John McDonald's Stuff

34 words per minute city, 54 words per minute highway. Your mileage may vary.

Friday, July 21, 2006

With Wings Like Eagles

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

God does not permit adversity for the purpose of defeating us, but for the purpose of benefiting us. This is illustrated in the benefit an eagle receives from turbulent winds.

  • Turbulent winds cause the eagle to fly higher. There is tremendous lifting power in the thermal updrafts of turbulent winds. These updrafts cause the eagle to reach great heights as he soars with them.
  • Turbulent winds give the eagle a larger view. The higher the eagle flies, the larger will be his perspective of the land below him. From this higher position the sharp eyes of the eagle are able to see much more.
  • Turbulent winds allow the eagle to use less effort. The wings of the eagle are designed for gliding in the winds. The feather structure prevents stalling, reduces the turbulence and produces a relatively smooth ride with minimum effort - even in rough winds.
  • Turbulent winds allow the eagle to stay up longer. The eagle uses winds to soar and guide for long periods of time. In the winds, the eagle first glides in long shallow circles downward and then spirals upward with a thermal updraft.
  • Turbulent winds help the eagle to fly faster. Normally, the eagle flies at a speed of about 50 miles an hour. However, when he glides in wind currents, speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour are not uncommon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Q: What differentiates a true leader from someone who's simply a "solid team player"?
A: Courage to take intelligent risks.

It is obvious that courage can not be learned in a classroom, but I have become convinced that no amount of coaching or development effort by a manager results in it, either.

So, then, what builds courage? Consider this progression:

  1. Books, websites, course material contain data and information. If you spend enough time studying this material, you gain knowledge.
  2. That knowledge, put into practice over time becomes experience.
  3. How you are raised by your parents and family, or how you overcame negative experiences in your life successfully breeds self confidence.
  4. That self confidence, coupled with knowledge and experience, gives you the courage to take intelligent risks.
Sadly, it's at step #2 where most people stop. They lack the confidence in themselves necessary to convert what they know and have experienced to be true into smart, calculated risks and ventures that mark a true leader. Why do they stop there? Because you can't as a manager impart self confidence. It starts from within - either in the way you were raised by your parents, or because you overcame something tragic and traumatic in your life that graphically showed you how much strength you really have.

So, how breed more leaders for IBM's future? You can teach sharp people anything out of books, and over time they'll gain experience, so don't worry about those things. Look instead for people who have the inner courage, strength and confidence to drive IBM into new ventures and areas.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Favorite Quote To Start

"There are two kinds of people: those who do all the work, and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." - Indira Nehru Gandhi