A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family: Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention

Philando Castile The System Is BrokenLook up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve

 

Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Look up:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest. Say his name. He is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. Let’s work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue is very complicated. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

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Remembering Prince in Minneapolis ★ My Story

Before I turned on any media today I got in the car, my heart sunk and the words popped in my head; “Prince is Dead……… OMG, I just can’t believe it.” As a home-grown Minnesotan, whose stomping grounds used to be downtown Minneapolis, the reality left me feeling empty, then I turned on the radio to find every-singFirst_Ave_Remembering_Prince_Minneapolisle-station playing his music and talking about him. Later, I return home and turned on the

TV to see the “Let’s Go Crazy” song from the movie Purple Rain and BOOM, I briefly see myself on National TV.

In 1983 my friend Holly and I went to a casting call to try out for Purple Rain as extras. The line was long, they took our pictures and information. After a few months it was
out of sight, out of mind.

Then the call came one evening in November somewhere between 10-11
:30 P.M. asking if we could be downtown by 5:30 A.M. “Um……YES!” (No hesitation whatsoever.) So the next morning we arrived, exhausted because of the time spent freaking out about what to wear, how to fix our hair, getting our makeup just right, etc. We stood around much of the day at First Avenue between scene takes and Prince’s wardrobe changes. I chatted with his body-guard Big Chick (Some called him Jake). He was more than 6 1/2 feet tall with white hair and he had a long beard. He could have been mistaken as a biker one might see as part of the Hell’s Angel club. Despite his intimidating appearance, he always took the time to chat when we saw him. Remembering Prince In Minneapolis - My Story

Back then in Minneapolis it was not unusual to run into Prince out on the town, body-guards in tow, or to see him hop into or emerge from a cool sports car with a beautiful woman, or
even attend impromptu concerts at First Avenue, The Fine Line, Glam Slam (later called “The Quest” nightclub.) He rarely spoke to anyone. Minnesotans respected his privacy and for the most part, knew not to approach him, unless, of course, we were feeling mischievous, like one night when I was with my cousin, Stacey, who had recently moved to Minneapolis from Omaha Nebraska. After a few cocktails I triple-dog-double-dared her to try to talk to him (knowing what would happen). Of course, she did, and he didn’t speak. Yes, I set her up and to this day we still laugh about it. But I digress.

Between takes and wardrobe changes, movie directors passed out free packs of cigarettes, te
lling everyone to smoke up the bar. We were front and center stage as he sang Let’s Get Crazy, Baby I’m a Star, I Would Die 4 U, Little Red Corvette, The Beautiful Ones, etc. Looking back now, it is so great to have such an intimate connection to that moment in history. Sometimes I hear the music and think; “wow, I was really, literally right there” it is kind of surreal. Feeling reflective, I went online today and watched those performances again and found myself in other crowd scene shots I hadn’t seen before. Technology sure has made it easier to find these kinds of things. Imagine trying to find information using fast-forward and rewind on VHS tapes. 😏

In 1984, Prince performed here on Christmas Eve and I went with my sisters, The Purple Skyline of Downtown Minneapolisit was my youngest sister’s first concert ever. My grandpa had rented out a YMCA that night for a family celebration, so we headed there after the show. I remember hearing someone say; “What kind of person has a concert on Christmas Eve?” followed by a sarcastic; “What kind people attend a concert on Christmas Eve?” 

Prince was a die-hard, born and raised Minnesotan. Looking back, now, if I were to put myself in his shoes, of course it makes sense. This is and always has been his home, he wanted to celebrate with his people, who he loved – us.

We listened to Prince and The Time (Now called The Original 7ven) before it was “C-O-O-L” to listen to them. Was that because we were all from Minneapolis? Most likely – it was the Minneapolis sound, keeping us front and center. 

Prince was a brilliant, creative, compassionate talented artist and fellow community member who cared about humanity. He profoundly changed the landscape of music and it will never be the same because of him. I’m grateful for the memories the old songs bring; smiles. friendships, laughter, tears, flirting, after parties, connection, dancing and more.

Prince’s untimely death is a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves when we are ill and that in this world obsessed with the glorification of “busy-ness,” life is short. In the distraction, we forget to slow down and pay attention to this moment.

Today my prayer is that more of us figure out how to “be here now,” fully present for others in fellowship and as servant leaders. May we discover all that comes along with remembering to be mindful and grateful for how blessed we are.

Do you have any thoughts or memories related that you would like to share?

If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Guy Kawasaki – Challenges and Solutions for Starting a New Business

Recently I had the honor of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak at my AlmaGuy_Kawasaki_University_of_St_Thomas Mater, The University of St. Thomas. I was really happy I went. Among his many titles, guy is a corporate evangelist, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, executive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, author and speaker. He was there to discuss some of the challenges, (and solutions), faced when starting a new business. He also spoke about his newest book; “The Art of the Start 2.0” and his new business, Canva, a website that let’s you design just about anything you want. We also learned was that he is an avid hockey fan, his wife is from Minnesota and in everything he does, it is important for him to inspire others. I took some notes during his talk below that summarize my key take-away items from his talk.

Ask simple questions which include:

  • Therefore, What?
  • Isn’t this interesting?
  • Is there a better way?

Make an MVVVP

  • Is it Viable?
  • Is it Valuable? “Does it dent the universe?” (a comment by Steve Jobs)Kakie_Fitzsimmons_Guy_Kawasaki_UST copy
  • Validation does it validate your vision and perspective?
  • Does it validate what you stand for?

Get going – Create customers

  • Do something cringe-worthy, and forgive yourself now. Your first version may be this way, which is okay.
  • Find complimentary soul mates, people who compliment your skills and who are on the same page as you.
  • Are you creating something built to last? Or built to flip?
  • Create a mantra (not vision or mission). Just two or three words that explain what you do. Guy’s personal mantra is to empower people and really speak to them.

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Achievement, Accomplishment, Work Ethic and Success

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 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. Read more of this post

Innovation: The Truth About Creativity

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 more of this post

Commentary: Best Buy Keynote Scott Durchslag at MN High Tech Association Spring Conference

MHTA Spring Conf 2013 KeyNote Scott Durchslag SVP Digital and Mktg, Pres .comI have always been an early adopter when it comes to media and technology and early in my career spent 4 years working at Best Buy. So it was exciting to attend the Minnesota High Tech Association Annual Spring Conference to hear Keynote speaker Scott Durchslag, SVP of Digital and Marketing and President of BestBuy.com and e-commerce. Despite the company’s challenges in the past year, they have had a lot of exciting things going on.

Last November we published an academic paper called Best Buy Strategic Management Analysis as part of the Executive MBA Program at The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. (I’ll be Graduating in May). Being a person who loves the process of discovery and learning, it was fascinating to uncover companies and brands they own, observe how the Board of Directors and Dick Schulz, the founder and former CEO interacted as he was making attempts to buy back the company.

It was intriguing to learn what has evolved over the past few months and hear how everything is unfolding. Best Buy has a new initiative called Renew Blue which was presented at their shareholder meeting in November. Based on MBA learning, and the information Durchslag presented, it felt like they are facing a revolutionary change which is a rare, dramatic transformation that shifts mindsets and culture in the business.

I have a unique background that blends Marketing, Social Media, Digital and Project Management (IT and Business), so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that early the same morning a press release was posted saying “Best Buy to Sell its Stake in European Business to Carphone Warehouse.” I understand why they did it and think leadership made a good call based on the research done in the assessment we published. Best Buy is using a mindset of “Test, innovate and learn” which is good because it encourages people to take risk and become part of creating a new culture. And Innovation is more important now than ever, so it is definitely going to remain on my radar.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share below.

Google Glass – Changing the Face of Technology

Learn about the revolutionary Google Glass. The video speaks for itself, but I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Another #Innovative way technology is changing the how we do business. Thanks for joining the conversation.

# The Hashtag, Innovation and Social Learning

Answer to What is a HashtagThe innovative #Hashtag started on Twitter and is now being used across multiple social media platforms. I have seen people asking about it on Facebook and thought this might be helpful.

#Hashtag defined: A word proceeded with the [ # ] symbol, which is used as a keyword or topic in a Tweet. It helps categorize words or phrases so users can follow a stream. It can also be used to search for others who use the same hashtags.

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Information about using #hashtags on Twitter:

  • The symbol [ # ] before a keyword or phrase, with no spaces. These hashtags are then categorized, which makes them easier to find in the search function.
  • Click on a #hashtag word in any message and you will see the most recent tweets using that hashtag.
  • Hashtags can be included within the 140 space limit (Best practice only 2-3 hashtags per tweet.)
  • Hashtag words become popular & can be Trending Topics.
  • Hashtags are also used at conferences, on live video streams or at a large presentation during Q&A.
  • Some groups facilitate moderated conversation at set times, using hashtags to discuss topics of interest or share best practices.
  • If another tweeter searches for a hashtag you have listed, they may follow you!

Live Stream example: Every Sunday the Oprah Winfrey Network ( @OWNTV ) channel has a program called #SuperSoulSunday and viewers can go to http://tweetchat.com then enter the hashtag to see what everyone is talking about in real-time. Below is a response I received from the OWN Network.

If you have any other tips, please share them below!!

Hashtag Response from OWN

NPR #SOTU Commentary: Cyberattacks, Risk, Offense and Defense

I.T.  Information Sharing and Project ManagementLast night in President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he issued an executive order which proposes to make our technology infrastructures stronger. The idea would initiate and encourage cross-sector information sharing. History has repeatedly demonstrated bringing professionals and information together merges ideas, creates knowledge and sparks innovation. This concept is not new, it is a form of open architecture that has allowed our technology to emerge to where it is today.

As an I.T. project manager I can attest that this topic is intriguing and its complexity is wide and deep.  This morning I was listening a story on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and I felt compelled enough to share. I encourage you to listen to it.

Please click on the link below and after you have heard what they have to say, come back and share your thoughts!

NPR: “Victims of Cyber Attacks get Proactive Against Intruders.

Thanks for visiting. Keep coming back!

Why You Should Know About The World Economic Forum

Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us. A global transformation is urgently needed and it must start with reinstating a global sense of social responsibility.”         -Klaus Schwab

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013This past week over 2500 of the most important business, political, religious, academic and other leaders in the world gathered for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). The World Economic Forum is an international non-profit organization that addresses important issues, some of which include economic growth, environmental sustainability, financial systems, health, humanity, ecosystems, gender equality, social development and more.

I would be fascinated to attend this event someday and have put it on my bucket list of things to do before I die. In today’s business environment, it is more important than ever to be informed about issues that affect and influence economies, our environment, human rights, etc. I believe anyone who works in strategy or management would benefit by paying attention to the many issues being discussed at the World Economic Forum and use the rich research issues, reports and studies it produces.

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Imagination, Innovation, Knowledge and the Future

I remember elementary school days and the competitive nature of being the first to raise our hands, or be chosen to answer a question, push a button, stand in line, answer the phone. In our culture, kids are rewarded for having the correct answers and being right, which sets the stage for absolutes.

In the United States, the tendency for people to be monocratic stems from a justice system based off of win or lose causing many people to think about life in terms of being right vs being wrong. On one hand we have success, and on the other failure. We have different kinds of knowledge, which comes from numerous sources. For example, we have knowledge that comes from education, knowledge that comes from wisdom, knowledge that comes from doing, knowledge that comes from technology, knowledge of self, etc.  This world is so full of possibilities, there is no way we can comprehend all there is to know and understand. It makes me wonder; “what if every idea we have ever known, was wrong?” Even Einstein believed imagination is more important than knowledge.

Kiplinger a has an article called; The Top 10 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years ago. Imagine for a moment what the world will be like 10-15 years from now. What new jobs, technologies and lifestyles will be created? Consider what kind of challenges/opportunities that will present. How could that impact your future? There are complicated issues we will need to address. Some examples could include:

  • Making the internet safe to use, while keeping it open so people can innovate
  • How we communicate with people
  • Ways government will capture taxes and solve crime
  • How we connect with things
  • Potential E-commerce and marketing dilemmas
  • New consumer and employment markets
  • Moving economies
  • We will need longer IP addresses (more people)

Recently in one of my classes, we had a conversation about this concept of our culture, the idea of random variables and the evolution of knowledge. I took notes as the professor spoke. He said;

Knowledge can be explained as independent variables that exist between two things and how they relate. It has been defined from perspectives that have been brought to the table. Intervening variables create unintended outcomes, creating more knowledge. Being right is not as important as realizing or admitting what we do not know because all knowledge is subject to doubt. We have to acknowledge there is unlimited uncertainty no matter how much we know.

-Dr. Heino A. Beckman

In leadership, some of the best people I have worked have been open to possibilities. What do you think, about knowledge coupled with innovation? Please share below.

Day 18: TED Video Brené Brown: Listening to Shame

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the BRAVEST thing we will ever do”                                                               Brené Brown, from The Gifts of Imperfection

Shame, everybody has it, no one wants to talk about it. Perhaps that is because if we name it, it can’t exist, or many of us don’t know how to engage in the discourse because we never saw the dialogue modeled in our own family systems.

But the consequences of not having the conversation neglect our opportunities for healthier living and leadership. I’m not suggesting that we all pull out our chairs for full-blown kumbayah sessions in professional settings, but rather that we take some time to understand its dynamics. If a negative emotion such as shame inspires us to do something different, that means we take emotional risk, which takes courage. Wouldn’t it make sense that part of being authentic leaders mean we acknowledge our own fallibility and show compassion when we observe it in others? What would the effect be if we had more conversations about times we witnessed someone share stories about overcoming shame? It seems to me that it could be a tool with the power to teach some mighty potent lessons.

I will never forget the knot in my stomach the first time I went to hit the publish button on a blog post that made me so transparent I almost didn’t listen to my gut. But in the midst of my own uncertainty, I chose to do it because like you, we all have stories to tell and  when we give, we get.

Our experiences about adversity have the power to plants seeds of courage and hope. Because I chose to hit that submission button, the person who inspired the story thanked me and shared no one had ever acknowledged her experience in that manner. She had no idea what she endured could have been thought of in such a dignified way. Now that was a GIFT.

As Brené Brown demonstrates brilliantly in the TED video below, compassion is the antidote or shame. It’s a powerful message. What do you think about it? Please share your thoughts below.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. Those who have had the fortitude to be vulnerable and share their stories so I could learn more about myself
  2. Brené’s message that vulnerability is not weakness, it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change and that it is the most accurate measurement of courage
  3. Her statement that empathy and compassion are the antidote to shame

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