Sunday, September 26, 2010

Puttin' on the Rice

Sweet Rice
Source: Recipezaar / by knobbyknee

NOTE: The amount of sugar makes it very sweet. You can alter the amount of sugar if you would like, just remember it is supposed to be sweet! Also, let the sugar disolve in the stock so you won't have sugar that has sunk to the bottom of the pan.

6-8 servings
50 min / 10 min prep

1/2-1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 of a white onion, chopped (add more or less to your taste)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 1/3 cups white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup white sugar


Put a little oil in bottom of pan (maybe about 1/2-1 tablespoon). Saute chopped onion until transluecent. Add the chopped cinlantro (no big stems) and saute a minute more. Add the rice, cooking until it is light brown (being careful not to burn). Combine the chicken broth and sugar, letting sugar disolve. Then stir into rice until combined. Bring to a boil. Cover and let cook on low, med-low until rice is done, about 25-30 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Work in Progress

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3: 5

Friday, September 24, 2010

It Makes the World Go 'Round

I've decided that life and business interconnect. A lot. Someone forwarded me an article today about 12 skills needed to be a successful leader. They can be broadened to skills needed to be a successful person. So in my standard, file-it-away-in-my-blog mode, the article is clipped and pasted it here. See original here.

Managing the Future Workplace? Start Here.

by Alan Murray at Alan.Murray@wsj.com

The last three years have seen an unprecedented financial crisis leading to the deepest economic downturn since the 1930s. In the process, the very foundations of capitalism have been upended.

Faith in business and in markets has been shaken. As Ian Davis of McKinsey & Co. put it: "We are experiencing not merely another turn of the business cycle, but a restructuring of the economic order."

How should managers behave in this new economic order?

.A few trends will clearly impact managers in the years ahead. Trust in business by the public at large is clearly at a low point and is likely to stay there for some time. Government involvement in the economy is clearly on the rise. Financing is likely to be harder to come by in the years ahead, and American consumers, who powered the global economy for decades, will pull in their wallets. Asia will likely continue to rise, and technological change will likely continue to accelerate.

Yet success in the new era won't ultimately require a perfect crystal ball -- none of us has one. Rather, it will require institutions that can survive through uncertainty and thrive amid rapid change, and managers who have the humility to know that they don't have all the answers but do have the confidence and willingness and judgment to lead their team to find them.

"The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management" is our attempt to summarize the lessons of many of the management thinkers of our times, as well as the observations of the Journal's reporters and editors, to provide a guide to best management practices. While there's no silver bullet and no one-minute answers, the following general advice likely will serve you well in the coming years:

Stay flexible. Managers will need a flexible organization, so that it can be repositioned quickly to address new threats and master new challenges. You will have to be prepared to re-evaluate your mission, strategy and goals more frequently than before, in order to adjust to the uncertain and changing environment.

Devour data. Managers will need to have their "ears to the ground" in order to hear changes as they are coming. That means you'll need to seek out fresh sources of information, intelligence and data. You'll need to follow the example of leaders like A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, who required his top executives to go out into the field and talk to the ordinary women who use P&G products.

Be (somewhat) humble. Managers will not be able to assume they know the answer -- because more often than not, they won't. You'll need to be willing to hear hard truths from your employees, your customers, your suppliers and anyone else closer to a changing marketplace than you are.

Communicate. The days of keeping your head down as a manager, focusing on operations instead of external communications, are over. More than ever, managers have to become advocates. Critics will abound, and you'll need to be able to rally the support of your employees, your customers and clients and a whole array of outside stakeholders to survive and thrive.

Plan for contingencies. It's natural for people to focus on what they know, but as a result, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of "The Black Swan," says, we "time and time again fail to take into account what we don't know." With rising uncertainty, the advantage goes to those who can imagine the improbable. Keeping cash and other resources on hand for emergencies will also become increasingly important.

Be proactive. If you see a problem coming, don't wait until it hits you...by then it will be too late. You will need to be prepared to react quickly.

Insist on candor. To succeed in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment, it's critical that everyone in an organization be brutally honest. There's no time for dealing with the small lies that people routinely use to burnish their own record or avoid offending others. Everyone needs to know exactly where things stand at all times.

Stay involved. At times like the present, no manager can afford to be seen hiding in his or her office. It's important that you be seen out among your employees, in part to give them confidence, and in part to collect necessary intelligence.

Keep your organization flat. It was a good idea before the new era; it's critical now. You can't afford to have layers of bureaucracy between you and the action. That will guarantee that you are too slow to react.

Cross-train your talent. Good managers have been knocking down silos in their organizations for years. But again, what used to be a good practice is now essential. You need people with multiple skills, who aren't qualified for just one narrow task, and who can be redeployed as the situation demands it.

Assess your team. Few organizations can afford to have people who aren't pulling their weight. You need to be constantly reassessing your team, making sure you encourage and promote the best, and dealing quickly with those who aren't contributing.

And finally...
Use your judgment. No team of Ph.D. students building computer-powered mathematical models will ever be a good substitute for common sense. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know it wasn't a good idea to make housing loans to people who put no money down, or to waive rules requiring them to document their income, or to make loans with payments that would balloon in two or three years when they couldn't afford the balloon payments. The bankers who survived this crisis weren't the ones with the most sophisticated risk models, but rather the ones who kept their heads.

Write to Alan Murray at Alan.Murray@wsj.com

—Adapted from "The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management," by Alan Murray. Copyright 2010 by Dow Jones & Company. Published by Harper-Collins Publishers, New York.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's All in Your Attitude

I read an article recently on sales and thought it had a great perspective on life in general. I wanted to save it for later ues. Read the original article by Geoffrey James here. It's also below with some highlights I liked.

If you’re going to be successful in sales, you need to be the kind of person that draws other people to want to work with them. With the exception of the mentally ill, most people want to work with people who have an upbeat and positive attitude.

Unfortunately, many people (including some sales pros that I know) have sloppy habits of thinking and speaking that drain the energy of the people around them. With that in mind, here are five quick techniques that will immediately improve your attitude in ways that will increase your ability to influence others:

Technique #1: Stop using negative phrases such as “It’s impossible,” or “This won’t work,” which program you for negative results. Instead, substitute phrases like “That might be challenging” or “We’ll need some alternatives” that leave the possibility of eventual success open and available.

Technique #2: Whenever somebody asks “How are you?”, don’t come out with the something depressing like “Hangin’ in there” or “Same old, same old.” Instead, respond enthusiastically with “Terrific!” or “Fabulous!” or “I’ve never felt better!” Then make that your reality, too.

Technique #3: Stop complaining about things over which you have no control, such as the economy, your company, the customers, etc. Focus on what you can change, what you can accomplish, and what you can do for your firm, your customers, and your customers’ customers.

Technique #4: Stop griping about your personal problems and illnesses. What good does it do other than to depress you and everyone else? Remember: this, too, shall pass. Do what you can to deal with your problems and then use your energy to keep yourself on track and in high spirits.

Technique #5: Substitute neutral words for emotionally loaded ones. For example, rather than saying “I’m enraged!” say “I’m a bit annoyed…” or (better yet) “I’ve got a real challenge…” Neutral words keep your mind from getting into emotional feedback loops that keep you miserable.

Yeah, I know these techniques sound a bit trivial, but actually they’re very important. The bad habits that these techniques correct are like holes in an inner tube. If you don’t plug them up, you’ll end up pumping yourself all the time, just to keep yourself afloat!

BTW, the above is based on a conversation with Jeff Keller, author of the bestseller Attitude is Everything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Wee Taste o' Sumpin New

Friday night I went to a concert. The crowd was pretty mellow, but the group was fabulous! They had an interesting mix of music and a unique sound and a wide vocal range. It ended up being really fun--and I bought their CD. They were an unknown band to me, but have opened for people like Kelly Clarkson, etc. The band consisted of a keyboardist, guitarist, bassist and drummer. And they are LDS.

Here's a sampling of some of their songs:

I Want You There


Will He Dance?


Hiding Behind the Song


Get Lost


Heart of the Matter (cover-Don Henley)


Wasn't That Your Plan


Use Somebody (cover-Kings of Leon)


You Could Be Why


Whenever Wherever Whatever (cover-Maxwell)


Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Labor-less Day


A day at the zoo. Beautiful weather. Fabulous company. Cooperative animals.

Congrats on retiring, Mom! What a fun way to spend Labor Day!

(Missed you much, Adam, Renee, AJ and EL.)













Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little AL - Happy B-day!

Happy birthday to the sweetest little peanut ever! Especially when she's covered in cotton candy. Hope it's a super day! Love you.


A Little Birthday Dance for You

Lisa - Have a great birthday day!!!