Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thanks Coach Huggins

What a remarkable game yesterday. WVU beats Georgetown and...for the first time in school history, won the Big East Basketball title. I loved the game and really the entire week. What impressed me the most about yesterday's performance was Coach Huggin's post win interview.

Coach's post game interview doesn't seem to be popping up at the moment on ESPN's website...but here is the jist of it. (1) Coach Huggins is very close to tears....and this is not coming from the head....but the heart. (2) And why he is almost crying in his because the kids played their hearts out...played beyond their skill levels....and he is so happy because he is happy for the State.

And I for one am buying this. Many Division One coaches would be crying because they know their resume just got expanded and they are worth more money.

Huggins isn't looking to move. He loves West Virginia and he is inspiring these young men to play beyond their given capabilities. His ability to provide a much bigger mission is paying off and is a great example of leadership we can all learn from.

OK...he's got the X's and O's down...he is a great recruiter....he knows how to build individual skills and conditioning....yeah...and so do about 50 other D1 coaches. But he is leading these young men on a slightly higher this one for the people of West Virginia....he means it and I feel it.

Great season...great coach...great leader.

Monday, March 8, 2010

GTD and Vacation Protocols

At one point in my career, I was the CEO of a mid-sized design-construction firm which I founded, grew, and sold called Pray Construction Company. At a point in the early to mid 1990’s, Pray Construction really needed a job of some size. We were in the process of bidding-negotiating a major addition to Charleston Catholic High School. We knew we were one of two firms in the final running….and then my vacation (horseback riding in Ireland) presented itself.

So….with my family, we went to Ireland and I chose a style I call “going dark”…meaning I was not going to check in. Now…communications back then were quite different. E-mail was just firing up and cell phones were not at all wide spread. We were “in the west” in Ireland, which meant….from a communications point of view…that the available land lines were few and far between…but you could find one…but I choose not to. Instead of calling in to touch base…I remained anxious and worried about the job….or lack of it. (For the record, we did get the job and the decision was not finalized until I returned).

The point to all of this was I’m not sure I was better off not calling in. Yeah…I was on vacation and was not obsessing like some of my wall street friends that were also on the trip and who called the office everyday (although notably that really changed as the week went on), but I was still anxious.

So…here is what I do now…and I think this is very GTD.

1) First of all….I go on holiday with my in-boxes (electronic and two paper ones) to zero. Now…this is really no big deal for me…I’m at zero several times a week…but it is foundational I think. So…e-mails are either deleted, read or action taken, they are filed for reference, stimulate other actions steps and so forth. But..the in-box is zero.
2) I do a good weekly review just before I leave.
3) I let everyone I’m actively involved with know I’m off for a holiday. You can’t hit all the stakeholders, but you can get the big ones which really helps manage the incoming.
4) I use the out of office assistant to remind anyone sending me an e-mail that you won’t hear back from me.

So…I’m feeling very caught up and ready to leave. This involves work and discipline. Laura and I just went on a one week holiday and I’m sure I worked until 10:00 pm the night before to do all of the above.

My computer stays at home but the iPhone comes along.

I do in fact read my e-mails. If they require action, I move them to a folder on my sidebar entitled “e-mails to respond to”. This helps me delete the junk, stay very loosely up to speed, and sets the stage for re-entry. Plus, and I think this is relevant; I don’t get reminded of my work every time I review my in-box...(as the messages have been physically moved). Plus, I maintain that good feeling of having a zero in box.

I tested this process last summer on a two week holiday and just did it for a one-weeker. Process works well. I try and get back from holidays on Saturday so I can process the e-mails to respond to folder on Sunday. I have likely 50-60 e-mails that required action. This took about 4 hours.

Coming back to my two “cleaned” physical offices effectively supports the re-charging you are hoping for from a holiday. And…I woke up this morning with a zero in-box as well.

I think this method of execution helps support vitality and renewal which is one is one of the things one hopes for from holiday. But…like a lot of the GTD stuff, this works for me and may/may not for you…but perhaps is worthy of experimentation.