Archive for the ‘Reflections on Leadership’ Category

Achievement, Accomplishment, Work Ethic and Success   Leave a comment

What is achievement really? How do we get it? Where does it come from? Is it an end goal? A process? Does it take work ethic? Does it mean success? Does it make someone “accomplished” ? Find out here: Projects, perspective, insight, success.

272 steps to forgivenessDecember of 2012 I published a successful academic paper called; “Best Buy Corporation Strategic Management Analysis” which I co-wrote with some exceptionally talented people in my cohort. During that time, the company was experiencing revolutionary change, juggling reputation management issues and more. The CEO had resigned, the company founder, Dick Schulze, had written a letter to the board with intention to buy the company back and run it. The competitive market was rapidly changing, they pulled out of markets in China and the UK and had brought in new CEO, Huber Joly.

Recently, our paper reached 29,000 views in less than two years and we are proud of that. It is an accomplishment and for me, professionally, it highlights the kind of work I am capable of. The in-depth research of this globally expanding company, evaluation of their internal environment and external market conditions was a great learning experience.

The recommendations we made? Best Buy actually implemented some of the strategies we recommended. I invite you to take an in-depth look and if there is anyone you think should see it, please pass it along. It has been an achievement, which leads to the topic of this post.

The first photo in this post is of “Batu Caves” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March of 2012, taken while traveling with my cohort for a global business systems course as part of the Executive MBA program at The University of St. Thomas. That was eight months before writing the Best Buy paper.

Batu Caves is considered it the most respected Hindu Shrine outside of India. 276 steps lead to a large temple cave at the very top and the belief is that each step taken, is a sin forgiven.

This week’s photo challenge: “show us a photo that says ‘achievement‘ to you: people meeting a long-worked-for goal. Something tangible you have created. A view from a journey you have completed, or the stating point of a journey yet made or a project you hope to finish.”

The reason I selected this photo is because achievement, for me, is different from success and is more than an accomplishment. Achievement doesn’t come easy for everyone, it is a learning process which takes effort and grit. Throughout that process of acquiring new knowledge, we must expect we will encounter roadblocks that will challenge us. As leaders, that means giving ourselves permission to learn, unlearn, re-think, innovate and survive.

Achievement is a drill that requires work ethic, optimism and backbone. We run through the practice and process of achievement again and again, ingesting new information, then applying more elbow grease towards the end goal. It builds character and involves conditioning ourselves into a thought process that says “I can do this, I believe in myself.”Best Buy Corporation Strategic Management Analysis Kakie Fitzsimmons 2 years, 29000 views

Achievement is taking an internal, personal vow to practice resilience, again, until it feels normal. And we do it because we know we will be better for the process. Our experience has given us the gift and wisdom of knowing that deferred gratification really works. And that achievement, lies in the process of getting there. It’s the climb.

Please leave a comment below and thanks for visiting my blog.

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner   Leave a comment

These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life.

For different reasons we head down paths in pursuit of something more. It could be a better life, happiness, knowledge, material things, family, respect, acceptance, relationships, recognition, inner peace, personal growth, etc. Regardless of the “why,” what is important is that we are driven to take action. While it is exciting to know we are on the way to discovering possibilities, life can and will present a series of unexpected patterns to emerge. Sometimes these schemes can cause people’s light to bend, resulting in feelings of discouragement. But that isn’t really a bad thing because we trust it is directing us towards something better. It’s part of a bigger plan that will be revealed when the time is right.

Executive MBA Global Systems Course - Singapore

Research has shown us that it is a natural process for people to resist change and as leaders, whether reservations are from us or those around us, it is our role to look at capabilities and value of this change, model new behavior and create repetitive messaging that points people in the proper direction because it is the right thing to do [1].

Bending light is beauty and most of the time we can see it instantaneously. The metaphor for refraction that occurs in our lives sometimes takes a little more time to be revealed, but when it shines, it is stunning because it radiates and people around us feel it. As leaders, sometimes people just need a simple reminder and validation that offers a little hope. Contentment and enlightenment await.

I’d like to hear from you, leave a reply below and thanks for reading my blog.

[1]  Beer, M., and Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the code of change. Harvard Business Review, 78(3): 133-141.

Through Eyes of “Endurance”   Leave a comment

The Meaning of Endurance

Embracing uncertainty knowing there is no “around, over or under.”

Having the audacity to do something unconventional, telling ourselves;

“I can, I will, I am, I believe, I trust it is time for something new and it is necessary. I will practice this until it feels normal.

Walking into the unknown with persistent fearlessness and a resilient spirit.

Forging ahead with integrity, courage, bravery, wholeheartedness and guts.

Past those who cast stones of judgement, unkind words and misunderstanding.

They will not define us.

For we know the only way out, is through, and that something better is in store.

Our self-assuredness will take us there,

because it always has.

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This post was inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge: “Endurance. Show us what endurance means to you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Innovation: The Truth About Creativity   Leave a comment

Creativity Pre Orchestra LectureIs Creativity an important component of innovation? Find out here.

I’ve been taking part two of a course based on a book called; “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. Brown has spent the past 10-15 years researching topics like courage, vulnerability and authenticity. One of our first assignments was to think about the gifts that come to us as the result of our own creativity.

The book presents fascinating findings about creativity. Brown refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of innovation. She also makes the point that there is no such thing as people who are not creative. Instead, there are resourceful people who know how to tap into their ingenuity, while others don’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Courage is a HEART Word   8 comments

Courage is a heart wordA few months back I took a six-week online class with Brené Brown based on her book; “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Early in the process we explored the meaning of courage and had a journal activity as seen in the picture. I wanted to share what Brené says about courage because I think it is profound;

“Courage, the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language – it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart – and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart…

This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’”

-Quote by Brené Brown, speaking about The Power of Vulnerability at TED

How often do we ask ourselves the question of what it means to live wholeheartedly? It starts with having enough self-compassion to explore our stories about shame and vulnerability without judgement. Brené says that shame can not survive being spoken, so after we have explored our fears and insecurities, it is important to find “your people” – those who have earned the right to hear your story. They are the individuals you know will just listen without judgement. They are the people who will not throw it back in your face at a later time. Next, say it out loud to them. That is a step towards healing and growth.

That my friends, takes courage, and is a demonstration of living with intention. Thoughts feelings and actions in alignment with our values principles and goals. I’d like to think of it as a form of servant leadership that we give as a gift to ourselves. Genuine authenticity feels good.

If there is anything you would like to share about this please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog and have a Happy Valentines Day!

Out in the Cold, But No Thin Ice Here – Twinkle Lights   3 comments

Out in the cold, but not on thin ice - Twinkle LightsI took this picture in Rice Park at the 2014 St. Paul Winter Carnival on January 31st and the temperature was well below zero. There was a live band outside that evening complete with an ice bar and ice sculptures. We didn’t stay long, but we did get some great pictures.

The lights are so beautiful and remind me of a quote by Brené Brown from her book called “The Gifts of Imperfection.” A while back I posted one of her TED Talks videos that went viral about the power of vulnerability. In the book; The Gifts of Imperfection; Brené writes;

I think the beauty of twinkle lights is a perfect metaphor for joy. Read the rest of this entry »

Educating Our Kids to be Responsible Digital Citizens   1 comment

Generations kids parents social media technologySometimes it seems hard to remember a world without digital anything. It has changed business models, communication paradigms and how we need to think about what it means to be a digital and global citizen. Technology has shifted the way we shop, pay bills, save money, consume media, get cash, travel, advertise, manage workflows, store information and even how we want to be remembered.

According to the Ad Age Mobile Fact Pack 2013, the average adult in the United States spends an average of 141 minutes per day using mobile devices. Despite that, the good news is that the changes are teaching us how to stay connected to our families. According to Pew Internet, since 1965, fathers have tripled the amount of time spent with their kids. Even mothers spend more time now with their children than they did in 1960Despite loads of information at our fingertips, we still don’t have all of the answers, and perhaps there is some redemption in that.

In presentations when I speak to people about what it means to remain relevant in a digital world that continues to expand, there are still so many people who feel overwhelmed.  There are arguments on all sides about topics like transparency, being politically correct, when to take calls, check email and how to behave in public when talking on mobile devices, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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