Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category

Right Side of the Bell Curve

January 14, 2009

I was talking with a friend of mine recently about his son who is currently serving in the US Army in Iraq while his daughter-in-law is living with them in their home until her husband returns.  My friend told me his son was well protected in a backstage area, his spirit was upbeat, and he is coming home soon.

What struck me in particular was the communication my friend had with his son.  He commented, “It’s a strange world we live in,” and said he talked to him all the time.  In fact the son and his wife spoke a couple of hours each night.

Of course all this takes place online.  I thought about a story my grandmother told me.  My grandfather was in the Army when World War II broke out.  He left in 1942 and she saw him again in 1945.  There were of course frequent letters and an occasional phone call, but for the most part they were separated for three years.  During one four month stretch she had no confirmation of a rumor that the Queen Mary had been sunk on the way to Australia.  She knew her husband was on the ship and for months at a time she didn’t know if he was alive or not.

But it isn’t even just the difference between today and 60 years ago.  Even the soldiers of Desert Storm didn’t have the access to home that the soldiers of today do.

The way technology is changing the world is increasing exponentially.  For those under say 30-years-old, it may seem normal and it may not be as dramatic as for those over 30.  But, just wait a few years.

If you’re going to stay on the right side of the bell (at the high end of the bell curve) you better be on top of it.  You better be paying attention.  Technology isn’t for the geeks or engineers; its for the high achiever and the rock star performer, whether your in the field or not.  It’s for the average guy if you want to stay at least average.

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Leaders Learn Lessons

August 15, 2008

I’m a big college football fan.  I regularly listen to the ESPN College Football podcast though I am way behind, so I’m getting ready for the season by catching up from May through today.  I just listened to Ivan Maisel talking about a trip he took to visit the troops in the Middle East with big time football coaches Tommy Tubberville from Auburn, Mark Richt from Georgia, Randy Shannon from Miami, Charlie Weiss from Notre Dame and Jack Siedlecki of Yale.

Many of the soldiers are big fans and will get up early to watch the live broadcasts.  The coaches brought tons of souvenirs and according to Maisel one soldier commented, “I can’t believe you’re spending so much time talking to us.”

It sounded like a great trip, and one lesson really jumped out for me.  Maisel was talking about a Q and A session the coaches held with a group of soldiers.  Instead of asking about the upcoming season the vast majority of the questions were about leadership and specifics about leading young people in a stressful environment.

Obviously these coaches are world class leaders.  Just as obvious is that the soldiers they spoke to are world class acheivers.  When given the opportunity to interact with significant leaders, high achievers will pick their brains.  They know that they can learn something from every person they meet, and when they have a chance to talk to high acheivers it’s a special opportunity to learn as much as they can.

The key is to be prepared.  Know what you want to know, think about your areas of difficulty, and formulate questions before you have an opportunity to ask them.  And, if you know ahead of time you’re going to have some one-on-one time with a high achiever do some research so you can best take advantage of your opportunity.

One of the differences between high achievers and the average guy is preparation and making the most out of opportunities.