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Showing posts from March, 2010

Interview Question: What is your story?

I had several interviews this week both in person and via telephone. I admit that the most intriguing, likely intentionally ambiguous, question was this one: "So, what is your story?" Innocuous, seemingly simple, but definitely not easy to answer.

My story is indeed very different from the norm. I think... I posted this idea on Facebook and received several witty and spot on comments. Friends are like that, they know things about you and can articulate them so much easier than you can.
Forrest: "Did you tell them you were a choose your own adventure :)"My response: "Guess that would be better than a paint by numbers coloring book. :-). Maybe I should tell them I'm an iPad running a kindle app. Wonder if the world is ready for a metaphor of such depth."Dee: "I don't think you should tell them that.... Your story is clearly "The Princess Bride" ... Mysterious man, alone at first, shows prodigious talent and ability to avoid deadly obst…

Attack Journalism sells papers and tv ads

Why do we we still see the "attack op/eds" in the NY Times? Because they sell papers... no other reason..   When are we all going to wake up and realize that we must find a middle ground and protect freedoms without ridiculing and self righteous arrogance.

Op-Ed Columnist - An Absence of Class in the G.O.P. - NYTimes.com


Absence of class is not the sole domain of the republicans. The examples called out here are shameful but not unique to a single ideology or party. Unfortunately, I fear that articles like this contribute more to the problem than the solution.  Tolerance and civility, along with diversity of perspective seem to be lost on fundamentalists of all flavors.

Freedom in speech is messy, particularly in this age of mass communications, but it beats the alternative by a long shot.

Dream Job

"The future is a place that is created first in the mind and will, next in activity. It is a place we are creating: its paths not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination." John Schaar

It is a lot easier to make this list than I thought it would be..
Opportunity to learn continually.Opportunity to contribute significantly.Opportunity to influence and lead a diverse group of leaders.Opportunity to change the world. One email, one customer, one meeting at a time. Bridging the gap between business, technology, and music.Opportunity to earn my rewards and accept my failures honestly. Limited travel demand to allow for my continued committment to family, ministry, and community.Not sure where to find all of these things these days.. It is likely not possible but you never know. I began this line of thinking back in the Summer with a previous post "Waves, incoming".  Today, my ideas lead here. Who knows where tomorr…

Give and Take.

Robin Hood was on shaky ground my friends. A childhood hero, champion of the downtrodden and oppressed..  In order to give, you must first have something to give, and you must acquire that from somewhere... how you acquire that resource is key...

The government can't give anything to the people without first taking from them.  The only revenue stream which a government has is its power to tax(take) from the people. Whenever the government gives out more it must take more.  Since the government does not produce anything it is by definition a "looter" as Ayn Rand details in Atlas Shrugged. 

A good friend wrote yesterday this powerful quote:

"The size of the government correlates directly with the complacency of the church, not the institutionalized church but rather me and you." Melanie Yenovkian

I am not crazy. I recognize that we need protections, and regulations to protect.  When we become complacent and "forget" our obligation of brotherhood to ou…

Rock and a hard place.. Rights & Freedom

As luck would have it, I am actually sick and at home resting for the day where the new health care bill will be signed into law.  The irony is overwhelming.  I am torn on this one in so many ways.  I am pleased to see a society trying to do good for its people, but I am ashamed of our methods and the outcome.  I don't believe that society can fix itself.  I believe that we must individually choose to help one another from the bottom up.  This great society can not be legislated top down. We do need healthcare reform, but right now, that is not what is killing the patient.  The out of control spending is #1 on the triage list as I score it and it began with the spending habits and entitlements expectations of each of us.. individually... 

The United States of America is spending its way into oblivion.. and that's a fact jack.  I know because I did it too. I overspent, relied on credit(money that I didn't have), and hope for a future that was unlikely to ever materialize. …

Quotes for a "new day" in government..

These quotes are gleaned from tweets, and FB posts.. I'll continue adding over the next few days as I am "struck" by important finds. Important as defined by "me" of course.. ;-)

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep...but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for ...they ...do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis

"The size of the government correlates directly with the complacency of the church, not the institutionalized church but rather me and you." Melanie Yenovkian

"...history shows that the greatest human rights offenders are the states that are more focused on equal "stuff" than equal "rights" (USSR, DPRK, China). Big government meeting your every need sounds enticing, unle…

What is the plan of action?

Enter the interview... First question:  Mr Prillaman,  I see here that you say you are a transformation and innovation specialist.  How exactly would you transform my organization with your leadership?

First off, thank you for your time and attention.  I think that the first step towards transformation is to begin listening to those around you, particularly the experts already in place.  I view myself as a problem solver ultimately, and in your case.. I begin by identifying what problem we are trying to solve. What are your business issues right now? 
IT infrastructure is too costly?Operations is generating an "issue a day" and consuming costly resources in a reactive delivery model? Workforce is not engaged fully and you are missing out on the creative spark already here?Your customers don't see the potential of your products?Your leadership team is engaged in "always worked before" mentality? Depending on the problem we are trying to solve, I would bring diffe…

Identity reform.

Walking around my workplace this am, I began to reflect on a single question:

How much of who I am is tied up in my loyalty and passion for my job?  

I have often talked about my propensity to care too much about work.  It is so easy to get your priorities out of whack and focus on the game, the competition, the successes, and even the failures.  Perhaps, performers are subject to this same psychosis.  How often have you heard the quote.. "you are only as good as your last performance on stage".. I know I have heard it and said it to my students many many times.

Here is the problem... Who we are is NOT what we do and a projected/formed/ideal identity just doesn't exist in the real world.  We wrap ourselves up into these cocoons of perception based press releases and after a while we tend to believe our own press and miss the reality of facts. 
Where is the money being spent?Where is your time being spent?Who is getting the best of your energy? your family, your employer, y…

Trinity of Believers: Fearless, Happy, and Constantly in trouble.

Sounds familiar if you know me ;-)

This morning's sermon at HRBC talked at great length about contrarian thinking, and the cost of discipleship correlated to our purpose as Christians and believers. 
Luke 6: 17-26

Bert ended up with these three ideas as central.. and they just stuck with me.  My own sunday school lesson was grounded in a spiritual hierarchy of needs rooted in John 6:48 "I am the bread of life"  It is indeed so very simple.

From Ockham's Razor to Maslo's hierarchy of needs.. they are all encapsulated here.

Different : Think, Be, Act

Each of us is unique and special in this world. The strength to water the seed of our differences is a critical point in our development and success. 

Companies, churches, schools, and families don't need automatons of the collective. They need individuals who can bring their special skills to a shared common purpose and achieve!

The seed of difference, planted and watered grows into a mighty tree, filled with diversity and strength.  Its flaws are evident as some branches are broken off, the bark is scarred and it isn't perfectly straight... but its majesty is unquestioned. It bends and flows in the forest and maintains a place and perspective on the world rooted in its uniqueness

Think differently.. yes..
Be different... don't be afraid
ACT: make a difference in your world. 

TED Video on Nurturing your Creativity

Bridging...people

The ability to bridge geography and time with exchanges of knowledge and sincere thoughts is extremely valuable to a person. The reality is also that a person is what makes every business work... People make things happen.. the tools and the processes are just enablers..

Connecting people is and will always be valuable, but the value will always be relative to the depth of the connection.

References and Recommendations for Jeff Prillaman

“Jeff's passion for using technology for process improvement is amazing. His matured transformation experience in various fields like HR, IT, and FOW & VoIP are his true professional assets. Being in added active roles of vendor management and HR related topics, he brings in excellent leadership qualities for any team that seeks positive energy for result oriented performance.” March 11, 2010 Manaw Modi, Strategic Technologies, Office of CTO, Capital One Financial Services worked directly with Jeff at Capital One: Strategic Technology

“Jeff is a business leader at heart who has made his career in IT. His strengths are people management and delivering results. He has the unique ability to crossover between strategy and operations excellence. In a world seeking technology savvy business leaders, Jeff is a proven solution looking for interesting problems.” March 12, 2010
Joe DeFilippo , Strategic…

Positional Authority is ... "from an org chart" ?

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This week has brought a ton of new perspective into my life with a job search after notice that my leadership role will be eliminated for "efficiency" in July.  I'm not in love with the change forced upon me, nor the decision of the person who made it, but I understand it.Do "people" and "institutions" see the value of servant leaders, or do they gravitate to the rhetoric of performance and the inherent energy wave of great speeches, and personal charisma? Perhaps my performance training and experience prepared me for this sort of emotional roller coaster ride. It doesn't make it easier, but is helps me to understand and deal with it.

In the singing world, musicians and artists are subjected to positional authority every time they audition, every time they go to a rehearsal. It is a learned response from lessons, coachings, and education at an early age.  Someone else always knows more, is the authority, is the expert, or is simply "in charge…

Value of vision can't be seen by leaders with blinders on...

From the halls of gov't, to the conference rooms of churches, to the board rooms and offices of corporate america.. change, hope, vision, is a virtually insurmountable brick wall..  Transformational change models, proven experience in operational excellence and strategic vision are only valued where the existing leadership can see the need to do something differently. In most cases, the "existing leadership" would rather just blame someone else and wait for a failure to force a "reboot" of the entire system.  Most companies' leaders wait for a failure condition or spend unbelievable amounts of money on "external" consultants rather than listen to the emerging leaders within their own organizations whose ideas are to politically unpalatable.  This is a tough situation which is virtually insurmountable for most.  I can see a situation where a close mentorship with the right senior executive(s) or series of relationship(if broad enough) might allow f…

Are you in charge of your own development?

http://www.managementlab.org/blog/2009/nine-ways-identify-natural-leaders

Whose advice is sought most often on any particular topic?
Who responds most promptly to requests from peers?
Whose responses are judged most helpful?
Who is most likely to reach across organizational boundaries to aid a colleague?
Whose opinions are most valued, internally and externally?
Who gets the most kudos from customers?
Who’s the most densely connected to other employees?
Who’s generating the most buzz outside the company?
Who consistently demonstrates real thought leadership?
Who seems truly critical to key decisions?

Jeff's thoughts: as you think about your development plans for the year...Translation to actionable items:
Are you out their offering advice, and making sure your knowledge is utilized for decision analysis by your management? Do you respond equally to your peers as you do to your superiors? Do your contributions "make a difference in outcomes" and how do you know?…

Enough Already...

I've had just about enough of the snow this year, haven't you?

I wonder what I would have said about that only a few months ago. Probably something more along the lines of.. Oh yeah.. I'd love to see us get some snow like I used to see when I lived in NY and NJ. As I watched the school districts cancel and all sorts of normal organizations spiral into a psychosis, I gained a new appreciation for the process discipline and operational readiness work that we undertake in IT so regularly.
Every time we run disaster recovery exercises, or risk and compliance reviews, I find myself complaining about them by the end. The truth is.. that they are not a lot of fun, but the are necessary, just so we can handle storms like the recent snowmageddon and snowpocalypse..

My challenge to anyone reading this is: Take the opportunity and the stresses laid out in front of you, and find a way to rise above it. Seek perspective and take ownership of plans to change and get better. It is too e…

Change is inconvenient but filled with opportunity

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I've spent a lot of time in my life making fun of soap operas, and these days I have turned my attention largely to reality shows and politics.  The funny thing is that they all have some important themes in common.
Nothing ever really gets resolved.
Reality is actually all about perception.
Change is a constant to create "tension"

Life is like this too.  I'm reading Seth Godin's Excellent book "Linchpin" right now and trying to figure out what about me makes me indispensable to the world, to my family, to my employer.. Good questions and lots of different perspectives. There is the key.

Maintaining your perspective as you navigate the waters of constant change positions you to embrace opportunity rather than crash against the rocks of uncertainty.  Great leaders exist to make others great. Leadership at it's core must be rooted in sacrifice not career aspirations or personal success. 

We can't win, or "arrive" until we have master the…