Ronda Rousey illustrates three aspiring personal characteristics

 

If you are needing some inspiration in your job hunt, your career, or life in general, then soak up some inspiration from the best female and number one pound-for-pound female mixed martial arts (“MMA”) fighter in the world – Ronda Rousey.  Yet, aside from pure and outstanding athletic prowess and performance, Ronda owns mental expertise that you can see in her fights.  The mental part, outside the octagon, provides even more inspiration because in witnessing the mental characteristics, one can emulate the same for one’s own success.

 

Most, if not all, of Rousey’s fights last only seconds and end in a submission.  And, most of them are online.  Insofar as the fighting, she is highly skilled having won an Olympic medal in judo.  She also trains very hard.  Watching her bouts, it becomes apparent that she is a determined fighter.  She overwhelms her opponents in the first few seconds of the opening round.  Resolute, she meets her opponent head on and immediately consumes her foe.  She either spots an opening or lets her opponent make a mistake and she steps in, envelops her, grapples to an arm bar (with strikes and occasional knees along the way) and the fight is over.  Studying her fight films, while typically only seconds in length, the visual cues provide strikingly obvious conclusions regarding her mental mastery.

 

Preparation

 

First, the ground floor in Ronda’s success is prodigious preparation, and that is an understatement.  At first, one of her trainers did not notice her in the gymnasium.  Over time, he noticed that she was the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave every single, sweat-soaked, combative, aching day.  This is inspiration one – the ability to prepare oneself in the highest levels for performance.  Competition is fierce everywhere.  Image yourself seeking new opportunity in your career.  Over preparation breeds confidence and rockets you to dominate the competition.  A deep and powerful commitment to preparation positions the front-runner.

 

Determination

 

Second, the absolute, unrestrained, and dominant determination Rousey brings to her matches wills her to victory.  Outside the octagon, she is an actress and fun loving, even playful interviewee.  But when it comes to business, watch her as she walks to the octagon and study her face as she readies to overpower her adversary.  The focused, direct, sheer determination is clearly obvious in her.  Not the slightest hint of doubt is anywhere in her vicinity.  If determination propels winning, Rousey has it in spades.  Once prepared, mental determination is power.  The grasp of this power is further impelled by resolute endurance.

 

Fortitude

 

And finally the third mental mastery – fortitude.  Fortitude:  “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously” (dictionary.com, 2015).  The unrelenting and straightforward pursuit of the goal – leading to supremacy.  This trait is strikingly apparent in Ronda’s demeanor.  Perhaps the most important of these three traits, it is easy to recognize how a strong mental and emotional state leads to the ultimate attainment of any goal.

 

Master these mental qualities.  Spend more time preparing and no time procrastinating.  Focus on determination and lean out wasteful actions.  Practice fortitude and be strong, never giving up on your objective.

 

 

©  Neal Huffman 2015 all rights reserved.

2015-07-18 11.06.18 2015-07-18 11.11.12 2015-07-18 14.06.49

Knowledge Management

There are shelves, and shelves, and bookstores and online book businesses with seemingly never ending selections of books written about business.  Anything you see can be bought and sold.  People seem to be at least as interested in books with business topics as any other genre available.  Some business books even achieve best seller status.  Given many people’s preoccupation with subjects related to business, why is it that everyone is writing a business book and many people are reading them?  One of the answers may be that the “age” in which we find ourselves is rapidly transforming into a new era characterized by information.  We are, and are increasingly becoming, an “Information Society”.  We are bombarded with information daily.  The availability of information in terms of access, speed, and proliferation is growing almost exponentially.

In terms of business, information can be considered as an advantage or as a detriment.  Information is obviously an advantage when it serves the business.  For example, if a business is shopping for credit, it may almost instantaneously determine the cost of a loan from several competing sources.  On the other hand, those wishing to purchase something of value from a business, likewise may tap into vast sources of information about each particular company with which a transaction may be considered, as well as, perhaps price.  For example, consumers can shop for home mortgages online and obtain financing and interest rate quotes from competing banks.  Banks that choose not to compete in such manner in real-time, may be losing market share and revenue to online companies.

Given that we now find ourselves in an “Information Age” and a “New Economy” that is based on the information and its ubiquitous nature and its relationship to knowledge workers, does a company gain competitive advantage in the market if it has an organized and efficient means to manage its knowledge?  “Knowledge has been recognized as one of the main assets of organizations” (Drucker, 1993).  Other researchers go so far as to call knowledge management a core competency.  “We live in a knowledge society where application, creation, recycling, sharing and storing of knowledge are considered crucial to growth and development” (Lewin et al., 1999; Christensen, 2000).

Key conclusions in some research also points to the efficacy and value of the uniqueness of the information a company may have at its disposal.  As Clark Eustace summarized in the Journal of Intellectual Capital in 2003, “The empirical evidence suggests that successful players in competitive markets are those that have access to a corpus of unique – or at least difficult-to-replicate – capabilities and competencies.

While it is not arguable that knowledge is valuable, the question really becomes whether it is valuable to have certain types of knowledge.  Moreover, to the extent the knowledge you possess is unique or offers information that is not easily replicated, then such knowledge may be considered as a competitive advantage or a niche that other competitors do not have.  Peter Murray (2002) describes it as “knowledge management’s most important use would be making an organization competitive and profitable…high-margin niche markets.”

However, in the event that a company feels that it does possess some unique knowledge or its personnel as individuals may possess unique knowledge pursuant to their vocation, then how does the entire organization manage such knowledge?  What is the scope and scale of knowledge management at the individual or the corporate level?  The problem is that first there must be a definition of knowledge.  After such definition, then the way to capture reusable knowledge is usually via some method in computing or Information Technology.

Even with a system for capturing knowledge and making it available for use or reuse by other people across the enterprise, the knowledge is truly only valuable for so long as that knowledge is a competitive advantage in the industry.  Each company or corporation must decide for itself whether there is competitive advantage in a portion of their knowledge and to what extent this knowledge is shared.  The particular aspects of a company’s knowledge management are individual case basis decisions.

Once it is determined that a company has knowledge that is of competitive advantage, then how does such company manage and share that knowledge within its organizational structure?  Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) systems and software may be one way to share knowledge company-wide, however, such software does not take into account prose or free thinking as data entry is logical and limited.  Customer Resource Management (“CRM”) is another tool used by business to manage relationships, however, again, such system or software is not truly a knowledge sharing system.

Databases theoretically could provide a means for one to input certain aspects of his or her knowledge.  Intranet websites could be another possible knowledge sharing media.  However, what will prompt individuals to share versus hoard knowledge?  Hoarding can be common practice especially in professional work settings where employees do not wish to share knowledge because their knowledge can be a source of power and job security for them.

The key then, is once a company has determined it has competitive knowledge, how to provide a system, and reward its usage, for knowledge workers to publish their knowledge and share it across organizational boundaries.

One of the ingredients in effective business today is speed.  Speed allows the more agile company to provide solutions to their customers faster than their competitors.  Experts have concluded that the majority of customers prefer adequate solutions delivered quickly over perfect solutions delivered more slowly.  Such speed to market, if you will, is better gained by a company with systems that allow employees to communicate quickly with one another and to get a decision, answer, or solution in a rapid fashion.  Given silo mentality and hoarding, most companies fail to achieve the speed they potentially possess.  A proficient system of knowledge sharing enhances teams or individuals to come to consensus on a decision in almost real-time fashion.

The benefits are clear.  Yet, cost and efficacy variables can play a factor in the adoption of knowledge sharing policies.

 

 

© 2015 Neal Huffmanfjsdakfjaoi  FotoFlexer_Photo

President Lincoln: Vision

Vision

Lincoln (1858) said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it”. Even more than his essential trait and skill competencies, Lincoln carefully practiced diversity through his great vision. During the war, Lincoln delegated many policy initiatives to his Cabinet. However, he led the nation and resolutely achieved many goals from the Republican platform. Through his economic leadership, the United States passed the Legal Tender Act, a National Banking Act, a transcontinental railroad via the Pacific Railroad Act, Homestead Acts, and a Land Grant College Act. While leading the nation to the end of a great Civil War, Lincoln shepherded the great vision he always believed in from his early rise in politics to the Presidency. He transformed the nation from subsistence farming to the beginnings of an economic dynamo, all with great care in furthering the common person and providing a chance, an opportunity to better oneself. (Gienapp, 2002)

Self-Actualized

Tichy (1986) wrote about transformational leadership and a quote seems to speak almost directly on Lincoln when he said, “This vision of the future must be formulated in such a way that it will make the pain of changing worth the effort” (p. 122). As Gienapp (2002) reiterated about Lincoln, “…his leadership demonstrated the combination of resolute ends and flexible means that would be the hallmark of his presidency” (p. 92). Reinforced by Tichy (1986):

The essence of transformational leadership is the capacity to adapt means to ends—to shape and reshape institutions and structures to achieve broad human purposes and moral aspirations…the secret of transforming leadership is the capacity of leaders to have their goals clearly and firmly in mind, to fashion new institutions relevant to those goals, to stand back from immediate events and day-to-day routines and understand the potential and consequences of change. (p. 187)

At the height of his political life (Abe was cut short on leading the nation through the Reconstruction) Abraham Lincoln was stopped by an assassin’s bullet. Nevertheless, Lincoln’s leadership, morals, values, vision, and immense skill saved the United States from certain disaster. In preserving the Union and abolishing the abhorrent practice of slavery, Abraham Lincoln guided the country to a noble place in history.

 

 

References

Galbraith, J.K. (1977). In The age of uncertainty. In R. Andrews, M. Biggs, & M. Seidel, et al. (1996). The Columbia World of Quotations. Search by “leadership.” Number: 24326. Retrieved November 2, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/66/26/24326.html

Gienapp, W.E. (2002). Abraham lincoln and civil war america a biography. New York: Oxford.

Keneally, T. (2003). Abraham lincoln. New York: Penguin.

Lincoln, A. (n.d.). In Six months at the white house (Carpenter, 1867). In Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations requested from the congressional research service. Platt, S., (ed.) (1989). Search by “Abraham Lincoln.” Number: 110. Retrieved November 8, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/73/110.html

Lincoln, A. (1858). In The collected works of abraham lincoln. (Basler, 1953). In Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations requested from the congressional research service. Platt, S., (ed.) (1989). Search by “Abraham Lincoln.” Number: 936. Retrieved November 8, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/73/936.html

Tichy, N.M., & DeVanna, M.A. (1986). The transformational leader. New York: John Wiley.

 

 

© Neal Huffman 2015 all rights reserved

 

 

2013-05-21_12-15-58_631 2012-10-19_14-36-40_934

 

Lincoln and his people skills

People Skill

Adhering to keeping his word and a reputation for honesty, Lincoln dealt with both friend and foe with goodwill and extreme patience. Having used his great oratory and communication skill throughout his life, Abe used communication to inspire, hearten, and lead the nation. Perhaps Abe’s greatest competency as a leader was his communication skill. Abe was determined, yet cool headed. He was deliberate, yet tolerant. He melded his aspirations in an internal locus of control taking unyielding accountability for his ideals. (Gienapp, 2002)

While the war raged and generals dallied, Abraham always exemplified patience. Lincoln took an active role in the strategy of the war and become one of the true great Commanders-in-Chief. Abe had a propensity for forbearance. Both Generals McClellan and Meade had opportunities to crush General Lee of the Confederacy and put an end to the war yet failed to do so. In spite of this, Abraham was non-judgmental. Abe deliberated at great length on issues and personalities. Lincoln sought to persuade, coach, and reason with his generals. Eventually, Lincoln was not afraid to sack non-performers who failed to get on board with the aims of the nation. Abe selected a performer, General Grant, to lead the army. General Grant and Abe concluded strategy to win the war. Abraham successfully implemented a learning culture, especially with Cabinet members in his administration, and empowered vision. (Gienapp, 2002)

 

 

© Neal Huffman 2015 all rights reserved

2013-06-30 09.55.31

Political Acumen

Lincoln was not afraid of politics. In fact he was aggressive in politics. Much of Abe’s style depended on politics. As Gienapp (2002) stated about Lincoln and the political system, “he adopted its premises, formed his identity in conjunction with it, molded his outlook and behavior accordingly…” (p. 29). In turmoil over slavery, banking, and war the Republicans depended on Abe and he managed to hold the party together even winning elections in war time.

Abraham recognized the different aspects of leadership in politics. He knew when to use different supporting, delegating, directing, and coaching styles to accomplish objectives. (Gienapp, 2002) Ultimately, Abraham knew the limits of his power, yet the importance of his character. Lincoln said, “I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end” (Lincoln, n.d., n.p.).

In politics, Lincoln was adroit in the use of power. Equally deft in using coercive and reward power, he would tactfully reward devotees with government positions and loyal mentoring. However, Abe never hesitated to use persuasion in speeches, directives, and personal will in confronting obstacles to his goals. In 1800’s politics, Abraham cultivated connection power in Whig and later Republican platform goals. However, Abe relied most on his expertness, personal reference, and the ability to dispose accurate and reliable information on positions. (Gienapp, 2002)

 

 

© Neal Huffman 2015 all rights reserved

 

dog on a hydrant

dog on a hydrant

Leadership: Abraham Lincoln, His Vision and Values

Abstract

Abraham Lincoln raised himself from an obscure beginning in a log cabin and a youth of subsistence farming through ambition and persistence into visionary leadership. With an acute desire to learn, Abraham learned to read and taught himself law. With politics as Lincoln’s great love, he won state and national elections with persistent campaigning. Abraham was a raconteur who loved talking to common people and practicing his persuasive oratory on political issues of the day. Abe’s integrity, reliability, predictability, fairness, faith, and devotion to honesty earned him a reputation that attracted followers. In severe national emergency, with the United States divided between North and South, President Lincoln tenaciously lead the country and saved democracy and freedom. Though an established leader, Abraham always relied on morals and values to bolster his persuasion and to do the right thing.

Leadership: Abraham Lincoln, His Vision and Values

Abraham Lincoln is an example. For those who are born poor with little or nothing in circumstance to elevate them from the simple state of existence, Lincoln is the transcending model of persistence. As a human, Abraham Lincoln is not without foibles and infallibilities. Yet, in the milieu of leadership, Lincoln leaves a legacy of surmounting Sisyphus-like struggles confronting not only leading himself, but also leading a country, and perhaps the world. Lincoln’s vision spans the forsaken, the common, and the universal man as revealed to Congress in July, 1861:

This is essentially a People’s contest. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men—to lift artificial weights from all shoulders—to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all—to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life. It presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether…a democracy…can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes. (Gienapp, 2002, p. 84)

This purpose of this paper is to capture the attributes and the vision of Abraham Lincoln. First, I will discuss the childhood and environment that Abe was raised in. Second, I will show Abe educated himself in furtherance of his goals. Lastly, I will present the leadership of Abraham Lincoln in the pinnacle of his life, the Presidency.

© Neal Huffman 2014 all rights reserved

Complacency Problems in Change Efforts: Raise Sense of Urgency

In, The heart of change: Real-life stories of how people change their organizations, John Kotter (2002) describes a story from Ted Watson, “Getting the Bosses’ Approval” which illustrates how troublesome corporate change can be, especially when employees do not exhibit the behaviors necessary to facilitate the change. As this story points out, in the event that workers are complacent and manifest fear, anger, resentment, and rejection to change, then perhaps one factor that could address complacency is a sense of urgency. Urgency presents the compelling need to drive people out of complacency and visualize the value associated with the particular change. Complacency can develop through emotions and stifle change processes. As quoted by Vladimir Nabokov (1974), “Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained(n.p.).

An introduction to the paralegal workplace

 

          The second session of Introduction to Law at the Community College of Aurora (“CCA”) – Lowry Campus concerned the general understanding of the ethical considerations, workplace environment and a technology briefing.  Because ethics overrides any particular work setting, the first talking points emphasized the Unauthorized Practice of Law (“UPL”).

          The discussion began by illustrating how a person reaches maturation in the field in order to be authorized to practice law.  Upon being admitted to a law school, any given student must satisfy the requisites for a Juris Doctorate and then must successfully pass the bar examination in the state where they wish to practice.  Typically, after a passed bar exam, then the candidate is sworn in via ceremonial fashion by that state’s supreme court which then issues a license to practice law and a bar number.  Having accomplished licensure, the newly minted lawyer is thus authorized by that state jurisdiction to practice law.  The non-lawyer, whom is not authorized to practice law (essentially non-licensed), must be ever vigilant to UPL boundaries. 

          The next topic focused on the workplace.  Traditionally, paralegals have worked primarily in law firms, such trend continues, while other sectors are increasingly seeking paralegals for a vast array of positions.  Law firms themselves have a range of types.  A small law usually consists of only a handful of attorneys with perhaps a receptionist, office manager, and paralegal (or all three roles in one).  Medium firms generally add specialists for IT, billing, and a layer of management.  While large firms may be departmentalized with specific practice areas and an organization chart of specialists, associates, partners, managing partners, and a board or committee.  Increasingly, corporations and court systems are bringing paralegals into that work setting and other industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare, and sales or procurement functions are craving workers with a legal background.

            This session finished off with a talk about the types of technology a paralegal typically encounters in the office setting.  Word processing, database, and spreadsheet applications round out the main software applications a paralegal must have experience in using.  After these primary office apps, there is wide availability of specialty applications depending on the legal or office function.  For example, offices today have capabilities for conferencing whether telephonically over the Internet with video or VOIP.  For law firms, time keeping and billing must be managed whether manually or using an off the shelf commercial package or even developed proprietarily.  Client management, case management, docketing, calendaring, e-discovery, forensics, trial notebook, and many other paralegal and law firm functions now have an electronic version available whether client and server networked or utilizing Software as a Service. 

            While a lot to study in one setting, learning about ethical considerations, workplace environment and office technology was grasped willingly by all the students.  Join us next week for a review of the third class.

© 2012 Neal Huffman all rights reserved

Paralegal test

The National Federation of Paralegal Association’s (NFPA) first ever PCC Exam will be proctored on June 11, 2011.