IOS8 First Glimpse

I’ve got my pre-order placed for the new iPhone 6 for me and my wife. I received a UPS tracking number for both with an expected delivery date of Friday, September 19. We’ve held off with our out-of-contract iPhone 4S models waiting for this release. Since we’ve never had new technology on day one, we are totally geeking out right about now.

So, I thought I’d see if iOS8 was available for download yet for my iPad and, voila, it is also here! I kicked off the download for my iPad, and it said the download was a whopping 1.1 GB in size. As I use the iPad, download times slow even though I’m on my home network connected to wifi. I attempted to launch the upgrade on my daughter’s iPad Mini as we are looking forward to using Family Sharing. No such luck; although the download for her Mini was 850 MB, it requires free space of 4.7 GB to install. Guess I have to delete some apps and photos to upgrade her iPad Mini to iOS8.

Some 30 minutes later and my iPad is still churning away. So, I put away the iPad till morning and let the update complete. When I woke up and continued the installation, here’s what I experienced:

I was first greeted with a Hello. iOS then asked me if I wanted to enable Location Services. I was asked to sign in to iCloud, then to accept the Terms and Conditions.

The next prompt was about iMessage and FaceTime. It asked if I wanted to receive these on both my cell number and on my Apple ID email address. I answered yes to this prompt. Next, I was greeted with the first iOS8 feature – iCloud Drive. I was asked if I was ready to upgrade. In this case I answered no because I still have iCloud attached to my IPhone 4S. Because I’m replacing it on Friday, I will not upgrade it to iOS8. So, I’ll upgrade to iCloud Drive when my new iPhone arrives.

Next, I was asked to enable iCloud Keychain, which I did. Not sure how much I’ll use that yet but it doesn’t hurt to enable it for now. The last setup prompt was whether I wanted to enable App Analytics, to which I answered yes.

Finally, I’m off to the races! Here are a few cool things I saw that you may not have been aware of with iOS8.

1. You can now enable Siri to respond to your vocal command of “Hey Siri” without touching your device. It requires the device to be plugged in to power, but that’s a neat little feature configurable under Settings, General.

2. In Spotlight Search, you now have the choice of including Bing Search and Spotlight Suggestions in your search results. That option can be found in the Spotlight Search under Safari settings.

3. You may have heard of the new audio and video messages that you can send through iMessage. But, did you know that you can set time limits for how long they exist on your device, a la SnapChat? The default is two minutes each, configurable in iMessage settings.

4. The new Handoff, where you can suspend an app and switch between devices, is found under Settings, General.j

5. Family Sharing can be enabled under the iCloud settings. If you have not enabled it, you will be prompted to do so the first time you access the App Store.

6. The all-new Tips app brings you new tips from Apple every week. Go to that app and find more new ways to experience your Apple device with iOS8.

I wrote this post on my iPad and the Smart Text at the top of the keyboard has been really accurate, though I’ve not used it yet. I am hoping that it can save me some keystrokes down the road.

So there you have it, my first look at iOS8. We’ll see how all of this plays out when we have the new iPhones and upgrade some of the supporting services.

Question – have you upgraded to iOS8 yet? What has been your experience? First thoughts?

Why Rules Don’t Work

I know that this isn’t new, but I had never heard it until sitting in church recently. I’ve seen it attributed to Andy Stanley and to Josh McDowell. Regardless, it is a powerful statement.

Rules without Relationship lead to Rebellion.

Think about the implications for leaders, managers, parents, spouses, or anyone trying to enforce through rules.

Until you have relationship in place, there is no trust. Without trust, you have no buy-in, and rules seem to be limiting and constricting. Those subject to the rules spend all of their time trying to figure out how to bend the rules. And you, as enforcer, spend all of your energy trying to ensure compliance.

It’s not that hard really when you think about it. The hard part is bridging that relationship gap. That also takes time, energy, and commitment. Then, and only then, do you get the level of compliance that you expected when you first inked the rule.

But, that time, energy, and commitment is nothing compared to the time you’ll spend and the energy expended in enforcing a rule without relationship. You’ll also incur real costs. Think about the processes that you’ll have to build, the checkpoints and mechanisms that you’ll have to put in place, the reports to be created and reviewed, and the tweaking and refining you’ll have to do because of all the exceptions that need to be addressed.

How do you overcome this? It’s all about the time spent on the relationship. A real relationship begins to flourish when there is two-way dialog and a genuine care and concern for the other party. Instead of trying to figure out how you can benefit from the relationship, you begin to think about how the other party can benefit from the relationship. That’s when the servant’s heart takes hold and gaps are bridged.

Then, rules don’t matter. They begin to become transparent. The relationship becomes more important to everyone, and it overrides concerns about the rules.

I don’t have scientific proof of this but I’ll bet this holds true in most cases.

The stronger the relationship, the fewer rules are needed.

What relationship do you need to invest in today? What rule or set of rules are the most difficult for you to enforce (or adhere to)?


New Year, new start. Today is One One. You’ll see the significance of the date in my post below.

I am a die-hard Alabama football fan. Tomorrow I am going to the Sugar Bowl with my boys to watch them take on Oklahoma. But oh, what might have been. I’m just now able to bring myself to write about the Alabama – Auburn game. What a fantastic football game with a breathtaking or heartbreaking finish, depending on the colors you wear.

As an Alabama fan, I am crushed by the loss. I am extremely proud of the team. None of the outcome can be laid on any one person. I titled this post “One” because so much of the game was linked to that number.

Number one. Alabama had been ranked number one in the country all year. The possibility of a third straight BCS Championship hinged on the outcome.

One loss. That is all the teams shared between them after playing 11 games each. Winner takes the SEC West title.

One field goal. Alabama missed four kicks on the day and made none. Just one made would have sent the Tide back to Atlanta.

One yard line. After an Auburn punt pinned Alabama at its one yard line, AJ McCarron hit Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown to break a 21-all tie.

Fourth and one. When Alabama had missed three field goals buy Tramadol, they went for it on 4th down late in the game deep in Auburn territory. They failed to convert, and Auburn drove to tie the game.

One do-over. The one field goal that Alabama made was negated by a penalty. Just the slightest flinch by an offensive lineman cost a five-yard penalty. The following kick was missed.

One second. Obviously. When TJ Yeldon went out of bounds at the Auburn 40, time expired with the score tied. Replays showed that time was left on the clock when he stepped out of bounds. Coach Saban did the right thing in asking that the second be added to the clock. Then, the most memorable play in all of college football for 2013 happened.

I look for leadership lessons everywhere. This game was chock full of them. Momentum swings in this game were dramatic. So what do we take from this game on One One Fourteen?

1) Every second counts.
2) You can never let up.
3) Everyone plays a critical part.
4) Coaching is critical, but the actions on the battlefield determine the outcome.
5) Heroes emerge at the most unlikely times.
6) In the end, it’s just a game.

As you enter 2014, you have an opportunity for a fresh start. No matter how 2013 turned out, you can change your path and impact 2014 starting now. How does Alabama start 2014? We will find out tomorrow. It is my great hopes that they, and you, put any disappointments from 2013 behind you and make this year your best ever.

Managing The Fade

A couple of months ago I finally hit “Publish” on my first book, School, Scholarships, College and More. It was an awesome feeling to have something finished. But better still, wow, something now lives on Amazon that I created. Whether I sell 50 copies or 50,000 copies, nobody can take away the fact that I published a book.

Now here’s the backstory. I have essentially been finished with the book for over a year. That’s right, a year. And I wasn’t waiting for a publishing deal because this book is self-published.

It happens all the time. We get off to a fast start then slump at the end. It can affect everything we do. It’s the number one culprit for all the unfinished projects and good intentions floating around in your world. I call it “the fade.”

Sometimes the fade takes the form of shifting into low gear at the end of a work day or work week. It may look like that old project car you have parked in the yard. Or it may painfully remind you of itself whenever you look at the half-done scrapbook. Maybe it looks like that exercise bike, pair of running shoes, partially-finished website, or messy garage.

When you fade, others suffer. Either directly or indirectly, not completing your work deprives others and yourself of any possible benefit.

So what causes the fade and what can you do about it? Here are my thoughts.

Reason – We simply get distracted. When something else gains our attention we put down what we were doing and chase something new.

Remedy – Begin with the end in mind. Before setting out to do anything, be sure that you have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish at the end of the effort.

Reason – We lose interest. What sounded like a good idea at the time becomes less appealing over time.

Remedy – Be sure that whatever you begin has some alignment to your purpose. Also share your plans with a trusted friend or advisor and ask them to hold you accountable.

Reason – Other priorities take over. We are all busy and life begins to get in the way.

Remedy – Decide where your project fits in your overall obligations. Track where you are spending your time and see if you are letting other lower-priority activities take the place of what you should be doing.

Reason – We bite off more than we can chew. Underestimating the amount of effort something takes to complete shows itself sometime during the project.

Remedy – Don’t over-commit. Break down the goal into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Then, break it down by half again because our tendency is to overestimate our available time and energy. And be patient and realistic about when you think you can complete the work.

Reason – Others tell us that what we’re doing isn’t important. I doubt anyone tells you this outright but they tell you in subtle ways – not reading, not showing interest, not asking questions, comparing you unfavorably to others.

Remedy – Do the work. What you have to offer is important. Even if others have gone before you, the way that you say things or do things will be absolutely unique and will connect with some in the way that others just cannot.

Being aware that the fade is real can help you power through whenever it happens to you. Finish strong and run hard across the finish line – you will feel like you’ve given it your best effort.

Question – When have you experienced the fade and what did you do about it?

Still Here, Still Kicking

Photo courtesy of kaibara87 via Creative Commons license.

Photo courtesy of kaibara87 via Creative Commons license.

It has been a couple of months since my last post. Life has just been in the way. Between selling our house and moving, time spent on vacations and with family, changes in my responsibilities at work and other events, blogging just hasn’t been at the top of my list. With every season and every change comes a set of choices. Based on your priorities, some things just have to take a back seat. Unfortunately, my blog got the short end of things this summer.

I am still here though. I’ve been working away at my first book and *finally* had the courage to click Publish yesterday. You’ll find a link to it in the sidebar to the right, but if you’ll hold off a couple of days it will be free on Amazon on Thursday, August 15.

I’ve also appeared on the Company of One podcast with Dale Callahan and have been working on some other projects, so I’ve not been totally dormant.

I hope to be back blogging and writing more regularly now since the hectic summer pace is finally dying down. No promises on frequency or consistency but I really have missed the liberating act of pouring my thoughts into words.

Which leads me to my thought for the day – your creative juices need an outlet. You have probably heard of the phrase “writer’s block” which commonly refers to the writer who doesn’t know what to write next. Many people think this happens when the writer has just run out of things to say. Images of the frustrated scribe sitting behind the keyboard with head in hands come to mind. On occasion, I’ve experienced some of this as well. But what I’ve found is an interesting dichotomy – the less I write, the more I experience writer’s block. It’s as if by blocking the creative outlet that I make everything else stop, like a clogged pipe.

But when I open up the flow once more, the words begin to come. My point is this – whatever art you create, be sure that you’re giving it an outlet. Your brain can only hold so much for so long. This isn’t scientifically proven, as far as I know, but it just makes practical sense. If, like me, your mind races and shifts gears all of the time, one fleeting thought can get lost in the shuffle.

I’ve recently learned the concept of capturing your thoughts on paper and have started to implement a system for doing that. In short, the concept goes, when something crosses your mind, write it down. You don’t have to do anything with it then, but at least get it on paper. It’s a concept that has been around for some time but has been recently popularized by David Allen in his book Getting Things Done. I’m still working at this but it’s giving me the permission to not remember everything – and at my age, that’s important.

So what system do you use for organization and productivity? Do you use electronic and cloud-based systems? Do you keep a separate system at work and at home? Do you share calendars with a spouse or others in your household? How successful have you been at this? Please comment and let’s help each other figure out what is working well.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast Follow-Up

My Leadercast Journal

My Leadercast Journal

I wrote a post recently about the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast. In that post I mentioned ways to make the event more productive and useful to the attendee. After all, the point behind learning something new is to apply it to your life. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my notes with you and to let you know what I’m doing personally with this information.

My Leadercast notes, pp 1-2

Pages 1 and 2 of my notes from Andy Stanley and David Allen

I started by suggesting that folks to put down their devices and pay attention. I did this and in the process took nine pages of handwritten notes which I am sharing in this post. By laying my devices aside, I was able to get more from the speakers and pay attention to the thoughts and ideas that were flying through my brain.

My Leadercast Notes, pp 3-4

Pages 3 and 4 of my notes from Sanya Richards-Ross and Henry Cloud

I also challenged readers to share what they picked up from last week’s event. As event coordinator, I have asked our site’s attendees to send me their most meaningful takeaway so I can compile those and share with everyone. I also have looked into how I can make the recorded sessions available to those at our host site who could not attend live. We have committed to next year’s event, and will receive a DVD of the 2013 Leadercast. By the magic of technology, we will post these videos on our internal learning system for our associates to watch at their leisure.

My Leadercast notes, pp 5-6

Pages 5 and 6 of my notes from John Maxwell and Mike Krzyzewski

As to how I can integrate the lessons into my job, that’s pretty easy with my role. Since I am responsible for management and professional development, it will be a natural segue to bring these into my coaching and training courses.

My Leadercast notes, pp 7-8

Pages 7 and 8 of my notes from Condoleeza Rice and Jack Welch

Goals are next. One thing I am planning is to share relevant content with my family. My sons are 20 and 17 so this is a great time for them to hear and begin to apply these principles. I will also put together a series of posts based on some of the key principles from the Leadercast. I mentioned earlier that this day was so valuable that my company has already committed financially to hosting the 2014 Leadercast. I am looking forward to the same caliber of content next year as well.

My Leadercast notes, pg 9

Page 9 of my notes from Jack Welch and LCDR Rorke Denver

Taking action is what converts information into transformation. This applies to anything, not just the Leadercast. I just used it as a great example since it represents so many similar events. So what actions will you take as a result of something new that you’ve learned? Also, let me know if you would like to discuss my notes and observations from Leadercast in more detail, and feel free to share yours here as well.

Are You Living or Existing – A Book Review

Are You Living or Existing by Kimanzi Constable

This week my friend Kimanzi Constable has released a new book. It is entitled “are you living or existing.” While books titled like this are normally a dime a dozen, I think it’s important that you take a look at this book and see if it helps you toward your own goals. I’ll explain why.

In this book, you’ll learn how Kimanzi struggled to move out of his day job and into his dream job. He shares with you his story of becoming a speaker and an offer from his daytime job as a bread delivery man.

You may not agree with his approach, or you may think it’s impractical. After all, how does someone who works at 2 am every day move into being an international speaker and author? Kimanzi tells you how in his book.

This book is definitely about Kimanzi’s climb. It won’t be your climb because the wall that we’re all trying to scale is different. However, if you’ll read the book and give it a chance, you can at least learn where Kimanzi brought his ladder from. And sometimes, that’s enough to get started.

Sometimes, though, we see the ladder but only pay attention to the bottom rung (where we are) and the top rung (where we want to be). This book tells you about pharmacies reviews Kimanzi’s journey. You have to touch them all or risk falling right back to the bottom. Maybe you’re having a hard time seeing your rungs so reading this book can help.

Climb the ladder and start living. Or, you can stay at the bottom of the ladder and simply exist. In this book, you’ll see how someone is doing it. At just under 100 pages, the book is a simple read with simple, straightforward concepts.

And right now, if you purchase his book you’ll receive $100 worth of bonus material when you send your receipt to Kimanzi at This special offer lasts through May 19 so act soon. If you purchase through Amazon on my affiliate site, a portion of the proceeds comes back to me without costing you any additional money.

Here is a link to my review on Amazon. You’ll see that I found the book helpful. I believe you will too.

Why the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast will be a Waste of Time

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2013On Friday, May 10, hundreds of thousands of people will watch or attend the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast event. For most, this event will be a huge waste of time. Here’s why.

Too many of us are drowning in information overload. Between Facebook, email, blogs, books, television, and other information sources, we just have too much bombarding our brains. I believe that most of us do a great job of taking in information but not a good job of putting information to work.

Events like the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast fall into this category. There will be 9 world-class speakers on this day, all with life-changing information to share. Sadly, you will likely fall into the trap of not using the information that you hear during the event unless you have a strategy in mind. Here are five things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of this day.

Number one – put down your phones and pay attention to the speakers. The trend nowadays is to tweet, take pictures, post status updates and do whatever else on social media to show that you’re an active participant at an event. No matter how good or efficient you are at these activities, this takes your attention away from the speaker’s message. Putting away your devices also removes the distraction of emails, status updates, tweets and other information coming at you during the event. Put down your devices and pay attention to the speaker.

Number two – use your pen and fill up your journal with your thoughts and ideas and other information that you get from the speakers. I’ve seen the journals for this year’s event and they are very nice. In the Notes section there’s ample space to capture your insight and also a section on what to Stop Doing and what to Start Doing. Plus, the art of note-taking with pen and paper has a physiological effect on the brain. It serves to reinforce the information that you were hearing. As you write it down the unique connection between your brain and hand improves retention. Try taking notes by hand and see how much information you retain from the speakers.

Number three – share your thoughts with your team and with your manager. The theme of this year’s event is “Simply Lead.” By sharing what you learn at Leadercast, you can get other ideas from your teammates and those who attended with you. Also, you can ensure that what you’ve heard and what you plan to do is alignment with your organization’s goals and objectives.

Number four – refine your notes on the same journal pages as you discuss with your team. This helps you recall what you’ve learned and it also gives you a place to capture your thoughts and your team’s thoughts alongside one another. By doing this, this journal becomes an even more useful tool to help you implement what you’ve learned.

Number five – armed with your newfound knowledge, set some attainable goals with specific completion dates and measures and commit to doing these. This is perhaps the most important step. Even if you take all the other steps, if you do nothing with the material that you learn you may as well not have attended the event. If you will set goals and take action it will put you far ahead of the majority of the attendees for Friday’s session.

So what about you? With the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast be a profitable use of your time or will it be a waste of your time? Your comments are welcome below. Please like or share this post to challenge or inspire others to take action.

Jilted and Disillusioned

Picture of girl asking why

Courtesy of Shashi Bellamkonda via Creative Commons

So what happens when you do all that work and get rejected by your top college choices? You have a fabulous GPA, your test scores are in the top 5%, and you have a diverse background but still get those rejection letters. One high school senior took to the keyboard and typed out her frustrations.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, high school senior Suzy Lee Weiss blasted the process and vented to the entire world. She stopped short of naming the institutions that rejected her, but she took the entire process to task, mowing over the schools, her over-achieving peers, and even her parents in her article. Though she now says that the piece was written as satire, it does bring to light several interesting points. If I had the chance to talk with Ms. Weiss, I would tell her this.

Nobody has the right to be admitted to any college. Colleges can pick and choose who they would like. These highly-selective schools have a history of operating in this manner, and that is OK. And nobody owes her any explanation why either.

Prestige doesn’t equate to success, fame, or income. The names and reputations that back these institutions are no more than keyword candy in a sea of resume databases. As a manager I have hired several dozen associates over the past seven years and I can tell you that where you graduated from doesn’t mean anything to me. I care much more about your motivational fit, your passion to do the job, whether I think you’ll fit in with our team and corporate culture, and whether you are shapeable or not. I can teach skill but I can’t teach personality and attitude.

There are other colleges out there. Just because your top-shelf institution doesn’t want you as a student doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Your quality of education won’t suffer any discernible difference and the difference in life experience between the schools won’t drive you to the therapist’s chair. Pick up and move on. I have talked about this before in my blog. I believe that students should “aim low” and get other offers in their pocket to give them choices and bargaining power.

Give your parents a break. They aren’t responsible for either your success or failure in life – you are. They owe you a roof over your head, food in your belly, safety and solid parental guidance.

Envy is a nasty trait to have. These schools only have so many openings per year. If you don’t get in, be OK with that. Examine what might have happened and do something different next time. I know that as a high school senior that there won’t be a “next time” to be a first-time freshman, but not everyone has to start college the minute they graduate from high school.

Get over it. This won’t be your last failure in life so toughen up. Stop playing the victim and move on. Always have a plan B in place for when plan A fails. Life isn’t fair and nobody owes you anything.

So do you agree with Ms. Weiss? Has this happened to you, and how did you respond? I welcome your comments below, and if you think others might enjoy this then I would appreciate you sharing this out on social media using the buttons to the left.

Trapped By My Own Doing

Trapped By My Own Doing

Courtesy of Kitty Terwolbeck via Creative Commons.

Ever set out to do something then find you’ve worked your way into a corner? That’s where I am right now.

I put out a goal/resolution earlier this year to publish seven books by year’s end. Today is the last day of February and I haven’t published one. What happened?

I’ve got a manuscript together for at least two of the books if not more. Why don’t I click the Publish button and get them up to Amazon?

I could do that, but I would be publishing a sub-par product. While I’m convinced that my writing is good, I need an objective eye to look at things. And there’s some finishing work that needs to take place to take my work from good to great.

For me, I’m down to the hard work. Or, let’s say that I’m down to the work that involves others. I need to get a book cover, have someone do some editing, and put together a launch team to make sure I get some traction with a quick start out of the gate.

So, you may ask, if your work is done and you need the assistance of others, why haven’t you reached out?

All of this still takes time. Excuses get in the way. I have a new day job and it’s pretty challenging. Because of that, I come home and I don’t do much with my writing in the evenings because I’m drained.

We’re also doing a lot of work to our house because we’re planning to move soon. That takes up my time on the weekends, so that when I look up on Sunday night it’s 9:30 and I haven’t written a lick or reached out to anyone.

I’m also an SC on the DISC profile. The virtue associated with that style is Careful. That means I’m highly analytical and slow to make a decision. If I just picked someone and got it into their hands, I’d start getting somewhere.

Yeah, excuses. We all have them. We can always justify the reasons we didn’t do something because other things simply seem more important.

But let’s take a closer look at where I’m spending the rest of my time and see what’s going on.

I watch several television shows per week – American Idol, Survivor, Amazing Race, Modern Family, and others. We also like movies as well, so we’ll watch a couple of those per week. All of those hours add up to precious time that could have been spent on my work.

I simply haven’t put in the time outside of someone else’s work to ship my work. It’s no secret – I have 168 hours each week to spend and I can’t bank any or borrow any.

More than anything else, I have gotten caught up in ready-fire-aim. I failed to lay out my plans for my books as a project. It was easy when the tasks were sequential – just write, write, write till I have the content that I want. Now, however, I’m faced with several things that need to be done next, and they all take an investment of time.

At this point, the best thing I can do for my book is to stop, lay out those plans, then execute them. Otherwise, I remain a classic case of Luke 14:28-30, shown below from the English Standard Version.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

I’ve joined Kimanzi Constable’s launch team for Are You Living or Existing and it’s gotten me inspired to get out of my trap – to get unstuck, so to speak. Go check out the great work he’s doing over at

Question – What do you do to get unstuck?