Love What You Do

I can’t say that I enjoy working on engines, just go and see my car and you will know.  I have never changed the oil in my car.  I did change the breaks in my car once in college, and later found out I put them wrong.  I like the tough of mechanics, but I have so little knowledge that I just never do it.

Now I work for Cummins, a company that makes engines.  Most of the people that I interact are mechanical engineers.  The other day I asked someone if they had a mechanic that could help me with something in my car, he looked at me funny, thought for a bit then said: “I’ve never taken my car to a mechanic.”

But despite my limited knowledge on the line of work that the company engages in, I love what I do.  I enjoy making plans and developing strategies to complete the work.  I love learning about engines and how they operate.  I can’t imagine the work that goes into creating some of the machines that Cummins produces, some are so big and complex.

My hope is that as time progresses I will be able to learn more about the products Cummins produces.  I want to take some classes that will teach me about engines and get my hands dirty.  Recently I traveled to Houston where we have a plant that focuses in the Oil and Gas Market.  It was fascinating the engineering work that goes into some of the products that are manufactured in that plant.

I guess in the end what matters is loving the sphere in which you operate.  Those engineers working on those engines, need people that create the business plans that will allow them to continue the work they do.  I love what I do, and I’m trying to do my best.

Multinational teams – Are they doomed from the start?

Jeane Brett in her book, Negotiating Globally,  writes the following:

Teams bring essential resources to big, complex tasks. Teams can produce creative ideas, meet deadlines with quality products, and negotiate decisions that generate corporate growth and prosperity. Research shows that when team minorities dissent, majorities are more likely to generate original and novel solutions to problems. Organizations grow faster when top-management teams engage in constructive debate. Companies with top-management teams that engage in debate have a higher return on investment. Cross-functional, new-product teams are more innovative when they have a lot of disagreement about task design if they have a norm for open expression of doubts or if they engage in collaborative problem solving. Constructive controversy, the open-minded discussion of opposing views for mutual benefit, appears to be the key to creating value during multicultural team decision making.”

As I’ve spent last year and this year working with groups that come from different backgrounds and different countries I can see the value in multicultural, multinational teams.  Continue reading “Multinational teams – Are they doomed from the start?”

First 30 Days

NewbieSo it’s been about 30 days since I started working here at Cummins and so far it has been a wonderful experience. Today I’m writing from Des Moines, Iowa visiting Cummins Central Power , one of Cummins Distributors.  I feel fully immersed in my job, and although I’m still a newbie, I am contributing.  The book The First 90 Days although very good, almost seems written for a high executive and not for a newly minted MBA Graduate, but there are a few things that have shaped my experience in the past 30 days.

Continue reading “First 30 Days”

Learning About Habits

The Power of Habits and Switch Books

UPDATE (6/3/2013) – It has been 2 weeks that i have started, and I feel great. I’ve added a new short term destination which is a 5K run in Sept.

The last 3 weeks I’ve been reading about habits and change, now that I’m graduating from graduate school and starting a new job I wanted to start creating better habits.  I want better habits for exercise, healthy eating, and spiritual development.  I chose 2 books, because the reviews were good and I had seen them in different places and recommended by different people.
Continue reading “Learning About Habits”

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter Book Cover Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
Liz Wiseman

Wonderful book about becoming better by helping those around us excel. Liz Wiseman wrote an article in the blog from Harvard Business Review and I was hooked. You can find the article about Smart Leaders here: I tried to sumarize, mainly so that I don't forget the key points down below.  You can find more information in The Wiseman Group website.

Traits of Multipliers

  • Talent Magnet
  • Liberator
  • Debate Maker
  • Challenger
  • Investor

Talent Magnet

The Four Practices of the Talent Magnet

  1. Look for Talent Everywhere
    1. Appreciate all types of genius
    2. Ignore boundaries
  2. Find People’s Native Genius
    1. Look for what is native
    2. Label it
  3. Utilize People to Their Fullest
    1. Connect people with opportunities
    2. Shine a spotlight
  4. Remove the Blockers
    1. Get rid of prima donnas
    2. Get out of the way

Becoming a Talent Magnet

  1. Become a genius watcher
  2. Pull some weeds


The Three Practices of the Liberator

  1. Create Space
    1. Release others by restraining yourself
    2. Shift the ratio of listening to talking
    3. Operate consistently
    4. Level the playing field
  2. Demand Best Work
    1. Defend the standard
    2. Distinguish best work from outcomes
  3. Generate Rapid Learning Cycles
    1. Admit and share mistakes
    2. Insist on learning from mistakes

Becoming a Liberator

  1. Play your chips
  2. Label your opinions
  3. Make your mistakes known


The Three Practices of the Challenger

  1. Seed the Opportunity
    1. Show the need
    2. Challenge the assumptions
    3. Reframe problems
    4. Create a starting point
  2. Lay Down a Challenge
    1. Extend a concrete challenge
    2. Ask the hard questions
    3. Let others fill in the blanks
  3. Generate Belief in What Is Possible
    1. Helicopter down
    2. Lay out a path
    3. Co-create the plan
    4. Orchestrate an early win

Becoming a Challenger

  1. Ask a leading question
  2. Take a bus trip
  3. Take a massive baby step

Debate Maker

The Three Practices of the Debate Maker

  1. Frame the Issue
    1. Define the question
    2. Form the team
    3. Assemble the data
    4. Frame the decision
  2. Spark the Debate
    1. Create safety for best thinking
    2. Demand rigor
  3. Drive a Sound Decision
    1. Reclarify the decision-making process
    2. Make the decision
    3. Communicate the decision and rationale

Becoming a Debate Maker

  1. Ask the hard question
  2. Ask for the data
  3. Ask each person


The Three Practices of the Investor

  1. Define Ownership
    1. Name the lead
    2. Give ownership for the end goal
    3. Stretch the role
  2. Invest Resources
    1. Teach and coach
    2. Provide backup
  3. Hold People Accountable
    1. Give it back
    2. Expect complete work
    3. Respect natural consequences
    4. Make the scoreboard visible

Becoming an Investor

  1. Let them know who is boss
  2. Let nature take its course
  3. Ask for the F-I-X
  4. Hand back the pen



If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling