Wesley C Phillips

18Feb/13

Leadership is Dead

Leadership is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It is by Jeremie Kubicek.

Why the title “Leadership is Dead”? This is the question that comes to the minds of many who read the book’s title. The best way of answering this is in the works of the author.

“In my view, leadership as we have known it is dead because far too many leaders have abused their positions and lost their moral bearings.

From the banking industry collapse to corporate greed, these leaders have abandoned all long-term responsibility and discipline in favor of short-term gains.

The runaway greed of Wall Street’s leadership, skyrocketing salaries for corporate executives, and unkept promises from political leaders have left most people feeling betrayed and jilted. Not only do we not trust our leaders, but in many cases, employees are becoming victims of these unresponsive leaders.

Consequently, most leaders are now viewed with cynicism and skepticism, and many have lost the trust of those they are supposed to inspire and motivate.”

It’s not that leadership is dead, it’s the way in that many choose to lead that is dead. Realizing thatcommand and control styles of leadership don’t work anymore, Kubicek sees leadership as influence, “I realized that positive leadership occurs not by ‘leading’ others but rather by influencing them.” The leadership theory presented in the book is based on what Kubicek calls, “The Influence Model”, which describes how leadership is a process of influence, where influence occurs through…

“…a hunger to serve others and the willingness to self-assess and self-motivate through the process to maintain healthy, authentic relationships.”

The book goes on to explore the enemy of influence, self-preservation. Kubicek posits, the instinctual need to protect the self is why leadership is dead. To rise above self-preservation and to be effective, the influence model is supported by seven leadership actions, that are important for leaders seeking to exert influence in the lives of others. These seven actions are as follows:

  1. Give trust to become trustworthy
  2. Become credible, not just smart
  3. Be intentional in your influence
  4. Break through your walls of self-preservation
  5. Pursue relationship before opportunity
  6. Give yourself away
  7. Become significant in your impact.

These seven action lead to influence and to have influence, is to have power. You cannot talk about leadership as influence without touching on the use of power.

“Influence is about power. Before you can become a leader, you need to determine how you will use your power…. Leadership is influence. Influence is power. In wielding that power, a leader can choose to use it in one of two ways: To empower and liberate or To overpower and dominate”

The book ends with a challenge, with the chapter titled, “Why You Probably Won’t Do This.” In this chapter, Kubicek makes the following observation.

“Most leaders never reach the levels of significant influence because their instincts for self-preservation are too strong…. True influence comes when you change yourself to change the world.”

To change the world, start by changing yourself.

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From: http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/book-review-leadership-is-dead

28Jan/13

European Researchers Store Digital Information in DNA

January 23rd, a group of researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute reported  that they had managed to store digital information in synthetic DNA molecules, then recreate the original digital files without error.

DNA helix sculpture at the DOE JGI

The amount of data, 739 kilobytes, isn't large by today’s storage standards: a scientific paper, a digital photo, a 26-second mp3.  The researchers said their new technique, which includes error-correction software, was a step toward a digital archival storage medium of immense scale. Their goal is a system that will safely store the equivalent of one million CDs in a gram of DNA for 10,000 years.

The experiment converted about three-quarters of a megabyte of information off a hard disk drive into DNA.   Researchers say the writing amount is increasing by a factor of 10 every five years or so. and they believe the main use is as a repository for high-value information that you want to keep safe.

After reading the article, my first thoughts were of William Gibson's story, Johnny Mnemonic.  With this type of encoding being the future of secure digital storage.  That's just fascinating.

 

23Jan/13

Quotes and Thoughts That Can Change Your Life

1. Your thoughts create your reality.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Lao TzuBalanced Rocks

You feel the way you feel right now because of the thoughts you are thinking, and you're where you are right now because of the thoughts you have thought over and over again. If the thoughts running though your mind are  positive and empowering, you will create positive and empowering beliefs about yourself and about life; and your actions, habits, and daily routines will be a reflection of these thoughts and beliefs.

2. You will regret the chances you did not take.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

The things you didn’t do when you had the chance. That priceless relationship you neglected. Those important words you left unspoken… Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret. But it’s not too late to set things straight. You’re still here breathing. Right now you have an opportunity to change your future. Right now you can choose to erase regret from your later years.

3. Change is the only constant thing in life.

“Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.” –Shunryu Suzuki

No matter how hard you try to avoid change, doing so is simply impossible. Period.

4. What you resist, persists.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu

The more you fight against life’s circumstances, events, people, ideas, etc., the more you will be contributing to their growth and persistence into your daily life. Learn to shift your focus from that which you are against to that which you are for, and to that which you wish to attract into your daily life. Over time you will watch your life transform.

5. You judge others for the deficiencies you haven’t yet accepted in yourself.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” –Carl Gustav Jung

The traits you dislike in others are mostly just a reflection of the traits you dislike in yourself. This concept can be difficult to grasp, and you might even be irritated by me mentioning it – especially when you are ‘certain’ that you are right and the other person is wrong, and that you are surely better off than they are.

6. You have far less control over the behavior of others than you think.

“Never underestimate your power to change yourself; never overestimate your power to change others.” –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It's funny how the closer you are to a person the higher your expectations are, and the more rights you think you have to control their time and behavior? Don’t let your bad judgment get the best of you; the only thing you can control is your attitude towards them and their behavior. Nothing more, nothing less.

7. You are what’s on the inside.

“When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer

When you are happy and satisfied with yourself personally, you act in kind, happy and loving ways toward the people around you. Because you are comfortable inside, no matter how negative people might act toward you at times, you stay calm and collected, responding out of love and confidence to their behavior – for that is who you are on the inside, and you give out that which is within.

8. You can’t force love in relationships.

“You can’t force love, I realized. It’s there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you’ve got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” –Richelle Mead

Love between two people comes because both people want to share their love, not because YOU want it from the other person. Your family, friends, co-workers, lovers – they all love you because they choose to, not because you want them to. Love is meant to be felt, enjoyed and lived, not to be forced on anyone.

9. Sometimes the only healthy option is to move on.

“There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good. After all life is too short to be anything but happy.” –Karl Marx (the composer)

 When the time comes to move beyond certain things, ideas, or people, don’t resist it. Allow yourself to experience life. Allow yourself to grow, learn, and evolve. Allow yourself to move beyond the past on your path to happiness.

10. Life as you know it doesn’t last forever.

“Nothing lasts forever; so live it up, drink it down, avoid the negativity, take chances and never regret because at one point it was what you wanted.”

Nothing lasts forever, and this is exactly why you need to learn to detach from things, places and people in your life. When the time comes to say goodbye, let them all go and to do it with dignity and grace.

 

 

From a post by Marc and Angel Hack Life at http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/12/24/10-lessons-from-10-quotes-that-changed-my-life/

 

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17Apr/12

Discovery flies its final mission

image

The final flight of the Discovery landing at Dulles Airport.   It was amazing to be standing on the roof of a six story building across from the Dulles Airport and watching it land.   It's the end of an era and it felt good to be able to watch it happen.

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20Mar/12

Blind Spots

I recently read a book by Alexandra Levit, Blind Spots.  In it, Levit talks about how there's been a major paradigm shift in business practices and the workplace. She tells readers what no longer holds true for getting ahead today in Corporate America, and debunks business myths that are more dangerous and less viable than ever.  In their place, she offers something better than these myths: practical advice on what it really takes to succeed in this new values-driven environment.

Myth #1:  Overnight success is possible.

Reality: Most people persevere for a long time and experience several setbacks before achieving an objective definition of success. She explores how to move your dream forward a little bit at a time, and how to cope when things temporarily go south.

Myth #2:  Controversy will propel your career.

Reality: Being controversial usually generates attention for a little while, but people will probably not trust you in the long-term. The book talks about how to incorporate the tried-and-true values of honesty and authenticity into your daily work life.

Myth #3: Employers want you to be yourself.

Reality: While employers value the unique set of skills and experiences you bring to the table, they expect you to toe the line with respect to company rules and conduct. She discusses what it means to be a professional and how to be diplomatic even if someone has wronged you.

Myth #4:  Being good at your job trumps everything.

Reality: You can be the most talented employee your company has ever hired, but if your contributions aren’t visible and people don’t value what you do, it simply won’t matter. This chapter will address how to spend a little more time promoting your job and a little less time slaving over it.

Myth #5:  It’s best to climb the ladder as fast as possible.

Reality: Getting promoted year after year requires a near-constant vigilance as well as a laser sharp focus on work – often to the detriment of everything else in your life. The book talks about why it’s prudent to enjoy your time as a middle manager or individual contributor and how to make the most of this period in your life.

Myth #6:  You’ll get more money because you earned it.

Reality: Not everyone rakes in a six figure salary because they played their cards right. The book demonstrates how compensation is about business realities, HR mandates, and office politics – not performance – and will illustrate techniques to increase yours.

Myth #7:  The problem isn’t you, it’s the organization.

Reality: People job jump constantly because of this one, but the truth is, the same situations crop up in the business world over and over. She discusses why it makes the most sense to learn self-awareness and change your own thinking and behavior instead of waiting for the company to adapt to your needs.

Myth #8:  You won’t get laid off, you’re too essential.

Reality: Everyone is replaceable, and employees who consistently add value are let go every day. The book talks about what’s really behind the decision to lay people off, and learn how to identify the signs and take steps to protect your job now.

Myth #9:  If only you could leave Corporate America, everything would be perfect.

Reality: Running a business is harder than it looks, and entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The book covers why many people are better off working for large companies, including the hidden perks that you don’t want to live without.

Myth #10:  Do what you love, the money will follow.

Reality: Just because you have a passion for a particular area doesn’t mean you will automatically make money doing it. Here, we’ll she talks about ways to do what you love without going broke, and how and when to take smart risks and make measured progress in pursuing meaningful work.

Overall the book was a quick and light read.  I thought the book could be really valuable to those looking to fit into today's Corporate America and to help put themselves in the right mindset to succeed.

http://www.alexandralevit.com/blind-spots

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10Mar/12

Docracy

Unfortunately we seem to live in a very litigious society.  Docracy is a free web service that  provides legal documents for anything from a non-disclosure agreement to an apartment lease and it also lets you sign the documents as well.

Lawyers are expensive but you want legal documents that'll hold up.  A nice do-it-yourself option or just something to get you started is what Docracy seems pretty good for.  They've got lease agreements, incorporation documents, living wills, power of attorney's, non-disclosure agreements, and more. It's a good site to bookmark for the future when you might need a legal document or a good idea on where to start with one.

7Mar/12

Rooting a Nook Simple Touch

02.06.2012 So I rooted my Nook Simple Touch the other day.  It's a pretty simple process, especially compared to rooting a phone.  Basically all you need is:

  1. Noble Nook Simple Touch
  2. A microSD card
  3. An external microSD card reader
  4. TouchNooter, a utility for rooting and enabling market access on your Nook
  5. a program to write disk images to your microSD card like win32DiskImager
  6. Instructions for rooting can be found  at the XDA-developers forums

The process is:

  1. Download TouchNooter
  2. Write the TouchNooter disk image to your microSD card
  3. Power off your Nook Simple Touch
  4. Insert the TouchNooter SDcard into your Nook Simple Touch
  5. Power on your Nook Simple Touch
  6. Follow the instructions on the TouchNooter boot screen

That's about it... Doesn't get much simpler for rooting a device.

I'm still not exactly sure I'm totally happy with the rooting.  The e-ink screen on the Simple Touch is somewhat slow to refresh, but it hasn't seemed to affect the battery life and you can switch between the rooted menu and the standard Nook menu with a simple button press.