Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Do We Zig, Or Zag?

Welcome to Planet Twix.  On this planet, resources are scarce.  Meet Fred.  Fred was given 5 balls by the benevolent God Thorpe.  Fred did not think much of these balls.  He questioned the 'love' behind something so useless and boring.  So, like what any bored kid would do, he stirred up some trouble and chucked a ball at his neighbor's glass window.  He lost 2  balls somewhere in his room, but hey, it's not much use to look for something so useless.  Fred uses his fourth ball as a weapon when his sister comes in his room and his last ball was fed to his snake as a 'successful' crazy experiment.  Fred is really upset that he is not 'wealthy' like some other people.  He is looking to find out why he is not wealthy and so begins his crusade to gain understanding.

Fred stumbles on a crowd gathered around what appears to be a man drawing cheers.  Intrigued, Fred looks in and sees a man throwing balls into the air (seems like 5 of them), catching them and repeating the motion with occasional 'tricks'.  Fred was amazed at the cool show and wanted a better view.  A lady dressed in a formal suit asked for 1 gold token in exchange for a ticket giving Fred a closer view.  Thrilled with the act, Fred paid the 1 gold token and enjoyed the rest of the show. 

Fred left the show feeling good about himself.  He was encouraged and even inspired to 'take his body to new limits'.  The next morning Fred felt awful, the show was great, but that 1 gold token was needed for his weeks food.  He suddenly felt spite towards the man who took his gold token (for a short term viewing pleasure!) and wanted it back.  He did some homework on this juggling man only to learn he had thousands of gold tokens!  The juggler was rich.  He went around to different villages putting shows on, encouraging and inspiring people.  Fred thought this was unfair.  "Why does he have thousands of gold tokens, and I hardly have any?" Fred muttered to himself.  The final nail in the coffin came when Fred read a quote from the juggling traveler, "…I owe my success to the God Thorpe, he came down and gave me 5 balls and it was the most loving thing He could have done."  The juggler saw the balls as a gift of love.  He cherished the balls, took care of them, practiced with them and made significant sacrifices to become great at what he does.  The juggler takes pride in 'inspiring others to be better' and feels his success is a result of empowering other people, after all he reminds us, "…I did not force them to pay 1 gold token to watch me…others choose to do it freely". 

Fred became bitter towards the juggler and more towards the so called benevolent God Thorpe (because Fred was given the same gift as the juggler).  The juggler had lots while Fred did not.  Fred devoted endless hours and what little resources he had remaining to fight the jugglers right to accumulate so many gold tokens at the expense of others 'losing their gold tokens'.  He also challenged the so called benevolence of Thorpe by accusing Him of favoring the rich.  And so Fred began his movement to make the juggler's riches 'more fairly distributed'.

The juggler, disappointed with Fred's attitude, made his defense: "Fred chose to squander his gift.  I chose to prize my gift.  Fred chose to allow boredom and fruitless activity to rule his day.  I chose to learn how to serve people and get really good at something.  People chose to give Fred $0 for how he utilizes his gift.  People chose to give me 1000's of tokens because of how I chose to utilize my gift.  What is Fred's problem with choice?  He had no problem with 'choice' when he chose to feed the snake, or throw his ball at his sister.  So Fred does not have a problem with 'choice', rather he seems to have a problem with another person choosing something that advances them beyond where he is at.  I broke no laws.  I deserve to keep my gold tokens.  Perhaps Fred should recover his balls he was given, take pride in the gift and I will teach him how to juggle and earn gold tokens for his efforts."

Monday, 23 January 2012

What Is Wrong With SOPA

They Won, And So Did Canada

RIM co-founders Balsillie and Lazaridis step down

Jim Balsillie, right, and Mike Lazaridis, who have shared the CEO and chair titles at Research In Motion, have resigned. Thorsten Heins, formerly the company's chief operating officer, was named CEO and president.

As a young CEO, I marvel at the phenomenal job done by these visionaries.  It is infinitely easier to 'shoot down' their performance in relation to theoretical prospects for growth.  It is easy to attack failed performance of key launches.  It is easy to overlook the billions of profits and tens of thousands of jobs their passion and vision created.  Without knowing all sides to the story, it seems reasonable to replace them.  However, they leave in my mind as inspirational and iconic figures.  Mr. Balsillie, Mr. Lazaridis, here is how your leadership directly impacted me just through watching, learning and listening:

- 5 years ago, I read in the Kitchener-Record Mr. Lazaridis talk about the key to his business.  "Focus on quality" you said.  When I read that, I connected a part of your success to quality.  At the time, I was hesitant to 'invest in quality' because we did not have the cash and I did not see an immediate return.  Your comment burned in me for months.  I met others on the subject and even had dreams on quality!  From this, sir, we decided to become ISO and eventually AS9100 registered shop.  Your profound comment on quality could not escape me and played a significant role in our recent successes.  Thank you for inspiring this small manufacturing facility.  Two years running, we have won a quality award with Comdev Space (Satellite components builder) and have worked hard to contribute to a small portion of their successes.  Other customers are giving us jobs simply based on their confidence we will make their parts to print.  The investment was and is worth it. 

I often reflect on RIM's successes and failures.  I think, "how can I up my game?".  Please, don't be another shooter in the gallery.  It is incredibly hard to build, and easy to tear down.  Today I determine to build a stronger company that seeks to perform at a higher level. Mr. Balsillie, Mr. Lazaridis, congratulations and thank you for your leadership and vision. 

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