Sunday, November 9, 2014

View From The Top

Over the last three years, Medtronic Tempe Campus hosted a wide variety of executive leadership on a more regular cadence. Within his first 90 days, CEO Omar Ishrak visited our site being told “you have to go see what they’re doing.”

Since then, almost every month, executives from all over the world spend anywhere between 8-48 hours at our location. We were fortunate this past October to have the Vice President of Global Supply Chain, Ms. Sheri, take time out of her busy site visit, to share some of her personal advice for success. Although, there were many points she made, I’m going to summarize her advice in three segments.

Turning Strengths to Value
Ms. Sheri started by stating how she finds it odd when organization’s focus on people’s weaknesses. It’s not the weaknesses we need to make better but rather the strengths that we need to tap into.
As she was speaking, I was reminded of a quote one of my former managers had shared.
“I’ll never make a slam dunk in basketball. Being 5’5, it physically won’t happen. So I can’t keep trying to slam dunk.” And this quote helped emphasize the point that was being made.

What Ms. Sheri did say was how we need to understand and embrace our strengths. Then, take a step back to see which opportunities are there that we can take on with strengths as our ammunition. And finally, be more diligent in asking how these business opportunities can bring us value.

Mentors versus Sponsors

“Do you have a sponsor?” 
“Yes, I have my mentor.”

Common misconception is that our mentors are our sponsors. Although a sponsor could potentially be your mentor, mentors are not always your sponsors. Simply put:

“Mentors talk to you; Sponsors talk about you.”

Mentors are important for career development in the present and the future. It is someone either inside or outside your organization to serve basically as a sound board. They are one or two levels above you or was your predecessor in your current role. Although managers can provide guidance, they sometimes stress bias towards telling you advice in their best interest for their own objectives.
Sponsors however can have no direct contact with you. They could be in a senior leadership position who remembers an excellent tactical decision you made in a crisis. When a new opportunity surfaces, they stand up and state your name, being fit for the role. What they’re doing for you is advocating your talent.

Strive for Life Balance

My final note could possibly be rated as the most important. Ms. Sheri stood at the front of the room and practically laughed.

“Who are we kidding when we teach work-life balance? We pick up our kids after work, eat dinner, and then open our laptop or smart device to check up on things. We need to strive for life balance.” I love this concept most because I always stress to my friends and family how I try to be the same person at work or at home. Since I’ve worked hard over the years to understand my values, the top ones are ranked so important, it is difficult to differentiate. By demonstrating the same key characteristics wherever I am that illustrate my core values, it helps me be healthy and focused in any setting.

Ms. Sheri demonstrated her journey towards achieving life-balance during the question and answer session. When I asked her what major setbacks shaped her to become the leader she is today, her answer was in regards to a major turning point in her personal life. During her answer, she re-emphasized how we’re human and it’s not always easy to just hang our personal issues at the door when we walk into the office.

The next time you are assessing your strengths to drive business value, keep the aspects of your life balanced. What I learned from the session with the VP was that even those at the very top need to go for their daily run. 

Picture from:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Defeating the Intimidation

Sitting at the hotel lounge last night, it wasn't a coincidence to find some ladies from the conference, enjoying dessert after a long week. We started talking about the different talks we went to. We rated which ones were most beneficial and questioned the validity of true engineering for others. 

After devouring a warm bread pudding and ice cream that the hotel restaurant offered, there was a topic that surfaced that wasn't offered as one of the sessions: why men are so intimidated by career oriented women. 

While I feel that I still don't know the answer to this, there are a few things we can do to remove the sense of intimidation. 

Value their career 

Over the last couple of years, the few guys that have presented marriage proposals, were confident enough in themselves and their accomplishments that it didn't matter what results I had on my résumé. What I found most beneficial in maintaining a relationship or friendship with a guy, was how I respected his career and what he has done thus far. 

I know I'm a stellar engineer (if I don't toot my own horn, who will?) But guys want someone who will coddle them and stroke their ego on what they do well. My advice: take the time to bring up their best days and if they're down, remind them of their best days to help them move forward. Trust me, he'll know how stellar of an engineer you are or else he wouldn't have fallen for you. 

Let them lead 

We solve problems day in and day out. We're assigned as project leaders because of our great problem solving skills and leadership. But outside the workplace, the man likes to be in charge.
We can talk about equality and about how my decisions are just as good if not better than the next guy but out of respect, it's okay to step back. For the few men I've interacted in my life, they have a sense of pride that they should set direction and protect me from anything that may hinder me reaching my destination. 
So once you leave the field, the manufacturing floor or your executive office, it's okay to set your leadership gauge on low. 

Don't try to be the engineer with him 

This greatly ties into the last section. But the key take away here is that he's not a technical problem to be taken a part and put back together. We all know that constructing systems is easier than dealing with people because the systems don't talk back. There are no emotions or feelings tied to the processes and if there's an abnormality, there are usually feedback loops to get you back to normal. 

But men and women are more complex than that. When your significant other is breaking down how horrible his day was, he doesn't want you to bust out an A3 to map out the problem definition. He wants you to listen. Surprising as it may sound, guys want to sometimes just put their head on your shoulder and vent. We don't need to solve the problems or take it from them- we just need to show compassion and respect. 
Like everything else I've written, this is solely my opinion from what I've experienced in the last few years. We need to continue to strive to excellence in our careers but if we are serious about being in a relationship, we need to re-visit our values to make sure there aren't clashing priorities. And while the man would probably still be intimidated at first, the few points of advice may help sustain a lasting relationship. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Loyalty Factor

"Medtronic won't hug you back," Christina says to me one Friday night at the end of July. Discussing work life and personal life, she reminds me that we all need time for family, health and relationships. 

I had received three marriage proposals one weekend and I was complaining to her how work is easier. Given the systems in place with a combination of my assertiveness, there's normally a clear path to solving any challenge. No level of devotion to my work helped erase her comment, but I struggled to articulate my thoughts into a blog post: until today. 

Since the corporate takeovers across America during the 1980s, the term loyal became obsolete. Prior to, an individual would join a company and stay until their manager took their belongings home to their loved one following the memorial. But today, our resumes are constantly reviewed, our ears are perked upwards, and trust is minimum. 

Why can't we try and bring the loyal factor back? 

Respect Where You Are 

If you're there for the paycheck, that's fine, just don't be vocal about it. I'm not saying love every place where you work however, enjoy the moments you're there. Out of respect of your employers and co-workers be conscience of the comments you make. Things like "I'm just here as a resume builder" or "this place paid $1 more during my internship"  are not made within the four walls. For the time zero that you're with that company, be vocal about the right items. 

Work to Build and Maintain Trust 

The last generations have been harsh. The scandals in our Presidencies, the collapse of Enron, and social media turning into a multi-million dollar enterprise.  These events had a negative influence on our perception of employment in America. However, trust builds relationships and creates a quicker turnaround on results. We should be mindful on creating a trusting environment and removing the walls within our organization. 

Diligently Include Work in Your Life (but not the other way around) 

There are tools, articles and classes on a healthy work-life balance. So take advantage of them. Life outside is perishable. Map out your values and breakdown your world in the categories that matter. For me, my career is one of my top values and that's why I swipe my work badge more than my LA Fitness key tag. 

But what I realized this Labor Day morning when I woke up and checked my email, was that I'm not a work-a-holic. I'm loyal. I'm loyal to the company that is set out to improve the life of millions of patients around the world. I'm loyal to my team whom I said I'd be available as a contact point for escalation. I'm loyal to my manager who supported my development goals and set me up for success even when I failed. 

Although Medtronic may not hug me back in a literal sense, what I've learned is that loyalty has finally paid off. So work to bring loyalty back- It may just change your world view.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Climbing To The Bright Orange Star

"If you focus on what you love, you will naturally climb to where you want to be." A memorable quote from Ms. Nancy W, Sr Quality Director that surfaced my memory today. Few months back, we met on the topic of career development over lunch. We chatted about work-life balance and how to accelerate in your career. I was fortunate to learn some of her accomplishments and challenges along the way, even with a more personal touch on raising a family.

The messages were similar to what I've heard in the past but the quote above somehow stuck out. And I was reminded of that today on my walk between two manufacturing buildings.

Recently, I've been more diligently asked "what do you want to do? Where do you want to be?" Although it seemed simple on paper what my next steps were, my emotions were telling me differently. 

Although, I may not have the definite answer today, I need to figure it out within a week or so as the fiscal year comes to an end; these three points below are helping me. 

What kind of leader am I five years from now? 

We're often asked "where do you see yourself in five years; ten years" and the first thing that pops into our minds is the beautiful villa off of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. 

Ok-professionally, Tima.

So rephrase the question with more specifics around your characteristic. I'm a born leader and I want to continue to accelerate in leadership roles. What will I look like in a leadership (with or without authority) role five years from now? Who will I be? Why will people turn to me for support?  

What path do I think I want to go down versus what path I really want to go down

We're posed with two choices. And often times than not, we choose one based on external factors rather than our gut feel. 

Cy Wakeman teaches us to cut the drama out and focus on the results. What is my goal and how can I get there -ignoring all the whining and complaining along the way? The same goes with decision making. We have a tendency to make up stories in our head about all the pain we'll be in before we even get there. (Before we even try for that matter.) 

But if my passion is down one road, I should just start walking and handle each challenge as they rise. And I'm pretty confident that the challenges I'll end up facing, are ones I probably can't even fathom right now. 

Some things are farther than they appear 

My geeky side will rise on this final note. While reading my Facebook feed today, I came across a story how Mars is the brightest it has been in six years*. If you walk outside for the next week, you'll see a bright orange-yellow star at the end of the Big Dipper's arch. Amazingly enough all I had to do was look out my back porch and there it was. 

It got me thinking. My senior leadership role is right there in the forefront of my mind. Day in and day out, I try to demonstrate behaviors that will get me closer to that role. But in reality, there are greater opportunities in the near term that will equip me with the knowledge I need to succeed. The humble side of me is recognizing how there are some  competency gaps I need to close now to be able to thrive with confidence in the future. 

So, although I may not be transitioning into a VP position by the time I'm 30, it's the bright orange-yellow star in my life. 

Who I want to be in five years, holds more weight than what I want to do. The reason behind that is the what and the where are more of the dead end destinations. "You have arrived." 
But the who really speaks to your character and the journey of seeking perfection. 

Continue to do what you love. Continue to practice humility. 

And to say it again: "you'll naturally climb to where you want to be." 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Learning to Pause the Game

With smart phones in our hands for most of our waking hours, what does the separation between work and the rest of our life look like? Mapping out my values helped me be true to myself and those around me: career is my number one focus. But I can't possibly do it 24/7. Well I could- but after awhile you can't possibly do it right. And what about values 2, 3 and 4? Family/friends, healthy lifestyle, relationship?

Lately I've set out to find that balance. I've been to the work-life balance workshops. I even gave a great suggestion in one of them that the facilitator thought I should be teaching the class! But it's more about the commitments and being accountable to them. 

There are three points that will simply help with balancing your life. And we need to take them seriously, especially this early in the game. 

Set non-career goals 

A strong suit of being career driven is that we can be determined and set goals to get to where we want to be. So why not do this for your life outside of work? Whether it be going to the painting class with friends or skydiving, set a specific task that you want to accomplish and map yourself to achieving it. It'll help you stay busy in a good way on your weekends. 

Leave the work at work 

Yes I check my work email every few hours- guilty. But given my leadership position, there are some things I feel I should continue monitoring. But a win lately has been leaving my laptop at work when I leave for the weekend. 

Thursday night I stayed on-site until after 9. I specifically explained to my family- if I stay late, I'll actually take my weekend. We often hear the phrase "wherever you are, BE there" and not always do I practice it. Honestly, if I needed to be at work right now, I would be. Time I start enjoying my time with friends and family. 

Schedule yourself realistically 

Recently I read a beautiful bittersweet quote from Buddha- "The trouble is you think you have time." And sadly we look at our calendar and have a tendency to prioritize the wrong things. Start to be real. 

Take the time at the start of your week to see what can wait and what has to happen in order to support a key deliverable. 
This way you're not slammed with back to back, non-value meetings but have time for coaching sessions. Or even have time to leave a couple hours early to make it to the evening Zumba class. 

Since my trip overseas, this weekend was probably the first that I actually sat back and felt relaxed. The best part is that I continue to build stronger bonds with my friends and family for it and I know I'll be refreshed enough to take on that next strategic item. 

Learn to press the pause button every once and awhile to stretch and smell the fresh air. Either with friends, family, your puppy or just your coffee on your afternoon break. You'll go faster when you press play again. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Days Are Numbered

Special Guest Post by Shadya Karawi Name

“Our days are numbered”. That was what Tima told me as we were discussing this blog post. The phrase sent immediate shivers throughout my entire body and it got me thinking. If our days are in fact numbered, then I want to make every single one of them count. I am going to make all that I can so that they add in happiness and not subtract. I am going to make the firm decision of doing something special with all of them so that, when we have to make our numbers and come clean on how well we used this life, I have a big number of days well lived. 

I decided to come up with a list to remember always this promise I’m making with myself. Short and sweet:

  1. Do what you love: You are the master of your own destiny. You have a great gift to share with the world. Usually, those gifts are the things we enjoy the most on our spare time. It can be painting, writing, gardening, playing with numbers. Absolutely anything and the possibilities are countless. When you discover what it is that makes your heart jump, do it. Dedicate time every single day to your passion. Your heart and your life will be very grateful.
  2. Surround yourself with happy people: Establish healthy relationships. Be with people who share a positive outlook on life. Laughter is contagious and being with people who are optimistic will inspire you to live a happier life as well. Let go of those who drain you, who are constantly complaining, who play the role of the victim. Acknowledge that everyone is facing their own experiences. Appreciate the things they have taught you and be courageous enough to move past relationships that no longer serve a purpose of love in your life.
  3. Give back: When you give back, you receive again, and so a magical circle of joy is formed. You can contribute, in whatever way you can, with those situations and people that are dear to your heart. What you do does matter and it can make a difference bigger than you might perceive. Try to do a random act of kindness every day. I guarantee that you’ll feel better than ever.
  4. Go within: Meditate, pray, walk or do whatever it is that centers you. Take time to get to know yourself more. Understand what it is that moves you, get acquainted with your feelings, face your own fears. Only when we are in true connection with ourselves, can we be connected with others.
  5. Be grateful: Gratitude is, without a doubt, the key that opens all doors. When you begin saying thank you for everything that you already have (from a bed to sleep in and eyes to read this) you will receive more of what you desire. You will feel so blessed for all the things you’ve been gifted with that your spirit will be lifted automatically.
  6. Eat healthy: I’m sure you’ve all heard many times that we are what we eat. Choose life affirming foods and beverages. Listen to your body and learn to identify what it is it needs to function properly. We are all different so we all need something different. Know what it is that makes your body smile.
  7. Be flexible: Know that change is the only constant thing in life. Be prepared to have a shift of direction. Be aware that plans can fall down. Have options, move forward and take breaks. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work out as you had hoped it would. Those situations always have a blessing involved-look for it.
  8. Believe: In times of doubt, uncertainty and despair. In times of joy and celebration. Always believe. Know that there is greatness within you and that you have a beautiful purpose to fulfill. Trust that there is a loving power that is always with us. Believe in life and all the beauty that lies within it.

I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter in what order you do the things suggested above. What is important is having the conviction of wanting your life to change for the best. To be ready to face the world with a positive outlook. To know that you are powerful and that it depends on you, and solely on you, to make every single one of your numbered days mean something. 

Shadya Karawi Name is a Colombian-Lebanese Psychologist. Author of Believe, The Fine Art of Setting Yourself Free, her passion around writing has been around her ability to express the feelings of her soul. Her experience across the globe and integration in different cultures has expanded her mind and soul in spreading the love and message around living a happy life. Check out her story

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spot The Spontaneous

Sometimes it takes tough situations for strong bonds to form. But the bond becomes so strong that nothing except higher powers can break them. 

Normally, my posts consist of reflections taken from my work environment. Although today's reflection is one from the oldest village in the world, Jericho, it still holds merit in my personal development blog. 

Two weeks ago, we received a phone call from my brother in the Middle East.

"Uncle Hassan had a stroke. He's fine. Really, he's fine. But in the hospital for tests." Being 10,000 miles away, it was hard to believe his words. Within 24 hours, two plane tickets were cut, with a vow to get my mom to see her brother in good health.

Lessons were learned and although it was probably the craziest decision I ever made, I still live with no regrets. And here's why.

If there's something you want to do, do it. 

Too often we make plans and they need to change. The vacation money is used to pay off the new car battery; a terrible flu eats into your sick time; or your mom ends up in the hospital for a week. Things happen. And then things just don't happen. 

Last May, I lost a dear friend, Sir David Romer, to a short, vicious battle to cancer. While conversing with his partner after the fact, he spoke about plans they had made to go and see the world. And how unfortunately it never happened. 
Every so often, I try and have lunch with his partner to catch up. Coincidentally enough, we had made plans that Thursday that my Uncle had his stroke. 

"What's on your mind?" He asks with the biggest smile on his face.

"Trying to get my mom back home to see her brother and wondering if I should go."

"Just go. You want to do it. Just do it." He made it sound so easy. But why couldn't it be? I already had the time off and there were no real negative consequences of jumping on a plane and going for a week. 

And now that I look back, I probably would've spent the week roaming aimlessly around Arizona or going into work on my days off and never took a trip to the Middle East. 

If there's something you want to say, say it. 

Going along the same lines, you never really know what moments could present themselves and what words should be said in those moments. 

Prior to leaving on my spontaneous trip, I tried my very best to tie down loose ends at work. Going overseas, I was taking only my iPad and not my laptop. Closing out documents, having one on ones with my peers, and collecting data for a qualification; my last 24 hours in the states were busy. 

But before I left, I made it a point to give a special goodbye to a dear friend of mine. He held me in hopes that I went and returned safely with my uncle in good health. And we both shared some words that needed to be said but neither of us had the courage to say previously.

With February almost gone, I look back at that moment and realize that they were just words but meaningful ones that I probably would never had said without the circumstances. We come across people every day in our lives with the thought that “there’s always tomorrow.” But what if tomorrow doesn't come, what would you want to say?

Appreciate the simple moments. 

In closing, my sixty hour work weeks are waiting for me back in Tempe. The rush of being a servant leader is the spark that keeps me going. But the last week in Jericho with my family was incredible and probably the real fuel in my life. 

Having being in the Holy Land, there are so many hotspots (literally) to see. The Dead Sea between Jordan and Palestine, the nativity church in Bethlehem or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. But the hottest spot for me was simply on the steps of my Uncle's house. 

Riding on an emotional roller coaster, the days consisted of high and low aspects where tears of laughter turned all too quickly to tears of anguish. 

We cried. Over our past; our current situation and fear of what the future will bring. 

We laughed over how naive we were in the past; how broken my Arabic still is; and how crazy we'll be when we finally build a villa in our grandmothers land. 

Time passes us by as we grow older in the midst of an 8 to 5 routine.  Surprisingly, so much can happen in such a short period of time but what makes it seem like a lot is when you stop and realize it was the simplest of things that occurred. And even brought the greatest joy.

The short walk to the main part of town. 
The trot with the horse in the empty land at sunset.
The watermelon-mint flavored hookah on the porch.
The Nescafe coffee for breakfast.
The Turkish coffee for lunch, dinner and all hours in between. 
The late dinner spread of Falafel, olives, cheese, thyme and oil all with pita.
The chamomile tea at 11:30PM just as the 'kitchen' was closing. 

Next month will be different than today and even more different than last year. We are constantly changing as human beings and we can't stop the clock as much as we'd like to. But what we can do is recognize what has to be done or said and act on it. We must be grateful for having a crazy family even when they don't let you sleep because one day you'll wake up to a quiet house. 

I'm fortunate for who I am and where I come from. I'm fortunate for my uncles, aunts who treat me as their own. I'm fortunate for my cousins for being my friends first and relatives second. I'm fortunate for my brothers for pushing me to do the extreme. I'm fortunate for my mother for telling me to stand tall. 

Be grateful for what you have and take in the moments, no matter how simplistic they can be. One day you won't be able to jump on a plane to see your cousins or tell someone you love them. When the spontaneous moments present itself, don’t overthink it- you’ll appreciate yourself later. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Leaders Without Masks

"Jim Gordon: I never cared who you were.

Batman: And you were right.

Jim Gordon: Shouldn't the people know the hero who saved them?

Batman: A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders, to let him know the world hadn't ended."

We are all superheroes in disguise. Well, that is if we choose to be. We practice empathy and care for someone in need. We demonstrate respect and humility to let those voice their concerns in their heart. And we do it all without the mask. 

Ironically enough though, my peer who I'll call Kay, prepped the agenda for our monthly meeting and requested that we dress up as our favorite superhero. 

Corny at best it's definitely a way to 'bring fun back into work.' So today, I woke up on a good note. Not to an alarm but to a surprisingly refreshed mind that said "Get up Tima; the world is waiting for your innovations." 

I got dressed in probably my most comfy outfit as if I were going to a 7AM lecture at ASU and not work. 

Long gray shirt with quarter sleeves that fell off the shoulder on one side and not the other. Leggings that are so thick in material, they would not be suitable for yoga so maybe suitable for public. And my high fuscia boots. 

I stopped at Matador coffee where I finally saw a familiar face who I remember since 2009 when they first opened their shop. Hadn't seen him in two years, our smiles lit up the coffee shop as he made my iced bullseye. 

Fast forward to my drive to work, listening to frank Sinatra hoping for a great day regardless how big the pile on my desk is- I'm about to get off the freeway and realize 'ahh, I didn't bring a cape!' I laughed at myself and smiled at the fact that we have someone like Kay in our organization who's trying to help with engagement and culture. 

The day was bumpy from the beginning. Meeting after meeting on items I didn't agree with, I kept quiet and reminded myself to breathe. 

Then following lunch, I spent almost three hours in a conference room mapping out the next best system for our organization's success. 

Kay myself and a few other people were working on different continuous improvement efforts. Three-twenty came along and Kay excused herself to go take care of something. 

Sitting now with only one of my peers, we conversed on the system and chatted on other items. Then my phone rang and Kay needed me. 

I packed up my stuff and dashed across the parking lot. Left my stuff at my desk only to grab my keys. 

Within 10 mins of her call, I was able to pick her up safely. 

After resolving some things, we drove back to work to drop off the food that Kay went to get for the monthly meeting. 

I walked in late knowing that I had good reason for being late. When I finally had a grasp on where I was, I sat down, thankfully across two smiling, reassuring faces. The meeting continued. 

Being that it was a monthly staff meeting with a room full of managers and leaders (and I say that for a reason) things got heated. I was frustrated. I was confused. I felt unheard and disrespected. So I kept quiet the rest of the meeting and took minutes to follow up on issues at a later time. 

I safely made it home and went straight to my room. 

"Need to relax and remember to breath" I told myself, as cliche as it was. 

When I finally started feeling better and relaxed enough to go to sleep, my mom came into my room and hands me the phone without warning only to hear my friend crying on the other end. 

She hung up on me to put her baby to sleep. So I waited patiently for 20 minutes or so, then contacted her. I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't know why she was crying but I told her I'm hear to listen. Listen to her cry or listen to her breath or listen to her brag about the amazing 77 degree January weather we had today. 

Without hesitation she opened up to me but interestingly enough without saying any details. I listened. And started to feel what she felt. Then after about and hour and half, she was smiling again and relaxed enough to get some rest. 

Although this is a long story, the point is by being a good person, you can be there for those around you. 

You can rescue them when they're stranded on the side of the road. 

You can redeem them of their tears and let them breath in the process. 

You can be their superhero and all you needed was your bucket of good friendship traits-

Listener; respecter; empathizer; caregiver; teacher; motivator. 

Sounds a lot like a good leader too.   

Friday, January 10, 2014

Letting The Clock Dial Turn

"Today's generation want it now." A common phrase expressed by everyone. Now I could probably take the time to research about the statistics behind this and how it's probably contributed to video games, touch phones and other smart technology. But what I really want to share are the consequences. 

Where will this behavior land us?  

For the most part we'll keep getting a new project, a new desk, a new team and so forth. In my 'Create Your 2014' post, I spoke about what steps I took last spring to be in the position I am today. Although they were objective and strategic steps, there were soft skills that landed me the respect I needed. 

The best part about so-called 'millennials' is the short attention span and go-getter behavior. We're very adaptive to change and even thrive off of it. However, there are a few traits we can learn from our predecessors and patience is number one. 

Although I agree with a saying I recently read- "good things don't come for those who wait for it; good things come to those who work for it," I've learned that patience has sculpted my leadership style. 

My co-worker always tells me: 

"Teach the change. Give them the tools to make the change. When the dial goes from 12 to 1, applaud the change. Then teach the next change to go from 1 to 2." 

So I'll be 30 by the time we get through the entire life cycle of a clock?! 

But the message here is how we must embrace the moment and the little wins we achieve to keep the engagement and the motivation, especially if your team consists of those two to three times your age. 

The other trait I want to bring up again and again, is humility. We don't know it all. We may be more technical. We may be faster. We may be more alert on everything that's happening through twitter and Facebook and google+. 

But if we stop and ask more questions then giving answers, we'll develop even more rapidly and have a team of followers behind us. 

Arrogance gets you nowhere. And if you're standing in a meeting with a bunch of senior leaders, don't jump to the conclusion that you know what they're referring to. There is always a piece of information you don't have that someone else can provide to you and speaking up on a topic prematurely will just deplete your credibility bucket. 

So our generation must learn to push on the brakes when there are other cars around us on the street.

Of course, when we're on highway I-10 halfway between Phoenix and LA, just step on it. You know where you're going. You know how to get there. Go and get it. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Create Your 2014

Another year has passed us by. 

Five year old little boy becomes a superhero for a day when San Francisco turns into Gotham City courtesy of Make-A-Wish; Albert Einstein school of medicine in New York gets one step closer to a cure for HIV and the minions stole our hearts yet again being the top third grossing film of the year in Despicable Me 2. 

For Medtronic, we had the privilege of working on and releasing two new devices. One being an injectable heart monitor that will allow doctors to monitor potential pacemaker candidates without invasive surgery ( Reveal LinQ.) 
But 2013 had its challenges as well. Loved ones passed from health reasons or Boston marathon attack or massive tornados in Oklahoma City. We dealt with the government shutdown and more recently a credit card security breach at Target during the holidays. 

So the clock strikes midnight; the ball drops in Times Square and we wonder what the new year has in store for us. We're hoping it'll get better. How about we tell the new year how it's going to be? This time last year I was a semester away from finishing my masters and hopeful of a role change. It happened. It happened because I worked for it. I spent my weekends in the library. I spent my one-on-ones with my manager discussing my next step and reviewing deliverables to get me there. 

Why not take a few minutes and map out your year?

First, write out the key highlights and challenges of 2013. We gain motivation from the achievements and happy moments. And there are numerous lessons  in our not so bright times that we can learn from. 

Next, write out your 2015 self. On January 1, 2015: who do you look like? What role do you carry? What certificate or degree do you now hold? By setting key goals, you're able to now create the future. It won't go as planned of course but with the objectives down on paper, you'll be closer to your end result than your current self. 

Finally, map out your steps. Seek help. Find a mentor or call that friend who you never liked to seek advice from but always tried. Creating your roadmap gives you a clear picture of the path and the speed bumps you may encounter. 

Of course we cannot control how the house votes or what natural disasters stir up but let's own what we can control. 

Laugh at the obstacles and you'll walk right over them.

Be kind to others and you'll never feel alone. 

Keep your head up and you'll reach the trophy. 

Don't just say it'll be different but take action to make it happen. Remember- it's only 365 days. We can do this. 

Happy new year. 

(Picture found at: )