the hotel had messed up our reservations. He was frustrated, immediately raised his force and started giving the hotel staff a miserable time. I laughed and reflected back at his thoughts in the car. Later I raised the subject with him and he was embarrassed and laughed at himself. It’s not easy to read these books and immediately think you’ll be successful. It takes personal reflection and an ability to be candidly honest with yourself. And sometimes you just need to stop reflecting, dreaming, and thinking… and just start. Continue reading

Scalable Income

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My biggest investing mistake was not learning about creating scalable income sooner in life. In my twenties and most of my thirties I believed the right thing to do was maniacally save and invest in mutual and bond funds. By my late thirties I began doing the calculations and realized that other than my real estate investments, my savings had not really grown. Any real gains came form stock options with my employers and from joining a start-up that was acquired. I was embarrassed and frustrated with myself and with the financial investment industry.

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The School of Podcast!

Getting an iPhone transformed my life. Up until mid 2014 I was a loyal Blackberry user very wed to the keyboard. Via work and other circumstances I had to switch to an iPhone. While my work productivity declined my insatiable curiosity was being fed daily with podcasts. And podcasts are changing my life!

Over the last eighteen months I’ve listened to at least five to seven hours a week of podcasts. It is like going to school part-time on my own schedule. I listen to them while walking, running, on trains, on planes, on the metro, during a solo lunch, or while lying in bed before I fall asleep. Being a voracious reader and with a huge appetite for knowledge, great stories, and inspiration I’ve discovered a number of podcasts that are not only quenching that thirst for knowledge but have influenced my outlook on life from career management, to being a father and husband, to health and exercise, and to my philosophy on management. Continue reading

Thank You Teenager

A sharp tug on my right arm pulled me back on to the sidewalk. A moment later a bus rolled up behind me to a sudden stop on the road where I was walking only a few seconds ago.

My mind was on other thoughts and getting to my next meeting. A group of teenagers gathered at a bus stop crowding the sidewalk from the buildings to the road. I was running late and without a thought I stepped out on to the road to get around them. A few steps on the road were followed by sharp tug on my arm by a young teenage boy. His split second reaction saved me. Had he not pulled me back into the crowd I may not be alive today. Continue reading

When Customer Meetings Literally Explode…

Weeks went into planning this morning’s customer meeting in Madrid. We had people fly in from North America. I flew in from Paris along with several other colleagues from various locations across Europe. Timing of the meeting was built around the availability of this customer’s CIO. We had 11 people from our business and the customer showed up with 12. It was a big meeting meant to solidify the foundation to sign a large deal in Q1. Being in Spain, many customers don’t speak English so a decision was made to unfold the meeting in Spanish with small interludes of translation for the non-Spanish speakers. Continue reading

Morning Angst

As a professional who must leave home every morning while the kids are still waking, wiping the crust out of their eyes, getting breakfast, my heart breaks as I say goodbye and close the door behind me.

I’m grateful that I have a very patient and supportive wife who guides the kids daily to get dressed, eat, brush their teeth, collect their homework, do their hair, put on shoes and jackets while managing the complaints, the concerns, and the daily protests. “I don’t want to go to school! I can’t find my homework! I don’t like this shirt. Where are my shoes? I want to take this toy to school! I can’t find my mittens.” Continue reading

How do you manage results with incentives?

In the 1990s I worked for a one organization where bonuses were paid annually tied to annual financial indicators and whether or not I was a strong performer. The latter part of the evaluation was subjective based on how well I did as an individual contributor, manager, or team player. Being an annual bonus the evaluation was averaged out over the year and didn’t provide a sense of urgency for immediate change going into the next evaluation period.

In the early 2000s I found myself with a new employer. The bonus system was based on quarterly management by objectives (MBOs). The bonuses were measured and paid quarterly. They comprised individual task completion, company revenue and profit objectives, adoption of new business directions, and team objectives. They were black and white, recorded, exposed for everyone to see, and much less subjective. Continue reading

Enduring

If there is one word that describes my personal journey I hope that word is enduring. I’ve always believed in building relationships, businesses, and institutions that take on purpose and value to withstand the ebbs and flows of time, the ups and downs up markets, and the trials and tribulations of families. In other words, building enduring relationships, families, and businesses.

One wouldn’t describe my roots as privileged or financially and emotionally secure. I come from a family that was embroiled in turmoil. From a very young age I knew I had to define my own destiny. As a child I understood my parents had to make trade offs. I heard them constantly stressed about finances. I recall one day shopping for a toy I really wanted but when the moment came to buy the toy I cowered and told them I no longer wanted it. I feared for the family finances and any resulting stress. I was already wearing the responsibility to take care of myself as a primary school boy and wiring my brain to help me thrive in what I observed as a very chaotic world. Continue reading

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